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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. Mr. Butters

    That is absurd. Jesus is a common Latino name. better get them to change their name also. And Christian. That's a religion not a name. Have to change that as well. Mohammed is considered a messiah by some. Have to change that as well.

    Hope that judge loses her job. She obviously can't be impartial.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • blind obedience.

      The article does not specify what law she was using to justify her ruling. I have never hear of a law restricting what people can name their children.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • meh

      It's a terrible name for a person. I don't understand why people think it's ok to name their children Jesus, let alone Messiah. People shouldn't be aloud to give their kids terrible names, that will just screw them when they're adults.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
      • blind obedience.

        When they are adults they can pick their own name after they get our of therapy and stop blaming parents for the continuity of their problems.

        August 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
      • Dippy

        Allowed, not aloud.

        August 12, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
  2. sam

    So you don't feel like using Donkey Balls as your name any longer, troll? Are you sure? It fit you quite well.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • sam

      Yes, you're an adorable and hilarious little troll on a name-stealing binge. You're so cute and funny. And clever. Are you done, now?

      August 12, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
  3. Eric J. Beck

    Death to religion.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • norman

      what an imbecile the judge is-and you gotta love black people naming their kids wacky things!!

      August 12, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
      • Tim

        What you said wasn't too intelligent as well. There were plenty of white hippy's that gave their kids some pretty dumb names. And it's not even just limited to the hippy's. Gwenneth Paltrow named her kid Apple!

        August 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
        • Ex-Catholic Glo

          Apple is an extremely stupid name, but at least it's a real word. So many of the blacks just throw letters together, hoping they sound African.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
        • 808

          Doritos.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
        • skarphace

          So many racists make generalizations about "the blacks" and seem surprised when others actually make that connection.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • Dippy

          Hippies, not hippy's.

          August 12, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        White people do the same.

        August 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
      • skarphace

        If you think it is only blacks that give their children outlandish names, then you really aren't paying attention.

        Google "20 most bizarre celebrity names". Most of those on the list are White.

        August 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
        • sam

          Pilot Inspektor.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
  4. Rick

    Not only should this woman appeal this idiotic decision, this so-called "judge" should be fired for not knowing the law. I have searched carefully and I cannot find ANY law in the Tennessee Code Annotated that forbids any particular name for a child. I am still looking but I don't think such a law exists, and a judge more than anyone else has a duty to not overstep his or her authority and allow personal opinion to dictate how they rule. It's beginning to look more and more like that is exactly
    what this individual did and she should be reversed immediately and canned.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
  5. Tim

    This judge/magistrate needs to be removed immediately. In no way should she be making her judgments based on religion. Big mistake on her part and it must be overturned on appeal.

    I can't believe there are any Americans That would agree with her......just terrible!

    August 12, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • skarphace

      I can't believe that you can't believe there are any Americans that would agree with her. I have an Aunt (former Tea Party - they weren't extreme enough for her), that would vehemently agree with her.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
      • Tim

        So you think it's a judges job to tell parents what to name their kids? That is insanity. No government official can force a parent to name their child. It is a parents decision.

        August 12, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • skarphace

          Huh? Did you even read my comment? Where did I say I agree with her? Read my other comments if you want my opinion on the subject. Please don't assume .. you know what it makes out of both of us.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
        • Free

          I'm with Tim. Shar, you and the tea party should be dumped in the Boston Harbor.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • skarphace

          Free. Once again, read my comment. Or read my other comments. You are making yourself look like a fool.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
        • sam

          Jesus on a popsicle stick, we're overrun with folks who can't read today.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
        • Free

          Who are you calling a fool? Grow up.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  6. Raven

    In todays world of Islamic idiocy, letting a child be named Messiah is painting a target on it.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Meriem

      I guarantee you that, we Muslims, do not care that this child is named "Messiah!" Now carry on!

      August 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
      • flying spaghetti monster

        Lol, yeah Meriem, that comment cracked me up. Oh noes, the muslims will come because they named the baby messiah!

        August 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • sam

      Eh, plenty of muslims name their kid Mohammad.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  7. skarphace

    808: "Judges, responsible parents, and priests should be in charge of maintaining names that are appropriate, based on common sense."

    So a group of judges, "responsible" parents, and priests should be in charge of this list? Well, I have two problems with that. First, combining a group with both judges and priests would be a very clear violation of the tenant of the separation of Church and State. Second, who decides which parents are "responsible"? Is a parent responsible if they never break the law? Is a parent responsible if their children grow up to be successful? Is a parent responsible if their children attend Church on a regular basis?

    Who decides exactly who in this group? Who oversees this group? What kinds of authority do they have? Is it a crime to go against their wishes? Do we send parents to jail if they give their kids a name that appears on this list? Should they also make a list of acceptable books that children should read? Television shows? Music? Art? Sports? Hobbies? Religions?

    Come on, you make this way too easy.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • 808

      A group of judges, parents and priests (or rabbis or ministers or gurus to comply with separaton of the Church in State) voted by the people for the people. It is run by the government, like how we don't let drug addicts and deadbeats have custody of their children. Not that hard.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
      • skarphace

        So you are in favor of a law that removes newborn children from their mothers and places them in foster care all because of the chosen name of their child?

