A Tennessee judge who changed a baby’s name because she believes “Messiah” should be reserved for Jesus Christ was overruled, local media reported.
The eight-month-old boy’s parents had sought help from a judge last month in a dispute over whether their child should have his mother or father’s last name.
Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew chastised the couple for choosing a name which “could put him at odds with a lot of people,” WBIR news reported.
“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.
She ordered the baby’s name to be “Martin DeShawn McCullough” — giving the boy his father’s family name and using his mother’s family name for his given name.
The parents were shocked — they had both agreed to the name Messiah because they liked the way it sounded — and appealed the decision.
Chancellor Telford Fogerty ruled that the name change violated the constitutional separation of church and state, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
“I’m just glad it’s over,” Martin told WBIR.
“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.”
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