Judge orders baby’s name changed from “Messiah” — over parents’ objections

posted at 7:21 pm on August 12, 2013 by Allahpundit

Ed already hit this in the Greenroom but it deserves front-page treatment, just because the judge makes no pretense — surprisingly — of her motive. She’s a Christian and therefore the title of “Messiah” is reserved for just one person, which means Christianity is effectively part of the law in Cocke County Chancery Court. That’s a slam-dunk Establishment Clause violation. Either she doesn’t know that or she doesn’t care and was looking to make a point, even if that means it’ll be overturned on appeal. (Spoiler: It will be.)

The second reason is almost as bad:

According to Judge Ballew, it is the first time she has ordered a first name change. She said the decision is best for the child, especially while growing up in a county with a large Christian population.

“It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is,” Judge Ballew said.

That reminds me of the “fighting words” exception to the First Amendment. If something you say is judged likely to so offend someone as to start a fight, you can, in theory, be arrested for saying it. It’s a heckler’s veto. The judge is essentially extending that concept here to family court. If the community would be offended by your kid’s name, then the community — via the judge, acting supposedly in the best interest of the child — gets to veto mom’s and dad’s choice. As Eugene Volokh noted at the last link, you can understand that logic in a case where, say, the parent wanted to name the child something profane, but to trump a parent’s rights, the example would need to be extreme. Is “Messiah,” a name that’s currently the fourth fastest-rising on the list of most popular names for babies, extreme? Besides, even if the example were extreme, language is mostly beyond the reach of the law. If dad wants to name his son “Douche” and a judge orders it changed to “Douglas,” how long will “Douglas” stick once dad stands up in front of his classmates on the first day of kindergarten and says, “I’d like you to meet my son Douche”? The kid’s ruined until he’s 18, whatever his birth certificate says.

Small silver lining to this precedent, though: If it sticks, “Barack” will soon be off-limits in Democratic districts. Exit question: Wait — “Messiah” is the fourth fastest-rising name for babies?


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Crap.

Ummm…

Old lady perfume.

Bishop on August 12, 2013 at 8:43 PM

Beyonce’s kid has the coolest weird celebrity name.

libfreeordie on August 12, 2013 at 7:52 PM

Blue Ivy isn’t even close, it sounds like an old name from the 20′s.

Bishop on August 12, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Lysol scent.

rogerb on August 12, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Toilet water disc.

Bishop on August 12, 2013 at 8:20 PM

Elastic banded automotive air freshener.

rogerb on August 12, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Old lady perfume.

Bishop on August 12, 2013 at 8:43 PM

 
Failed Mentos regional market trial.

rogerb on August 12, 2013 at 8:49 PM

“He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!”

James on August 12, 2013 at 8:50 PM

All of the despotic kooks aren’t Libtards. Some of these folks on “our side” scare me just as much.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 12, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Freedom of religion and freedom of speech destroyed in one ruling. Way to go Judge.

Grunt on August 12, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Where was she when Zappa named his son Dweezil?

Cleombrotus on August 12, 2013 at 9:04 PM

What about Messiah1 since Messiah is already taken?¿

SparkPlug on August 12, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Wouldn’t his friends just shorten it to Messy.

RickB on August 12, 2013 at 7:29 PM

So what’s his nickname? Messy?

Ronnie on August 12, 2013 at 8:13 PM

Seriously? I’d call him “Little Si.”

http://www.duckcommander.com/duckmen/profile/4/si_robertson.aspx

Heck, my MIL’s name is Madonna. The Catholic Church wouldn’t allow her to be named the secular “Donna,” which is what her parents wanted to call her.

This is dumb.

Fallon on August 12, 2013 at 9:08 PM

If something you say is judged likely to so offend someone as to start a fight, you can, in theory, be arrested for saying it.

Judged by whom? That is the question AP. If it is to be ‘judged’ by Liberals, anything a Conservative says would fall into that category. Everything that spews from a Conservatives mouth is some sort of racist, demeaning, childish, intransigent, woman hating diatribe. Even though we know who really offends people.

