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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. John

    If they take it higher it WILL be overturned. A judge can't decide that FOR THAT REASON.

    August 12, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
  2. John

    "Messiah" sounds more like a girls' name, like Aliah, or Melissa.

    August 12, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
  3. RealityServant

    Only one person has earned the name Messiah? Maybe Judge Doofus should check the Social Security Administration's website. This last year saw Messiah jump to No. 387 overall for new boy's names. That made Messiah the fourth highest trending names of the last year after King, Gael, and Jase.

    I don't like the name Messiah, but the name is that woman's choice. I don't understand the legal justification for this judge's decision, but I predict she's just brought more attention to herself than she would have liked.

    August 12, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
  4. Kimberly Beuke

    I believe that a parent should be able to name their child whatever name they choose. What if they weren't religious in any way but liked the sound of the name? This shouldn't even be a matter that needs discussing and the judge has overstepped boundaries I believe!

    August 12, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
  5. Bootyfunk

    uh oh, my wife is due 2 months from now and we were going to name our child "The Bible Is A Fairy Tale" - i wonder if that'll be a problem...

    August 12, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Do it Bootyfunk....please

      August 12, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Nance

      Congrats...and I hope that people don't nickname your kid "Fairy"...(Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

      August 12, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • Warren

      Absolutely. God forbid someone names there child Chris cringle, the tooth fairy, Easter bunny?

      August 12, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
      • Dippy

        It's Kris Cringle.

        August 12, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • p d

      a-ba-ba-ba-baby
      Don't forget my number
      Ba-ba-ba-ba-baby
      Love is stronger than thunder
      Ba-ba-ba-ba-baby
      Don't forget my number
      Love will see you through

      August 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • p d

      the bible is the greatest science fiction novel of all time. its amazing. transplendid.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
      • AtheistSteve

        As a big time avid science fiction reader I beg to differ. The Bible is garbage compared to Niven, Asimov and Heinlein just to name a few.

        August 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
  6. Warren

    What is a stupid name? Why is John bill Bob or ted a smart name bc it is familiar to you. Get out your box lady. Gays are getting married, marijuana is becoming legal/acceptable. The world is changing everyday learn to deal with it and adapt I think it's even scarier that this judge is not the only closed minded person who thinks this story is worth the courts trouble.

    August 12, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      20 states here in the USA have legalized weed for medical usage and two for recreational use... By the time the 30 other states catch up with the times recreational use states might can in popularity... 😳

      August 12, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
      • lamelionheart

        might gain in popularity

        August 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
      • sam stone

        13, not 20

        August 13, 2013 at 2:40 am |
  7. Nobody Special

    They need to check every case this judge has worked on. Check to see if the judge has made any other wrong rulings based off of religious beliefs. Religious beliefs have no room in Laws, If it did with all the different types of beliefs in this country alone it would be impossible.

    August 12, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
  8. NNN

    The mother's name is Jaleesa, she doesn't have the attention span of a duck or the IQ of a bug. Her choice or anything is less than profound, to put it mildly, and not worth anyone's time.

    August 12, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • John

      Meeeow!

      August 12, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • geggyg

      I don't agree with the parents ( they both agreed on their child's first first name ) naming the child Messiah. However why are you just criticising the mothers intelligence because of her name that was given to her by her parents.
      If you think names indicate intelligence I hope your parents gave you an intelligence increasing first name , if they did you might just get to an IQ of 60

      August 12, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  9. scubadoo33

    Oh,and where my BIL works, there is a child named Jihad. Thats another good one.

    August 12, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Nance

      Yes, I know two brothers named Judea and Israel. No biggie...

      August 12, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
  10. Ariel

    Besides messiah is God Allah like who would name their kids that? It's not right forget freedom there's no freedom anymore we need to stand up ! No messiah in names u disrespect our belief . Name your boy lucifer I dare you

    August 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Nance

      Um, what? It is absolutely her right. And you have no clue about her; she may be Christian herself. Get over yourself.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Where do you get the idea that your belief deserves respect? You don't respect mine.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Muriel

      Ariel, you have a fundamental misunderstanding that has from others caused much violence and trouble in the world:

      Look, ideas are not people. People deserve respect. Ideas don't.

      Ideas should be carefully scrutinized, and wrong ones such as those of the common religions that are wrong should be categorized as wrong. It's that simple. It's not a respect thing. It's basic honesty and it's not at all regarding respecting people per se.

      Do you get that? Ideas are not people. Think it through, please.

      August 12, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      ooooh, you dare us.....

      how scary

      August 13, 2013 at 2:42 am |
  11. Sherri

    She may have the right, but that does not mean it is the right thing to do. Why do parents think they have to come up with these ludicrous names? And like someone else said, out of the millions of names she could have picked, THIS is the only one she could come up with? I think the mom is an idiot.

    August 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Nance

      It may not have been the only name she could come up with, but it's the name she wanted, and the one her son possessed for seven months.
      The judge overstepped her authority.
      It's not the name I would have picked for my son, but then so what?

