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New Zealand parents banned from naming their children “Lucifer”

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And not only has the country banned devil-children, the names "Messiah," "89," and "Adolf Hitler" were also rejected. The New Zealand Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages is awfully picky about what passes first-name muster. Though they did allow twins to be named "Benson" and "Hedges" after the cigarette brand in 2008, the list of 102 rejected names in the last couple years includes "Baron," "Bishop," "Duke," "General," "Judge," "Justice," "King," "Knight," and "Mr," because they sound too much like titles. Oh yeah, and the letters "C," "D," "I," and "T?" Not allowed as first names.

The agency seems to be cracking down on naming freedom because of global headlines in 2008 which revealed that two Kiwi boys had been named "Violence" and "Number 16 Bus Shelter." (And you thought "Zowie Bowie" was weird.) They advise parents to steer clear of given names which could cause children to be mocked at school, like "Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii," which so traumatized one little girl that she had to legally change it when she was nine.

It's hard to say where the line should be drawn when it comes to parents naming their offspring who have no say in the matter. It can seem pretty arbitrary. Sweden, for instance, gave the green light to "Google" and "Lego" as first names, but nixed "Superman," "Metallica," and "Elvis." I guess I can understand why they said no to "Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116," pronounced Albin, though. (Because what if the kid gets famous and has to sign autographs all the time? And that "6" at the end is pretty obscene.) Anyway, after learning all this, the names "John" and "Mary" sound pretty good to me.