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. sdfgsdfgsdfg

























    August 22, 2013 at 9:19 am | Report abuse | Reply

    August 22, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  2. Michael

    That Judge should be removed from her job permanently, she is obviously unfit to make rational decisions. Makes me want to look further into what other past “bad judgments” she has imposed upon other defendants. Shame on Lu Ann Ballew!!!!

    August 21, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  3. dawn clough

    Parents can name their children whatever they like. Where is it a law they cannot?

    August 19, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • Wayne

      matter of fact, there are laws is some countries regarding what a child can be named. Not long ago, a girl in Iceland finally got to change her name to what her mother had wanted, but was not allowed under Icelandic law.
      Could be interesting to search and see just what all laws there are that way.
      In this case, let the woman go ahead and name the poor kid Messiah, then he will be ostracized galore. We need more Messiahs, more, you hear? So all the religious nutcakes can have more false religions to follow
      over 90% of modern religions are false religions. No way around that.

      August 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Try 100%.

        August 21, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  4. fitnessandapologetics

    Two issues:

    1) In order to claim that Hitler was a Christian one would have to forget that he was a politician and thus, said whatever was convenient at the time and consider him to be such an upright and honest person that if he said it well, by golly, it must be true.

    2) Evilbible.com has been discredited so many times that it is pathetic that people still cite it as some sort of authority (see http://www.truefreethinker.com/evilbiblecom). Particularly, their whole page about Hitler being a Christian has been picked apart (see http://www.truefreethinker.com/articles/adolf-hitler-was-christian-was-adolf-hitler-christian-part-1).

    August 19, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Except for the facts that he was confirmed a Catholic, his writings, and his dealings with the Pope you might be right.

      August 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        And that no Pope-A-Dope ever bothered to excomunicate him. . .

        August 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  5. hharri

    More proof how terrible those Christians are!

    August 19, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Wayne

      Many so called christians pervert the religion to mean what they want, and don't actually follow what is in the bibles, old testament and new. Plus, don't overlook the fact that the bibles were written by men, and were often also changed during translations from the original languages.

      August 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
      • Joyce Garbet


        Bibles were written by men, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and have not had their meanings changed at all. God has made it clear that anyone who adds to or subtracts from His word will face severe judgement.

        August 20, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          The first part of your statement is true...the bible most definitely was written by man. The rest (Holy Spirit) is crap and you have no way outside of your bible to show it is isn't.
          Gulliblity is part of being a christian.

          August 20, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
        • Joyce Garbet

          I was 35 when I came to know the Lord, and believe me, I know the difference between having the Holy Spirit and not. I thought like you do and believed Christians were brain-washed until I finally said "Lord, if you are real please show me" and He did in a powerful way. Just ask Him to show you and mean it and He will.

          August 20, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Not all are so weak that a god is required.

          August 21, 2013 at 5:11 am |
        • Joyce Garbet

          Wayne, I see it as a strength not a weakness. So, do you think you are a good person? If so, will you take the "good person" test?

          August 21, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • Gene

          I would take the "good person test," but I have to take this casserole over to my elderly neighbors. Seriously.

          So glad religion is in the process of becoming extinct.

          August 22, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
      • alexk

        How can you explain the fact that there are so many different versions of the bible then? There are over a dozen different bibles. Some have small differences like wording but some have some major differences.

        August 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  6. Haha

    This is like the "hey the Footloose town is still out there" story.

    August 19, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • Sara

      There are about 10 states all prettymuch like this. It just sounds like fiction until you actually move down there.

      August 19, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  7. Haha

    I agree. Messiah is a hard name to live up to. She should just name the baby Gangsta King–thats really what she meant anyways.

    August 19, 2013 at 12:14 am |
  8. John

    What if the child really is the Messiah? I'll bet the judge would feel pretty foolish then!

    August 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    August 16, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
  10. ladawnb

    I hope this judge is FIRED and prevented from ever sitting on the bench. 1. There is NO LAW that allows her to do that. Judges apply the laws not make them. 2. She mixed church and state in her decision – you can be a christian but cannot force your beliefs on others especially not from the bench. 3. She then commented on the case in the media, a judge cannot do that. I don't live in Tennessee but I want her removed.

    August 15, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Sara


      August 17, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Kendi


      August 17, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  11. Ken

    My question is, how did this get before a judge? I had no idea that there were laws in regards to naming children. 'Prince' legally changed his name to something know one could pronounce. At least a couple of athletes to odd things like Worldbefree amd 85(in spanish). It would seem pretty easy to me to make an argument on appeal before a less zealous judge.

    August 15, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • Dippy

      "know" one??

      August 15, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
  12. Ken Margo

    Where are the republicans? Aren't they for getting rid of big government? It's OK to name your kid after Adolf Hitter, but Messiah is a problem? The judge should be removed from the bench.

    August 15, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
  13. datelines

    I’ve read some good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to make the sort of excellent informative website.

    August 15, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
  14. TOJO

    Marsha Bennett · Friends with Gwenn Treadwell Musgrave
    Was just watching "The View" (an encore show) TI, the rapper, has a son named Messiah. Just FYI....hmmmmm maybe $$$ matter. Not sure of this person's financial status.

    August 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Sara

      I suspect that Messiah wasn't born in the same judicial district.

