A Tennessee judge ordered parents to change their baby’s name from Messiah to Martin, WBIR reports. The court date was set to change the baby’s surname, but the parents were shocked to learn the first name has to be changed also.
Now, there’s a mix-up: this baby’s original first name is Messiah. His middle name is DeShawn. The parents, each bearing a different family name, had a court date, on Thursday, to decide which name should their 7-month-old son have. So they appeared before magistrate Lu Ann Ballew to decide on the matter. So far, so good, except that when Ballew read the first two names of the boy, she took the decision making to a whole new level – she said the boy’s name “Messiah” should also be changed because “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 mother of this possible future-ex Messiah was in shock to learn she is “ordered” to change her baby’s name. “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”, said Jaleesa Martin.
Ballew ordered the name of the boy be changed to Martin DeShawn McCullough, this way incorporating both parents’ surnames.
Judge Ballew spoke to WBIR about the case, explaining that it was the first time she ordered a name change and she did that having in mind the child’s best interest. Seeing that he will grow up in a Christian community, “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”.
Martin, who has two other children, named Micah and Mason, says she liked how “Messiah” sounded along the other two names and will not give up without a fight. She is appealing the judge’s decision and has a court date on September 17.
Photos: courtesy of WBIR