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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. Robin

    I might agree if she ordered them to change it because it was an outrageously stupid name that would curse the child forever (Moxie Crimefighters comes to mind), but doing it on religious grounds guarantees it's going to be overturned. Plus all those Hispanic mothers naming their sons Jesus would have a big problem!

    August 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  2. Observer

    The judge isn't bright enough to separate personal religious feelings from law and as such has no business being a judge.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  3. Profettt Khadir

    ITS SAD WE HAVE TO DISCUSS THIS. THIS IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF CONTROL. ...TO THE JUDGE AND ALL THOSE THAT AGREE WITH HER/HIM.....IF THAT THEORY CAN BE USED TO CONTROL WHAT WE CAN NAME OUR CHILDREN...THEN THE THEORY THAT GOD IS THE ONLY TRUE JUDGE SHOULD STAND HERE AS WELL....SINCE YOU ARE SO RELIGIOUS.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Athy

      Turn off your damn caps lock, please.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  4. Brother Maynard

    So now the kid is twenty something, having s.ex with his gfriend / wife. The partner yells out.
    "Oh God OH GOD "
    Does he respond "Yes my child ? "

    August 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • CatSh

      Yes, Yes, YES!!!!

      August 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  5. 808

    Never trust a man who doesn't have a biblical name, sorry "Chase" and "Mason".

    August 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      I agree! In fact, i take it farther. I don't trust pets that don't have biblical names either. That's why I named my parrot Onan. Because he spills his seed upon the ground.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
      • 808

        My son's best friend Hercules is banned from entering my home.

        August 12, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
        • flying spaghetti monster

          My favorite ex-girlfriend was named Salome... whooo talk about a wildcat! Thanks bible!

          August 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • Athy

          Can't he just tear down the door and walk in?

          August 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • flying spaghetti monster

          Of course, she was crazy too... had to break up with her when she wouldn't stop pestering me to bring her the head of this guy in my dorm named john.

          August 12, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
        • 808

          He was named after that Eddie Murphy movie, Dr Dolittle or something.

          August 12, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  6. Seattle Guy

    Wait... a judge said those words? "Earned by one person, and that was Jesus Christ".

    Glad to see Tennessee is still leading the way when it comes to ignoring church and state separation.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Athy

      And leading the way in stupidity.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • James Lee

      Exactly. It's sad to know someone this narrow-minded and outright stupid got to be a judge. A judge.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  7. Demigod Vadik, CA

    So which part of 1st Amendment exactly do the right wing Christians have a problem with???

    ...the one where no religion is established or the right to name your kid what you wish???

    August 12, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • just me

      you throw the term "right wing christian" out as if an insult..well I am right wing christian. in this particular regard this "right wing christian" (and I am certain many others of us agree) this was not right. but do not use the term "right wing christian" to tought your own ignorant mythology.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  8. Always

    At it's core this is a freedom of expression issue. While the 1st amendment is a powerful tool for dissemination of, perhaps unpopular, ideas, in this case it is most by it allowing loonys the opportunity to self identify.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Dippy

      Its, not it's.
      Loonies, not loonys.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  9. rohug

    The judge will lose on appeal this is a waste of taxpayer dollars as well as asnine parents who would name their child mesiah. The judge is as ignorant as they are.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Weekly Reader

      Presumably, woman would appeal on her own dime.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Why should the "woman" (I assume you mean the mother) have to pay to rectify a public servant's "error" (to be kind to the mentally ill delusional believer idiot "judge").?

      August 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  10. Demigod Vadik, CA

    Messiah is not a such a bad name compared to World Meta Peace...

    ...or Chad Ochosinco...

    August 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Dippy

      It's Meta World Peace.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Dippy's helper

      And it's Chad Ochocinco, not Chad Ochosinco.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
      • Dip for Dippy

        Its sure is a guud thing dat dippy is here to make spellin's for me or I woudn't never know what somebody is meanin' by what they say on here. We need more dippy's to monitor this here intraweb's because its soo important

        August 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  11. ir

    can you imagine what other decisions this judge has made? and get paid?

    August 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  12. Stephen

    There's no way this judge's ruling will stand. He's just making a fool of himself . . .

    August 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Pete/Ark

      ..."she" ...the fool is female ...

      August 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
      • Demigod Vadik, CA

        Women always know whats best for others...

        August 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Stephen

      Sorry - SHE's making a fool of HERself!

