Judge Orders Mother Change Her Baby’s Name From Messiah To Martin

August 12, 2013  |  

We often joke about the weird or “hood” names people tend to give their children. But at the end of the day, most of us understand that in most cases, people should have the right to name their children whatever they want.

But apparently, a Tennessee judge didn’t see it that way. Child Magistrate, Lu Ann Ballew ordered that 7 month old Messiah Deshawn Martin’s name be changed to Martin DeShawn McCullough. Messiah or Martin’s parents were in court for a child support question, when the baby’s last name came into question. Judge Ballew ruled that Messiah could cause the little boy problems growing up in a predominately Christian area.

“It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has no choice in what his name is.” 

That argument is quite interesting considering that this particular Messiah wouldn’t be the first child to be named such. According to the US Social Security Administration, 700 babies were named Messiah just last year. (And then there’s T.I.’s son Messiah who you can see on television every week.)

The name change she ordered includes both parents’ last names. She continued explaining her decision.

“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.” 

In the Christian religion Jesus is regarded as the messiah, the savior of humanity, while in Judaism that person has yet to appear. Today, the dictionary defines messiah as “one who is anticipated as, regarded as, or professes to be a savior or liberator.”

Messiah/Martin’s mother, Jalessa Martin says that she chose the name because she liked the way it sounded and it went with her other children’s names Micah and Mason.

In an interview with NBC affiliate WBIR, Martin said she would appeal the decision.

“I didn’t think a judge could change my baby’s name because of her religious beliefs.”


Watch the video of the mother, son and Judge Ballew explaining her decision below.


What do you think about this judge’s decision?

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