A couple has claimed they were told their four-month-old son “would not succeed in life” after they tried to officially register his name as Lucifer.
Dan and Mandy Sheldon, from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, said they lodged an official complaint against Derbyshire County Council over a registrar who tried to discourage them from choosing the name, which is often used as a moniker for the Devil.
Mr Sheldon claimed the couple thought it was a “unique name” and said they did not expect to get “so much grief about it”.
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
“We were really excited to go and get him registered but the woman looked at us in utter disgust,” he told The Sun.
“She told us he would never be able to get a job, and that teachers wouldn’t want to teach him.
“I tried to explain that we are not religious people, and Lucifer in Greek means ‘light-bringer’ and ‘morning’ but she wouldn’t listen.”
He added: “She even told us that it was illegal to name a child that in New Zealand and that maybe we could name him something else but refer to him as Lucifer at home.”
The UK does not have laws banning specific names but those which contain obscenities or numerals can be rejected by a registrar.
New Zealand, which has tougher restrictions on naming children, had Lucifer on a list of banned names published in 2013, along with “Christ” and royal titles such as “King”, “Prince” and “Princess”.
A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said the registrar had done the right thing by raising her concerns about the couple’s choice of name before allowing it.
“Our registrar felt it was her duty to ensure the couple were aware the name Lucifer had negative connotations and that their son may encounter issues with the name through his life due to its associations,” the spokesperson said.
No hype, just the advice and analysis you need
As the couple were unhappy with the advice, the spokesperson said the registrar contacted the General Register Office for further guidance.
An official at the General Register Office agreed she had acted correctly in advising the parents “with the best interests of the child in mind”.
“Despite the advice, the couple said they still wished to proceed and name their son Lucifer, and the registrar continued with the registration,” the spokesperson added.
“We apologise if they were offended but it is the job of our registrars to advise in these matters as sometimes people are not aware of certain meanings or associations around certain names.”