Tenn. Judge: Baby Can't Be Named 'Messiah'

She names child 'Martin' instead
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2013 6:41 AM CDT
Updated Aug 12, 2013 7:36 AM CDT
Tenn. Judge: Baby Can't Be Named 'Messiah'
This photo provided by Heidi Wigdahl of WBIR-TV shows seven-month old Martin DeShawn McCullough being held by his mom Jaleesa Martin.   (AP Photo/Heidi Wigdahl)

According to one Tennessee judge, only one person in history deserves the name "Messiah"—so on Thursday she changed a 7-month-old's name to Martin instead. "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," Judge Lu Ann Ballew said in her ruling. She added that the decision is for little Messiah's own good, as his name "could put him at odds with a lot of people," particularly in the heavily Christian county where he lives. Mom Jaleesa Martin is appealing the decision, WBIR reports.

Martin and the baby's father were in court fighting over the baby's name, but not his first name—they couldn't agree on a last name. Ballew ordered the child's name be registered as "Martin DeShawn McCullough," which includes both parents' last names. "I was shocked," says Martin. "I never intended on naming my son Messiah because it means God and I didn't think a judge could make me change my baby's name because of her religious beliefs." Messiah was the No. 4 fastest-rising baby name of 2012, the AP notes. (Also on the list: Major and King; click for more.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.