Judge Says That Baby ‘Messiah’ Will Have to Change His Name Because He’s Not Jesus Christ

Jaleesa Martin and her son’s father went to court on Thursday expecting the judge to settle their 7-month-old child Messiah DeShawn Martin‘s last name.

Instead, Judge Lu Ann Ballew changed the baby’s first name, too:

Messiah DeShawn Martin (WBIR)

Judge Ballew ordered the 7-month-old’s name be “Martin DeShawn McCullough.” It includes both parent’s 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.

Ballew went on to say this was best for the baby since the family lived in such a religious area.

But who the hell does she think she is? What if this was a Hispanic couple with a baby named Jesus? Or a Muslim family with a baby named Mohammed? Would they all have to change their names, too? And what about Christopher?

Actually, a reporter asked Ballew what she would do if a baby were named Jesus (in the video above). Ballew’s response?

Hmm… Well, I’ve thought about that as well… um… and that’s not relevant to this case.

She’s thought about it and her best answer is a deflection of the question.

Messiah is not an offensive name. As far as crazy unique baby names go, it could be much worse. And it wasn’t even the issue at hand! It was the most clear case you’ll ever see of a judge letting her religious beliefs override the law.

By the way, “Messiah” isn’t even that unusual of a name. The Social Security Administration puts it in the top 1,000 male baby names in the U.S. for each of the past several years.

Hemant appears somewhere far, far below that. I see how it is…

Martin will be appealing the judge’s decision in mid-September.

(Thanks to everyone for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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