Child Support Judge Lu Ann Ballew took matters into her own hands when two parents with a dispute over their child’s last name appeared in her Cocke County Tennessee court. Not only did she change the child’s last name, Ballew decided to change the first name as well.
Messiah Martin will now be known as Martin DeShawn McCullough. The judge took the mother’s last name, made it his first and gave him the father’s last name, obviously.
“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 Ballew said.
Martin responded saying, “I was shocked. 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.”
According to Judge Ballew, it is the first time she has ordered a first name change. She said the decision is best for the child, especially while growing up in a 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,” Judge Ballew said.
I guess no one has informed Judge Ballew that there’s a whole bunch of “Messiahs” walking around the world right now. Messiah was No. 4 among the fastest-rising baby names in 2012, according to the Social Security Administration’s annual list of popular baby names.
God, forbid a Latino family ends up in Judge Ballew’s courtroom, with little baby Jesus.
Martin is appealing the decision.