By C. Michael Forsyth
PHOENIX, Arizona — Hispanic groups are crying foul over a proposed state law that would ban illegal aliens from naming their children Jesus.
“To give our Lord’s name to a baby who could grow up to be a gang member or drug dealer is not just offensive, it’s a form of sacrilege,” says Arthur L. Martinsweld of the American Heritage Research Council, which has endorsed the law. “It’s a slap in the face to Christians.”
Organizations like the Latino-Hispanic Coalition charge that the bill, which could come up for a vote as early as May, is “racist.”
“Jesus is one of the most popular boy names among Hispanics,” claims Julieta Padilla-Munez. “This would be like banning black people from using the last name Washington.”
Proponents of the landmark legislation insist that it’s about religious freedom, not prejudice.
“We shouldn’t let political correctness cloud this debate,” notes Martinsweld. “Despite what liberal secularists like President Obama may tell you, this country was founded on the principle of religious liberty and Judeo-Christian values.
“To force a Christian schoolteacher to address a child as Jesus every day is a violation of her rights.”The law, which is swiftly gathering support in a state known for strong anti-illegal-alien sentiment, will apply only to undocumented aliens and would be retroactive only to 2008. Angry Hispanics vow to take the battle all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but recent rulings suggest that illegals have limited constitutional rights.
Immigration lawyer Tom Rockferry has suggested a compromise, which would permit the use of the name if the letter H is substituted for J, forming Hesus.
“Everyone on both sides has to step back and take a deep breath,” he suggests. “The truth is Jesus is only the 47th most popular Latino baby name. Even if this law passes as is, it won’t make a huge change.”
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth
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