A separated couple in Tennessee was in a dispute over what the last name of their son should be. Unable to agree, the issue went before a local judge who ruled that the parents must also change the first name of their son, Messiah. This was done not in accordance with any law prohibiting the name, but because it offended the judge’s personal religious sensibilities and the judge decided to use her power to protect her personal religious sensibilities.
When mother Jaleesa Martin and her baby’s father could not agree on a last name for their child, they had to let a Tennessee court decide for them. The new parents certainly weren’t expecting to be forced to change other parts of their son’s name, which was originally “Messiah DeShawn Martin,” as well.
Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew refused to let the word “Messiah” be used in the child’s name, saying:
“The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ.”
Martin is appealing the decision.
Here’s a video in which the judge in question admits, nay, asserts that this is what she has done.
Strange…all the “get the government out of our lives” Republicans are conspicuously silent on this story.
This is positively vile. What an obvious and odious abuse of power. Your religion simply does not give you the right to govern other people’s lives. It definitely doesn’t give you the power to decide what they can or cannot name their child. If they wanted to name their child “Jesus licked dudes”, it doesn’t matter how offended you are as a judge, you can not apply the power you’ve been given as a presumably unbiased arbiter of the law to stop people from offending you on a personal level.
And the way this story is framed…”Is Messiah a title or a name?” Really? Are these mutually exclusive things? I once met a woman named Destiny. It never occurred to me to ask myself if destiny was a name or a noun. “Judge” is also a title, and to this day the actor Judge Reinhold has never been arrested. Do you know why? Because having a name that’s also a title isn’t against the fucking law.
At least there was one reporter in the story who actually asks a good question. She asks the judge her thoughts on people named “Jesus”. Good question! The judge says it’s not relevant to this case. Maybe not, but it’s sure as hell relevant to Lu Ann Ballew’s consistency. It doesn’t matter if the words “Jesus”, “Messiah”, or “Genocide by drowning” are sacred in her religion – her religion is not the fucking law. I can say “Jesus fucking Christ” or “Jesus, Lu Anne Ballew’s a terrible person to have in a position of power” or even “Jesus Christ is a myth, and believing he rose from the dead is about as gullible as a person can get” and legally they’re just as problematic as saying “Banana.”
Don’t just overturn her decision, fire and disbar her immediately.