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

(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."

In this undated photo provided by WBIR-TV, 7-month old Martin DeShawn McCullough is held by his mom, Jaleesa Martin.
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)
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