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August 13th, 2013
09:09 PM ET

Name 'Messiah' would offend, judge says

By Marlena Baldacci, CNN

(CNN) –Young Messiah, the "happiest baby in the world," according to his mother, is blissfully unaware that a judge ruled that his birth name promises to offend many in his Tennessee community.

His mother, Jaleesa Martin, and father, Jawaan McCullough, who are not married, couldn't agree on a last name for their baby, now 7 months old. That's why they ended up in the courtroom of Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew.

But the judge shifted the attention to the baby's first name, and said it should be changed.

"She just plainly came out and said, 'I'm going to change his first name,' because she didn't like it," Martin told CNN's Chris Cuomo on New Day on Wednesday.

In her ruling, Ballew wrote: "'Messiah' is a title that is held only by Jesus Christ" and that naming him this "places an undue burden on him that as a human being, he cannot fulfill." Her ruling also noted the large Christian population in the Tennessee county where the child was born.

Speaking to CNN affiliate WBIR, Ballew, wearing earrings in the shape of a cross, said this was the first time she had ordered a name change.

Martin, whose family is Baptist, said there was no religious motivation behind her pick; rather she'd heard the name on one of her favorite TV shows and thought it'd be a good name for her son. She also wanted another "M" name to go with her other two sons, Mason and Micah.

CNN could not reach McCullough for comment.

The parents were given one hour to pick a new name, and Ballew told them that if they couldn't reach a decision then she would "give him the name that she wanted him to have," Martin said.

The judge's pick: Martin DeShawn McCullough.

Martin said that she'll keep calling her son Messiah and that she has heard from supporters all over the country. She's also upset about reports she is being attacked online as a bad mother.

The Tennessee American Civil Liberties Union is following the case, saying it supports Martin and calling the judge's ruling unacceptable.

"The bench is not a pulpit, and using it as one, as this judge did, violates the parents' rights and our sense that people of all faiths will be treated fairly in the courtroom," Executive Director Hedy Weinberg said.

According to U.S. Social Security Administration statistics, Messiah was the fourth-fastest growing name for boys in the United States from 2011 to 2012. It ranks at Number 387, between the decidedly traditional names Scott and Jay.

"I'm sorry that you have your own beliefs, but you have no right to change my child's name," Martin said of Ballew.

Ballew declined CNN's request for comment. Martin has appealed the court's decision; it will go before the Cocke County chancellor next month.

CNN's Matt Dellinger contributed to this story.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church and state • Courts • Jesus

soundoff (1,280 Responses)
  1. Roxanne

    I don't care for the name myself, but naming a child is a right of the parents. She should keep her religion to herself and if she's placing her own personal religious beliefs on others - in her role as a servant to the people - than she should be removed from the position.

    August 15, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
  2. Austin

    i have a spiritual gift that is proof of the Holy Spirit.

    this type of thing I believe, would not present Himself through me to you because then He would be tarnishing His reputation with my downward style.

    I don't represent God, i only admit that His spirit is supernatural.

    This you can experience for your own self. and that is how God saves individuals, with a permanent seal of authority.

    This is not a mechanical exercise.

    He is risen.

    August 15, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • rick

      you have hallucinations due to poisoning yourself with alcohol, then poisoning yourself with christianity

      August 15, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
  3. mickeyg

    In the Old Testament, the Messiah was an imaginary savior that was to come, at some time in the future, to rule over and be king of the Jewish people. Jesus is referred to as King of the Jews. The Jewish people do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. More than 600 years before Jesus, Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, was called Messiah, in the Old Testament. Clearly Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew, is an uneducated, religious nut.

    August 15, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  4. mickeyg

    Justice would be done if this judge looses her next election, and it could be demonstrated that her loss was based upon this asinine, religiously-based decision.

    August 15, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  5. Terri

    Lame judge, we don't live in a theocracy. Get over yourself.

    August 15, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  6. neastsider

    It's no one elses business what the family decides to name their child, the judge is way off base on this.

    August 15, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  7. Fubarack

    What about the many others with that name, do they have to change it also? Is it legal to have different rules for different people?

    August 15, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  8. Alex

    I think its a great name and for this judge to thing its her job to name this child, WRONG. They need to change this, the judge didn't birth that child. I've seen kids with all kinds of stupid names yet no one cared. Sue and get paid then teach Messiah that this is America, land of the free.

