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. charity stornetta

    I think a parent should be able to name her child whatever she wants

    August 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
  2. bratex1218

    This one is headed for the appellate courts and we all know the final court in that system. Way to go magistrate. You just set up a situation that will take up a lot of time and money.

    August 12, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I'd love to see an accounting by state of money wasted on fights for or against silly-@ss religious legislation. Per capita costs in these southern states must be substantial.

      August 13, 2013 at 6:48 am |
  3. TTotal EEclipse

    People should be able to name their children what ever the hell they want, maybe those parents aren't religious. Hell there are tons of boys named JESUS. I don't see this moron of a judge making all these people in her jurisdiction change their kids names.

    August 12, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • 14marcotony

      "Jesus" is not a religious name though. It's an ordinary Latinized Jewish name: Yeshua, a common name even before Jesus's time. Messiah on the other hand is not, and has a lot of religious baggage.

      August 13, 2013 at 12:51 am |
      • Saraswati

        So does "Faith" and the shortened version of Christopher, Chris, just means "christ"...do people have to stop using that in this woman'stheocracy? What about all the common Indian names based on Gods? Greek names like Athena?

        August 13, 2013 at 6:38 am |
        • 14marcotony

          To be clear, I don't agree with the judge's reasoning. Nor do I object to the name for theological reasons. I disagree with name out of principle. I think parents can, and often do go too far in naming their babies. At times they seem to forget that it's a human being they're naming and not an object. I believe labels matter. What we call ourselves have social consequences. And whatever such consequences may be depend on certain socio-political contexts of course. I'm not advocating that we necessarily erect laws limiting parents freedom in naming their kids. But when a parent is giving their child a ridiculous name they should know.

          August 13, 2013 at 8:17 am |
  4. Andrew

    Jesus Effen Christ christians hate freedom.

    August 12, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • TTotal EEclipse

      That is not true. That ONE person does not represent all Christians that was an ignorant remark.

      August 12, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
      • Dandintac

        "That ONE person does not represent all Christians that was an ignorant remark."
        I have been trying to tell that to myself for years. I may be an atheist, but some of my best friends are Christians. However, if nutters like this judge–who cannot separate their private religious views from their professional life–are so few in number, they sure seem to have a penchant for winding up in positions of power in disproportionate numbers.

        August 12, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
      • skytag

        Unfortunately there are a lot of Christians who would happily limit one or more freedoms if they could get away with it.

        August 13, 2013 at 3:54 am |
    • Zombie God

      T\his judge is a shining example of a Southern Tard

      August 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
  5. aallen333

    Looking for a place to belong? Looking for someone to share your time? There's a friend who sticks closer than a brother. And when he accepts your invitation, you can count on Him to be there through thick and thin!

    August 12, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • adopt a pet


      August 12, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • skytag

      I assume you're referring to Jesus. I can't believe people are stupid enough to believe such claptrap when all the evidence says your on your own in this life.

      August 13, 2013 at 3:56 am |
      • Just sayin

        If you're going to call someone stupid, you should know the difference between you're and your... Just sayin

        August 13, 2013 at 7:03 am |
  6. skytag

    Lame article for the Belief Blog. Not much to say here other than "the magistrate is a moron."

    How about getting puff piece queen Rachel Held Evans to speculate on what God was doing during WWII while tens of millions of people were praying prayers that were never answered.

    If not that I'd settle for knowing who Evens is and why Rachel held him.

    August 12, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
  7. lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

    Pith should be given strong consideration. There are way too many Martins in the wurld.

    August 12, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
  8. skytag

    Maybe Lu Ann believes God told her not to allow the kid to be named Messiah. Nothing is quite as comforting as knowing delusional people are controlling our life choices.

    August 12, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • TTotal EEclipse


      August 12, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
  9. Angelic Moron

    Another case of religious piety gone stupid.

    August 12, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  10. noillusion

    The Magistrate needs to simma down nah.

    August 12, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  11. thebackwoodsman

    Unless there's legislation prohibiting it, the magistrate was wrong. If there is legislation against naming a child whatever a parent wants to, then the issue should be with the legislators and the magistrate was just upholding the law. However, no one can be made to call the child "Messiah" against their will, so regardless what happens now, that mom has a battle on her hands. If she's rational, I suspect she knew it when choosing that child's name. No matter, her child will suffer the consequences throughout childhood. Not my idea of a good parent looking out for the best interests of her child, but I'm sure there are those who will disagree.

    August 12, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Angelic Moron

      But it is no problem with da judge if the boy is named Jesus ?

      August 12, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • skytag

      I think it's a dumb name to name a child, but parents have the right to do dumb stuff like that. The judge was way out of line and will hopefully be reprimanded by the proper authorities.

      August 12, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • TTotal EEclipse

      I think it's a great name and I know someone else with that name no one bothers him and no one ever has. NO ignorant ass so called judge should be able to force a person to change their child's name.

      August 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
  12. Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew

    Jesus, being dead, is no more eligible for the Ti'tle, Ti'tle must be returned to the boy.

    August 12, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
  13. skytag

    What you wanna be ole Lu Ann is a Republican?

    I miss the days when I didn't realize how embarrassing it could be to be an American.

    August 12, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Athy

      Gotta be a repub. No democrat is that stupid.

      August 12, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
      • skytag

        Oh, Democrats can be every bit as stupid as Republicans, but they tend to be stupid about different things. I think the Christian Taliban in this counter are overwhelmingly Republican.

        August 12, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
        • skytag

          I hate not being able to correct typos here. 😡

          August 12, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
  14. PaPaG

    The magistrate was WAY out of line on this one. There is supposed to be separation of church and state. Many people could be considered a messiah. What about all of the other religions out there. Would the name be changed if the baby was named Allah, or Buddha, or Moses? The mother should have the right to name her baby Messiah if she so chooses. I hope this gets overturned on appeal. The magistrate obviously does not believe in free speech rights either. Telling a family what they can name their child is government gone too far.

    August 12, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  15. Dennis

    It is no one's business but the parents......bad call magistrate.

    August 12, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  16. haymarge

    Although I think it is a ridiculous name that will cause this child untold humiliation, no one has the right to tell this woman what she can or cannot name her child. This IS still America...isn't it???

    August 12, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
  17. MagicPanties

    Darn, I was so sure the 2nd Coming would be in my lifetime, cuz I'm special and I'm tired of waiting for the Rapture.
    Maybe the Supremes will declare this kid The Messiah. If a corporation is a Person, why not?

    August 12, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
  18. Alias

    I am very happy to hear that the courts in TN have nothing better to do than decide what people should name their children.
    Must be a wonderful place to live.

    August 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
  19. pothead

    I dont feel so bad now for naming my kids Bud and Stone.

    August 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Jeff Lopez

      Bet you still often can't remember their names when you talk to them

      August 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • sam stone

      i knew a dyslexic couple who named their kids otto, anna and bob, in case the dyslexia was passed on to the next generation, they insisted on being called mom and dad

      August 13, 2013 at 2:30 am |
  20. Tuskerman

    She wants to call him Messiah not "The Messiah".

    August 12, 2013 at 10:20 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.