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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. Perchance

    I think the more amusing thing is that someone actually wants to name their child "Messiah." I don't really have a problem with it, considering what all of the movie stars name their kids.

    If you can name a child "Christian" or "Jesus", why not Messiah? Who wants to name their child "God?"

    Oooo! Then we can have an advice column called "Dear God!" and get responses!

    August 12, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • Jeb

      Your last line is particularly funny. Good one!

      August 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • G to the T

      "Messiah" = "annoited one" NOT GOD!

      Is it really the case that no christians are aware of this?

      August 13, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  2. darren

    sounds like a great name

    August 12, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
  3. Rose

    For a judge to rule on something, there would have had to be a complaint. I'd be curious to know who complained about something that was none of their business.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Tulip

      Well who asked for your opinion, Rose dear?

      August 12, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  4. Evelyn Connaway

    Why not named Messiah? We have millions named Jesus! The Judge is a nut. 64 years ago I named a daughter Rebel, I saw on the news the other day that the three hottest names for newborns in 2013 was REBEL, BEAR and HUCK! You can name your child whatever you want – even JUDGE.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  5. Joan Bond

    Unbelievable! What happened to separation of Church and State? This is completely unacceptable and illegal. Judge should be removed permanently from office and suspended without pay pending investigation. Not only is he a bully, but pushing his religious beliefs on others. How dare he? What is next? Is he going to decide on what lingerie a woman should wear? Should be stop wearing provocative undergarments because it offends his majesty's sensibilities? What a loser!

    August 12, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • Jean Sartre

      Hey, you have to understand... this is Tennessee...

      August 12, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Dtu

      The judge is a woman.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
      • HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN

        THE FACIAL HAIR SAYS OTHERWISE.

        August 12, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
  6. glenn

    What about all the Jesus' running around?

    August 12, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • 808

      Jesus was a common name back then, so it is permissible and unoffensive.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
      • skarphace

        So what? Until you can name the law that requires parents to give their children names that are "common" or "permissible", then your point is absolutely meaningless.

        August 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • Dippy

      It's Jesuses, not Jesus'. Forming plurals is pretty simple, but you still have not mastered it.

      August 12, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
  7. Nicholas Coombs

    In the U.S. there are no laws that inhibit parents from naming their children whatever they so choose.

    The First Amendment will cover this. She can name her kid whatever she wants. End of debate.

    http://www.motherlylaw.com/motherly-law/2011/01/naming-baby-what-do-the-laws-say.html

    August 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  8. Sherry

    She should be able to name her baby whatever she wants. The judge shouldn't allow his own religious preferences to influence such rulings.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • 808

      SHe doesn't have the right to offend me.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
      • midwest rail

        Indeed she does.

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

        You are wrong, 808. I have every right to offend you. It is called the First Amendment. You, in turn, have the right to respond however you want, but that doesn't take away my right to say whatever I want regardless of whether or not it could offend somebody else. Are you sure you are an American? You certainly seem to know very little about our country.

        August 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
      • Jean Sartre

        IF you are offended, then you are worse off than the freakin' bat-crap crazy judge!

        August 12, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
  9. petroskies

    sound like another unique sister idea

    August 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  10. SkepticalOne

    Seriously? They can't give their child a name because it offends the judges religious beliefs. That just disgusts me.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • 808

      Move to Iraq.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
      • Hey! You!

        If people like this judge have their way, you won't need to.

        August 12, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
        • 808

          The judge is an American.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
        • Hey! You!

          And the Pope is Catholic.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
      • skarphace

        So nothing in America ever disgusts you, 808, and if it did you should move out of the country? Again, wow.

        August 12, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
  11. Go Ducks

    Judge has just opened up the State or County for a massive lawsuit. What a pompous and presumptuous judge. He should be removed from his position if he makes his judgments based on his religious beliefs.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Roemini

      It's a she, but I agree with everything else you've said.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
  12. NJreader

    Lots of kids from Spanish families are named Jesus, pronounced hay-soos. I think American parents can legally name children almost anything-the child named "Hitler" and his siblings were put into foster care, but Moon Unit Zappa is alive and well, as is Apple daughter of Gwynneth Paltrow, and Moroccan, one of Mariah Carey's twins. "Jesus" is actually pretty bland in comparison to those.
    And I am sure that a judge cannot tell parents what name they must give a child, e.g., Martin.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • Nicholas Coombs

      The name Jesus is the latin form of the Greek name 'Joshua'. It so follows in most languages except in English, where we use the name Joshua due to the massive cultural influence of Christianity.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
  13. blind obedience.

    Mess for short?
    I would hope the child would outgrow the name in a year or two.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
  14. kfunk

    People need to really get a grasp of separation of church and state. As Jefferson defined it it means "government is not to interfere with religion". Just because a stupid judge makes stupid claims about Messiah being religious, this is not interfering with religion. The parents probably didn't even bring religion into the naming. Does the judge need to be reprimanded? Absolutely! However this is going to be overturned on grounds that have nothing to do with separation of church and state.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • blind obedience.

      The article states that the judge told them what name the child would have. This makes a dubious story even more unbelievable.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • SkepticalOne

      It is a judge forcing his religious beliefs on the parents. How is that not interfering with religion?

      August 12, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • Guest

      Exactly!! The ruling needs to be overturned and this judge needs to lose his position!

      August 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • Commonly Sensed

      You're not very bright. This is in direct violation as it is an official using religious belief to force a ruling. This is illegal. They might as well claim state religion based on this. Since people like you don't have a stinking clue, it should easily get the go-ahead.

      Or maybe you should brush up on some education before making any more comments. Thanks in advance, Skippy.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • skarphace

      The judge made her decision based on her religion. This is a clear violation of the separation of church and state. Judges need to rule based on Civil Law, not God's Law. Period. So, unless you can name the law that this judge used to rule this case, then this ruling should and hopefully will be overturned.

      August 12, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
  15. Herbie

    Th judge exceeded her authority and needs to step down, or be tossed off the bench

    August 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
  16. cobra303

    Just to show how the government is taking our rights away one by one.... Can you say... WELCOME TO COMMUNISM...

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

      So the judge is a far right communist? Ooops.

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

        Yeah, apparently Cobra thinks a Theocracy is equivalent to Communism. Somebody needs to brush up on their political theory a bit.

        August 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  17. blind obedience.

    Has anyone ever heard of a court telling anyone any where what they can or cannot name their children?

    August 12, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  18. kenny

    religion loses its power/influence when fewer and fewer people don't believe in it. Kinda like fairy tales.... i mean exactly like fairy tales.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
  19. Observer

    Christians tell us that the end days are near and that Barack Obama is the anti-Christ. Now Messiah is here.

    So what's the problem?

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

      Lol, true. Does this judge have any proof that this kid is not the second coming?

      August 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  20. Hey! You!

    Can I name my kid Peter, or Dick, or Johnson, or Penis?

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

      Whatever happened to Dick Trickle?

      August 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
      • Hey! You!

        He petered out.

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

          I'm going to have to gift you with One (1) Internet for that.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:26 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.