A Messiah is born. Kind of.
For unto us a child is born,
unto us a Son is given.
And his name shall be called… Well, Martin, if Cocke County, Tenn., Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew’s decision stands.
Ballew ordered 7-month old baby Messiah DeShawn Martin’s name changed to Martin because “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,” according to local television station WBIR.
Ballew informed Jaleesa Martin, the infant’s mother, of the decision when she and the child’s father could not agree on the little one’s last name. The judge ordered the birth certificate changed to Martin DeShawn McCullough, including both parents’ surnames, and leaving out the holy title.
“I was shocked,” Martin told the WBIR. “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.”
Ballew told WBIR it was the first time she had ordered a first name changed, but she thinks the decision is best for the child, especially growing up in county with a large Christian population. “It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point, he has had no choice in what his name is,” Ballew said.
Martin does not feel the choice should be up to the judge, and has appealed the decision. The Cocke County Chancellor will hear the matter on Sept. 17.