News

‘Messiah:’ Judge orders baby’s name changed

‘Messiah:’ Judge orders baby’s name changed

A Tennessee judge has ordered a baby's name changed from "Messiah" to Martin, saying that the only true messiah is Jesus Christ. Photo: Associated Press

(Reuters) – A Tennessee judge has ordered a baby’s first name changed from “Messiah” to Martin, saying that the only true messiah is Jesus Christ, a ruling the boy’s mother promises to appeal, a Tennessee television station has reported.

The parents of Messiah DeShawn Martin went before Tennessee Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew because they could not agree on the 7-month-old’s last name.

Ballew instead last week ordered the baby’s name changed to Martin DeShawn McCullough, the Tennessee television station WBIR reported.

“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,” Ballew told WBIR.

Ballew, who could not be reached for comment on Sunday, said the child would likely struggle with his given first name because he lives in Cocke County, a predominantly Christian area in eastern Tennessee.

“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.

Jaleesa Martin, the baby’s mother, told WBIR she would appeal the judge’s order.

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

Christianity refers to Jesus as the Messiah, while Judaism uses the term to mean an anticipated savior of the Jews. Dictionary definitions say the word can mean one who is seen as, expected or professes to be a savior or liberator.

Messiah was the 387th most popular name for boys born in the United States in 2012, based on applications for Social Security cards filed with the U.S. Social Security Administration.

In all, there were 762 applications for boys named Messiah in 2012, up from 368 applications in 2011, the Social Security Administration said.

Recent Headlines

1 day ago in Entertainment

OPENING WEEKEND: ‘Mother’s Day,’ Key & Peele comedy ‘Keanu’ hit theaters

22-overlay-9

Here's a look at some of the films set to open this weekend.

1 day ago in Entertainment

WHAT’S ON: New on Netflix, Amazon & Hulu this May

netflixAP

It's going to be a great weekend for some binge-watching.

1 day ago in Entertainment

Alicia Vikander to play Lara Croft in ‘Tomb Raider’ reboot

vikanderREUTERS

The Swedish Oscar winner follows in the footsteps of Angelina Jolie to play the famed adventurer.

1 day ago in Entertainment

‘Angry Birds,’ apps to go hand-in-hand at the movies

21-overlay-15

Creators of the upcoming "The Angry Birds Movie" movie will ask audiences to whip out their phones during the end credits and point them at the screen.