Tennessee Judge Orders Baby Name Change From Messiah To Martin
Imagine the following scenario – the parents of a 7-month-old baby boy go to court because they cannot agree on the child’s last name. Not only does the judge change the baby’s last name, she orders the baby’s first name changed as well.
Why? The mother had named her son Messiah.
According to WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee, Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew said it was the first time she ordered a first name change.
Ballew was quoted as saying that Messiah is a religious name that was earned by one person and “that one person is Jesus Christ.” She said the decision is best for the child, especially while growing up in a county with a large Christian population.
The Tennessee judge ordered the baby to be named Martin DeShawn McCullough, which includes both parents’ last names.
The boy’s mother, Jaleesa Martin of Newport, Tennessee, said she was shocked by the decision. “I never intended on naming my son Messiah because it means God and I didn't think a judge could make me change my baby's name because of her religious beliefs," Martin said.
Martin says she plans to appeal, stating that the name Messiah is unique and she liked how it sounded with the names of her two other children – Micah and Mason.
One interesting note on this story – according to the Social Security Administration’s annual list of popular baby names, Messiah was number 4 among the fastest-rising baby names in 2012.