    August 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  9. Austin

    People have evidence of God because God is a personal God.

    The Holy Spirit is a sanctifying spirit that bears the truth of Gods word supernaturally.

    Dont listen to anyone who hates God for a hobby, talk about truth.

    Because of the freedom of speech, men have a license to lie out of the darkness of their heart.

    Deception is a Satanic war.

    August 15, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "People have evidence of God because God is a personal God." Personal evidence of a personal God. If no public evidence can be found then it proves that the personal God you serve is really just you. All your personal hopes and dreams, desires and fears, failures and successes are all bundled together to create the amalgam you call God. What I find so funny about it is that most religious persons who pray in their head to their version of God point the finger at atheists and say "You think you are your own God! How crazy!" when they just got done praying to their own head.

      August 15, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • sunny

      Because of freedom of speech, you are allowed to leave a comment about your love for your God.

      August 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
      • Austin

        no i could do that without the freedom speech. I guess any one with a mouth can say something.

        thats because we have absolute freedom from God, which organizations and rivals are at war with.

        The war is not on our door steps yet.

        August 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          The constitution guarantees freedom of speech. I'm not entirely sure what you're saying there; do you think that you do not need to follow the law of the land if you feel that it is in conflict with your interpretation of your religious texts ?

          August 15, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • Hey! You!

      What you see as truth, I see as your opinion. And as such both are irrelevant in this ruling.

      August 15, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
      • Austin

        what is relevant then? if one us is right?

        August 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • MsJ

        Tell the truth "Hey! You!” The majority of the comments here including the reporter adding that she's an unwed mother of 3 boys have absolutely NOTHING to do with the topic. Her education or lack thereof, the additional number of children, where she lives, etc. have absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact that the judge was so obviously wrong, in appropriate, disrespectful and did I say WRONG, spewing the same ignorance as the judge. Stepping down from such a HIGH soap box could be dangerous to those who are speaking on those things not specific to the topic...'Messiah' would offend, judge says. Give people access to the internet and an opportunity to speak and ignorance steps forth out of those very ignorant & so highly educated people.

        August 15, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Maddy

      And, as usual, "the devil made me do it" is the standard Christian apology. Was this nitwit judge under "Satanic deception"?

      August 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • sam stone

      have another drink, squashkitty

      August 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  10. flying spaghetti monster

    Hey xtians: what's the difference between ms. Laney here, and your ol' pal Abraham?

    "Laney woke up from bed one night in May 2003 and took Joshua to the yard of her home in New Chapel Hill, Texas where she lifted a huge rock over her head and brought it down with all her strength against his skull, killing him. She did the same thing with Luke. Later on, she tried to kill her youngest son, 14-month-old Aaron, in the same way. He survived, but suffered severe head injuries.

    During the investigation, Laney claimed God ordered her to bash in her sons' heads. Laney is a member of an Assemblies of God church, where she sang in the choir. A year earlier, she had told her fellow churchgoers that the world was coming to an end and that God had told her to get her house in order. Later on, she told a psychiatrist that she hoped she and Andrea Yates would end up working together as God's only witnesses at the end of the world."

    August 15, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

      OK, I'll play, "Who's there" (KK joke)

      August 15, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
      • flying spaghetti monster

        You find something amusing about a woman murdering her children on god's say-so?

        August 15, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
        • Akira

          Lol?? doesn't mind if it's done in the name of God. After all, the kids were already born. They don't count.

          August 15, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
      • Maddy

        Are trolls pithy?
        Whoever said you were pithy at all, let alone the "pithiest", doesn't know what pithy means. It appears you don't either, as your posts do not suggest a point at all, other than total nonsense. I suggest you stop using that in your moniker, as it just shows how uneducated you are when you post your bs underneath it.

        August 15, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
  11. Jan

    "Messiah: Anglicization of the Hebrew, "mashiach" (anointed). A man who will be chosen by G-d to put an end to all evil in the world" What a very ambitious, hopeful, loving name to choose for one's son! Sure it may lead to some people reacting negatively. The same is true of other names as well, since folks have prejudices related to many names. That does not give the government (as represented by this one judge) the legal authority to usurp naming rights of a child from the child's parent/legal guardian.

    August 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  12. Bill RIchardson

    Why don't they just combine their names and then add the obligatory ethnic touch. Thus, his name should be Jalajawan Franklin Delano Roosevelt McCullough.

