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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. Reality

    Simply more credence to the following: (only for the new members of this blog)

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter or Messiah i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  2. Joe

    You can name your child whatever you want to.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  3. WasteTimeAndGetFired

    Actually, there were many "messiahs" in the Bible. It means "anointed." Read the books of Samuel and Kings. You'll find many references to "The Lord's Anointed." In the original Hebrew, it's the same word we have rendered "Messiah."

    August 12, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • G to the T

      THANK YOU! I was beginning to think I was the only one that noticed that. Her decision was wrong on SO many fronts

      August 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  4. Which direction?

    Q. How do you keep "Yankees" from buying up all the good lake-front property in Tennessee?
    A.Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew

    Yankee response: Nice try Judge Ballew, but we loves us some BBQ!

    August 12, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  5. Lee

    Wow! For once, I cannot decide which side is more ignorant....the parents desperate to attach their son's name to a fictional zombie worshipped by billions or the female judge that's actually elevated her opinion to that of her own supernatural caretaker. I mean she actually said "Jesus Christ" like "Christ" was some last name he picked out. Like 'Christ' was actually a name what he went by in his time!
    And Judge Lu Ann (I guess that 'king of the hill' character wasn't too far off) please tell, is it okay for a baby to born named 'Jesus'....did you just decide 'Messiah' is off the table?
    Judge Lu Ann Ballew, you should be ashamed of the low educational standards you were clearly born in and could not rise out of. Shame on all of you Christians who reject education!

    August 12, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • mynameisntmediumcoffee

      You needn't address the judge by name. She's not reading this. I

      August 13, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  6. Ray

    I think the parents made a bad choice of name but the judge has no say in this matter.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  7. Thought Purification

    hey it's South, are you really surprised with the Judge's ruling?

    August 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  8. Ellen

    And this makes the news how????????????? Who gives a rats ass!

    August 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  9. Richard Cranium

    A clear case of a judge overstepping his legal authority. Grounds for disbarment as he will not be able to find any legal grounds by which he came to the decision, and citing his religion is a slap in the face to the const!tution.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  10. everybody's green

    the judge not only can not do that in this free country, she needs to be disbarred. Its an over reach and its not in the spirit of separation of powers. – a family court elected judge no doubt.

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

    The word Messiah is a transliterated Hebrew word meaning 'anointed one'. It was normally applied to Kings or Priests, but could apply to anyone who is anointed, normally with olive oil. It has no particular religious meaning. Restricting such a word would be as silly an inapplicable as restricting names such as Hope, Miller, Smith or even my name, which means 'Lion Heart'

    August 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  12. Lynn

    When this case is appealed, and overturned, this judge needs to be billed for all charges!

    August 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

      How 'bout the SA in the zimmerman case??

      August 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  13. Doc Vestibule

    He's not Messiah!
    He's a very naughty boy!

    August 12, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yes, too bad the judge didn't suggest "Brian".

      August 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  14. Rob

    I have more of a problem with a judge using religious bias to make her ruling. Judges are supposed to be impartial – this means free from religious influence as much as anything else.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
  15. Links2

    Very silly and ridiculous. What right does any judge, or any person for that matter, have to tell me or anybody what I can or can't name my child. Or name myself? That judge should be removed from his post.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • Hey! You!

      The judge is a woman. Watch the video, religious figurines on her desk, 'cross' earrings. It's her right to be religious, it is not her right to force it on others.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
      • ViK100

        This is why we have laws and governments... people can't govern themselves.. they need to be govern or they do plenty of stupid things.

        August 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
        • Hey! You!

          "Goverment of the people, by the people, for the people"

          August 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

      Gubmint rights are just an extension of your rights.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  16. Jeremiah

    Jesus Shmesus....... A parent should be able to name there kid anything they want. But they should remember that the kid has to live with it. I see nothing wrong with Messiah. It's a word, it's not offensive, or crude. Parents name their kids Jesus, why not Messiah? And for those of us with some sense, and don't believe all that mumbo jumbo, why not Darwin?

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

      Their, not there.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  17. Khayla

    But they can be named Jesus?

    August 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Athy

      And how! That's the name of one of my gardeners, my handyman/painter, and my cleaning lady's husband. It's a very common name here in So Cal.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  18. snowboarder

    i would tell the judge to bite me. it is not within her authority.

    August 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  19. JJ

    If only every Muslim male wasn't named Mohammed.

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

      Ah, how true. In that culture, you can honor your prophet. This also demonstrates why this won't stand up at appeal.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  20. Feekoningin

    The judge has overreached her authority in this matter in two ways. First, the parents were there only to settle the dispute about the child's last name. The first name was never in question and should have been alone. Second, the judge's decision violated the First Amendment in two ways. The ruling violated their right to free speech, and it violated the separation of church and state. regardless of how tasteless the name may be to some, the parents had every right to name their baby "Messiah." I think a judge would be hard pressed to change anyone's name just on principle. At best, a judge could get away with it if there were evidence that the child would suffer, like if it were named Adolph or Lucifer. But even then, there would have the be demonstration of actual, not theoretical suffering attached to those names.

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

      Welcome to the Christian theocracy.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:29 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.