      August 12, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • p d

      i think its pretty cool. nobody had a problem with milli vanilli.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Kimberly Beuke

      It should not matter what she wants to name her child. What if she just liked the sound of the name but was atheist? That is ridiculous and should not even be a matter to discuss.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
      • p d

        Whatever you do don't put the blame on you
        Blame it on the rain yeah yea yea

        August 12, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
  12. Imaanun

    The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is not the first or the only one called Messiah (Anointed, aka Christ) in the Bible.

    In the Old Testament, Isaiah 45:1, it is written that Cyrus, the Persian king is addressed by ALLAH (GOD Almighty, the LORD, etc.,) as "My Anointed" or literally "My Messiah."

    August 12, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • David Flaningam

      This is total BS. It's just a word. Words don't have power until people give it to them. To non-christians Messiah is meaningless.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • p d

      a-ba-ba-ba-baby
      Don't forget my number
      Ba-ba-ba-ba-baby
      Love is stronger than thunder
      Ba-ba-ba-ba-baby
      Don't forget my number
      Love will see you through

      August 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  13. Vic

    It is interesting that the judge seemed to be on a solid legal footing in the above video, especially that she said "that's not relevant to this case" when asked by the reporter about "Jesus" for a first name. I wonder if it is a "discretionary ruling" that is allowed in such matters.

    August 12, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • Churlish

      Nope and nope. There isn't any such law that states you cannot name your child anything you wish. This judge is full of it and will be overturned.
      Any "discretionary ruling" still has to follow the Constitution. She didn't. End of story.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • Observer

      "she said "that's not relevant to this case" when asked by the reporter about "Jesus" for a first name."

      Proof that she apparently is clueless.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
  14. South Pork

    I hope for a day when all of humanity finally realizes that god does not exist.

    August 12, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Name*

      "It has been rightly said that the atheist can't find God for the same reason a thief can't find a policeman. He knows that if he admits that there is a God, he is admitting that he is ultimately responsible to Him. This is not a pleasant thought for some."

      August 12, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
      • AtheistSteve

        What a ridiculous analogy. A thief is actively avoiding running into police and policemen actually exist. Look I started out believing there was a God but searching for him proved fruitless. I'm not avoiding finding God. In fact I've literally begged for evidence of his existence...all to no avail. Looking for him has resulted in a big fat zero. Faith doesn't cut it. Every belief based on faith indistinguishable. Be it God or Allah or Shiba or American Indian spirits or any of 10,000 imagined deities, all are equally valid when accepted on faith.

        August 13, 2013 at 8:55 am |
  15. Warren

    I'm from New York and I have a 9y.o son named messiah. To top it off my son is not the only child by that name as it has become increasingly more popular over the years. My son even shared a little league team with another child named messiah but spelled differently. This judge is apparently clueless to the world around her/him and to others who believe that the name messiah will cause problems in the child's life, obviously don't realize how large and diverse this world has become. Would blanket or blue ivy be a more appropriate name for a child's future? More so than messiah??get a life!! We can't all be bills,bobs,johns and so forth. Open your minds.

    August 12, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Good for you and little Messiah. At least you're thinking outside the box.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • NNN

      You're a wh_ack job who just needs to go die.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Ignore idiots like NNN.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
  16. bmullan

    People for years have named their Kids Jesus, Muhammad, Israel, etc.

    Its simple separation of Church & State and absolutely none of this judge's business what she names her Child.

    August 12, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  17. Natasha

    Absolutely not she has no right to name her child Messiah. She is just trying to make a big deal to be heard so she can get some money.

    August 12, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Athy

      How do you know this, Natasha?

      August 12, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • midwest rail

      You're wrong. She absolutely has the right.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • tony

      There are a heck of lot of Jesus's running around. Are they to be renamed?

      August 12, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
      • Dippy

        Jesuses, not Jesus's. Having trouble with plurals, tony?

        August 12, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      This is America honey. If you want religious oppression, move to Iran (or Texas).

      August 12, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Churlish

      Natasha, she did just fine having her child named Messiah for 7 months. She's not in it for any money. Pull your head out of your self-righteous, judgmental ass.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
  18. Is this for real?

    Separation of church and state? Anyone?

    August 12, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • Nana

      Sometimes it isn't always the right thing to separate the two. In this case using the name Messiah is a bit pretentious and quite a bit offending to Christians like me. I don't want her to name her child that. Out of the buzzillion names out there, she has to choose "Messiah"? Give it a break lady. It is offensive to both Christians and taxpayers of which I am both. Thus my concern is caught between the middle of the two, so it is shared response. I am glad the issue was brought to my attention.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        It's none of your business what she names her child. You give it a break please. Just because you're offended doesn't make you right.

        August 12, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  19. ThatsWhack

    The judge needs to butt out. It's not the best choice for a name but it's not my kid. I just feel for little Messiah, for when the kids start calling him Mess or Messy for short. Then, you know, there's going to be that ONE kid on the playground with a hammer and nails...

    August 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      As I said when you posted this earlier, the greatest soccer player in the history of the game is named Messi. I'd be proud to have that name.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
      • HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN

        NO ONE CARED THE FIRST TIME YOU POSTED IT, EITHER.

        August 12, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          You are a retarded troll. Trolling is so depressing. I feel sorry for you in some ways.

          August 12, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  20. Oh Man

    1) Stupid name for a kid

    2) Judge needs to learn that his reverence for The Bible has no legal standing

    August 12, 2013 at 9:18 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.