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.

Latest Headlines

in Local

Advocates Bash Plan Requiring Jobs for Food Stamps

Newsradio WGAN

Advocates for the poor are urging Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration to scrap a plan that would require people to have a job to receive food stamps.

in Local

Maine House Speaker’s Bills Target Aging Issues

GENERIC MAINE STATE HOUSE LARGE

House Speaker Mark Eves is promoting a series of proposals aimed at making life easier for Maine's aging population

in Local

Man Who Lived as Hermit Adjusting to Society

KNIGHT MUG2

A man who lived nearly three decades in the Maine woods now has a job and is adjusting to life back in society.

in Local

Matthew Gagnon to Lead Conservative Advocacy Group

Newsradio WGAN

A Maine native is leaving his job at the Republican Governors Association to return to his home state to lead a conservative advocacy group

in Local

Closing Date Coming for Historic Maine Lighthouse

GENERIC LIGHTHOUSE

The federal government will announce a closing date for its auction of a historic lighthouse in Casco Bay next week.