FaithWorld

Tennessee judge cited for bias for ordering baby’s name changed from Messiah

(Salvator Mundi, 1503, school of Leonardo da Vinci)

A Tennessee judge who ordered a baby’s name changed from Messiah to Martin, saying the former was reserved for Jesus Christ, has been cited by a court panel for an inappropriate religious bias in violation of the state judicial code of conduct.

Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew of Cocke County in eastern Tennessee ordered the boy’s first name changed over the objections of both parents when they appeared before the judge seeking to settle a number of issues, including a dispute over the child’s last name.

Both the mother, Jaleesa Martin, and the father, Jawaan McCullough, were insisting on their respective surnames for baby Messiah. The magistrate instead threw out the child’s birth name and ordered the boy renamed Martin DeShawn McCullough.

“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 magistrate told Tennessee television station WBIR at the time.

The parents appealed, and in September another judge, Chancellor Telford Forgety Jr., held that Ballew’s ruling was unconstitutional.

Indonesian designers defy stereotypes of Muslim women’s fashion

(A model presents a creation by Muslim clothing designer Feny Mustafa during a Fashion Week show in Jakarta, October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Beawiharta)

As the world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia has high demand for clothing that adheres to religious rules emphasising modesty for women.

But as the stylish, colourful and cool outfits at Jakarta Fashion Week showed, the Southeast Asian nation also aims to be the global leader in the Muslim fashion industry that is worth nearly $100 billion by some estimates.

Poverty drives change among Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jews opting for army

(An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man (R) shows his identification card to a soldier at the entrance to a recruiting office in Jerusalem February 22, 2012. REUTERS/Baz Ratner )

Better trained in wrestling with complex religious texts than in martial arts, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish youths drop to the floor to give their combat instructor a dozen push-ups.

Black skullcaps slip off their heads and a pair of glasses goes flying across the room as the khaki-clad trainer barks out: “I will kick your ass if you do not keep time.”

Putin says unnamed foreign foes use radical Islam to weaken Russia

(Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) takes part in a meeting with Muslim clerics in Ufa October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin )

President Vladimir Putin accused foreign rivals on Tuesday of using radical Islam to weaken Russia and appealed to Muslim clerics to help reduce tensions after a deadly suicide bombing and nationalist riots.

The comments, his first on this month’s riots in Moscow, were delivered in the mainly Muslim region of Bashkortostan and underlined Kremlin concerns that ethnic or religious tensions could threaten the unity of the Russian state.

Malaysia’s curbs on use of the term ‘Allah’ hurting its moderate Muslim image

(A Muslim demonstrator stands outside Malaysia’s Court of Appeal, along with others, in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur October 14, 2013. REUTERS/Samsul Said)

Malaysia’s self-styled image as a global leader of moderate Islam has been undermined by a court ruling that only Muslims can use the word “Allah” to refer to God, with a growing number of Muslim scholars and commentators condemning the decision.

A Malaysian court ruled last week that the word was “not an integral part of the faith in Christianity”, overturning a previous ruling that allowed a Malay-language Roman Catholic newspaper to use the word.

Pope Francis banishes Germany’s ‘bishop de luxe’ from Limburg diocese

(Limburg Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, August 20, 2012/Christliches Medienmagazin pro)

Pope Francis banished a German Roman Catholic prelate known as the “luxury bishop” from his diocese on Wednesday for spending 31 million euros ($43 million) of Church funds on his residence at a time when the pontiff is stressing austerity.

But the pontiff stopped short of dismissing him outright, a step which many German Catholics and the media had called for.

Germany’s big-spending bishop calls meeting with Pope Francis “heartening”

(An aerial view shows Limburg cathedral (R) and to the left the ensemble of the bishop of Limburg’s residence along the river Lahn October 14, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay )

A German bishop under pressure to resign for spending around 31 million euros ($42 million) on a luxurious residence said he had been heartened by a private audience with Pope Francis in Rome on Monday.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg arrived in Rome more than a week ago after cost overruns on his residence stirred anger among German Catholics and protests outside his cathedral, at a time when the pontiff is stressing the importance of humility and serving the poor.

Egyptian Christians fear chaos after Cairo wedding attack

(Relatives of four victims killed in an attack at a wedding on Sunday, attend their funerals at Virgin Church in Cairo October 21, 2013. REUTERS/ Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Egyptian Coptic Christians joyfully waited outside the Virgin Church in Cairo for the bride to arrive to join the groom for their wedding.

Instead, bearded men on a motorcycle pulled up and fired on the crowd, deepening the fears of many Christians that their minority community will pay the bloodiest price following the ouster of elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July.

Vatican aims to defeat the Church of England — on the cricket pitch

(England’s Graham Onions (4th R) celebrates after dismissing South Africa’s Jacques Kallis (near lower stumps) during the third cricket test match at Newlands in Cape Town, January 4, 2010. REUTERS/Philip Brown)

The Vatican officially declared its intention to defeat the Church of England on Tuesday – not in a theological re-match nearly 500 years after they split, but on the cricket pitch.

The challenge was launched at the baptism of the St. Peter’s Cricket Club.

Finance scandal spurs German Catholic bishops to reveal secret funds

(Cologne cathedral and the Hohenzollern train bridge over the Rhine river in this October 16, 2005 picture. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender/)

German Catholic bishops are scrapping centuries of secrecy and reporting the value of their private endowments as a scandal caused by a free-spending prelate puts pressure on them for more financial transparency.

Limburg Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst – dubbed “the luxury bishop” – has shocked the Church by admitting six-fold cost overruns on construction of his luxurious new residence, which is now priced at 31 million euros, most of which will be paid from his ample reserves.