A while back I remember reading about some troubles for a family who had decided to name two of their children, Adolf Hitler and Aryan Nation. It turns out now that all three of Heath and Deborah Campbell’s children have been removed from their custody by a New Jersey court. According to Heath Campbell, “ [T]he judge and DYFS told us that there was no evidence of abuse and that it was the names. They were taken over the children’s names.”
I have not read anything as of yet that would cause me to believe the Campbells are not loving parents. But could we really say there is not a significant risk of future emotional and psychological harm that the children will encounter as they progress through life? It would be nice to believe that they will judged by their character and not because of their names. Moreover, should we expect a company or business of any reputation to be comfortable with Adolf Hitler or Aryan Nation representing them? I don’t think so. Much like people with face and neck tattoos, these kids (unless they change their names) have only so high they can go in the professional world with monikers reminiscent of the holocaust.
Campbell made the point, “This is America, they say it’s free, you have the right to name your child whatever you want to name your child, no matter what.” I can say I agree with the sentiment, but not necessarily the application of the point. In a free society, we must act with responsibility. I’m not sure I can remember a more irresponsible expression of freedom.