    August 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Akira

      Or the judge can do her job correctly and focus on the child's last name, which was in dispute, instead of arbitrarily changing his first name, which wasn't.

      August 15, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • Jan

        Amen!

        August 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  13. James CC Jr

    The woman only heard of the word Messiah recently from TV. Talk about uneducated, and no wonder she doesn't realize the implications of naming a child this. The judge is wrong to an "Messiah" is a concept, and not related strictly to Jesus Christ.

    They are both uneducated in my eyes.

    I feel sorry for the dumpster full of teasing this poor boy is going to get in school, on top of it all. I know my Class of 83 would've absolutely tormented anyone with such a pretentious name.

    August 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • J.R.

      All this post has proven is that your Class of '83 were just as pretentious as what you claimed this name is supposed to be, and bullying is ageless.
      You do not appear to be very educated yourself.

      August 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  14. Adam Legget

    I'm pretty sure Lu Ann Bellew is the same person who messed up my sandwich order at Wendy's for lunch.

    August 15, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Akira

      Ballew is slightly more qualified to work at Wendy's than she is being a magistrate, if this ruling is and indication.

      August 15, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • sam

      She keeps renaming all the menu items, so now it's impossible to even know what you're ordering.

      August 15, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • NotAllUs

      I said I wanted a Big Mac.

      Sorry, all we have are Martin Bigs

      August 15, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  15. chris

    So Most of us seem to agree here but would anyone of us actually try to do anything about it? If so, here is the website for TN offices... complain! http://www.tncourts.gov/courts/juvenile-family-courts/judges/lu-ann-ballew

    August 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • chris

      Here is her (Lu Ann's) phone number (office not home). Call and complain. Phone: (865) 397-2786

      August 15, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        So what did she say when you called her?

        August 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
        • chris

          so funny you asked... so on the website every single official has a picture, a phone number and a email.... NOT Lu Anne. they have simply her name and a PO Box! Ha! Looks like she is already getting the treatment she deserves. The phone is a general number for the Jefferson County Court and doesn't let you get to her specifically. I tried though!

          August 15, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        I don't have to complain. Any higher court will overturn this decision on appeal.

        August 15, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  16. Allan Howard

    Funny there is a rapper named IT and he named his son Messiah 17 years ago no one stepped in to change his name. What gives this judge the right to interfere in private lives?

    August 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      There is nothing funny about a rapper called IT...

      August 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
  17. hharri

    Did someone say there is no evidence for god?

    August 15, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Of course, since there isn't.

      August 15, 2013 at 11:49 am |
      • Mark from Middle River

        Strangely, there is no evidence for there not being a God or Gods as well. Just both sides hoping and believing that they are right. 🙂

        August 15, 2013 at 11:56 am |
        • Johnny

          No evidence is exactly what you would expect to find for an imaginary character from a 2000 year old book.

          August 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Incorrect. There aren't two sides.

          I am looking for the truth. I am not filling in the blanks with belief. It is true there is no evidence one way or the other. We do not know. The god hypothesis is just one of an infinite number of possibilities, though there is a higher probability for many other hypotheses and theories.

          One thing is certain, the god of the bible is as false as the bible itself. Too many parts have been proven false.
          If there is a god or gods, it certainly will bear little resemblence to the bibles version.

          August 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
        • ME II

          @Mark from Middle River,
          Certainly there is evidence that much of the world, or the phenomena we experience, functions without the need for a god, in fact nothing we have found so far specifically requires a god.
          While there are certainly gaps in our knowledge that might possibly entail a god, none have been shown to require one, yet.

          August 15, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
        • chris

          No there is not evidence. That is why it is faith, not fact. Hence The "absence" of prove. What is confusing?

          August 15, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
        • chris

          Wrong, the evidence for not being a God is in the PROOF that all of this miraculous, God-caused things, can be related back to and explined by science, ie. creation of "Man", evolution, creation of the universe, age of the planet, Snakes don't talk and warn about poisoned apples, evidence that there has never been a flood that covered the earth (Noah), Dinosaurs did not live with people, Men don't die and then resurect, woman can't get pregnant as Virgins... should I continue? this is what we call proof. Give me just one example, not even of proof, but even a sound theory, otherwise your Bible is just another fairytail we learn when we are young b/c if we were taught it initially as adults we would all laugh at it.