Patriot Vet on August 12, 2013 at 9:08 PM

Doesn’t “Messiah” mean the same thing as “Chris”?

Count to 10 on August 12, 2013 at 8:31 PM

No.

Ronnie on August 12, 2013 at 8:34 PM

“Chris” comes from “Christ”, which is “Messiah” in a different language.

Count to 10 on August 12, 2013 at 9:09 PM

et al …
Failed Mentos regional market trial.

rogerb on August 12, 2013 at 8:49 PM

A Summer’s Eve Winter counterpart?

M240H on August 12, 2013 at 9:10 PM

I didn’t read the article or watch the entire video.

Who’s paying for the appeal? It better not be the taxpayers.

jaime on August 12, 2013 at 9:14 PM

Beyonce’s kid has the coolest weird celebrity name.

libfreeordie on August 12, 2013 at 7:52 PM

Blue Ivy isn’t even close, it sounds like an old name from the 20′s.

Bishop on August 12, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Lysol scent.

rogerb on August 12, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Toilet water disc.

Bishop on August 12, 2013 at 8:20 PM

Elastic banded automotive air freshener.

rogerb on August 12, 2013 at 8:36 PM

pistachio cannoli

Jaibones on August 12, 2013 at 9:21 PM

“Chris” comes from “Christ”, which is “Messiah” in a different language.

Count to 10 on August 12, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Chris comes from Christopher, which means bearer of Christ. It does not mean Christ or Messiah.

Ronnie on August 12, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Is she going to order the 10 million illegal Jesus’s coming up from Mexico?

Darksean on August 12, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Resist We Much on August 12, 2013 at 8:01 PM

Moon Unit Zappa (daughter of Frank) was also unavailable for comment.

Where was she when Zappa named his son Dweezil?

Cleombrotus on August 12, 2013 at 9:04 PM

And her brother, too! LOL

PatriotGal2257 on August 12, 2013 at 9:32 PM

Is she going to order the 10 million illegal Jesus’s coming up from Mexico?

Darksean on August 12, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Mandatory name changes would be one way to discourage the illegals.

thuja on August 12, 2013 at 9:37 PM

Is she going to order the 10 million illegal Jesus’s coming up from Mexico?

Darksean on August 12, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Easy for them, they’ll just write a different name on the DREAM or political refugee application.

slickwillie2001 on August 12, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Buncombe County North Carolina isn’t very far from Cocke County. In Buncombe County, the name would be considered cool.

thuja on August 12, 2013 at 9:42 PM

Another kid that will grow up and live off of the system. No one will hire him with that name.

txag92 on August 12, 2013 at 9:56 PM

The singer who used to be Prince? He quickly enough changed it back, though.

Liam on August 12, 2013 at 8:03 PM

There are fact you know? You don’t have to make crap up.

Capitalist Hog on August 12, 2013 at 10:00 PM

“The artist previously known as Prince was born Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis. On his 35th birthday, he announced that he would change his name to an unpronounceable symbol. The glyph incorporates the male and female signs along with the alchemy symbol for soapstone. In May 2000, he announced that he is again to be known as ‘Prince’”.

http://didyouknow.org/symbol/

Liam on August 12, 2013 at 10:27 PM

Just think of what it would be like for the kid when ordering out at a restaurant…

“Jesus! Yes? What? What? Jesus? What? What?

Are you all together or will it be separate checks?”

Just name the kid Mel I say.

oryguncon on August 12, 2013 at 10:57 PM

“Chris” comes from “Christ”, which is “Messiah” in a different language.

Count to 10 on August 12, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Pretty much. Chris is the nic for Christopher, which means The Anointed Bearer, or one who carries Christ. Christos is Greek, Christus is Latin.

