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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. Gray

    Just another holier-than-thou public official that is way over stepping her boundaries. Is she going to make all Hispanic people named Jesus change their name? She has no business bring her religious beliefs into the courtroom. The Tennessee BAR needs to serverly reprimand her for this ruling and she should step down from the bench.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  2. laughingsalmon

    What do you expect...the family is black.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • jbcal

      Stop being stupid

      August 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  3. J

    If you can name your child Jesus, why can't you name him Messiah?

    August 12, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  4. Talkingeth in ye Oldeth toungueth, forsooth.

    This woman needs to be disciplined, and be required to take Civics 101. This nonsense will never stand. No one, other than an idiot in the Bible Belt would do this.
    There were many messiahs. Even AFTER Jebus. He failed to get THE ONE job a messiah was supposed to get done. If he WAS the messiah, why were so many others before, during and after his lifetime seen as one too ? At least Smon of Perea, and Simon bar Kochba got some action started with kicking out the Romans.
    At the very end of the ministry, even the followers said "Wilt thou Lord, at this time restore the kingdom to Israel ?"
    Sorry. He did not get the job done. He met none of the criteria the small sub-sect of Jews who were looking for one, had.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • jbcal

      He did exactly what he set out to do. The fact that it did not meet your criteria is irrelevant

      August 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • TeeJ

      Who cares what his name is. He's probably going to be the next Trevhon anyway (intentional mispelling).

      I pity black kids who have parent's so ignorant they have to give their kids stupid names that aren't even African (which I could understand and respect, if they were). Mommy is "Jaleesa"... then it's only fair to expect she'd give her litter asinine made-up "colored" names.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  5. Bertha59

    The judge needs to keep to separation of state and religion.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Rodents for Romney

      This woman and her religion needs to be separated from the state.
      How unpatriotic can you get. A perfect example of why the founders left Europe, and why they did not establish a state religion. If she wants a theocracy, pop on over to Iran.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
      • TeeJ

        So, on the flip side, if mommy "Jaleesa" wants to call her kid p00phead, she should be allowed?

        The Judge is right – in a Christian area, the mother could be giving her child a death sentence... in fact, even in a "non" Christian area, there are those who would target the child, yet not do so otherwise, if the child had a different name. The Judge is WISE beyond her years. You and the other dippy poster... NOT.

        August 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • vicman

          You are completely missing the point. This is not about the mother being smart or stupid. It is about a judge overstepping her power. Naming you child whatever you please should not be of anyone's concern. A lot of people are named Jesus and their life are not any worst because of it. If a judge were to tell you you must change your name to something more pleasing because he or she fears you might get bullied for it would you still hold your position? I honestly don't think so...

          August 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
  6. AW

    This is going to be the fastest appeal in the history of the court system. The judge should be taken out to the wood shed. While I disagree with the judge on the right to name the child, I feel sorry for the kid. Parents really need to think it through before they name their kids. Maybe there should be a cooling off period of three days before you can name your child.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  7. rdb

    Would you name him God? I don't care much about their right to chose a name. But think what consequences this child would have in grade school, junior high school and the rest of his life.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Rodents for Romney

      Someone just thought up something brand new, you prolly didn't hear of yet.
      It's called a "nick-name".

      August 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • G to the T

      "Messiah" does NOT equal "God". Messiah means "annoited one" and it indicates one favored by god (usually in reference to them being suitable for kingship). David was a messiah. Solomon was a messiah. Moses wa a messiah, etc.

      August 13, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Boy named Sue

      What consequences?

      August 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  8. Logic

    The baby prefers to be called Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All...or Neil....

    August 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Just wondering

      noce Doctor Who reference

      August 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  9. Allie

    Read the story, people.
    These parents were in court because they could not agree on a name for their child. The mother wanted her last name & the father wanted his. They went to the court to name their child FOR THEM.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Read the story Allie.

      They didn't disagree on the first name – it was the last name they couldn't agree on.

      "Jaleesa Martin and the father of Messiah could not agree on a last name,"

      August 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
      • Allie

        Yes, I understand that.
        My point is, the judge did not just randomly step in and say "I am renaming your child while you are in court over custody!" They went to court because of a dispute about the name of their child. The judge decided to completely rename the child, using both parents last names.

        August 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
        • PaytonB

          Allie, they only asked the Judge to rule on the LAST name. The Judge had no business ruling on the first name, especially for the reasons the Judge gave.

          August 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Akira

      The child's LAST name was in dispute, not his FIRST. When the judge saw his first name, she changed it to Martin DeShawn McCullough. Look to other sources besides this one.
      Very magnanimous of her to let him keep his middle name.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
      • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

        Give me a source for daddy's name.

