A few years back, a New Jersey family was in the news because a bakery didn't like their kid's name and wouldn't put it on his birthday cake. It sounds outrageous ... until you learn that the little boy's is Adolf Hitler Campbell. Then the store's refusal makes a whole lot of sense, as does a court decision today that denied the boy's parents custody of him and his two siblings -- JoyceLynn Aryan Nation and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie.
The question is whether Heath and Deborah Campbell have lost custody of their children just because of the names they bestowed upon them or because of something else. The children have been in foster care since the incident, and the courts say there is evidence of abuse or neglect (details can't be released due to a gag order). The Campbells, however, contend it's just because of the names, and that their freedom of expression has been thwarted. Heath told NBC 10:
Actually, the 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.
Honestly, even if it was just over the names, I'd almost say that's grounds enough for those children to be removed. I'm a passionate proponent of free speech, even when I don't like it, but bestowing a name that evokes such hatred and violence is just cruel and I think perhaps a form of abuse.
Yes, there's a lot of subjectivity when it comes to what is and isn't an acceptable name for a child, but there's really no gray when it comes to Adolf Hitler. Plus, you know that anyone who would name their child something like this is very likely mentally unstable and filled with hate.
Still, taking children away from their parents just for a distasteful name? I'm not sure I could fully support that, but I bet there are few cases in which a parent who chooses to name their child something like that wouldn't have other issues as well. So while it's disturbing to think the children were subjected to treatment worse than their names, at least they have been removed from it for now. And in a way those horrible names saved them, because no one may have been wiser to the abuse if they hadn't had them.
Do you think these parents should lose custody of their children because of their names?
Image via simononly/Flickr