NEWPORT, Tenn. (AP) — A judge in Tennessee changed a 7-month-old boy’s name to Martin from Messiah, saying the religious name was earned by one person and “that one person is Jesus Christ.”
Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the name change last week, according to WBIR-TV (http://on.wbir.com/1cDOeTY). The boy’s parents were in court because they could not agree on the child’s last name, but when the judge heard the boy’s first name, she ordered it changed, too.
"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," Ballew said.
It was the first time she ordered a first name change, the judge said.
Messiah was No. 4 among the fastest-rising baby names in 2012, according to the Social Security Administration’s annual list of popular baby names.
The judge in eastern Tennessee said the baby was to be named Martin DeShawn McCullough, which includes both parents’ last name.
The boy’s mother, Jaleesa Martin, of Newport, said she will appeal. She says Messiah is unique and she liked how it sounded alongside the boy’s two siblings — Micah and Mason.
"Everybody believes what they want so I think I should be able to name my child what I want to name him, not someone else," Martin said.
Ballew said the name Messiah could cause problems if the child grows up in Cocke County, which has a large Christian population.
"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 said.
Are we serious right now? She has no right, well i guess she does, to change this babies name and tell the parent they can’t name their child what they want. Messiah is a beautiful word and if that is what they want to call their child it is their business. He may face some trouble but it is a bridge they will cross when they come to it, for now this is wrong and I hope something is done about it because last time I checked this was #Merica and we had this little thing called Freedom and even if it’s being slowly revoked we still had the right to name our children whatever we wanted.