Judge Says Tennessee Mother Can’t Call Her Son Messiah, Forces Her to Rename Baby

August 12, 2013  |  
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When parents name their little ones, they don’t take the decision lightly. One mother in Tennessee wanted a unique “M” name for her baby and chose the increasingly popular name Messiah. However, a judge–who was supposed to be ruling on something else –said that wasn’t okay, reports the BBC. Why? Because it’ll put the 7-month-old boy “at odds” with people in the predominantly Christian community. Forget what you thought about personal choice; someone else’s religious beliefs are more important than what you’ve decided to name your baby.

Jaleesa Martin appeared in court to make sure her son Messiah DeShawn Martin kept her last name. But Child Custody Judge Lu Ann Ballew thought the child’s first name was the biggest problem and ordered his name be changed to Martin DeShawn McCullough. The new name gives the baby both his parents’ surnames but leaves out the supposedly problematic Messiah. Judge Ballew explained, “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.” Not only is the judge biased because of her own beliefs, she’s kinda just wrong. Messiah is the Hebrew word meaning savior; Jews and many Muslims believe their Messiah hasn’t come yet, but Christians do, of course, believe Jesus is theirs.

We could maybe see the judge wanting to change the child’s name if it was something obviously abusive, like Crap. But Martin said she chose the name Messiah for her youngest because she liked the way it sounded with the names of her other sons Micah and Mason. Religion wasn’t part of the equation at all, and it shouldn’t be in the case of this judge’s ruling. Martin says she plans to appeal the decision and we hope she wins because this is too ridiculous.

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