Staten Island Judge Takes Separation of Church and State Too Far


Michael and Angela Nwadiuko have been barred from changing their last name to “ChristIsKing” by Staten Island civil court judge Philip Straniere, who based his ruling on the separation of church and state. Not a total surprise, since Straniere had previously denied the couple’s son the right to change his first name to “JesusIsLord” six years ago (although he later got it changed in Virginia). But what does separation of church and state have to do with someone’s name? Let Straniere explain:

Michael and Angela Nwadiuko were denied adopting the unorthodox name after Civil Court Judge Philip Straniere cited the separation of church and state — plus the fact that some people would be offended to hear the name.

What if a court clerk or a classroom teacher would be forced to call out “JesusIsLord ChristIsKing” or “Rejoice ChristIsKing?” Straniere asked in his ruling issued this month, referring to the couple’s children.

Not only is the speaker being forced to say something which might be repugnant to the speaker, but the general public would be subjected to this unwanted intrusion of the petitioners’ religious beliefs,” he concluded.

So basically, people who say the name out loud would be forced to reckon with the fact that some people like Jesus. Here’s another nonissue that Straniere brought up:

Straniere had also asked the couple what if their son played basketball in college and a newspaper headline read “ ‘JesusIsLord ChristIsKing’ misses shot to cost team championship?”

We guess that would be … kind of a funny headline? Who gives a shit? Let the weird people have their weird names.

Judge Rules Against ‘Christisking’ As Last Name