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'He's Not Messiah': Judge Rules Out Baby Name
A Tennessee judge has changed a seven-month-old boy's name from Messiah to Martin, saying the original name was earned by one person alone and that was Jesus Christ.
Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the name change last week, according to WBIR-TV.
The boy's parents originally went to court because they could not agree on his last name, but when the judge heard the 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," Judge Ballew said.
She added that it was the first time she had ordered a first name change.
Messiah was the fourth fastest-rising baby name in 2012, according to the Social Security Administration's annual list of popular baby names.
But the judge in eastern Tennessee said the baby was to be named Martin DeShawn McCullough, which includes both parents' last name.
She explained 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.
The boy's mother, Jaleesa Martin, from Newport, said 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," she said.
She is planning to appeal and will get her day in court on September 17.