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Tennessee Judge Orders Infant’s Name to Be Changed From ‘Messiah’

USA Today / WBIR

A Tennessee mother and father who couldn’t agree on the last name of their son walked out of the courtroom with an odd decision. The judge ordered them to change the 7 month old baby’s first name.

Jaleesa Martin’s son, Messiah DeShawn Martin, was ordered to have his name changed to Martin McCulloch by Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew. The new name settles the dispute over whose last name the child would use, but it leaves off the child’s first name. Her reason? She was doing the child a favor.

Ballew says the decision is best for the child, 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…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.”

Here’s the story from

Ballew considers children whose parents name them Jesus irrelevant to this case.

While I couldn’t imagine ever naming my child Messiah, I’m not sure it’s the judge’s place to take it away. From what I understand, the original dispute had nothing to do with the kid’s first name in any way, so it doesn’t seem right for anyone to have it legally changed.

Do you think Judge Ballew was within her legal rights to order the first name of the child to be changed?

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