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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. Sam

    Plenty of parents name their kids Jesus. What's the difference between that and Messiah?

    August 12, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • FAT AND HUGE

      NOTHING AS BOTH ARE FICTION

      August 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • lroy

      But Jesus is pronounced Zeus.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Big Jim

      Egad! Parents have the right to give their children any name, whether 'appropriate' or not. There is no 'standard of correctness' in this matter. Consider that Frank Zappa named his children 'Moon Unit' and "Dweezil'. We all know people with odd names and since many never change that name when they become adults, there must be some acceptance of that given name. I know of a woman named 'Female', pronounced 'Fee Mah Lay'. How about 'Rdella', pronounced 'R Della'? Maybe 'Vasaline', huh? Or, get this one, 'Mentholatum'. All real names, given to real people, whose paths I have crossed over the years. 'Old Country' names from Europe and Asia can appear to us as something fit for a Martian...such as "Heronymus', or 'Tevye' or 'Shlomo', or 'Rasputian' or, or (fill in the blank with a name of someone you know who has an unusual name). A free society cannot long remain free with such ridiculous assertions by a sitting judge. Shame on you, Your Honorette, for being so petty. Hopefully, you are serving in an elected position, and the electorate removes you at the ballot box when your term is expired. Hang your head in shame. Come on ACLU, where are YOU on this one???!!!

      August 12, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
  2. seadawg2

    How about we name the kid Meshugga along with everyone with a whacky response besides! And who cares anyway!

    signed

    Meshugga

    August 12, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
  3. S.M.

    These are the type of decisions that give a bad name to religious people. The case was in relation to the last name, not the first, so that should have never have even come up. You don't have to like it, but if some idiot wants to name their kid Jehova, Yaweh, God, Satin, Lucifer or whatever other stupid name, they have a right to do so. If she starts with Messiah today, is she tomorrow going to decide people can't name their kids Jesus, Mary, Joseph or other biblical names? Will she tell Ethnic minorities they can't use their names, which may not match up with standard US names?

    August 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
  4. Tamara

    This is the craziest news that I have ever heard! I think the parents should named their son whatever they want. If the kid last name is Martin, why would the kid first name should be Martin? That don't make any sense. But then, the Judge's name is LuAnn, she can't tell nobody to renamed their child! The Judge has a country name. If the parents wants their child to have Messiah as a first name, they should be able! I thought the United States is the land of the free, well obviously NOT!

    August 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • lroy

      Some parents even name their kid Damien. Stupid is as stupid does. You are supposed to name children after saints so that the children can have a role model. Source: catholicism dot about dot com.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
      • midwest rail

        That'll work really well for all the non-Catholics.

        August 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
  5. Messiah

    I blow my nose at you, Judge.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
  6. Vicki Gentler

    It is always the mother's choice asto what to name her child. The word "messiah" is just as available as Mohammed or Krishna or Ram. The judge should be sued for discrimination, not racial but religious discrimination. Not everyone on Earth is a Christian.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
  7. Alberta

    Thanks to the Judge for giving the boy a chance in life; otherwise what a bully torment he would have had.

    What was the mother's intentions in naming her son? Does she hate her son?

    August 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      A name is just that...a name, nothing more to it. This woman, like every other parent on this planet has the right to name their kid whatever they wish. I'm sure she loves her child plenty and sadly her rights as a parent have been violated.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • G to the T

      Trust me Fatberta, it really doesn't matter what name a child has. Kids are inventive enough to make fun of any name they really want to. I had a fairly "normal" name and it sure didn't help me any...

      August 13, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  8. Pogojo

    Another leftest judge, that thinks they know better, remove this fool

    August 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • Joan

      Actually she's pretty conservative. Not quite as evil as the Rumsfeld-Cheney gang and the tea baggers but getting close.

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

      I'm sorry – could you repeat that? My Irony Detector just exploded...

      August 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  9. Cleo1205

    There are a few countries in Europe that have lists of banned names. They will not register the child's birth with a forbidden name. I suppose this is to save the poor child from horrible teasing and/or discrimination in the future. Some of the silly, stupid names that people stick their kids with is shameful. Pilot Inspektor! Not even humorous, IMO.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
  10. Pogojo

    Omg sue that judge, she has no right telling these parents what to name their child, fight this overeach

    August 12, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  11. The True Messiah, Yes I Am.

