April 30, 2009
Judge rejects Norse name change
A Nebraska judge rejected a prisoner's request for a religious name-change because the government needs to keep track of him.
Lancaster County District Judge Steven Burns wrote in his ruling that Jonathan Thomas, 23, said he wanted to change his name to Sinner Lawrence Bilskirnir, which he said has to do with the Norse religion,
because he is a heathen and Thor is his 'high god,' the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star reported Thursday.
Thomas is serving time in the Nebraska State Penitentiary for felony convictions of attempted burglary, possession of methamphetamine and theft by receiving stolen property. He is expected to be released Jan. 18, 2014.
Burns wrote in his ruling that the government needs to keep track of Thomas due to his criminal cases and three child support cases that have been filed against him.
Granting a name-change to the defendant in this circumstance would interfere with those governmental needs, the judge wrote.
Burns said Thomas did not meet the burden of proof with his reasons for the name switch.
Simply because a person is a Christian, a Jew or a Muslim, they do not change their name to Moses, Burns wrote.