August 14th, 2013
08:25 AM ET

Granderson: A boy named 'Messiah'?

Opinion by LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor

(CNN) - I once met a mother who named her newborn daughter Kia Sophia.

Yes, like the car.

Apparently she had one and liked it so much that she wanted to be reminded of it each time she said her baby's name.

As we stood there, I could tell this was something she was very proud of, and so I tried my best not to look embarrassed for her.

Besides, who was I to judge? I'm named after a useless, deadbeat father. At least the car had resale value.

Read LZ Granderson's full commentary here

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church and state • Courts • Opinion

soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. ronvan

    YES, I totally agree that this judge?, was following her personal feelings & not the law! YES, I beleive that the mother was true in her heart by choosing this name, BUT did she really think of the child? IF you think that a name like messiah is not going to affect this child, throughout his life, you are lost! YES, I agree that many of these "parents"? are coming up with some real crazy names in todays world!

    August 18, 2013 at 6:09 am |
  2. ronvan

    YES, I totally agree that this judge?, was following her personal feelings & not the law! YES, I beleive that the mother was true in her heart by choosing this name, BUT

    August 18, 2013 at 6:03 am |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    August 16, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
  4. Julia

    up to I looked at the paycheck ov $4207, I have faith that...my... brother woz like they say realie erning money part-time from there pretty old laptop.. there neighbour has been doing this 4 only about 21 months and just now took care of the depts on there appartment and got a brand new Audi Quattro. read more at,....................miniurl.com/dv2f

    August 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  5. Jeshua

    :/ why?

    August 16, 2013 at 5:57 am |
  6. zippy

    Clearly the judge enforced her personal beliefs, not the law.
    I kind of feel sorry for the kid, but as a Christian, the name is not offensive.
    It's no different than naming a kid "Jesus" or "Emmanuel", although burdening a person with the name "Messiah" is a bit on the ridiculous side.
    But again, no more ridiculous than "Moxy Crime Fighter" or "Moon Unit".

    August 15, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • skytag

      Although it's not a very common name, it's not unique. It may not cause the problems some people are worried it will cause.

      August 15, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Eddie VanHalen and Valerie Bertinelli named their son Wolfgang.

      August 15, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
  7. skytag

    Dear CNN Religion Blog people,

    Please find someone to write an interesting about religion. This is the third Religion Blog piece on this one story about one religious zealot in Tennessee. Time to move on here.

    August 15, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Sara

      It still beats the 10th pope story.

      August 15, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • 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 6:15 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        How was that retort illogical exactly?
        Btw: CNN does have a way for you to contact them directly if you want to whine about an article that they didn't force you to read after noticing similar stories about it.

        August 15, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
      • skytag

        You are clearly emotionally troubled and very angry. Not my fault, not my problem, and no one here is qualified to provide the therapy you clearly need, even if that were the purpose of this forum, which it is not. If you want to waste your time trying to bully me with such emotionally immature tirades it's your time to waste, but it won't have any affect on me.

        If people behave badly, as you have, why shouldn't I blame their parents? Weren't your parents responsible for teaching you how to behave in public, how to interact with strangers, how to disagree civilly? If you don't want your parents to look bad then always keep in mind the fact that your behavior reflects on them. If you don't like that fact of life, well, too bad, because you can't change it.

        August 15, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
  8. guest

    I know that many people associate “Messiah” with the Christian Bible, but this is a word meaning: “an anointed one”, or “to anoint”, so, technically, what does that have to do with anything? The name: “Jesus”, is very often used as a name for boys, and it is closer to being more Biblical, it means: “Yahweh (God’s name) is salvation”. I believe this judge over-stepped her authority, but judges are always doing that, or not using their authority as they should, it leads me to wonder how such persons ever got to be a judge in the first place.

    August 15, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • Sara

      It doesn't just lead me to question whether she should have the job, but pretty much answers it. She is neither unbiased enough or educated enough to make legal decisions.

      August 15, 2013 at 8:35 am |
      • guest

        Sorry Sara, I tried to make a reply to your reply. but the (call it what ever) filter would not allow it even though there was no objectional language used.