        Wow. Just wow. I see that I am going to get nowhere with you.

        August 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
        • 808

          We won't take children away from their parents for a name, don't be rediculous. We already have policies regarding taking children out of dangerous situations. Certain names would raise a red flag, and the group of people choose a more appropriate name. The parents would be monitored for a specific time, but they would not lose their parenting privileges.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          808: Is that same group of people going to raise that child and pay said child's way through life? Probably not, so the people who are raising the child should be the only ones entitled to a say in the matter!

          August 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
      • norman

        or, as the current law states,. it is no ones business what kids are named

        August 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
      • Roemini

        Bullshit. You anbd your posse of religitards don't get to decide what people name their children. Thought people like you wanted less government...unless it's YOUR agenda, hmmmmmm?
        If you know an at-risk child, contact authorities. Talk about a nanny-state.

        August 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
        • 808

          Contact authorities? Who are the authorities?

          August 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
      • Herbie

        Stupidest idea ever. If you want to live with a govt like that why don't you move to a country with Sharia law

        By the way, what twinkle named you 808

        August 12, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
  8. Jim Emerson

    This ruling is inane and should be overturned.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
  9. Nina

    It is alarming that the state intercedes in a matter like this–indeed, it's a bit frightening. That said, and not that my opinion matters one iota, but it is an odd choice for a name. Would his chums call him Messy? Might as well put a sign on his back that says "kick me."

    August 12, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
  10. FAT AND HUGE

    SCREW THEM ALL – STUPID NSME, STUPID RULING

    THE RULING VIOLATES THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE BY IMPOSING A STUPID RELIGIOUS VIEW

    THE BIBLE IS FICTION ANYWAY

    August 12, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
  11. no kidding

    The kid shall be named "JUDGE"

    August 12, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • E&I

      Justice sounds better!

      August 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • 808

      Yes, after the Book of Judges, very good name.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Why? Making assumptions about an innocent child based on skin color?

      August 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
      • sam

        Donkey Balls troll is too obvious.

        August 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      Aww, look everyone! It's a little racist troll, in his natrual environment. So cute... here troll! Here boy! Here's a nice little troll snack! Yes, who' a big, important guy getting lots of attention? You! Yes, you! Oh, so precious.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Don: Blind? The kids picture is at the top of the page.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
  12. Carl Swanson

    Ths case will be reversed.

    Period.

    It is the most egregious "establishment of religion" in decades.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
  13. Tamara

    Also, what parents goes to court because they can't decide a name for their child?

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

      A well-adjusted couple destined to stay together.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      They were debating the last name, not the first name.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Herbie

      They were in court over their breakup and custody issues, the name thing just happened to come up

      August 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  14. Mac

    I don't like the judge's last name–Ballew. Makes me think of Ball, ew! I demand that she change that offensive last name.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
  15. FAT AND HUGE

    IT MADE A RULING BASED ON RELIGIOUS BELIEF VIOLATING THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE BY FORCING A RELIGIOUS VIEW ON SOMEONE

    REALLY STUPID NAME BUT EVEN DUMBER RULING

    THEY CAN ALL EAT SHIT ANYWAY

    August 12, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • 808

      She should move to Iraq and name her kid "Messiah", they'll chop her head off before she says "Me...."

      August 12, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      SPEAK UP PLEASE, WE CAN'T HEAR YOU.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
      • FAT AND HUGE

        TYPING NOT SPEAKING NUMB NUTS GET OVER IT

        August 12, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
        • skarphace

          I'M ALWAYS YELLING AND I DON'T KNOW WHY!

          August 12, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • Roemini

          Fucking idiot.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
        • Skinny and Small

          you big types always seem to yell a lot

          August 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
  16. Rick

    Regardless of what you may think of the child's in life or the Mother's mental or emotional condition, she still has the right to name her child anything she wishes and this so-called "Judge" has no right to make a ruling based on his or her religious beliefs. She should appeal immediately and get this ridiculous ruling reversed.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  17. Mac

    I'm from Tennessee, and this is embarrassing for our state. Most people here are not this stupid, though there are some. What's surprising is this coming from someone who obviously has a law degree but has no clue about the law. This will almost surely be overturned because it's ridiculous. And perhaps she doesn't realize that the word messiah can also be used to describe a person who is zealously dedicated to a cause–it doesn't have to have a religious overtone.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

      Daley II from Chicago took 3 times to pass the bar.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
  18. GirlAuditor

    I guess it just depends on how much money you have in the bank. Not that anybody cares but Rapper T.I. has a son named Messiah .....

    August 12, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
  19. bugmenot9

    Suppose that so-called parent named the kid doo-doo, would that be OK ?

    She should be sent to jail for a few weeks to clear her mind a little.

    August 12, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Nope. There are already plenty of other kids named Messiah. She broke no law, but the judge certainly overstepped her authority.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • Mac

      There is a world of difference between doo-doo and Messiah. So are you endorsing a policing agency that decides what you can and can't name your child?

      August 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Messiah

      ...and how will anyone going to jail help anyone in this? That was a pretty dumb thing to say.

      August 12, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
  20. Looper

    Maybe they should tell the Judge they will change it to Adolf Hitler!

    August 12, 2013 at 6:52 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.