      August 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  13. Vic

    I can't help it feeling that it might have been a "divine intervention" since the parents went to child support court in dispute over the last name and ended up with a court order against the first name!

    August 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • midwest rail

      When the ruling is overturned, will you think the same thing ?

      August 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
      • Vic

        I believe I would midwest rail, the precedent is already set.

        August 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
        • midwest rail

          What precedent ? Rulings that are overturned set no precedent.

          August 12, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
      • Vic

        I believe the precedent of "divine intervention" over inappropriately naming a human like the Deity would remain in people's minds even though if the ruling is overturned.

        I am having a deja vu for some reason!

        August 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
        • midwest rail

          You may want to google the name Messiah and how popular it is.

          August 12, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
        • Akira

          It doesn't matter if you think it's inappropriate or not. It's a clear violation of church and state, and the Constitution will prevail. This judge should have be required to revisit Constitutional Law as a requirement to keep her bench.

          August 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Ed

      You seem to set the bar pretty low for what you would accept as "divine intervention". That's about the only way anyone could accept Christianity; an inadequate evidence quality threshold. essentially

      August 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
      • Vic

        Ed,

        As a believer, I don't worry about impressing people with what I believe is the Truth, God takes care of everything, I just witness to Him.

        August 12, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
      • flying spaghetti monster

        my favorite examples of his divine intervention are when he sticks his face on toast, or a potato chip, or some other edible. Witness his glory! He has reached out with his divine power to impress his blessed image into this piece of toasted bread! hallalujah!

        August 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
        • Athy

          When I was a kid living on a farm I once found a cow plop with the spitting image of Jesus on it. I wanted to keep it, but my mom said no way. I haven't been religious ever since.

          August 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Given the number and significance of things that could and ought to be done to improve the human condition, it more than seems gods have their priorities severely messed up. Or there are no gods, not even just one, and it's the religious cult members who are messed up. I going with the latter.

        August 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      This is a violation of separation of church and state. The judge has no authority to impose her own belief on these people. She should lose her job!

      August 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
      • Joyce Garbet

        The idea of "separation of church and state" was intended to keep the state out of the churches, not the other way around. Our countries were founded on Christian principles by mostly Christian men who did all they could to ascertain that they would remain that way. Even the majority of schools and universities were started by Christians but the only time we ask where God is now, is when a tragedy happens. Well, He was kicked out so what do we expect.

        August 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
        • Observer

          The mostly Christian men who founded our country we smart enough to NEVER mention God or Christians anywhere in our Const-itution including the preamble that described the reasons for it.

          August 12, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • Jeff Webb

          well that's fine ...since you think religion trumps all....which it dosent ...lets put them back on equal footing...pastors can continue to preach political dogma and we can tax the churches

          August 12, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Joyce: You never made it out of grade 3...right?? I'm not even American and I know that you are wrong!!

          August 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
  14. a j

    This is what happens when a 'judge' does not respect the separation of church and state. This 'judge' is the type of person who would probably approve displaying the 10 commandments at a courthouse, yet would refuse to allow a menorah or other symbol of other religions which are not part of her form of christianity. This 'judge' should be impeached.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
  15. grist

    Parents do crazy things to their kids. While there should be no law against it, parents should choose names carefully. There was a family with two girls in it in our neighborhood who were name Diane and Rhea. They were made fun of.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      So who will be the name police?

      August 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  16. arc

    Serious question... but how does a child's name even come to a courts' attention for debate? Did the hospital report it? Or did the city agency filing the birth paperwork report this?

    August 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Dippy

      court's, not courts'.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  17. mrskool

    Whats the big deal ? i think Messiah is a very nice sounding name and i dont see how a judge can deny a parent the right to name their child that if they want given all the other crazy namesout there. Maybe if they just spelled it differently like Mezzyah ? I am not a christian or any religion for that matter so it doesnt seem fair to not allow that as a name – lots of people name their kids Jesus 🙂

    August 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  18. GreggEsq2000

    LOL, I don't know what a "child support magistrate" is, but I doubt she's even really a judge, probably more like a hearing officer, and even if she were Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court she would not have the authority to tell a parent to rename their child.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  19. oscarguijo

    Name her child "Messiah"? She might as well name him "God".

    August 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  20. Phillip

    Stupid name, yes... and Martin a better name, but you can't honestly tell me that the US is going to allow the court systems to say what we can't name or name our children. I had a friend Jesus and that seemed to be okay with everyone.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:22 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.