A judge in Tennessee has ordered that a mother and father change their child's name from Messiah to "Martin" because "[t]he 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."
Tennessee news station WBIR reports that Jaleesa Martin and Messiah's father could not agree about what last name to give their son, an argument that resulted in them having to attend a child support hearing in Cocke County Chancery Court last week. After hearing out the parents' case, Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew decided that Messiah's new name would be "Martin DeShawn McCullough." The new moniker serves two purposes, according to Ballew: 1. It incorporated both parents' surnames and 2. It was no longer an affront to god and Christians. "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," said Ballew.
Messiah's mother, who is appealing Ballew's decision, said she was "shocked" by the order to change her son's name. "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," she told WBIR.
As for Ballew, she should probably prepare herself: With all the Latino immigration to America, it seems like only a matter of time before a boy named "Jesus" comes before her and she has a heart attack.