    This 'judge' needs to be fired, pure and simple. Trying to restrict freedom of speech in the name of her religion. And any claims to be protecting the child are immediately dismissed by 700+ other babies named Messiah this last year.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
  12. smith

    Kinda unrelated, but I'm pretty sure T.I. has a kid named Messiah and no one has ever said anything (albeit in Georgia not Tennessee). **After a quick google search, Messiah Ya'Majesty (lol) Harris is the name of T.I.'s kid.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
  13. TravelSheryl

    I think she should be able to name him Messiah.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
  14. Carrie in Tennessee

    Well, in case you haven't been to Tennessee lately, its full of religious zealots..............

    August 12, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

      Biker gangs are welcome fer communal meetings there.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  15. Grego

    The Judge spared the child a bad childhood. The Mother is not right in the head.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

      Spare the child a bad childhood, spoil the child's hood.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  16. michael

    If she was white or affluent she could name her baby whatever she wants.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • 808

      If "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
  17. flying spaghetti monster

    To those talking about how any kid named messiah is bound to be abused by his peers: do you really think that? I doubt most kids of the teasing-other-kids'-names age even know what the word 'messiah' means. And even if he were to get made fun of for it, so what? I think it's safe to say that nearly every kid can get made fun of for something by the jerks in their peer group, it just goes with the territory.

    Not that I don't think it's a stupid name. I do. But I think it's stupid because it's religious. Just like I think it's stupid when parents name their kids after bible characters in order to do a head-nod to their own religious beliefs.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • 808

      It might be kind of neat at Sunday School.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
  18. Leanna

    What Social Security baby name list has Messiah in the top 5??? Facts are kind of important in news reporting. Just sayin'

    August 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Kansas Slim

      You're just sayin' what?

      August 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
      • skarphace

        That she has no idea what a fact is?

        August 12, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
  19. Lama

    Lady–Here are some more name choices for your yet to be born sons.

    'Prophet'

    'His Holiness'

    August 12, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Brandon

      Add to that list Superman, Spideyman & Batman.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • skarphace

      Good point. There should be a list of restricted names created by the Federal government and this list should keep on growing until nobody can ever name their child a name that in any way offends anybody else on this planet, now or ever.

      [end sarcasm]

      August 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • 808

      Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

      If you have any more children I suggest Peter, Simon, Saul, Paul.

      If you have a female and for some reason you really want to name her I suggest the Mary.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • sam

      Didn't Jermaine Jackson name one of his kids 'Jermajesty'?

      August 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
      • skarphace

        sam: Didn't Jermaine Jackson name one of his kids 'Jermajesty'?

        OMG! I didn't believe you. That cracked me up. This is what I was saying earlier; it is only ok if a celebrity does it.

        August 12, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
        • sam

          LOL I wish I was kidding on that one. Priceless celebrity fuckery.

          August 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
      • smith

        just posted this in a separate comment, but T.I. named his kid Messiah Ya'Majesty Harris, covering both bases lol

        August 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • $.02

      Well isnt that the pot calling the kettle black there Lama[def. Tibetan bla-ma, the upper one, lama, from bla, superior.]

      August 12, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • Anderson

      You are so se xist, what if she had girls???????

      Prophetess and Her Holiness would be more appropriate.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
      • 808

        Mary.

        August 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
  20. 2centsworth

    If 'Messiah' is forbidden, what about 'Jesus'? 'Madonna'? will we go so far as to ban 'Christian'? or even 'Mohammed?' (just to throw that one in). Have to agree with SkarPhace – this is a slippery slope. Parents should be able to choose their baby's names, not the court. We will have to continue to hope that people will demonstrate some level of common sense about it. Fortunately, the kid can change his own name when he turns 18.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • skarphace

      Even before they hit 18, they can establish a nickname. I know of plenty of kids who don't like their names and ask people to call them by their nicknames. I was almost named "Forest". Trust me, I would have had a nickname.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:42 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.