August 12th, 2013
01:30 PM ET

Judge: Baby can't be named 'Messiah'

A Tennessee judge has ordered the parents of a 7-month-old boy to rename their son "Martin" instead of "Messiah," CNN affiliate WBIR reports.

"The word Messiah is a title and it's a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ," Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew said.

Jaleesa Martin, the child's mother, told WBIR that she intends to appeal the decision.

Do you agree with the judge's decision or do you think the parents should be able to name their son Messiah? Let us know in the comments below.

Read the full story at WBIR
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church and state • Courts • Tennessee

soundoff (1,648 Responses)
  1. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    "A Tennessee judge has ordered the parents of a 7-month-old boy to rename their son "Martin" instead of "Messiah"

    "Jaleesa Martin, the child's mother, told WBIR that she intends to appeal the decision"

    So the judge ordered them to name the baby "Martin Martin"? That's just plain silly. Maybe they will name him Treyvon just out of spite for the Southern court system.

    August 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  2. Honey Badger Don't Care

    One of the CLEAREST violations of church/state seperation recently. This would be overturned in any appeal.

    August 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I think the original name was unwise, but if this mother has any initiative she should be able to make a lot of money with a legal case and hopefully make a point for religious freedom by getting the judge fired. I'd personally make any iffy name a middle name so the kid can pick and choose whether to use it.

      August 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        They could go with "Alpha Omega Messiah Martin" then he would have lot's of names to choose from...

        August 12, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Regrettably, for children on elementary and middle school playgrounds, wisdom in naming children is in short supply with some parents.

        In the old days it was Frank Zappa, but these days lots of celebrities pick dumb names. I'm thinking "North", "Moxi Crimefighter", "Apple", "Blue Ivy", "Kal-El" "Bronx Mowgli" and all the other randomly stupid names here.

        A quick google search of crazy celebrity baby names produces an astounding list.

        August 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • Thinker...

          Though I don't agree with alot of the silly names, you clearly don't remember elementary school very well; kids that age will manage to twist ANY name into something to poke fun at.

          August 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
        • robin

          don't forget Holly Madison from the Girl next door and her daughter Rainbow

          August 12, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  3. Stereotype Bigotry Galore

    Glad to see that a bad call by a judge from Tenn, is enough reason for everyone to start making fun of southern people. You do realize this includes the child's parents as well right?

    August 12, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      Meh, I don't really care about making fun of souther people en mass, but certainly I'll include these moron parents in my scorn. They fail at baby names.

      August 12, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Saraswati

      As individuals, no, but as a culture, there are some serious problems. As I posted before:

      Belief in evolution by state

      When I moved to the south 20 years ago I had lived in various other parts of the country and naively thought that racism was a thing of the past and that people mostly listened to science over supersti tion. Living in North Carolina was a scary and rude awakening. I heard more racial slurs in my first year there than I had heard in my whole life. I met people who had dozens of guns stolen from their "collections" and were clueless as to how this affected crime. I watched the government debate why husbands should not be found guilty of ra ping their wives. I saw a tutor fired for being a pagan. Scary, scary stuff that I didn't believe until I saw it. I know things have improved since I left, but it doesn't seem from the data that it is by much.

      August 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • rmcjls

      "Start" making fun of southern people??!? Buddy, we've been making fun of southern people for a long time now. When a majority of southern voters support creationism, religious laws, etc, we're going to make fun of the culture. Want us to stop? Join us in the 21st century.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  4. AverageJoe76

    Boy names: Unaxu: The Ultimate Earthling, Optimus, Maximus, Ronan the Accuser, Jaggy the Pretender, Megaman, Souleater, The Abyss, or Karl

    Girl names: R2-D2-1232, Hotpocket, Excrementia, Lazy-F, Lunesta, Coco Crispee, Jiggly-Puff, Urethra, Swag Kitten, or Cyber Biscuit.

    These are the names the judge can stop. 'Messiah'...... not so much.

    August 12, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • fintastic

      "Cyber Biscuit" is kinda cool...

      August 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Thinker...

      Wait, what's wrong with Karl? The others make me sad for the kids, but Karl?

      August 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  5. Larry Edwin Craig (R)

    hey, I enjoyed hanging out in public restrooms too!!

    August 12, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  6. My Dog is a jealous Dog

    On the topic of stupid/ironic names:

    Evian – spelled backwards = Naive
    Reince Preibus – remove the vowels = RNC PR BS

    August 12, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  7. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    This is a clear breach of the separation of Church and State and this Judge should be removed. The freedom to practice whatever religion you would like allows us to name our children whatever names we choose as long as they are not deemed so offensive as to cause the child harm like naming your son "N$#$%r FVcker Johnson" or something. Naming a child Messiah will just make his classmates nickname him "Messy" but nothing really offensive.

    August 12, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
  8. A Conversation

    To the judge: God does not need for you to be offended on his behalf in this matter. While I do believe the courts have some limited leeway in rejecting names (they do have to fit on a drivers license after-all), this is not one of those occasions. If a parent wants to name their child Messiah, so be it.

    August 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Weekly Reader

      You bring up a good point–perhaps this proposed name change was meant to confuse creditors.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  9. Thought Purification

    ya you can have names like Dirk Diggler, but not Messiah !!!! get real guys.

    August 12, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  10. Saraswati

    I disagree with the ruling, but the reality is that the child will have an easier time finding a job with the name Martin.

    August 12, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Boisepoet

      Not so sure; the kid could be an entrepreneur and start their own church!
      Lots of money in make-believe being made out there...