          August 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • sam stone

        mark: why would you find it strange there is no evidence that no god exists? do you find it strange that there is no evidence that there is no squirrel driving a miniature buick around saturn, singing "does your chewing gum lose it's flavor on the bedpost overnight"?

        August 15, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • ME II

      Yes, I'm not aware of any evidence for god.

      August 15, 2013 at 11:54 am |
      • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

        You will be judged for being deceitful and smug about it.

        "Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them."

        August 15, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
      • ME II

        @lol...,
        "You will be judged for being deceitful and smug about it."

        Who said I was being deceitful and smug? Are you judging me?

        August 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
        • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

          The scripture does. Standard Christian doctrine.

          August 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • ME II

          Circular logic.
          You have been shown the evidence because the Bible says so which is accurate because the Bible says so which is....

          August 15, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

          wiki,

          "............Circular reasoning (also known as paradoxical thinking[1] or circular logic), is a logical fallacy in which "the reasoner begins with what he or she is trying to end up with".[2] The individual components of a circular argument will sometimes be logically valid because if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true, and will not lack relevance...."

          My logic or false logic, according to you, is irrelevant.

          August 15, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
        • ME II

          @lol??...,
          Please finish the quote:

          "Circular reasoning (also known as paradoxical thinking[1] or circular logic), is a logical fallacy in which "the reasoner begins with what he or she is trying to end up with".[2] The individual components of a circular argument will sometimes be logically valid because if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true, and will not lack relevance. Circular logic cannot prove a conclusion because, if the conclusion is doubted, the premise which leads to it will also be doubted.[3] "

          August 15, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Me II
          You truly must be bored if you are actively engaging lolcats. Go take a walk around the neighborhood, read a book, watch tv, anything but that.

          August 15, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
        • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

          Again, I showed the fallacy of using human logic. all by it's itty bitty self, to come to any conclusion regarding God or scripture. Wiki showed that circular reasoning can be true or false, according to the JUDGMENT OF THE HEARER. Human logic is a closed system and not realistic.

          "Isa 55:8 For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD."

          Using opened ended scientific laws, assumptions, dreams, frauds, and modern myth makin' is not new. Your logic or science can't fix your problem.

          Dad, "Son, for the last time,take out the garbage"
          Son, "Don't want to now. Why now?"
          Dad, "Cause I said so"
          Son, "That'as not logical. It's circular reasoning!"
          Dad, "GGGgggrrr, tough."

          It's your judgment. Quit pretending it's better than joe blow's.

          August 15, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
        • ME II

          @lol??...,
          "I showed the fallacy of using human logic."

          Logic is logic and not subject to the whims of the being using it, similar to math.

          "Wiki showed that circular reasoning can be true or false, according to the JUDGMENT OF THE HEARER."

          Wow, how did you come up with that? The wiki quote did not say that the truth or falsity of a claim was "according to the JUDGMENT OF THE HEARER", it said that circular logic cannot be used to prove a conclustion true. In other words, whether a conclustion is true or not, depends on something other than circular logic.

          The one valid point you could make is that circular logic, as with most logical fallacies, does not prove a conclusion false, it simply fails to prove that it is true.

          Also, the Dad in your story wasn't attempting to make a "logical" argument, He was simply telling his son what to do. Now, if he'd gone into the logic of why he had the authority to tell his son what to do, then that might be a logical argument.

          @Richard Cranium,
          Yes, I'm sure you're right.

          August 16, 2013 at 10:28 am |
        • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

          ME II, fiinish my quote, "......................to any conclusion regarding God or scripture........................"

          Like I said before using "human logic" is an inappropriate argument for or against God and scripture. Your human logic "rules" are antichrist from the get-go by applying the "Fallacious appeal to authority" rule. Jesus taught His followers to appeal to the Father, the original authority. Ever heard of the "Lord's prayer"??
          You didn't apply this rule to yourself when you tried to build yer consensus with skytag.

          Applying the usage of a "scientific fact" to negate scripture is equally absurd. Scientific facts or truth are never the final word .The definition itself gives science wiggle room.
          But if it feels gud??

          August 16, 2013 at 11:33 am |
        • ME II

          @lol??...,
          "finish my quote..."

          Fair enough, I didn't quote you fully. However I would, say that my point still stands, in that "human logic" is no different that any other logic. If you cannot use it "to come to any conclusion regarding God or scripture," then you can't use logic at all, which means, I think, that your argument rests on faith and faith alone.

