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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. Hey! You!

    Messiah is a name for a sissy! I'm gonna name my kid Spike, or Butch, or Sluggo, or Milquetoast!

    August 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Akira

      Male or female? Lol @Milquetoast.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
      • Hey! You!

        Yes!

        August 12, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
  2. flying spaghetti monster

    I'm going to name my child Chef Boyardee Spaghetti Monster.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Goaty McCheese

      How about Fat Virgin Atheist Who Lives In Mom's Basement?

      August 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
  3. YeahRight

    Clearly an unlawful endorsement of religion by the State, and clearly should be overturned on appeal.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Hey! You!

      ACLU will have a hay day with this Simpleton!

      August 12, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Goaty McCheese

      Wait a minute. *Not* endorsing naming a child after Christ is a state endorsement of religion?

      So endorsing naming the kid after Christ would *not* be a state endorsement of religion?

      What if the judge had been an atheist and argued that he would not endorse the naming of the child because to do so would be an endorsement of religion?

      Sounds like you are confused about the difference between state actions endorsing religion.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
      • G to the T

        She refused based on her religious belief that the word "messiah" was somehow taboo to be used as a name. If an atheist judge ruled a kid couldn't be named "jesus" for the same reasons I would say there were out of line as well.

        August 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  4. Eddie

    So the judge wants her to name the baby "Martin Martin"???

    August 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  5. steve

    Funny the judge basically admits that Tennessee is full of crazy christians capable of who knows what over a name. Sound familiar?

    August 12, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  6. rinsac

    Christians should stay out of other peoples lives. They should be able to name their child anything they like.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  7. Agnes Nostic

    This judge is way out of line.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
  8. Ken

    Judge Ballew is a Hockey Fan. She was honoring Mark Messiah and his many Stanley Cups.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Vick

      You are an absolute moron.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Hallelujah! Messier is a messiah you can believe in!

      August 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  9. doug

    wow this judge needs to get a life people can name their baby whatever they want who is she/he to decide. besides nothing to stop you from calling the baby by the name of your choice no matter what the f she says. im totally against government messing with our rights and now they r trying to tell u what u can and cant name your child NO WAY. get a life judge

    August 12, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  10. Jacob G.

    Albert Messiah was a French physicist who authored a very popular text book on Quantum Mechanics. I am sure he is not the only one with that name. What kind of education does this judge have?

    August 12, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  11. mythoughts

    What's the difference of people (mainly in the Hispanic communities) naming their child "Jesus?"

    August 12, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  12. Mustache Outlaw

    I found myself discussing child names just the other day.. 1st, most of you really need to read this article again. How you get the judge being a male with a name like, Lu Ann Ballew is beyond me. If this is a man, it is pretty clear as to why this person feels the need to intervene on this child's name. A man named Lu Ann, would most likely fight a, Jesus.. I myself am thinking of going a different way of naming my next born. I am going to name them, the exact opposite of what I want them to become. My next son will be, No Looks Good For Nothing POS. He should grow up to be a fine young man with piercing eyes, that contributes to society, and hopefully becomes rich enough to support me. My daughter, Broke Butt Stupid Ugly. She will grow up to be a well adjusted, educated Super Model. Just my take on this naming thing.. And do not worry America, I am way too old to be having children. I am no Famous Actor. Please see the sarcasm for what is it is.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Akira

      Sigh. The judge is a woman. Otherwise, the sarcasm is noted.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
      • Mustache Outlaw

        Sorry Akira, my post was pretty weak.. And you will still never get back the 5 minutes of your day I just wasted..

        August 12, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • mythoughts

      I think you should read it a little closer....Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew said

      August 12, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Akira

      Yes. Sorry. My eyes skipped a vital part, apparently....you did say "How you get the judge being a male with a name like, Lu Ann Ballew is beyond me."

      August 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  13. SA Steve

    personally, I believe this judge just gave herself a fast track to retirement. I am certain she has lost all ability to separate legal issues from other issues. hope she remembers this as her dementia allows her to forget all other things she may have achieved.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Mustache Outlaw

      Unfortunately, this publicized decision really makes you question everything she has ever ruled on. It is clear she is unable to separate her personal beliefs, with the Law. Which as I said, puts every one of her rulings in question..

      August 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
      • SA Steve

        i I definitely won't argue against your comment.

        August 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
  14. ljjm

    I'm the first to say that some names are "over the top." Still, I don't think a judge can decide what a person can and cannot name a baby. Who is this judge, anyway?

    August 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • mythoughts

      Exactly! People have named their child a number, a fruit, a direction...etc...People have nothing better to do than pick on something or someone!

      August 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  15. Kona

    Well, it's Tennessee. It's a ridiculous ruling and the mother will win on appeal. The judge is just pandering to voters and knows her ruling will be overturned by an appeals court, thus shielding her from her base.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Goaty McCheese

      But Child Support Magistrates are not elected. How then could she be pandering to voters when there are no voters to whom to pander?

      August 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  16. Teamski

    I agree the name is stupid, but this is clearly a violation of the division of church and state. Since when is it the judge's discretion to determine who is a true messiah? Personal beliefs have no place in a court of law.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  17. David

    Seems to me that if celebrities can name give their children a noun as a name (Apple, Pilot, etc) then normal people should be able to as well. While I think that naming your child Messiah is foolish since it is going to make their lives very difficult I believe that as Americans we should all have the same rights.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • oldleftcoastdude

      Not according to the Tennessee judge, apparently. seems like officials in that state haven't progressed much since the Scopes "
      Monkey trial" back in the 1920's.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
      • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

        Monkeys don't evolve at the rate science has lead you to believe. Would you like to negotiate that rate, sir??

        August 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          You twit! He was comparing various things within that State, not trying to get in to a debate.
          Although you do prove this article right....(http://news.yahoo.com/religious-people-are-less-intelligent-than-atheists–study-finds–113350723.html)
          "Religious people are less intelligent than non-believers, according to a new review of 63 scientific studies stretching back over decades."
          "As early as 1958, Michael Argyle concluded, “Although intelligent children grasp religious concepts earlier, they are also the first to doubt the truth of religion, and intelligent students are much less likely to accept orthodox beliefs, and rather less likely to have pro-religious attitudes.”

          August 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
        • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

          Scopes is for monkeys with bad breath.

          August 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
  18. Ban t.itles as names
    August 12, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  19. Aaron

    So the judge wants the kid to be name Martin Martin... genius!!!

    August 12, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      No, "Martin DeShawn McCullough"

      August 12, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Call me Bwana

      Sure beats Messiah Haysus.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  20. symone says

    really? good thing madonna's parents didn't ask permission, eh?

    August 12, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.