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When the parents of 7 month old Messiah DeShawn Martin could not agree upon their child's last name they took the issue to court. Little did they know that the judge hearing their case would not just resolve the last name issue, she would resolve the (formerly nonexistent) first name issue as well.

According to judge Lu Ann Ballew:

"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,"
The judge also notes that her American south is no place to raise a baby named Messiah:
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."
My takedown of this judges understanding of the word Messiah, and what she does for a living is below the orange turd... and cross posted at Allthingsdemocrat.

The judges definition of the word Messiah relies upon a uniquely modern and fundamentalist Christian understanding. The entomology [correction: should be etymology thank you to users DocGonzo & Raptavio in comments] of the word Messiah is based upon a Semitic word meaning "to anoint" or "anointed". The biblical kings of Israel, having been anointed with oil, were literally Messiahs in their time. In fact there were even ancient gentile kings, considered to be divinely inspired, who were given the title. The title was not just bestowed upon kings, but priests, prophets and other great men who were anointed with oil.

From the Roman occupation to modern times Jews use the word Messiah to define the expected liberator of Israel who will bring freedom and peace to the land. Judge Ballew immediately dismisses one half of the Judeo/Christian tradition she so fiercely defends (signified by hanging the ten commandments in her office) because under the modern definition Jews believe that The Messiah has yet to appear.  They certainly do not believe that the only person who deserves the title is Jesus Christ.

Good news though. Even as the judge dismisses the Judaic understanding of Messiah, she is right in line with the Muslim interpretation. Islam teaches that Jesus was Allah's Messiah to the Jews, to spread the good news of the Muslim faith well before Muhammad was even born. The Koran only mentions the prophet Muhammad by name 4 times but mentions Jesus, Allah's Jewish Messiah, at least 25 times.

Who knew Judge Ballew was such a steadfast proponent of the Islamic/Christian tradition?

Having determined that the judge is completely out to lunch with her fundamentalist Christian definition of Messiah, what do we make of her determination to force her view on the families she judges. The name Messiah is one of the fastest growing names in popularity (#6 for growth, 387th in popularity) according to the Social Security Administrations website.

It is not acceptable for a fundamentalist judge to use wrong headed religious justifications to ban one child from holding a name she considers sacred when that name is acceptable for thousands of other children.  This fits in the Amish bus driver career choice field as far as I'm concerned.  If this judge cannot fairly rule without insisting that those she has control over be forced to live by her fundamentalist point of view, she should not be a judge.  If an Amish person wants to be a bus driver, but due to their deeply held religious belief they refuse to operate the bus, they should not be a bus driver.   If a faith healer does not believe in modern medicine, refusing to fill prescriptions while insisting that their customers must pray to be healed, they should not be a pharmacist.

Frankly the judge citing regional prejudices only makes it worse.  Maybe judges in liberal San Francisco should start banning the name George, particularly for families with the surname Bush.  Some poor child being raised with the name George Bush in that county will be put at odds with many residents through no choice of their own.

I wonder how this judge treats brown people named Jesus?

Originally posted to bhfrik on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 07:41 PM PDT.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks, Street Prophets , and Progressive Atheists.

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