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Judge orders baby’s name ‘Messiah’ changed, citing own religious beliefs

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A Tennessee magistrate ruled that a 7-month-old baby’s name had to be changed because she felt the name was more properly a title reserved for but one person, Jesus Christ. The child’s name was “Messiah.”

When the parents of the boy appeared before Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew in the Cocke County Chancery Court in Newport, Tenn. Thursday, they couldn’t agree on a last name for their baby. The Judge took one look at the first name and decided that was the one that was the real problem, according to NBC local station WBIR.

The judge then dubbed the infant, “Martin DeShawn McCullough,” which includes both parents’ last names, but leaves out “Messiah.”

“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. The mother, Jaleesa Martin, is appealing the decision.

“I was shocked,” Martin said. “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.”

Changing a baby’s given name is a first for Judge Ballew.

“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.

Giving babies unusual names seems to be a growing trend in America. Last year saw the births of boys named Burger and Kix, and girls dubbed Ace and Zealand according to Gawker.com. And of course this year heralded in little North West, the daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Messiah is a new one, though.

Watch the news report below, courtesy of NBC local WBIR.

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