          "Applying the usage of a 'scientific fact' to negate scripture is equally absurd. Scientific facts or truth are never the final word ."

          I disagree. While science cannot be used to *prove* the non-existence of something, science being primarily inductive, it can and does disprove specific facts asserted by your scripture. If your scripture rests on all facts being accurate, then disproving any fact would seem to "negate" your scripture.

          August 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      you claimed there was "abundant,plentiful and convincing" evidence for a god. when asked to provide it, you, like other pious bloggers, ran like a coward. you are a coward, aren't you? why else would you allow someone else to take the punishment you feel you deserve?

      August 15, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  18. skytag

    If the kid actually ended up with the name Martin and decided at some point to change his last time to his mother's last name his name would be Martin Martin. 🙄

    August 15, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  19. skytag

    I'm much more concerned about the effect of growing up with a poorly educated mother than any particular name. I watched the interview with her, and while she's attractive, seemed nice enough, and is probably a good mom, every time she spoke she sounded like she was home-schooled in the backwoods of Tennessee.

    August 15, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • chris

      Really? Thats what you are taking out of this? Let me guess.... Christian? Southern? White? Just sayin....

      August 15, 2013 at 11:36 am |
      • skytag

        More like "just attacking." Did you have a point? Can you remember what it was?

        August 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
        • Linda

          You Skytag. You sound like a stupid backasswards uneducated person. So go crawl back into your hole.

          August 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • skytag

          @Linda: "You Skytag. You sound like a stupid backasswards uneducated person. So go crawl back into your hole."

          You sound like someone whose parents should have taught you how to behave in public and how to disagree with someone civilly. Such childish attacks only make you look bad and your parents look like failures, though those aren't issues for me since I'm not one of them.

          If I were you I wouldn't trust what people "sound like" given that my IQ is well above average, I have multiple degrees, and own a business I started. You just made a fool of yourself. Feel better now?

          August 15, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Ebony Hollister

      Being poorly educated, if she is, does not preclude her being a good mother. Many highly educated women do not necessarily make good mothers. You should be ashamed of yourself for assuming. If she is poorly educated, she will probably make sure her son is well educated. Mothers usually want better for their children than they had themselves. However, you are probably sterile and wouldn't know that.

      August 15, 2013 at 11:39 am |
      • skytag

        "Being poorly educated, if she is, does not preclude her being a good mother."

        I never said otherwise. In fact, I said "is probably a good mom." Do you have reading comprehension issues?

        "Many highly educated women do not necessarily make good mothers."

        Non sequitur.

        "You should be ashamed of yourself for assuming."

        Feel free to point out any assumptions in my comment. Perhaps you are the one assuming and are the one who should be assumed.

        "If she is poorly educated, she will probably make sure her son is well educated."

        Speaking of assuming. Maybe you don't know what the word assume means. There were no assumptions in my comment, but your use of the word "probably" clearly indicates an assumption, one with no evidence or data to support it.

        "Mothers usually want better for their children than they had themselves."

        And this is true irrespective of the educational level. This does not change the fact that speaking statistically (instead of emotionally and irrationally as you have), the single best predictor of a child's performance in school is the educational level of his parents. That means the child with educated parents who want better for their children has an advantage over the child with poorly educated parents who want better for their children.

        "However, you are probably sterile and wouldn't know that."

        I have to wonder what kind of mother raised you to be the kind of person who engages in such immature personal attacks. You do realize, I hope, that such comments make you and her look bad, not me. And for the record, I have three children. All are college graduates, and one is working on her Ph.D. thesis. If you mother is still alive you should call her and apologize for making her look like a failure. Are we done here?

        August 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • skytag

          That should be "and are the one who should be ashamed."

          August 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • thomas

          Oh I see that I HAVE struck a nerve!!! All of your retorts are illogical, just trying to mask the insecurity which is screaming off the page. Your "I know you are but what am I?" response is right off the third grade playground. And your only other response- which is to insult commenter's parents- is also from the third grade. For a minute, I thought you had actual thoughts, but now I see you really are a troll.

          August 15, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          more cut and post from thomas. His reply doesn't even fit with what was said, here or the other places he has posted this.

          August 15, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      I speak with a strong accent and use colloquial language in my general speech. It doesn't mean I'm uneducated.

      August 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        What is your accent?

        August 15, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Pacific Northwest.

          August 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I know it's not exactly Cajun strength, but I have a strong Canadian inflection.

