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. wronglong

    If this judge cannot set her personal beliefs aside, she should step down. A religious zealot has no place in the courtroom.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  2. phindm

    what would Frank Zappa do?

    August 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  3. J Smith

    Common names from gods: Jesus, Thor, Freya, Hashem, Zeus, Allah.
    Common names from Angels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael
    Common names from prophets: Abraham, Moses, Ezra, Samuel, Muhammed, Jeremiah, Job
    Common names from apostles: Matthew, Luke, Paul, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Simon, Thomas, just to name a few

    So where does this lady get off telling people they can't name their kid "Messiah"?

    August 12, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • manyhatcat

      And where does she get off ordering them to name the baby "Martin"? The "Christian" social conservatives continue to prove their lack of respect for personal freedoms and their blatant manipulation of the rule of law.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  4. gohusk

    I missed the story about the bat**** crazy woman getting appointed magistrate in Tennessee a few years back.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  5. Joet04

    The real story is that the parents cannot decide on the last name. Wonder why CNN didn't add this to the story. Most likely they have never been married and the baby daddy wants to flex his muscles and have the child with his last name even though he will not be involved whether emotionally or financially. For her this bugger is simply a way for her to get a raise in her government assistance. I know most who sympathize with this story will adamantly disagree with my thoughts on this, but unfortunately you know I am most likely right. With respect to the judge? He or she is an idiot.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      "the baby daddy wants to flex his muscles and have the child with his last name even though he will not be involved whether emotionally or financially. For her this bugger is simply a way for her to get a raise in her government assistance."

      The real story is that you pull this all out of your bin of bigoted stereotypes based on the color of their skin.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • Catherine

      What is going to be the next that the African Americans are going to create just to be on the news?????

      August 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  6. flying spaghetti monster

    I actually thought seriously about naming my son Dragon. Still think it would've been a bad@ss name, but the wife wouldn't go for it.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Ken in MD

      Smart woman.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
      • flying spaghetti monster

        You're not going to hear me disagree. It was more of a, "man, I wish I could, but I know I really wouldn't" sort of thing. I mean, come on, you have to admit it would be fun to shout "DRAGON! GET IN HERE RIGHT NOW!!" when it's time to get the kids in the house.

        August 12, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • B33tle

      "Dragon" is a perfectly good SURNAME - Carmen Dragon was conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Symphony, and his son Darryl Dragonl was the "captain" half of The Captain and Tenille (from a few years ago...) Still, the only person with the first name of "Dragon" who comes to my mind is Draco Malfoy.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
      • Athy

        I knew a kid in high school with the nickname "Draggin' Ass". Does that count?

        August 12, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • G to the T

      How about "Draco"? Still means "dragon" but sounds cooler IMOHO... 🙂

      August 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  7. Ed

    Martin Martin?

    August 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • 808


      August 12, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Akira

      Martin DeShawn McCullough.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  8. lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

    Okay? Now say Bo: Bo
    Now Tony with a B: Bony
    Then Bonana fanna fo: bonana fanna fo
    Then you say the name again with an F very plain: Fony
    Then a fee fy and a mo: fee fy mo
    Then you say the name again with an M this time: Mony
    And there isn't any name that you can't rhyme

    Every body do Tony!
    Pretty good, let's do Billy!
    Very good, let's do Marsha!
    A little trick with Nick!
    The name game

    August 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  9. Luis Gomez

    The judge is an idiot for such a ruling. The mother is double idiot trying to name her baby with a word that probably will get the child only harrasment and trouble.

    Why not settle with some twisted lettering or phonetic game that gives the sounding of the intended word, Parents nowadays love that in order to give a "unique" name to babies. In the future they can dodge the harrasement bullet just saying "its not pronunced like that".

    Maree (Mary), joleigh (July), jaclyn (Joceline), karliegh (Carly), kaylynn (Kelly).... etc. Just some I grab in 10 seconds of google.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Ryan

      you must be thinking phonetically in spanish....

      kaylynn does not sound the sames as kelly.

      jaclyn is a completely different name than jocelyn.

      jaclyn is more comparable to jacqueline but not in any way jocelyn.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  10. G_Edwards

    What happened to the so-called Separation of Church and State? It should go both ways.