        August 15, 2013 at 10:17 am |
        • Sara

          Oh, I have plenty of names for that filter, and none of them will get past it. Akira, I think it is, intermittently posts a script here to circ umvent it.

          August 15, 2013 at 10:20 am |
        • Akira

          Sorry, that's LinCA that does that. He posts a whole list of words that are a no-no to the filter. Wish I had it.
          The word that regularly gets rejected is "constitution", because it has t i t in it.

          August 15, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          There is a way outside of that to get around it.
          Excuse the way I type this but if I type it on a single line it will not go through:

          Put those all together and they will circumvent the word filter.

          August 15, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Let;s try this again using words: use the <, then type in the letter bee, the the right arrow, then the left arrow, then /, then the letter bee again, then the right arrow

          August 15, 2013 at 6:31 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 handy cap that is? Why not just cut off one of his arms, it would be less painful and less debilitating...

    August 14, 2013 at 11:23 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 11:38 pm |
    • skytag

      Don't you care about your parents? You're making them look bad.

      August 15, 2013 at 10:09 am |
      • thomas

        you're a rude person. a troll.

        August 15, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
        • skytag

          This is funny coming from you, one of the worst-tempered people posting here. LOL

          August 15, 2013 at 7:43 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 6:13 pm |
        • skytag

          "Oh I see that I HAVE struck a nerve!!!"

          Your delusions don't interest me. You're obviously not quite right in the head and I view all of your comment with that fact in mind, which means among other things you can't strike anything other than maybe the keys on your keyboard.

          "but now I see you really are a troll"


          August 15, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
      • thomas

        Oh boy this is great. I've got you going now. You simply CAN'T not attack. You have no self control or ability to address issues but can only toss pitiful inept insults.

        Let's see, you'll insult people's parents (welcome to the third grade) or call others "not right in the head" (because you can't face even minimal challenge) or call others uncivil (when virtually all of your comments are condescending put downs). Classic egomaniac: loves to spout off opinions and 'corrections'; can't take any criticism; knows only how to attack.

        Here is what you sound like (all quotes taken from your posts):

        Don't you care about your parents? You're making them look bad.
        You are clearly emotionally troubled and very angry.
        Weren't your parents responsible for teaching you how to behave in public?
        Did you have a point? Can you remember what it was?
        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?
        If you mother is still alive you should call her and apologize for making her look like a failure.
        What kind of mother raises a person to act as you just did in posting such vitriol about someone you don't know?
        I have no reason to believe this woman has a wealth of anything to pass on.
        Was it your mother or your father who taught you to talk this way to total strangers? You did have parents, right?

        At a minimum, these are defensive or sarcastic statements but it now seems to me you are playing out some serious issues with YOUR parents.

        August 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  10. Sam Yaza

    what about this one.


    August 14, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • Sara

      That was a sealed child welfare case on which the media was speculating. The case was actually about domestic violence, not about the names as the parents and media would have you believe.

      August 16, 2013 at 9:22 am |
  11. BrilliantIdiot

    There is nothing wrong with the name. Messiah is as perfect as can be. Like other posted that if Messiah is not good enough them Mathew, Mark, luke and John will be next. Jesus(Hey-sous), Joseph, Mary, Peter will be banned? What about people who surnames are Messiah. Will she order them to change that also.

    August 14, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  12. CommonSensed

    Idiot parents. Idiot judge. Idiotic situation costing taxpayers lots of money.

    August 14, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • skytag

      The judge is on salary so it's not really costing the tax payers anything extra.

      August 15, 2013 at 10:10 am |
      • Pithy

        The appeal process will. She is wasting everyone's time by ignoring the Constitution.

        August 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  13. Alias

    THIS is why we non-christians have to keep paying attention to what you people are up to.
    Your fictional bible should not dictate how other people live their lives on any level.

    August 14, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • mickeyg

      Amen !

      August 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  14. I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

    Kudos on the use of the word 'egregious'.

    August 14, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  15. fintastic

    The article should have been called " A Judge Named Dumba$$"

    August 14, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Idiotic Judge

      That just screams out to be made into a screenplay.

      August 14, 2013 at 10:48 am |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        Who are the actors that will play the staring rolls?

