Tennessee Judge Orders Parents To Change Name Of Baby To Martin Because Messiah Is Reserved For Jesus Christ

250px-Samuel_e_davidParents in Tennessee came to court to deal with a dispute over the last name to be used for their 7-month-old son. However, Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the first name to be changed because the parents had named the boy “Messiah.” Ballew admits that she has never ordered a first name change (particularly when both parents were in agreement with the name) but that messiah is a name earned by one person and “that one person is Jesus Christ.”

The bizarre ruling by Ballew came in a dispute of the estranged parents. She ordered the boy to be called Martin DeShawn McCullough. The mother’s name is Jaleesa Martin. The mother is appealing the decision.

First, it turns out that the name “Messiah” is the fourth most popular name among the fastest rising names. It also had the benefit of alliteration for the mother with his two siblings, Micah and Mason.

Second, and most importantly, it is not the province of a judge to police religious sensibilities. We have previously discussed how some countries require approval of names or ban the use of some names. This would not be one of those countries. It is particularly offensive when such action is taken to support religious sectarian interests. Ballew stated “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.” It is indeed a title but different people view its meaning and its identification differently. Jews for example are still awaiting the Messiah and do not believe that Jesus earned that title. The term is generally defined as meaning “a professed or accepted leader of some hope or cause.”

Ballew insisted that she is protecting the child since “[i]t could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is.” However, that forces parents to adhere to the demands of the religiously intolerant in society.

The order should be appealed and quickly reversed. More importantly, Ballew’s qualification to serve in any judicial function, even a relatively minor judicial office, needs to be reexamined. If her interests favor the ecclesiastical over the legal, there is a wealth of opportunities to be pursued.

56 thoughts on “Tennessee Judge Orders Parents To Change Name Of Baby To Martin Because Messiah Is Reserved For Jesus Christ”

  1. i don’t understand how a judge can use any religious reasoning to defend a decision. isn’t that the most obvious enmeshment of state and religion?

  2. Just waiting for all those homeschooled, Regent University lawyers to really F up our legal system with their form of Sharia Law.

  3. Barry,
    You are probably right about an appeal, if there is one.

    Don’t count on her being removed. Remember where she is. From where I sit in east Tennessee, competency is not a requirement. We have one local criminal court judge who, according to a lawyer who knew him before he became a judge, said he was one of the worst lawyers in the area. My informant told me, “He was bad about missing filing deadlines, and screwing up cases. He had to run for judge before he was either disbarred or starved to death.” Thing is, he looks like a judge, kind of like the TV character Ted Baxter looked like a news presenter–with similar results.

    As for her being a candidate for congress, she might have some serious competition in the batshit crazy department. Our quota is already full in that department.

  4. “, , , and she will return to private practice.”

    Or be elected to Congress — it is Tennessee

  5. I predict that this ruling will be set aside immediately. I also predict that the judge’s term will be drastically shortened and she will return to private practice.

  6. all names mentioned sound much much better then the last names of twin boys i went to school with homoblassingane yep thats right their last names was once again homoblassingane. wish i could hear all of you trying to pronounce that one lmaoooooo

  7. TheC magistrate must go. It just shows that the lower 80% of law school is just like the lower 80% of any qualifying group: not quite getting “it”. Really, how could anyone that “studied” the Constitution even get close to such a bone head statement, much less in judicial garb.

  8. So what is being done about it? You can’t just laugh it off. People like this are taking over your country after years of trying.

    It’s all very well to flap gums (or blog) about the devolution of the USofA, but WHO is actually going to put a stop to it? From my comfy view here in Australia it feels like the time machine to before a pre-enlightenment age is accelerating over there.

  9. It sounds like “Judge” Ballew went to the same law school as the lawyer “Frito” in the movie, “Idiocracy”, except she is not as smart.

  10. (TrulyS My parents were first cousins. They could not get married in Pa then, about 1950 or so, because it was illegal so they went to NY. I have a number of birth defects – whether related to their being first cousin -no way to know.)

  11. “The boy’s parents were in court because they could not agree on the child’s last name.”

    How in the world is that a justiciable issue? Divorce, you bet. Custody, yes. Child support, OK. But picking a person’s name? And how is the “best interest of the child” analysis even triggered? Is there neglect? Is there abuse? No, getting a funny name is neither. What is it with judges who think they have the duty to decide every issue?

    If she has the authority, the best practice would be that of yore — “Baby Girl.” My grandmother’s name was recorded on her birth certificate as “Baby Girl.” She was born sickly but hung around long enough for her parents to name her. She had a cousin who walked on after a few days — his headstone reads, “Baby Boy.”

  12. Dredd, 🙂 great vid.


    Blouise, I second what Gene said, I hope all is well with Tex.

  13. Darren Smith 1, August 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I wonder if this magistrate would be more at ease with taking humanity out of naming conventions and sticking with binary; replacing Messiah with…

    Well …

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