Messias, or Messiah is the transliteration of the Hebrew word for Anointed, so being transliterated it is in the Greek and Latin also as that word. Messiah, in Hebrew, is thought to have been a proper name, and only with the “The” before it, as in The Messias, did it signify Jesus.

Dusty on August 12, 2013 at 10:58 PM

Where the eff are our freedoms going? We’re now getting attacked by BOTH sides. Fum Ducks!

Personally, I’d take “Messiah” over any of the stoopit soap opera and Scrabble names I’m seeing these days.

Laura in Maryland on August 12, 2013 at 11:17 PM

Wow. Stupid all around.

Stupid to name your child “Messiah.” Barely a step short of naming your child “God.” And frankly, I’m not going to call anyone Messiah just because a parent or two were stupid enough to think it was a peachy name.

Stupid argument by the judge. Oh, I’ll grant she’s right about it being in the best interest of the child to have a different name. That’s really not even debatable. Especially since it would be impossible to explain to anyone who sees nothing wrong with the name just how bad it is.

But still, what a stupid thing for Reason to go complaining about. It’s not like one judge who will almost certainly be overturned represents some huge trend.

Of this controversy, I am reminded of the famous Billy Madison quote, particularly the part that says, “Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.”

So why do I even comment?

Because I’m actually hearing that, “Messiah was No. 4 among the fastest-rising baby names in 2012, according to the Social Security Administration’s annual list of popular baby names….”

I’m beginning to think Idiocracy was a prophetic movie. And it may not take 500 years.

There Goes the Neighborhood on August 12, 2013 at 11:18 PM

Small silver lining to this precedent, though: If it sticks, “Barack” will soon be off-limits in Democratic districts.

Nice one. Thanks for the laugh AP.

conservative pilgrim on August 12, 2013 at 11:29 PM

I’m beginning to think Idiocracy was a prophetic movie. And it may not take 500 years.

There Goes the Neighborhood on August 12, 2013 at 11:18 PM

Must keep telling myself, “It’s just a slow news day. AP’s just desperate for content. It’s not really a sign of the apocalypse.”

There Goes the Neighborhood on August 12, 2013 at 11:32 PM

Well, there’s plenty of names one shouldn’t give to a son…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOHPuY88Ry4

The judge is a buffoon who acted outside of her jurisprudence, regardless the sanity or lack of same in so naming the child.

Freelancer on August 12, 2013 at 11:49 PM

By the judge’s logic, every kid named Mohammed ought to have the crap kicked out of him on the Islamic school yard. Say what? And how does she square that with Hispanic guys named Jesus?

College Prof on August 12, 2013 at 7:50 PM

“Mohammed” and “Jesus” aren’t really analogous. For one thing, Muslims consider it a compliment to Mohammed to name a son after him. Which is why Mohammed is one of the most popular names for boys in Muslim nations.

“Jesus” is a totally different case. It’s true that no one in our culture names a boy “Jesus” out of respect for Jesus Christ. However, “Jesus” is actually just the Greek variant of the name “Joshua.” So technically, if you name your son Joshua, you’re basically giving him a variant of the name Jesus.

Lots of people stumble at first over the verse in Hebrews that says (in the KJV) “For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.” “Jesus” in that verse is referring to Joshua, the leader of Israel after Moses.

So the people who are horrified to see Hispanic boys named “Jesus” think nothing of naming their boys “Joshua,” which is really the same name.

But “Messiah” is really not a name, by contrast.

I guarantee, though, if the child had been named, “Allah,” this would be a very, very different story. Forcibly renaming the child might just be necessary to save his life.

There Goes the Neighborhood on August 12, 2013 at 11:52 PM

The fighting words exception doesn’t apply to religious offense. Otherwise, a majority Muslim community in the US could arrest an artist for having drawn a depiction of Muhammad, arguing that such expression is not protected by the First Amendment because it offends Islam. What a ludicrous notion.

solatic on August 13, 2013 at 2:38 AM

“Messuahs Die Young.”

