Denying Christ

John Denver may have considered West Virginia "almost heaven," but Jesus Christ actually owns land there.  D.C. resident Peter Robert Phillips claims he has gone by the name Jesus Christ for 15 years.  It's the name that appears on his D.C. driver's license, his Social Security card, and his passport.  But now, Christ's continued use of the name rests with a higher power—the D.C. courts.  According to Christ's attorney, A.P. Pishevar, his client's use of the name is an expression of his personal religious beliefs similar to the use of Jesus in Hispanic cultures or Muhammad in Muslim cultures.  But in court, Christ's reasons for seeking an official name change were a bit more secular.  Christ, who currently resides in Northeast, told the judge he needed court documentation to obtain a driver's license in West Virginia, where he owns proeprty.  D.C. Superior Court Senior Judge Tim Murphy denied Christ's request on the grounds that "taking the name Jesus Christ may provoke a violent reaction or may significantly offend people."  Now, the D.C. Court of Appeals has given Christ a chance at redemption.  The court vacated Murphy's order and remanded it back to the lower court, finding that Christ was entitled to a hearing on the matter.  In an unusual twist, John Brennan III, and attorney at Jackson & Campbell, filed a brief with the appeal court in support of Murphy's decision, arguing that Murphy was within his judicial discretion to deny Christ's name change.

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