A lot of people are up in arms, and justifiably so, over a judge in Tennessee forcibly changing the name of a child from Messiah to Martin. The judge’s arguments for her actions range from the trivial to the clearly unconstitutional because they’re based on her own religious views.
The judge in Cocke County said the name Messiah could cause the boy difficulties if he grew up in a predominantly Christian area.
“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.
She was able to make the order because the parents were already in a child support hearing in a dispute over what their son’s last name should be.
Instead the judge ruled that the baby was to be named Martin DeShawn McCullough, which includes both parents’ last name.
“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,” she said.
This is a pretty clear case. The judge is wrong and the ruling is clearly unconstitutional and likely to be overturned on appeal. But there are other cases that aren’t nearly as obvious. There’s the case in New Jersey where a guy named one of his children Aryan Nation and the other Adolf Hitler. What, if anything, should be done there?