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Judge Orders Baby's Name Be Changed From "Messiah," Says Only Jesus Has Earned That Name

Baby Messiah, Name Change NBC

If you want to get biblical with your baby names, you can go with Adam or Eve. Abraham, Bathsheba, Joseph, Mary, Gabriel and Ezekiel all work. Any of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, etc.). You can even name your baby Jesus.

But don't start getting all cocky and naming him Messiah.

That's the message one Tennessee judge, Lu Ann Ballew, had for Jaleesa Martin when she made Jaleesa change her 7-month-old baby's name from "Messiah" to "Martin."

Messiah's case ended up before Judge Ballew when Jaleesa and Messiah's father could not agree on the baby's last name, resulting in a child support hearing at Ballew's Cocke County Chancery Court.

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Lu Ann Ballew, Baby Messiah, Name Change NBC

Ballew ordered that his name be changed to "Martin DeShawn McCullough," Martin being his mother's last name and McCullough his father's. Everybody's happy! Except Messiah's parents. Really, only Lu Ann Ballew is happy. 

"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," Ballew explained to WBIR about her decision to change someone else's baby's name. "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." 

This is the first time Ballew has ordered that someone's first name be changed. 

"I was shocked. 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," Martin says.

Her other two sons are named Micah (a prophet who has his own book in the bible) and Mason (biblical in the sense that the bible discusses masons a lot). So far, Ballew has made no attempts to change their names to Martin 2 and Martin 3.

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Also, of note, Ballew says that people naming their child Jesus is "not relevant to this case." (Buzzfeed notes that Jesus was the 101st most popular name in the United States last year. Messiah was 387.)

"Everybody believes what they want so I think I should be able to name my child what I want to name him, not someone else," Martin continues, noting that she's appealing the decision and is still going to call him Messiah, regardless.

At this point, Messiah/Martin's best bet is to be The Second Coming, become a savior to his people, die for their sins and come back from the dead to rub it in Ballew's face. 

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