          August 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          That just got me thinking, is there a stronger accent than Cajun? I can't think of one.

          August 15, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
        • Sara

          Everyone has a strong accent by definition...I have never heard any association made between pacific northwest accents and lack of education. I lived many years across the pacific northwest and the accents are pretty close to standard US (midwest based television reporting) English. And on the coast in the northwest so many are recent arrivals there isn't a very consistent accent.

          August 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          OK, maybe mine was a bad example, as it's generally strong Southern accents people associate with lack of education. Either way, using anybody's accent as an indicator of their level of education is ridiculous.

          August 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

          A Pithy accent from the practice of Pithyism trumps all.

          August 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
      • Sara

        While no accent guarantees education or lack of it, certain accents do correlate with certain levels of education, just as certain clothing does. Whether or not she is educated, however, doesn't mean that much in her parenting skills and she still like many without much formal education may be a great mother. I'd be more concerned about her choice to bring a third baby into the world (educated or not), particularly as a single parent, though it's possible she has a larger support system that I don't know of. Note that I think it's pretty selfish for anyone to have three kids in this day and age.

        August 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Not if they completely support them financially, in my opinion.

          August 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
        • Sara

          No matter how completely you support your kids financially (which means private schools or contributing more than the $14,000 per year per kid in taxes for public schools and enough to make up for tax breaks) every additional person is trashing the planet, wuite possibly irreparably. We need something approaching replacement to avoid economic collapse and worse disaster, but the lower the better.

          August 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Climate change is happening whether we like it or not. Are we accelerating the process? Sure. Can we do anything to stop it? I doubt it. Our best plan of action now would be to focus on how to deal with climate change once it arrives in force, instead of the current futile attempts to stop it from happening.

          Replace what?

          August 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

          "................in this day and age.............."

          What day and age is this?? PC.mob controlled, of course??

          August 15, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
        • Sara

          Dave, the best plan of action is to do both.

          August 15, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Well, attempts to stop it are only prolonging the inevitable.

          August 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

          I've heard the T*itanic (named after who??) might not have sunk if they hit the berg straight on.

          August 15, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        • skytag

          "Note that I think it's pretty selfish for anyone to have three kids in this day and age."

          Given the sacrifices required to raise a child I can't understand this line of thinking. On the contrary, the more selfish choice is to not have kids or only have one or two because you don't want them impacting on your lifestyle or you want them out of the house by the time you're 40.

          August 15, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • skytag

          Dave, climate change is only one aspect of this. We're polluting our oceans, destroying rain forests, changing ecological environments by damming rivers, causing the extinction of animal species, and so on.

          August 15, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
        • Sara

          skytag, "Given the sacrifices required to raise a child I can't understand this line of thinking. On the contrary, the more selfish choice is to not have kids or only have one or two because you don't want them impacting on your lifestyle or you want them out of the house by the time you're 40."

          You are assuming that that is the reason people don't have kids or have few, when the majority of people I know who limit their number of children or adopt or foster do so at least in part for society and the environment. And even if people had this as a motivation it would only be "selfish" if you thought having the kids was benefitting society or birthing waiting spirits or something.

          But really I find arguing about this like talking to religious fanatics or "free will" believers or environmental disaster deniers. It's pretty clear and straight forward and people who don't want to accept the realities usually don't want to either because they already have popped out the kids, they want to, or they are hooked on some "freedom" religion.

          August 15, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
        • skytag

          @Sara: "And even if people had this as a motivation it would only be "selfish" if you thought having the kids was benefitting society"

          In practice the people who severely limit the number of children they have tend to be the more successful, productive members of society, the kind of people who understand the consequences of unrestricted population growth and so on. It's their kids who will be benefitting society, likely more so than this woman's three (so far) kids. I know that sounds horribly judgmental and all, but that's just reality.

          "It's pretty clear and straight forward and people who don't want to accept the realities usually don't want to either because they already have popped out the kids, they want to, or they are hooked on some "freedom" religion."

          I understand, and I am on your side. At the same time, I have concerns about the fact that the best and brightest among us are often contributing the least to our future in terms of those who will mold it and run things.

          August 15, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
      • skytag

        "Either way, using anybody's accent as an indicator of their level of education is ridiculous."