        August 12, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
        • Allie

          While the fathers specific name is not published, the original article says:
          "Judge Ballew ordered the 7-month-old's name be "Martin DeShawn McCullough." It includes both parent's last names but leaves out Messiah."

          August 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
        • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

          DeShawn OR McCullough Ya never know what the boss demanded.

          August 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Britt

      No, they wanted the court to choose the last name, they both agreed on the first. The judge did that herself.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  10. Sara

    So the child's name would now be Martin Martin?

    August 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  11. redspotz

    While I think there are too many vapid parents who attempt to bring distinction to their kids by way of some stupid name, versus raising the child to be an individual of distinction, naming a child is none of some clown judge’s business. Additionally, a judge cannot be allowed to rule based on their personal interpretation of the Bible or any other religious text.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  12. Summer819

    While I'm tired of the government stepping into every aspect of our lives, I do think it's about time someone put a stop to ridiculous names. Do you think for a moment if someone tried naming their child Shiva, Allah or Buddha that would fly?!? Common sense, folks.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

      Diverse Beasts are like that.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Rhap

      Do you not realize the number of people in America and the world who are named "Jesus"??

      August 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
      • Abhi

        This comment made me crack up too. There are thousands of People named Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh.... The famous Hindu gods.

        August 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
        • Britt

          Don't forget Joshua, which was Jesus's actual name, Jesus is just the Greek version of Joshua.

          August 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Tons of Indian names are derived from gods names.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Abhi

      This comment made me crack up too. There are thousands of People named Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh.... The famous Hindu gods.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  13. Rumplestiltskin

    As stupid a name it is, she should have the right to name her child "Messiah" just like he will have the right to change it to "Martin" when he is old enough to do so.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  14. Your Argument is Invalid

    My whole issue with the ruling is solely in regards to the Judge's opinion. There is no legal basis whatsoever for this ruling to stand. I may not name one of my kids something that will leave them wide open for ridicule, I still stand by another parent's right to do so.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Mara Tam

      The judge is wearing cross earrings.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • Your Argument is Invalid

        Why am I not surprised?

        August 12, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  15. cebundy

    So much for the separation between church and state! When a society bases their laws on religion thee is no freedom, especially freedom on religion, I hope that they appeal. Aside from that, can you imagine how much teasing that poor child would get?

    August 12, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Akira

      She is going to appeal; I suspect that she will prevail.
      From the ABC Go website, it said 'Messiah' was the fourth fastest-growing name in 2012. Apparently, she isn't the only on to saddle their child with that name.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  16. Dave

    Why won't a judge doesn't step in to stop americans from naming their children with a "Da-" or "La-" and adding some other misspelled stupidity, which forever condemns them to a poor résumé. Parents need to stop playing fun with letters trying to make kids unique and do that raising them correctly.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I think Ladasha should be spelled L-a.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
      • redspotz

        La-Dip. . .

        August 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Even though those names will make it almost impossible to get a job, you have to be very careful about regulating names, especially when they are connected to a particular ethnicity. But given we have the data on how names affect the way a resume is read, parents should at least have access to that data to make a decision.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  17. Patrickonius Maximus I

    Dio is a common Greek given name meaning God. In Hungarian it means nut.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Just sayin'

      Dio is spanish, Theo is greek.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
      • Patrickonius Maximus I

        My good Greek friend Dio tells me it means God. And yes it also means God in Spanish but is not a common given name in spanish – and means nut in Hungarian. Anyway, to your point, Theo is also a common given name.

        August 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  18. Rick

    Frank Zappa named 2 of his kids Moon Unit & Dweezle.

    Messiah sounds sane next to those names.

    And why does this biotch get to say what someone names their child?
    Man....this used to be a free country.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

      Just pay yer share of the national debt by the end of the month and stop complainin'.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • mb2010a

      I think the judge was thinking more of the welfare of the child and not the mother. The child would be the butt of a great deal of persecution by his peers as he grew up and some nut would try to kill him when he hits 33 years old.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  19. Marty Mcfly

    FROM WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY
    mes·si·ah
    noun \mə-ˈsī-ə\
    Definition of MESSIAH
    1capitalized
    a : the expected king and deliverer of the Jews
    b : jesus 1
    2: a professed or accepted leader of some hope or cause
    — mes·si·ah·ship noun
    See messiah defined for English-language learners »
    See messiah defined for kids »

    So according to webster "messiah" doesn't have to mean jesus or king of the Jews, because of the 2nd meaning. So shut up discriminative judge, probably just because she is African American you give her all this crap.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Lawrence

      Really? She's an immigrant from Africa? Didn't you know that you can be WHITE and be an African American? Please stop using that pointless pejorative.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

      The Big O(riginal) is right on top of this judicial misconduct. It's a Pandora's box though.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  20. Rod

    How about Inmate for a first name?

    August 12, 2013 at 3:37 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.