Let’s bog down our court system with judicial big brother-ism. Has the judge ever read the constitution? Another waste of tax payer money.

kregg on August 13, 2013 at 5:28 AM

Talk about trowing out the babies name with the holy water.

kregg on August 13, 2013 at 5:29 AM

The “kind” of people who name their spawn these sort of names are either ghetto or low-income in most cases. You cannot legislate a cure to tackiness and stupidity.

I think the judge should have beat the DNA donors.

antisense on August 13, 2013 at 6:56 AM

On the other hand, does a parent have a right to name a baby anything they want? What if a parent wanted to name a baby “Stupid” or “Mary-Fuktard?” Would it be okay then?

At least in this case it’s a real word though, as opposed to the stuff that gets made up like Lar-Vez, DeQuadrius, Jermario, Markeith, etc…

SAMinVA on August 13, 2013 at 7:48 AM

SAMinVA on August 13, 2013 at 7:48 AM

Laquittal. No, I’m not making that up.

DrMagnolias on August 13, 2013 at 8:08 AM

SAMinVA on August 13, 2013 at 7:48 AM

Ever seen this?

DrMagnolias on August 13, 2013 at 8:10 AM

This should have never gone to court.

The parents s/b able to name it Barack if they want.

PappyD61 on August 13, 2013 at 8:17 AM

No worse than “Jaleesa”…

Pest on August 13, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Why not “Jamessiah”?…

Pest on August 13, 2013 at 8:32 AM

She is a magistrate. In Tennessee, they usually work under Chancellors or General Sessions Judges. This will quickly be overturned.

melle1228 on August 13, 2013 at 8:59 AM

This should have never gone to court.

The parents s/b able to name it Barack if they want.

PappyD61 on August 13, 2013 at 8:17 AM

The parents brought it to family court because they were unmarried and fighting over the child’s last name. Don’t want the state involved in your children’s upbringing; marry the person having your children…

melle1228 on August 13, 2013 at 9:00 AM

trust me judge did this kid a favor. I wish my parents had not named me moohammed rapedkidsand islamisevil as its a PITA to sign my name.
+ whenever I sign anything in front of a muslim I have to fight for my life.
parents need to think this stuff through, I get tired of having to defend myself.

/snark

really, judge should butt the hell out. if the idiots want to name their kid that then let them. none of the states business. possibility of offending someone is a never ending thing, nobody has a right to not be offended.

dmacleo on August 13, 2013 at 9:02 AM

I’m offended by everyone named Mohammed just as much as I am by everyone named “hayzoos”.

Nutstuyu on August 13, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Zuma Nesta Rock (Gwen Stefani’s kid) was unavailable for comment.

Resist We Much on August 12, 2013 at 7:40 PM

All Bond girls and Austin Powers girls were unavailable for comment.

Nutstuyu on August 13, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Again, these two losers went to the courts because they were too stupid and childish to agree on a surname. Don’t want a court official to make a determination regarding your kid’s name? Then don’t file a lawsuit asking the courts to make that determination.

Blake on August 13, 2013 at 9:43 AM

What a ridiculous ruling.
The real point here is, does a parent really ‘own’ their own child, as in, are they allowed to rear their children as they see fit?
I would answer no for our society. Bcs there are many many many people who believe the child should belong to the state, therefore the state, the people, have a right to tell you how you should raise your child.
Constitutional rights do not mean anything in a Family Law court, or in an investigation concerning CPS agencies, why is this any different?
Bcs it’s only a name & people get outraged, and yet, many don’t get outraged when CPS yanks a child from their home based on no evidence and only allegations something bad has happened.
Yes, IMO, parents DO own their children, and with exception to clear abuse where evidence supports the case after someone’s been tried in a court of law with a jury of their peers, only then should a child be taken away. If you been found to have broken the law, then it should happen.
I realize some will think it’s silly I equate this sort of thing to this case. But IMO, we have an instance here of the state telling a parent what they must do with their own child, and we get outraged, but on the other hand, we never think it’s bad to violate the Const rights of a parent OR child by yanking them from their home & putting them with strangers with no evidence as to why.