      August 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  11. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    That judge should be relieved of duty. If the hillbilly wants to call her stupid kid "messiah"... who cares? It is not within the government's purview to make decisions based on ANY religion... much less endorse one in particular.

    August 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I thought the "hillbilly" mother sounded more intelligent than the so-called judge, who apparently needed to advertise her cultish beliefs at every opportunity. And I think it's way too early to call the child stupid.

      August 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Saraswati

      It's particularly funny since the Judge's name is Lu Ann, which in most parts of the country would trigger the uneducated redneck alarm to any potential employer. Names do matter, but is it really a decision for the courts?

      August 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      Agreed – if you can name your kids Orangejello and Lemonjello (pronounced Or-onj -ello and Le-monj-ello) then you can name them any stupid thing you want.

      August 12, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Probably won't be relieved of her position but will simply be over ruled.

      August 12, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
      • George Downtown

        She needs to be relieved of her duties and relieved ON by a dog who is undoubtedly smarter than she is.

        August 12, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
  12. Uncouth Swain

    No doubt "you" do.

    August 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  13. AverageJoe76

    What does she think about the thousands of people named 'Jesus'? Does it make her cry in the dark that the name's been passed around more than a joint at a rock concert?

    She should take her crusade of name-changing to S. America. Her work will be cut out for her.

    August 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  14. HotAirAce

    No bigger reek than the pile of dung known as The Babble. . .

    August 12, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
  15. HotAirAce

    This ruling will be overturned, as it's a clear violation of the parent's rights. I'd be pushing for the judge's removal as she clearly is a mentally ill delusional believer forcing her cult!'s beliefs on others.

    August 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Zombie God


      August 12, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
  16. My Dog is a jealous Dog

    Talk about an activist judge – where is the law that says what you can and can't name a child. I do not believe there is any legal basis for this decision, and it should be overturned and the judge reprimanded.

    I'm wondering if TN is one of those states that does not require a law degree to be elected as a judge.

    August 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Zombie God

      "I'm wondering if TN is one of those states that does not require a law degree to be elected as a judge."
      My understanding is if you own a certain number of co on dogs or if you are married to your sister, you can get around the sch ooling requirement.

      August 12, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  17. Zombie God

    Are we really suprised? Probably not, after all look at where the birthplace of Nascar is. Seems the South is always steps behind the rest of the country.

    August 12, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Sooo, Nascar equals bad eh? Guess you must think Monaco is downright barbaric. They let their drivers go right through town for races.

      August 12, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
      • Zombie God

        I am speaking of simplicity. Going around like a merry go round is more like the down syndrome version of racing.

        August 12, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
      • Thinker...

        To be fair, NASCAR is fairly difficult and requires good long term strategy. That said, it is about as fun to watch as drying paint. I get the strategy and skill behind it, but it is just boring to watch.

        August 12, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
      • .

        I doubt Zombie God would get halfway through a NASCAR race without wrecking the car, It isn't as easy as it looks.

        August 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
      • Zombie God

        I doubt Zombie God would get halfway through a NASCAR race without wrecking the car, It isn't as easy as it looks.
        Never said it was easy...just comparing to real racing that involves turning the wheel to the left and right multiple times. It is sad when a Nascar team has to hire a racer just for tracks that have left and right turns. Note Beer Pong isnt easy but I wouldnt compare people who do that to real sports.

        Nascar is one step above crash derby at the fair. But in reality the crash derby drivers have more skills. They can drive in reverse and turn left and right...which blows and flusters the Nascar racer's minds.

        August 12, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
  18. flying spaghetti monster

    While I in no way approve of the judge's decision, i've gotta say she did kind of do them a favor. messiah is a really, really stupid name.

    August 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Lycidas

      It wouldn't have been easy on the kid in school.

      August 12, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Zombie God

      Granted it is a stupid name and of course coming from the South............... but there are a lot of stupid names that kids have to deal with having. It is up to the parents if they wish to put their kid through this, not a judge.

      August 12, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
      • Uncouth Swain

        Now I don't know all the legalities of this but there are some nations that won't allow children to carry names that are also ti tles. I think Australia was one, though they are part of the Commonwealth.

        August 12, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
  19. Lycidas

    No more than people from the north.

    August 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Lycidas

      For speaking the truth? My suggestion is that you need a dose of reality in your life.

      August 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "I suggest hara-kiri for you Lyce head."

      Sorry, too celtic for that.

      "Stop blowing homeless people at the bus stop and visit your local library."

      I think someone is projecting.

      August 12, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Zombie God

      Homeless people at the bus stop. Havent heard that one. lol

      August 12, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Belief in evolution by state

      August 12, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  20. Zombie God

    ""The word Mes siah is a t i tle and it's a t itle that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ," Judge Ballew said.
    Clearly this judge is not fit to be in her position and needs to resign.

    August 12, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Since it's so legally clear, please explain it to everyone else.

      August 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
      • Zombie God

        Read your request, noted but will not do. I will let people come to their own conclusions. Please play again.

        August 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • Lycidas

          That is your choice. I guess you will not be upset by the conclusions of others then.

          August 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • Zombie God

          Why should I be upset?????

          August 12, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • Lycidas

        You have such a evolved morality....you are no different than the right wing conservatives. If someone is saying things you don't like...death is a good enough response.

        August 12, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        As far as I know there is no law about the names a child can be given; apparently is is not the first child with that name; and the actual case before the judge was which last name the child would have.
        It is quite common in Latin America to name children Jesus so I wonder what the judge would make of that.

        August 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
        • OTOH

          Yes, and lots are named Immanuel or Emmanuel too.

          August 12, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
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