Fred is a biblical name

Fred is a biblical name May 15, 2023

• Paul Campos notes the steadily declining popularity of the name “Paul” as he looks at the latest Top 20 Baby Names list from the Social Security Administration.

Here’s the SSA’s Top 100 names for 2022. The No. 1 girls’ name is “Olivia,” which is a lovely name, but always makes me think of Twelfth Night and, thus, makes me wonder why more of these girls being named Olivia aren’t being named Viola instead. (Or Rosalind, for that matter.)

Variations of the name “Fred” don’t make the Top 100 anymore (“Frederick” is No. 474, while “Alfredo” and “Alfred” rank at No. 704 and 848).

The name “Donald” is No. 676 on the list — down from No. 595 last year, and from No. 486 in 2017. On the other hand, the name “Tucker” — meaning, “one who tucks” — was the 197th most popular boys’ name in 2022.

I haven’t scoured the new list for biblical names, but I stand by my earlier posts on that subject. See: “Biblical names” and “All the hot new trends in biblical baby names.”

Please note that here at Slacktivist we have — for more than a decade — recognized the Epistle from Birmingham as part of the scriptural canon. This biblical text adds to the list of available biblical names. Here, as with the older Hebrew and Greek scriptures, one should be cautious about the connotations of these names from the Bible as they may be positive (Fred, Socrates, Reinhold, Augustine, Martin, Ralph, Lillian, Harry, Ann) or negative (Eugene, George, Adolf), or kind of mixed (Albert, Earl).

Here’s another suggestion for biblical names: “Rizpah,” who, as perfectnumber says, was “a better Bible hero than King David.”

• “The Mysterious Dodecahedrons of the Roman Empire

We’ve found hundreds of these things and we still have no real idea what the heck they were for.

Related but not directly: “Israelite Divination and the Mysterious Teraphim.”

Paul Davidson looks at the many biblical stories involving these “teraphim” — none of which helps us have any clear idea of what exactly they were or how they were used or why. That, in turn, makes it very difficult for us to understand those stories and whatever it is they might mean.

If you want to see white fundamentalist Christians scurry into furious action, say something like, “Just because that’s in the Bible doesn’t mean it’s important.”

And if you want to see those same white fundamentalist Christians say something like that themselves, just ask them what they think “teraphim” are.

• “Remember the name Bryan Slaton, and remember why we remember the name. Shitty people in politics is a universal problem, just like shitty people in any other part of life is, but the Bryan Slaton type of shitty people is a Republican problem.”

• That piece from Charles Kuffner also links to this very much related story about Jared Woodfill and Paul Pressler. Pressler was an architect of the “conservative resurgence” (i.e., right-wing fundamentalist takeover) in the Southern Baptist Convention. He was also a sexual predator and very much a Bryan Slaton type of person.

I admit that reading about Pressler’s protegé Jared Woodfill of Texas caused me some confusion when later reading about Texan and Pressler-heir Jared Wellman. Different guy and one who comes from a slightly different faction of Southern Baptist conservatives. Captain Cassidy provides the best short description I’ve seen of those two factions:

More and more, Southern Baptists align themselves into two opposing factions. They haven’t ever formally named either faction, so I’ve helped them out by doing so:

The Old Guard: Staunch traditionalists and deeply-politicized ultraconservative culture warriors who think the SBC’s last schism, the Conservative Resurgence, didn’t go nearly far enough. They use calls to focus more on evangelism (recruitment) as a dogwhistle indicating that they don’t want to do anything at all about the denomination’s current twin crises of racism and sex abuse. An extremist sub-faction has nearly taken over the whole thing.

Pretend Progressives: They understand that the denomination’s voting members want to see progress made regarding those two crises. They’re still traditionalist warriors who differ barely a degree from their enemies’ viewpoints. In no universe could anyone reasonable even call them moderates. But they at least make noises about wanting to resolve those crises. After several years, they’ve finally begun making some, well, progress with sex abuse. Every step they take, however, is taken over the kicking and screaming of the Old Guard.

So Jared Wellman comes from the faction of Texas Southern Baptist conservatives who wants to maybe do something about sex abuse by SBC leaders and Jared Woodfill comes from the faction of Texas Southern Baptist conservatives who don’t. (I have a mnemonic device for remembering which is which now, but it’s not suitable for a family blog.)

• Doug Muder on “Why the Carroll verdict might matter” even for those who have, previously, been unwavering in their worshipful loyalty to the Former Guy through every previous demonstration that he is, in fact, a “Bryan Slaton type of person.”

What Muder is getting at is “How conservatives change their minds” — which tends not to involve a born-again like moment of repentance and metanoia, but a sudden dropping of the subject followed, later, by some replacement enthusiasm and a firm commitment to pretend the former state of mind never existed.

To be fair, this isn’t exclusively true of conservatives. It’s a very common, very human response to realizing that one has been embarrassingly and indefensibly wrong. People in some structured 12-step program may inventory their past wrongs and seek to make amends, but most of the time, for most people, it’s easier to just drop the whole thing, pretend it never happened, and move on in the hopes that it never gets mentioned again.

Thus, Muder says, “If you’re wondering about whether your MAGA cousin is reevaluating Trump, don’t ask him. Just listen for the silence.”

And if you hear that silence, don’t interrupt. At least not until after 2024.

• “Florida bill would require patients to share their immigration status.” The bill has been signed into law by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and goes into effect on July 1, after which emergency rooms will be required to ask patients about their citizenship or immigration status and to report that information to the state.

David Anderson at Balloon Juice is correct about the moral obligation here, particularly for those of us who can affirm our citizenship unchallenged:

My dad is the family’s genealogist. It has been his retirement hobby. Through one line of the family, there are several Mayflower direct ancestors. The rest of the family got run out of Europe in 1848 or later as we were either heretics or radicals. When facing the new Florida law, people like me and my family need to say “I decline to answer.”

… Adding truthful non-answers from people who have nothing to fear from answering honestly to the database gives a slight bit of protection to people who need it.




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