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. pep

    Why would anybody name their kid after an executed criminal?

    August 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  2. Hey! You!

    Tennessee, home of the Scope's Monkey Trial. The state that keeps on giving.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
  3. Moon Unit One

    Who cares what people name their kids?
    It's none of your business! Ask my dad!

    August 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  4. Dave

    Separation of church and state! "Messiah" is just a name. This ruling will be thrown out by a more enlightened court.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  5. Mike

    That judge had better not ever come to the Southwest – she's gonna find a whole lot of people named Jesus here!!!

    August 12, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  6. endrug

    Also Allah is a messiah. So if there are two, why not three?

    August 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • G to the T

      There are literally dozens of messiahs listed between the OT, NT and Koran. "Messiah" = "annointed one" – referring to the practice of pouring oils (annointing) as part of the intiation ceremony for new kings.

      August 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  7. gandfs

    Though I'm usually not support of government interfering in personal affairs, the judge is trying to do the kid a favor. Who is going to hire little Messiah with a name like that? He's already got two strikes against him. The first being he was born Black in America, the second being he has an idiot for a mother. Lets not add a third.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Akira

      No. The judge was doing no one a favor. And it is not up to her, or you, to decide what a child's name is.
      Although I agree that the name Messiah isn't the best name, and the child was not given a skin color choice.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Feekoningin

      The judge can't just "do a favor." There has to be actual proof of actual damage. In fact, the only way to prove the name would hamper his future prospects would be to find someone with the exact same name to testify on how successful or unsuccessful his name has been. Also, success does not have to be measured by the ability to get a job. Little Messiah may become self-employed, so it's not a fait accomplis that he would be unsuccessful because of his name.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
  8. Polaris

    that name is reserved for Obama!

    August 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  9. Ted Opett

    I have a number of friends who named their kid Jesus. Go figure.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • suncoastbiz

      Jesus and his brothers Carlos and Paco mowed my lawn today!

      August 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Tom Pained

      Yes, the Seattle Mariner's have a catcher named Jesus. Doesn't seem to do him any good, but there it is.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  10. Moniker

    There should be a ban on conferring titles when naming babies.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Sean


      August 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Athy

      I sense an HTML problem.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster


      August 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  11. Mike

    Johnny Cash: "My name is Sue...How Do You Do? Now You Gonna Die!!!"

    August 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  12. pm

    hahahahahahahahahahaha...that's a good one. Oh you were serious. In America? In 2013?

    August 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  13. Hey! You!

    What next? A court order forcing them to go to church (the judges church) of face jail time?

    August 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  14. Terrance

    Not everyone believes that Jesus is or was the Messiah, regardless of how you feel, you can't force your Christian beliefs on people. This is supposed to be the land of the free but yet you also want to have a say in what a woman names her child? The judge should be following the law, not her own emotions or beliefs and the fact is: Jaleesa is not breaking any law.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • LeeT


      August 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  15. Carl

    II think judge LuLu needs a law school refresher. There cannot possibly be any federal, state, or local jurisdiction that has incorporated the Christian theology regarding Jesus into Law. This "ruling" is as anti-American as a judge trying to impose precepts of sharia. Judges are sworn to uphold U.S. laws, not the beliefs or practices of their religion.

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

      People need to understand Judges makes mistakes daily which is they the appeals proceed is there. I have had 3 judges make mistakes on a civil case of my which each time they were remanded back to the lower court for another hearing on the matter.

      People dealing with this system must know the laws and not be ignorant to do with the 1st thing the judge orders.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

      Family Law is the "Season of the Witch" sung spritely backwards.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
      • midwest rail

        If anyone would be literate in "backwards", it would be you.

        August 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Feekoningin

      Yeah, what scares me most is this is a person who presumably went to law school. It seems even those of us who didn't know this would never stand up in a higher court an that this is a ruling inviting appeal. How many lawyers won't volunteer to do this one?

      August 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  16. joe

    uh oh ........ http://www.messiah.edu "Messiah College is a Christian college of the liberal and applied arts and sciences. The College is committed to an embracing evangelical spirit rooted in the Anabaptist, Pietist and Wesleyan traditions of the Christian Church."

    August 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  17. Saraswati

    That was good. First laugh for me on this story.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  18. Bootyfunk

    could this be any stupider?

    it's ridiculous that the mom wants to name her child "Messiah" - but it shouldn't be illegal. the kid can change his/her name at 18. the judge is obviously pushing his christian beliefs on the mother. the judge ruled against her because he doesn't like the idea of anyone being named "Messiah". that's not for him to choose. free country much?

    August 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Bobby

      Lu Ann is probably a female.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
      • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

        You're assuming Bootyfunk managed to make it past the headline before commenting.

        August 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
        • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

          But that's not to detract from the valid point.

          August 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          sounds like you're assuming i didn't. read the whole thing quickly. when i went to comment, didn't remember if the baby was a boy or girl. does it matter? making much ado about nothing. try staying on target.

          August 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  19. jasmine

    Hate to say it but this survey wont be accurate because people wont go to read the total story which is a link in fine print. Poorly done here CNN.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

      I read the full story, which is about 8 sentences longer than the summary, and I don't see how it changes anything.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
  20. Demigod Vadik, CA

    These RIGHT WING judges...who are "PRO FREEDOM"...tell you you cant name your kid what you want...

    ...I love right wingers...a hypocrisy a day keeps the God away...

    ...and what if this kid is really the next Messiah???...

    August 12, 2013 at 4:13 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.