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Catholicism views infant baptism as the norm; a child born to a Catholic parent or parents is ordinarily to be baptized soon after birth:

Parents are obliged to take care that infants are baptized in the first few weeks [sc. after birth].

(Code of Canon Law, Canon 867, section 1)

This baptism is also colloquially and historically known as christening and had much to do with the naming of the child. Even now, the Liturgy of Baptism begins with the question, "What name do you give [or What name have you given] your child?"

The current canon law specifies that

parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to take care that a name foreign to Christian sensibility is not given

(Canon 855)

so that, for example, a pastor will not baptize a child named "Satan", or a swear word, or something like that.

Is there a Protestant denomination which accepts infant baptism and has any such custom of requiring a "Christian" name (or at least, not a "decidedly un-Christian name") before baptizing a child? (A "No", with any sort of reasonable idea why, or a "Yes", with any single example, will suffice.)

  • A person should visit the psych ward if they knowingly name their child "Satan". Just a quick q, have you heard anywhere that someone named their child "Satan"? If you have, put it in your body, it would be interesting. – Zoe Sep 2 '14 at 15:18
  • It's actually against the law in some countries (Canada, I believe, for example) to name a child "Satan". – Matt Gutting Sep 2 '14 at 15:33
  • You might get a kick outta this: babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com/suitability_of_lucifer.html – Zoe Sep 2 '14 at 16:44
  • @MattGutting Does it have to be in English? Can you name someone based on a transliteration of an inappropriate foreign name? – Double U Sep 4 '14 at 3:17
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The enquiry is about the policy of Protestant denominations on the choice of baptismal names.

I am an ordained minister (Presbyter) of the British Methodist Church with thirty years' experience.

In the Methodist Church, this matter would be up to the judgment of the officiating minister's conscience, though parents could appeal to superior authorities in the church, or just look around for another Protestant minister.

In practice, I have never had reason to forbid any name, though many times I have wondered about the parents' wisdom of choice.

Exceptions to this might be when adults brought up in another religion and being called, say, Muhammad or Krishna, would be advised to choose an additional Christian name for themselves at adult baptism.

  • Welcome to the site. We are glad you decided to participate. This is a good answer, but it would be better if you could give us a source to corroborate with your statements. If you have one, please edit it in. I hope to see you post again soon. Here's a +1 in advance. – 3961 Oct 7 '14 at 0:44

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