A pastor and his wife have been told that they cannot legally change their last name to ChristIsKing -- a request the family made four years after attempting to change their son's first name to JesusIsLord.
Just as he had years ago when Michael and Angela Nwadiuko pushed to amend their son Jeremy's name, Staten Island Civil Court Judge Philip Straniere told the pastor and his wife that the ChristIsKing change isn't permissible. While he declined the 2008 request, the family was able to secure the faith-based first name through the Virginia court system.
Earlier this month, the judge cited the separation of church and state as his reasoning for refusing the family's latest "ChristIsKing" request.
Michael and Angela Nwadiuko (Photo Credit: Facebook)
"To permit this name change would be placing unwitting members of the public, including public servants, in the position of having to proclaim [the Nwadiukos'] religious beliefs which may or may not be in agreement with that person's own equally strongly-held but different beliefs," the judge proclaimed in the decision, according to The Staten Island Advance.
"What would be people's reactions to hear the [Nwadiukos] being paged at an airport or some other public event?," the judge added.
Straniere's argument was clearly predicated upon the fact that it would be unfair to force non-believers to say a religiously-based named that they are inherently opposed to on theological grounds.
The family, of course, is no stranger to controversy. The Advance has more about a 2009 biting incident that showcases just how strongly they adhere to their beliefs:
In October 2009, Nwadiuko, also known as Michael Ihedioha, was accused of felony assault for allegedly biting a police officer aboard the ferryboat Andrew J. Barberi, according to Advance reports.
Prosecutors said Nwadiuko, a Nigerian native, was preaching around 12:45 a.m. on a Staten Island-bound boat with his arms outstretched, blocking an aisle. Nwadiuko refused a cop's order to move three times, then tussled with officers who tried to arrest him.
His wife also was arrested when she disregarded orders to leave a "secure location" on the boat where officers had taken her husband.
Michael, pastor of Christ the Lord Evangelistic Association in Springville, New York, was disappointed with Straniere's ruling, but he said that he prays that "God will bless" the judge's life, The Associated Press reports.