        August 14, 2013 at 10:48 am |
        • fintastic

          The judge played by Mama June...

          August 14, 2013 at 10:56 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that


          Laura Linney as The Judge
          Jada Smith as Jaleesa Martin
          Marlon Wayans as Messiah
          Daniel Day Lewis as Al Sharpton

          August 14, 2013 at 11:00 am |
        • AtheistSteve

          No no wait...the judge should be played by Sarah Palin.
          Or even better by Michele Bachmann.

          August 14, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
      • fintastic

        A made for TV movie at least.

        August 14, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  16. tallulah13

    Cultures change, and I suspect that by the time this young Messiah is an adult, the stigmas of names will be less a factor.

    It's obvious that many Americans have grown tired of the same old names and have chosen a different route. If names do prove to be an issue, then (as many posters have already commented) the child can simply use a different name or change the one they have when they are old enough.

    August 14, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Sara

      Agreed. No one remembers where most of the names we use today come from and it will be the same with this name one day. Besides, as someone pointed out, probably most kids couldn't even define messiah today. -Saraswati (I accidentally typed my short name last night and decided to leave it for a while)

      August 15, 2013 at 8:40 am |
  17. ME II

    Good article.

    "Maybe there's room for Messiahs and Kia Sophias at the top as well."

    As the article implied earlier, there is always room "at the top" for uniqueness. It's in the trenches, with the rest of us, that small differences can matter most, good and bad.

    August 14, 2013 at 9:47 am |
  18. Honey Badger Don't Care

    It doesn't matter that the name is stupid and so is the mother for trying to name her kid that. No matter how vapidly rediculous the idea is, she still has the right to ruin her childs life.

    The judge was wrong and this ruling is unconsti tutional.

    August 14, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • Sara

      Some names might reach the level of child abuse, suck as Pleasekickme Smith.

      August 14, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  19. wowzie

    Three articles in a row on the same subject matter, must be really an important matter for the world!!!

    Well, I am kinda disappointed that CNN did not have Don Lemon weigh in on this matter as yet, when is that going to happen CNN???

    August 14, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • bird is the word

      Don Lemon is still wearing his "Justice for Martin" t-shirt(the other Martin) not his one, when that wears out he will take on this one. 😉

      August 14, 2013 at 8:52 am |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Yes, I can't wait for the "Justice for Messiah" tee-shirt.

        August 14, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
      • mickeyg

        What are you talking about ? Trayvon got his justice.

        August 15, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • fintastic

      Any blatant violation of the consti_tution by someone in office is an "important matter"

      August 14, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Charlie

      hey drama queen-There is no violation of the const/tution.

      August 14, 2013 at 11:15 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Ummm, The First Amendment.

        August 14, 2013 at 11:18 am |
      • Charlie

        Which law was passed by congress establishing a...?

        August 14, 2013 at 11:20 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Well, this ruling could set a precedent (it won't though as it will certainly be overturned) that would allow judges to change people's names on the grounds of Judeo-Christian doctrine. That seems grossly against The Establishment Clause to me.

          August 14, 2013 at 11:25 am |
        • skytag

          I hope for your sake you have enough sense to realize the 1st Amendment is applied more broadly than just the establishment of a religion. I wish for our sake you'd go troll somewhere else.

          August 15, 2013 at 10:14 am |
      • Charlie

        An arbiter decided upon a case that came to her with a dispute as to a name.Based on her best judgment, the judge ruled what was in the best interest of the child. No law was passed as a result of this case.

        August 14, 2013 at 11:23 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Legal precedent.

          August 14, 2013 at 11:25 am |
        • Charlie

          Legal precedents are not laws

          August 14, 2013 at 11:29 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          They act as the basis for subsequent legal decisions. Legal decisions should not be formulated by Biblical doctrine.

          August 14, 2013 at 11:34 am |
        • Charlie

          Legal precedents are only secondary in judicial decisions, what matters is the law itself. There was no law passed as a result of this.

          August 14, 2013 at 11:38 am |
        • Judge Mama June

          So let me get this strauight, since a judges descision has nothing to do with passing a law, her ruling is justified even if it contradicts consit-uitional law?