Badger40 on August 13, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Silly and bad ruling.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Maybe she can be next year’s Todd Akin.

EddieC on August 13, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Dang, this stuff makes me ill. That judge is only hurting Christianity. And where does she get off wearing ornamental crosses in her ears? Oh, I know. That’s her Constitutional right!

TeaTrekkie on August 13, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Again, these two losers went to the courts because they were too stupid and childish to agree on a surname. Don’t want a court official to make a determination regarding your kid’s name? Then don’t file a lawsuit asking the courts to make that determination.

Blake on August 13, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Bingo!

melle1228 on August 13, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Stupid to name your child “Messiah.” Barely a step short of naming your child “God.”

I know a fellow by the name of Adonai.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on August 13, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Badger40 on August 13, 2013 at 9:52 AM

The problem is that these parents brought their child and its name to the state’s attention. If they were married and living independent of the state; then most likely the state wouldn’t even be involved. Don’t want the state involved; don’t ask them to be involved.

Working in family law, I tend to see more DCS cases missing abused children then I see them being overzealous. And there is certainly some areas the state must get involved. Do you know how many people come in for divorces and want to sign away child support? People don’t understand that that is NOT the parent’s it is the child’s and the parents cannot sign it away. Someone sometime has to be an advocate for children especially in this day and age of irresponsible parents.

That being said, this was a bad ruling especially considering it was made for religious reasons. It would have been harder to overturn if it was made in the best interest of the child as Tennessee Judges, Chancellors and Magistrates are given a lot of latitude. In the end, this isn’t that big of a deal. A Magistrate works under a general sessions judge or a chancellor and they will quickly overturn this, and I am sure that the media won’t even report that.

melle1228 on August 13, 2013 at 10:33 AM

“It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is,” Judge Ballew said.

Like naming a boy “Sue”. See Johnny Cash.

/the law of unintended consequences

Paul-Cincy on August 13, 2013 at 10:41 AM

She isn’t a Judge BTW, she is a Magistrate.

melle1228 on August 13, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Is she going to order the 10 million illegal Jesus’s coming up from Mexico?

Darksean on August 12, 2013 at 9:29 PM

This made me laugh! Oh, so true!

Amjean on August 13, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Stupid to name your child “Messiah.” Barely a step short of naming your child “God.”

There Goes the Neighborhood on August 12, 2013 at 11:18 PM

I know of someone who goes by “Allah”.

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 11:27 AM

How bout if I name my son Sue?

vcferlita on August 13, 2013 at 11:34 AM

How bout if I name my son Sue?

vcferlita on August 13, 2013 at 11:34 AM

He’ll grow up quick and mean.

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Where was she when Zappa named his son Dweezil?
Cleombrotus on August 12, 2013 at 9:04 PM

Dweezil’s fine, but what’s up with Moon Unit?

Akzed on August 13, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Let me tell you what my partner told me when I was going nuts over the incompetency of state attorneys and judges.

“Remember who they are. They are people who spend a 100 grand to go to school in order to forget common sense and ethics and morality. Plus remember all they are good at is arguing. If they could measure they would be engineers, if they could count they would be CPA’s, they can’t do anything- so they are lawyers.”

And a very famous defense attorney once said about judges, and I paraphrase a little “All judges are a bunch a lawyers in black bathrobes. You can have a bad lawyer being a bad judge.”

archer52 on August 13, 2013 at 11:57 AM

So I guess this means if I ever have twin sons I should drop those plans to name them Harley and Davidson…

Galtian on August 13, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Besides, Obama is the only Messiah.

Just ask MSNBC, the NYT, or CNN.

Wino on August 12, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Meh, the parents obviously are hoping for history to repeat.

hawkeye54 on August 13, 2013 at 12:12 PM

So what’s his nickname? Messy?

Ronnie

How about Massah.