    August 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  11. George Downtown

    This judge/magistrate or whatever she is needs to be removed. She appears to be incapable of abiding by the separation of church and state. If she wants to preach the gospel then she needs to get the hell out of the judiciary system and get in a pulpit. The bench is not a pulpit. Even the stupid ignorant people of the state of Tennessee deserve better. RESIGN OR BE REMOVED!

    August 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  12. Tom

    I hate this stuff. A dumb name for sure, but it's what the low class do. How many kids are named Jesus (a million?) only we call them phonetically (Heyzues) so it doesn't offend the Christian Right. A law suit on freedom of expression will surely follow ( so I'm not really sure if the judge is being earnest or a progressive trying to push an agenda for the higher courts) Thoughts?

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

      Jesus is pronounced the way it is because it is a Spanish name and therefore uses the Spanish rules of pronunciation. It has nothing to do with offending anyone.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Akira

      I doubt she's progressive. It looks like her agenda is being recalled from the bench.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
  13. midwestmatt

    Jut another over reach on the part of the Right Wing of America.

    "We want small government!" unless I can tell you what to do, like naming your baby a name of your choice or having an abortion.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • George Downtown

      This woman needs to be removed NOW. She has so overstepped her bounds that I thought it was an April Fool's joke. She is a joke and needs to be recalled or fired now.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  14. Matt

    Must be a slow news day.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
  15. gliderbee

    What about all the Hispanic people named Jesus?

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

      Yes, what about them?

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

      And Isaiah, and Noah, and Moses, and Aaron, and Peter and Paul and Mark, and Luke, and Mathew, and John, et al...
      This judge is nuts. She abused her authority.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • 808

      I just call them Hey-Hey. They like it.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  16. ryan

    How is it the judge says that other people named Jesus has no relevancy to this case? This judge should be fired immediately as she shows a lack of sound reasoning, something a judge really should have. Messiah means savior, Jesus Christ isn't my savior and therefore should not impact the judge's decision making...

    August 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  17. Ron

    The judge is clearly wrong on this. I understand how many would find naming a child Messiah distasteful on religious grounds. But there is no law against it, and the judge is here to uphold laws, not render opinions of taste. If the singer Prince could legally change his name to whatever it was that he named himself, and if Snoop can do the same, then Messiah is just one more entry to a list of rediculous names for children. I feel bad for the child having to live with it. Knuckleheads from wall to wall.

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

      ridiculous, not rediculous.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  18. CatSh

    Maybe he's the Second Coming.
    Hey, you never know.... 😉

    August 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
  19. Seattle Guy

    This must be maddeningly difficult for Tennessee conservatives. On the one hand, +1 to the judge for making sure every citizen of the state knows who's boss up in the sky. On the other hand, the judge infringed on personal freedoms. What's next, they can't name all their children after characters from the bible like every good christian should?

    August 12, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
  20. Joyce Garbet

    Only those who don't know the Lord would think naming your child Messiah is acceptable. God has put up with a lot from His creation, but it seems to me He is beginning to say "enough" and we are experiencing His power and wrath through the numerous "tragedies" that have been taking place in North America, beginning with 911. Unless we repent and turn from our sins things are only going to get worse. Scripture makes that clear.

    August 12, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      ruh roh... god's getting cranky... he's gonna throw another temper tantrum and drown everyone one earth because we didn't feed his ego enough! noooooooo.

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

      Joyce Garbet,

      "Scripture makes that clear.". Yep. It makes it clear that slavery and discrimination against women, gays, slaves and the handicapped is fine.

      Read the Bible someday.

      August 12, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      How cute...one more proving that religious folk are less intelligent.
      You should read this Joyce: http://news.yahoo.com/religious-people-are-less-intelligent-than-atheists–study-finds–113350723.html

      August 12, 2013 at 6:24 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.