          August 14, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • truthprevails1

          The issue here is:
          a) The case before her had nothing to do with the first name. It was strictly to decide if the babe would take his Mother or Father's surname.
          b) Separation of Church and State applies to EVERY citizen of the country. The second she brought her own personal religious views in to this is when she violated this couples rights.
          This judge has not come out publicly to defend her actions...I'm guessing she knows the issues this case will cause her. I hope the parents appeal and then sue this judges sorry ass.
          The name is not cool, I get that but in the grand scheme of it, it's the parents decision to make.

          August 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
        • Charlie

          drama queens don't let their ignorance come in the way of arguing law.

          August 14, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
        • Sara

          You obviously didn't read what actually happened. Read again paying attention to references to the first and last name and what wass in dispute.

          August 14, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        you are correct up to one point. When she cited her reason, that is where the violation occurred. If she had said that it was for the best interests of the child, OK. I tend to agree, but when she said it was because of her religious beliefs, that was the violation.

        August 14, 2013 at 11:27 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          You agree that a court has more of a right in the naming of a child than its parents?

          August 14, 2013 at 11:35 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          No, but the issue before the court is the mother wants the name, the father does not. The mothers interests are dubious for wanting that name for the child,but it should normally be whatever name she and the father chooses, since the father does not want the name, she should work with him to find a name they can both agree on. When they go to the court to settle the dispute, they place the decision in the hands of the court.

          August 14, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
        • Akira

          Richard, can you tell me where it states the father didn't want the child's name to be Messiah? Thanks in advance.

          August 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
        • skytag

          @Richard Cranium: "No, but the issue before the court is the mother wants the name, the father does not."

          Wrong. The disagreement was over whose last name the baby should have.

          "The mothers interests are dubious for wanting that name for the child"

          Based on what evidence?

          August 15, 2013 at 10:16 am |
        • Sara

          Even if she hadn't made clear that this was a religious decision (which she did) I believe she would have to prove it was at the level of abuse and that the decision wasn't religiously motivated as shown by the existence of no worse names among all those she had previously let pass. She's have a hard time.

          August 15, 2013 at 10:57 am |
      • fintastic

        Hey charlie.... The judge violated this woman's consti-tutional rights. Is that better?... moron

        August 14, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • Akira

        Charlie, you seriously do not see that this was a serious breach of the separation of church and state, and this judge abused her position by forcing a name change based on her religion?

        This is a total waste of tax money. She should never have even considered the child's first name, as she was called upon to settle what the child's surname would be.

        She even wrote, in her official decision, that it is based on her religious beliefs, and for that alone it should be overturned.

        She needs to revisit Constitutional Law, for heaven's sake. I'm not a lawyer, and even *I* get where this judge erred.

        August 14, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • Sara

          If someone ca't see something this obvious, they don't want to see it.

          August 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
        • Judge Mama June

          Charlie is a member of lawyers for jeebus

          August 15, 2013 at 8:47 am |
  20. Saraswati

    This is the point people need to keep in mind. As the author notes, it is the socioeconomic status of a name that matters when you apply for a job, and it matters a lot more than race when your resume is reviewed. If you want to do well by your kids find out what wealthy, educated people (not entertainers) are naming their kids and use those names, at least for the first names. The kids can always use a nickname or change their names later, but names very much do matter. If we were to legislate this, however, we'd be assigning names for every child by the court to avoid social patterning. It's simply not something the courts can decide.

    August 14, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • G to the T

      Agreed – but it is completely the pervue of the parent to decide the name (within the bounds of free speach I suppose). I don't think I like the idea of the govt enforcing some kind of naming standard.

      Could the parents make a choice that negatively impacts the child's future prospects? Of course they could – and the name they choose is just one of a thousand such decisions that could do so.

      August 14, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Hard to say where our thinking will be by the time this little one reaches the age where it could affect him. Societal views change all the time. I can only hope his parents raise him to be open-minded and do their best to ensure he has all he needs to succeed...he could be president in 40 years.

      August 14, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Since this mother apparently can't use Messiah, (presumably Emmanuel is off limits too as a t!tle) she'll just have to go with something like

      Yeshua Allah Siddhārtha Gautama Yahweh

      August 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
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