A Messiah was born … in Tennessee

Let’s face it: Some parents give their babies weird names.

Years ago, as a features writer for The Oklahoman, my wife, Tamie, wrote about a teenager named Cocaine — er, Kokain:

Kokain Mothershed thinks his father must have been on drugs when he named him.

Check his birth certificate, and you’ll find only that first and last name. Ouch. It’s real, all right.

But why in the world would anyone name their child after an illegal substance?

“Well, that’s a real good question,” the 17-year-old from Oklahoma City said. “I’m just glad (my dad’s) in recovery now.”

The Douglass High School junior quarterback is as quick on his feet as he is in the pocket. He’s already looking at colleges and wants to study computer science.

And he hasn’t let the drug connection ruin his life, he said, even though he can’t escape the image.

“I’ve got a cousin. Her name is Marijuana,” Kokain said. “But I don’t see her much. She’s locked up now.”

Strange, huh?

But this is the United States, land of the free, so parents have the right to name their offspring whatever they want — no matter how Strange.

Or maybe not.

An Associated Press story out of Tennessee reported earlier this week:

NEWPORT, Tenn. (AP) — A judge in Tennessee changed a 7-month-old boy’s name to Martin from Messiah, saying the religious name was earned by one person and “that one person is Jesus Christ.”

Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the name change last week, according to WBIR-TV (http://on.wbir.com/1cDOeTY).The boy’s parents were in court because they could not agree on the child’s last name, but when the judge heard the boy’s first name, she ordered it changed, too.

“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,” Ballew said.

Um, only in America. Or something like that.

The first AP story, referenced above, hit the quick high points, but I wondered if the wire service would give the case more serious attention than a gee-whiz bright. I was pleased to see a slightly more in-depth report last night.

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