        I agree, but my comment wasn't based on her accent. It was based on a poor command of English, and given where she lives I would not expect her to have attended particularly good schools, or be very well educated. Cocke County where she lives is a rural area with only two cities. The county seat Newport has a population of 7,200 and the other town, Parrottsville, has a population of 263. Only 73% of county residents graduated from high school, and only 8% have a college degree, one-third the Tennessee state average and less than one-third the U.S. average of 31%

        You folks can attack me all you want, but the best single predictor of a child's academic performance is the educational level of his parents. Obviously that's not a infallible predictor, but I'm not given to ignoring reality just because it may make some people feel uncomfortable.

        Blacks in this country face at uphill battle at best. Surveys show that across pretty much all demographics they are viewed as less intelligent and less trustworthy than their white counterparts. A black male growing up in an area with such low educational indicators faces some real obstacles, even if that reality offends people when I express it.

        As an aside, I don't know enough about the area to know how it will affect him that less than 2% of the population of Christianocke County is black. There's at least one white woman in the area who thinks it's her place to decide what a black baby's name should be.

        I would also point out that right or wrong, a person's accent can affect people's perception of him and the opportunities available to him. I've never heard a president, a member of Congress, a governor, a CEO of a major corporation, a doctor, a lawyer, a college professor or any other professional talk the way this woman talks. You might be able get ahead in your own little corner of the world talking like a backwoods hick, but if you want the full range of opportunities in this country available to you it's in your best interest to learn how to speak in a way that doesn't cause people to focus on your bad grammar instead of your ideas. If these truths offend you, so be it. Don't shoot the messenger.

        August 15, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • Sara

          I know parents who moved to an area with low education and a backwards stereotype. When they heard the accents their kids were growing up with they picked up and moved. It makes a huge difference and has been intensively studied. Most kids will largely drop the risky accent in college, though in some cases it helps to maintain just enough to keep one's regional or ethnic ident ity.

          August 15, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • thomas

          The messenger in this case should be called out. She is a pedantic self-rightious blowhard impressed with her own opinions. The 'truths" written are local opinions based on her own upbringing and class. She seems to think that everyone should be like her, or at least as smart and successful as she is. Maybe she is all that she brags about. I wonder though, why she feels it necessary to be the messenger of "truths" that come across as haughty and totally lacking compassion. Could it be a deep insecurity about herself?

          August 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
        • skytag

          @thomas: Classic ad hominem response. You offer nothing but baseless insults and unwarranted personal attacks while offering nothing to show where any of my reasoning is invalid. Apparently I struck some kind of nerve with you, some kind of deep insecurity of your own perhaps? What kind of mother raises a person to act as you just did in posting such vitriol about someone you don't know?

          My comment was rational and supported by facts and statistics. If reality bothers you so much perhaps counseling is in order. For sure these kinds of ridiculous, baseless personal attacks won't silence me.

          August 15, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Jan

      You have no basis to determine whether the mother is "poorly educated" or not; only that she is not well educated in the particular sorts of thing by which you judge a person's education. For all you know, she has a great wealth of learning to share with her children, and there are other sources for exposing kids to the kind of "education" that you happen to recognize and value as making a person "educated."

      August 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
      • skytag

        Sorry, but given where she lives, the fact that she had a third child while not married, in addition to the way she talks I have no reason to believe this woman has a wealth of anything to pass on.

        August 15, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
        • thomas

          Maybe you should try to build a new Eugenics movement, you judgmental pendantic troll.

          August 15, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • skytag

          @thomas: "Maybe you should try to build a new Eugenics movement, you judgmental pendantic troll."

          I'm just curious. Was it your mother or your father who taught you to talk this way to total strangers? You did have parents, right?

          August 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
      • mickeyg

        If anyone is to be labeled " poorly educated " i n this scenario, it is the magistrate.

        August 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • skytag

          Well, she's probably from the same area, so no surprise there.

          August 15, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  20. imcalling

    BS on this one. Let them name their child what they want. Freaking government intervention into everything.

    August 15, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • skytag

      It's not really fair to call this government intervention since this is just the action of one misguided woman acting on her own.

      August 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
      • thomas

        Oh I see that I HAVE struck a nerve!!! All of your retorts are illogical, just trying to mask the insecurity which is screaming off the page. Your "I know you are but what am I?" response is right off the third grade playground. And your only other response- which is to insult commenter's parents- is also from the third grade. For a minute, I thought you had actual thoughts, but now I see you really are a troll.

        August 15, 2013 at 4:41 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.