A couple from Germany was denied the ability to name their child Lucifer after the government determined that it was an inappropriate name to give to a kid. The parents first ran into trouble when they attempted officially register their son’s name but the registrar refused to put the controversial name on the birth certificate. When the couple refused to choose a different name for their newborn, the case eventually ended up in court where the parents were convinced that for their child’s own good, they should probably not have their son share a name with the prince of darkness.
The new parents reportedly wanted to name their child Lucifer because of its Latin origins. The name Lucifer actually means “morning star” or “light-bringing”, but has now become synonymous with evil because it was the angel’s proper name before he decided to rebel against God. Due to Lucifer’s demonic association, the Association for the German Language has deemed the name to be too problematic to give to a child.
Germany does not have any official laws banning names but officials do have the ability to deny name requests if they feel the name is inappropriate or potentially dangerous for the child. The official can consult with the Association for the German Language to confirm the problematic nature of the name and if the couple refuses to back down, the issue then heads to court. Shortly after the September 11 attacks, a German couple tried to name their baby Osama Bin Laden and were denied in court for very obvious reasons.
To some, this may seem extreme but Germany isn’t the only country to deny or ban certain names they deem inappropriate or cruel or just plain dumb. New Zealand has a list of banned baby names that includes “Anal” and “Chief Maximus.” In Denmark, any time parents want to choose a name outside of the 7,000 approved names, they have to get approval from the government. Each year, around 250 names are rejected and those include “Monkey” and “Anus.”
Should the government be allowed to tell parents what they are and aren’t allowed to name their kids? Those against the idea say it is a violation of a person’s freedom, while those who support banning names say giving your child too controversial of a name is almost a form of child abuse. It’s a complicated issue but, at the end of the day, naming your kid “Satan” or “Hitler” — no matter your reason — doesn’t exactly sound like good parenting.