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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. Lou

    You should be able to name your child what ever you want, I would appeal...

    August 12, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  2. Vic

    I am not a law expert but I wonder if it would be legal to first name someone "President".

    August 12, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • Akira

      Nope. There isn't a law against that. POTUS isn't the only group to use the title "president".

      August 12, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  3. flying spaghetti monster

    Should have named the kid first name Gothmog, middle name Lord of Balrogs. Much, much cooler than 'messiah." Also, anybody else notice that the terrible name thing appears to be passed down through generations? I mean, the moms name is Jaleesa, for Odin's sake.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  4. Lou

    You should be able to name your what ever you want, would appeal...

    August 12, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  5. CST

    The judge should be kicked off the bench for something like this. There is no law against naming your child "Messiah" in the United States, nor should there be.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
  6. MrObi

    The fact is:
    If anything, these parents should have their children taken away because they obviously hate that poor child. Legally, they should be able to name their son "Dirtbag" if they want.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
  7. skarphace

    Isn't "Prince" a ti tle? It is also used as a name. In addition, since when do we have to "earn" our name? How would that even be possible ahead of time?

    August 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • terrinor

      'Prince' is an established first name, albeit an uncommon one.

      'Messiah' is NOT an established name. Parents trying to be trendsetters is just going to get that child a mouthful of fist when he's in middle school.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
      • skarphace

        Since when are we required to give our children only "established" names? I never heard of that law. Care to cite your source?

        August 12, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  8. Dyslexic doG

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ2LehsA1dk&w=640&h=360]

    August 12, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • RealTruth

      Oh how I wish CNN had a "love" button!!

      August 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      He needs to get a bigger hammer. One lie, right after another, about Christianity anyway, while I would agree with him about Islamic terrorist.

      He says believers want to help Armageddon happen, cult of death, want to ruin good relations with other countries, love death, forced to love someone we fear, can’t wait to bring death on. This guy is seriously confused.

      Christianity is about life, love, peace, hope, and joy.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
      • G to the T

        Then why did they push to have Isreal reinstated as a nation? Because their prophecies say that has to happen before the end can happen. Not saying ALL christian think this way, but how many times of you heard one talking about how they can't wait for the rapture, etc.?

        August 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    once again the bronze age voodoo rears its ugly head to mess with people's lives in this 21st century world.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  10. lyvonne

    This judge has lost her mind! The law is specific in regards to matters such as this. You cannot mix church and state... period! She has no jurisdiction over the first name of the child. She can name her kid Doodoo and there is nothing this judge can do about it. Name the child Elohim or Yahweh, or Jehovah, or Adonai. That stupid judge will not know those names! Or how about El-Shaddai. And hey judge, the word Messiah is only a Hebrew translation of the word Khristos and I know lots of men who carry the name of Chris. So if we add a T to the name "Christ" then we are ruining your religion? Come on Judge, get a life and get your head out of your bible and into the regulations and come to terms with the world of today, not several hundred years ago! Holly Molly!

    August 12, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
  11. AE

    Why millennials need to name their children "Messiah"

    August 12, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • Observer

      Why have the English had Lords for many centuries?

      August 12, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Akira

      Why not?

      August 12, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • want2believev

      Why is it any of your business?

      August 12, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  12. Fawn

    You see, there's this little thing called.... Separation of Church and State! She should appeal the decision but I would hope the mother would just go on and name her baby something else for the baby's sake.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  13. Robert Brown

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

    Praise his Holy Name.

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

      M.O.R.O.N.

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

        FOOL

        August 12, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Frank

      Yeah, children should be 'named' not 'titled!'.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • RealTruth

      Irrelevant to the issue here. Naming a child "Messiah" certainly should not take away from anyone's religious beliefs. What difference does it make? If I were this woman, I'd sue the state.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • G to the T

      Incorrect – "Messiah" = "annointed one" – was applied to anyone that was seen as being close to god esp if they were in a position of leadership. Specifically refers to practice of pouring oils on (annointing) the persons as sign of their favor. There are DOZENS of messiah's referenced in the bible.

      August 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  14. atheist

    We must not allow this, people should be able to name their kids what they want. What if I want to name my kids Josef stalin and Benito mussolini or Adolf hitler?

    August 12, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      Hmmm.. you do make a valid point considering the similarities between the genocidal maniacs you list and the xtian god.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
  15. skarphace

    If she was a celebrity instead of a regular citizen, this would not be an issue. You want to name your child "Blanket" or "North" or "Pilot"? Fine. As long as you are a celebrity, it is ok.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  16. Big_D

    In that case she should just change his name to "imminent all being, master of all time light and space and savior of the universe".

    August 12, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
  17. ronjayaz

    That means, I guess, that U'll have to void all JESUS names for Portuguese and Hispanics? What do U expect from the South anyway.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Dippy

      You, not U.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
  18. Ken in MD

    Should she be allowed to name her son Messiah? Yes. Should she do it? Only if she wants the kid to either have an incredible ego or get beaten up every day (or both). He has to live with that name the rest of his life. Unless he changes it himself later.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • Bob

      That will be a good start for the kid.....I would never hire anyone named Messiah. Maybe they can just call him Messy or Mess for the fine mess his mom has put him in. Why would you do that to your child? I want the best for my kids, not the best chance of failing and getting a good beating just to say "I beat up the Messiah".

      August 12, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  19. Harper

    God is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, yet we have kings ruling nations, Yes we know God is the almighty and we reverence only him. I feel the mother was not thinking on those terms. And for the judge to say that the name (Jesus) that most mexicans use was not relevant in this case is a bunch of crock. If there is not a law against certain names then i think she should have not even started that case.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • Athy

      I don't "reverence" your imaginary god. He doesn't even exist.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
  20. Cranston Lamont

    I agree with the judges action, but not her motives. I think naming a kid "Messiah" is a form of child abuse.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Akira

      Nope. She overstepped her authority. She will be overruled.
      Parents still have the right to name their children whatever they please, even if it's a downright silly name.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:06 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.