Parents Can Name Baby 'Messiah,' Judge Rules
Says original judge acted unconstitutionally by ordering name change
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 18, 2013 1:59 PM CDT
This photo provided by Heidi Wigdahl of WBIR-TV shows 7-month old Martin or Messiah DeShawn McCullough being held by mom Jaleesa Martin.   (AP Photo/Heidi Wigdahl)

(Newser) – A Tennessee woman will be allowed to name her 8-month-old son "Messiah," a judge ruled today, overturning an order from another judge who said the boy's name should be changed to Martin because "'Messiah' is a title that is held only by Jesus Christ." At an appeal hearing, the judge found that the original judge acted unconstitutionally and, by agreement of the baby's parents, ordered the child's name to be changed to Messiah Deshawn McCullough. The judge said that the original decision violates the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution, which mandates the separation of church and state.

Jaleesa Martin said she couldn't believe it when child support magistrate Lu Ann Ballew last month ordered her son's name changed during a paternity hearing. The parents were disputing the baby's surname, with Martin hoping to keep the name she had given him—Messiah Deshawn Martin—and father Jawaan McCullough wanting the baby to bear his last name. The decision quickly made international news, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation filed a complaint against Ballew with the state's Board of Judicial Conduct.

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Parents Can Name Baby 'Messiah,' Judge Rules is...
5%
2%
2%
56%
3%
32%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 77 comments
usc1801
Oct 23, 2013 10:01 PM CDT
What is it with blacks giving their kids the dumbest names? I recently saw on a news show where one black mother named her child Orangejello (she pronounced it Or-Angleo). Really Messiah and Orangejello? What next Foodstampella, Sectioneightia. I wonder if this woman even knows who the father is?
samurai1833
Sep 20, 2013 9:15 PM CDT
The same people who complain about "Socialist", "Fascist" or "Communist" government intrusion are the same people who wants the legal system to have the authority to restrict these peoples rights to give their child a ridiculous first name. Freedom for you, and do what we say for everyone else, that is called an Aristocracy and it is just as bad as the others.
DaveMartin
Sep 19, 2013 6:06 PM CDT
this is ridiculous. what person in their right mind would want to their child messiah? jesus was the only person worthy of having that title, not some mere human being. idiot people.