Wander on August 13, 2013 at 12:20 PM

It doesn’t matter WHO – WHAT SIDE – of the political spectrum intrusively and oppressively abuses its power, over-stepping the boundaries, in order to impose its will on citizens, it’s still WRONG!

This woman will appeal, she will win, and she can call her child anything she wants. (Of course if someone chose to name their child ‘Allah’, especially if it was a girl, the child would probably be targeted for death for ‘blasphmy’.) The jusge should be reprimanded.

easyt65 on August 13, 2013 at 1:16 PM

In the New Zealand case the child had her named changed because her parents, in their wisdom, named her Tallulah-Does-the-Hula- From-Hawaii. And while it’s hard to believe I have seen worse.

IdrilofGondolin on August 13, 2013 at 1:19 PM

It doesn’t matter WHO – WHAT SIDE – of the political spectrum intrusively and oppressively abuses its power, over-stepping the boundaries, in order to impose its will on citizens, it’s still WRONG!

This woman will appeal, she will win, and she can call her child anything she wants. (Of course if someone chose to name their child ‘Allah’, especially if it was a girl, the child would probably be targeted for death for ‘blasphmy’.) The jusge should be reprimanded.

easyt65 on August 13, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Hopefully she has an attorney and a competent one. In TN, you only have five days to appeal a Magistrate’s decision. If you don’t you lose your right to appeal.

melle1228 on August 13, 2013 at 1:45 PM

All Bond girls and Austin Powers girls were unavailable for comment.

Nutstuyu on August 13, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Bond girls are always available.

SAMinVA on August 13, 2013 at 2:01 PM

The point is mute by itself, as her claim is simply wrong. Just look up a small book called The Bible. Messiah (Anointed One) is a title held by many Kings and High Priests. Starting with Saul.

Masih ad-Dajjal on August 13, 2013 at 2:34 PM

WHY ISN’T THIS COUNTRY A CHRISTIAN THEOCRACY YET? WAAAAAAAAH!
Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 7:58 PM

Fixed that for you boo :)

libfreeordie on August 12, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Can’t have a Christian theocracy going up against your PC tyranny, can we now? We’d see those PC claws come out for sure if the case involved some bigot naming her kid “N****rhater”. I think this is just a bunch of nothing in a country obsessed with making mountains out of molehills.

ddrintn on August 13, 2013 at 2:39 PM

People will just call the kid Messy-ah.

paulsur on August 13, 2013 at 2:48 PM

I like Shitfaced. Imagine the first day of high school. “Who’s Shitfaced?” And half the class raise their hands.

claudius on August 13, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Wasted would do as well.

claudius on August 13, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Despite the bad judgement this mother had in naming her kid, the judge had no right to do that. I have seen plenty of stupid names come across the pike, and each time I feel bad for the kid. This judge wouldn’t even attempt this if a celebrity, with their penchant for naming their kids ridiculous names, had named their kid this.

If it sticks, “Barack” will soon be off-limits in Democratic districts.

Nicely done, Allah. :D

Sterling Holobyte on August 13, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Repeat. Nanny State.

Bmore on August 13, 2013 at 5:55 PM

They should adopt the Native American tradition of naming an infant based on events or circumstances attending the child’s birth, and call him The Judge Is An Idiot.

Jack Squat Bupkis on August 13, 2013 at 6:27 PM

The first name wasn’t even a matter of dispute in the case, the judge has no standing to change it. Period.

It is her reasoning that violates the 1st Amendment, but since she has no defensible reason for issuing the order in the first place, that is a moot point.

Adjoran on August 13, 2013 at 7:34 PM

This family has lost custody of all 4 of their children for naming two of them Adolf Hitler and Aryan Nation.
If the courts can order a name change they should have done it here instead of taking the children from the home.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/parents-boy-named-adolf-hitler-lose-custody-fourth-child-hours-birth-article-1.980371

Buttercup on August 14, 2013 at 9:53 PM

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