Sorry, Judge, Mom Can Name Her Kid 'Messiah'
Ruling is 'obviously ridiculous,' say critics
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2013 12:05 PM CDT
In this undated photo provided by WBIR-TV, 7-month old "Martin" DeShawn McCullough is held by his mom, Jaleesa Martin.   (AP Photo/WBIR-TV, Heidi Wigdahl)

(Newser) – A Tennessee judge's decision to change a baby's name from Messiah to Martin continues to draw heaps of scorn. The reasoning of magistrate Lu Ann Ballew: “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.” Some reaction:

  • "It was obviously a ridiculous decision," write the editors at the Denver Post. They'd love to see any law that might back up the decision, "but in any case, we wonder what she would say to Latino parents planning to name their baby Jesús."
  • "A parent has the right to choose their child's name," an ACLU rep tells USA Today. "The judge is creating a culture where she is imposing her religious beliefs on others. And that is unacceptable." (The ACLU is getting in touch with the mother to help with a legal challenge.)

  • Look out celebs, warns David Mason in a mostly tongue-in-cheek piece for the On Faith blog of the Washington Post. Gwyneth Paltrow might have to change her daughter's name from Apple to Amy, and Alicia Keys her son's name from Egypt to Ernie. "It occurs to me that Barbara Hershey’s and David Carradine’s son 'Free' will soon be 'Frank.' Free is a title that has only been earned by one people, and that people used to be US citizens."

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Aug 22, 2013 7:32 PM CDT
They can name their kid whatever they want but it's going to get teased and bullied in school like no tomorrow. Parents should really think about that when picking names.
Aug 15, 2013 10:37 AM CDT
The judge has no right to change the name of someone else's baby! That is a right reserved for parents, guardians or adoptive parents. Her religious views are her personal business, and she has no right to impose her religion on others! Is she planning to change the names of the billions of kids (and adults) that were named Jesus? It a common name in the Latino cultures (most of who oberve Christian views). No one says anything about just about all Arab males being named Mohammed (sometimes for first and last name). What is different here? PS By the way "Messiah" is Jewish and means messenger (and deliverer of the Jewish people).
Aug 15, 2013 1:27 AM CDT
If he's not the Messiah, the judge should have named him Brian.