      August 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  15. David

    This could be a danger to the child, a lot of religious radicals out there, will see this and may attempt to kill the child and possibly the mother due to blasphemy. I agree with freedom for this, and the judge is wrong for her order, instead she should inform the mother of the possible dangers for the her and her child, however I do believe this will put the child in danger in the future, and possible torment growing up, from his peers and teachers alike. If the name sticks, I wouldn't be surprised to see this family in the news again for discrimination and or violence against the family.

    August 15, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      You have to be kidding!

      Where in this country do you live that you think this child will be persecuted because of his name. There may be a little teasing, but nothing compared to if they had named this boy "Oral".

      August 15, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • ME II

      Killed for blasphemy? Extremely unlikely in the US, I would think.

      August 15, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      There are kids named after Adolf Hitler. I don't think Messiah will cause any problems.

      August 15, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
  16. Observer

    The kid's name is a bad choice because of how he will get teased, but the parents are free to be ignorant enough to choose it. It's still not as bad as North West, Moon Unit Zappa, or Moxie CrimeFghter Jillette.

    August 14, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • Ken

      Kids will tease other kids for a wide variety of reasons. Changing his name will not save him from this.

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

        Names do make a difference.


        That said, the judge was way out of line. There may be a place for some rules, but not religiously motivates policies or one-off decisions on a judges whim.

        August 15, 2013 at 11:01 pm |

    Do you understand what kind hell his classmates will put him through with year after year of incessant teasing for a name like Messiah? Do you have any idea of what kind of handycap that is? Why not just cut off one of his arms, it would be less painful and less debilitating.

    August 14, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
    • Yup

      Yup, religion poisons everything.

      August 14, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Sara

      Do you understand that even if that were true its not the point here? Parents name their kids poorly all the time, much worse than this. If there's going to be a law it needs to address all those cases, not be at the whim of individual judges who have religious motivations. She never axed ANY other name.

      But really, if you think this kids name is going to stick out that much you're pretty out of touch with what kids names look like these days.

      August 14, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • skytag

      Maybe, maybe not. I suspect kids won't be as obsessed about the name as some adults seem to be. He won't be the first kid in America with that name.

      In any case, welcome to America, where we value individual liberty, even for parents. Parenting is a very personal thing and Americans only condone government dictating limits to parents only in very limited circumstances.

      August 14, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Ken

      It appears that the only people concerned with the kid being bullied because of this name are people who can imagine doing it themselves.

      August 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  18. Sarah Wiles

    This is an obstruction of justice. This judge is pushing her OWN beliefs onto this poor child's name. What about all the Hispanic men named Jesus?? I agree with the mother 100% #TeamBabyMessiah

    August 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • ockie5112

      I've never seen so may people miss the point. If George Costanza can name his kid seven, this couple can name their kid whatever they want. However, the grief this kid is going to endure while growing up is incalculable. If they win and decide to name the kid what they want, it should be removed for child abuse. How freeking selfish can one couple be?

      August 14, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
      • skytag

        Rubbish. Several people have suggested this was appropriate because an odd name can cause a kid to suffer embarrassment growing up. Exactly how much control should the government have in the area of protecting children from their parents' bad taste? Should we regulate haircuts and clothing as well, or what you can pack in their lunches?

        My dad was a career Army officer. When I was a kid, up until I was 12 years old and he was away for a year on tour of duty in Korea in 1967, every haircut I had was a short G.I. So while all the other boys were growing their hair out to reflect the culture of the sixties, I looked like I was in boot camp. God, how I hated it. But looking back I would never suggest the government should have had the power to tell my father how he could have my hair cut.

        For better or worse, our respect for individual freedom, including the rights of parents with regard to their children, is part of what it means to be American. Individual freedom, individual liberty, these things mean you have the freedom to make choices that may not reflect everyone's beliefs or even those of the majority. If you think a boy should only be named David or William, fine, then that's what you should name your boys. But one small part of America's diversity is that we don't all have a name picked from a list of a few thousand names some government bureaucrat finds acceptable. That's just not our way.

        If you think it's government's place to protect kids from anything a parent might do that could cause them embarrassment I think you need to think about the repercussions of that a little longer as well as the fact that just because you agree with one restriction like this doesn't mean you'd agree with every such restriction.

        And for the record, this isn't the first kid named Messiah. Not even close.

        August 14, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
      • Sara

        You're missing the point. There are thousands of rotten names assigned every day in every state, territory and possession of this country. Unless we are addressing all of those rather than this one, on explicitly religious grounds, we are mixing church and state.

        And really, this is an increasing popular name. By the time the kid is i school it's likely to be fairly normal. Times change.

        August 14, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
      • PennyK

        By the time this kid grows up the breed of intolerant bigots who would give him grief would have died off, so why worry?

        August 15, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        Bullying occurs for many reasons. At the rate people are leaving the church, she could name her child "Jesus Christ Super Star" and it wouldn't matter.

        August 15, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  19. Cheryl

    Mom has every right to give this name to her child. Jesus is honored and the this Judge has no right interferring.

    August 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  20. Cheryl

    Surely in the year 2013 you should be able to name your baby ANYTHING you want , Without some one telling you to change it , The judge is trying to pass her Religous beliefs on the Mother , Maybe the mother does not believe in God and just chose that name because it odd ..we have been making up names for our BABIES SINCE THE BEGINNG OF TIME

    August 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Ken

      I think there are still laws that state that any name must be able to be spelled using characters on a standard keyboard. No Prince symbols, for example.

      August 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
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