Citing Jesus Christ, Judge Orders Parents to Change Baby’s Name

judgeHow one picks a child’s name is a personal choice, a choice that takes much time, thought, and consideration. So, what would you do if you were ordered by a judge to change your child’s name?

Jaleesa Martin went to court looking for help because she and the father of her child couldn’t agree on their seven-month-old baby’s last name. “But when the judge heard the boy’s first name, she ordered it changed, too.”

“Messiah” was the fourth fastest-rising baby name in 2012.

She had named her son “Messiah.”

Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered this change, “saying the religious name was earned by one person and ‘that one person is Jesus Christ,’” according to this article. The judge also said, “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 … 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.”

Martin’s planning to appeal the judge’s ruling, which resulted in her child’s name becoming “Martin Deshawn McCullough.”

Now, I’m not a huge fan of naming a child “Messiah,” due to its religious association. However, I know a handful of men who are named “Jesus”; and I even dated a “Jesus” (who went by J.J.) back in high school.

Why it is appropriate to name a child “Jesus,” but not “Messiah”? And if there are children named Jesus, Mary, Apple, North, Hashtag, and Blue, why should “Messiah” be any different?

Martin said, “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.” And I actually agree with her, despite my internal displeasure at her personal choice of “Messiah.” I mean, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” right? Or wrong?

Would you ever name your child “Messiah”?

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Do you agree or disagree with the judge’s ruling to change the young boy’s name?

What do you think?

Citing Jesus Christ, Judge Orders Parents to Change Baby’s Name

Kimberly Shannon is a wife, a mother, an editor, a writer ... She is always working to find the perfect balance¹! After Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she worked on two master’s degree programs (Creative Writing, and Marriage and Family Therapy). At various times in her life she has signed up to study Naturopathy, only to back out at the last minute, and humored the idea of returning full-time to the world of dance. Kimberly has also started 10 different children ... More

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13 comments

  1. Gabrielle says:

    Let’s not forget that two adults went to court because they couldn’t agree on a name for their child. They opened themselves up to the opinion of the court, because like all family law matters, there is no definitive law. It all comes down to opinion and what is best for the child. If you don’t want the opinion of the court, don’t take it to court.

  2. Tina says:

    I think they should have kept the name. I wouldn’t name my kid that, but it’s no ones right but the parents in what their child is going to be named.

  3. Beret says:

    She let opinion rule…not the law..of course look who ruled it a woman off that nature…not right!!!

  4. Joanna says:

    I believe everyone has the right to name their baby whatever they desire. It was wrong of the judge to change her baby’s name. A child’s name should be chosen by its mother without her having to worry about anyone else’s opinion. Like Bethany says, its hard enough finding a name and people shouldn’t make it harder.

  5. Courtney says:

    Considering the seperation of state and church byline the judge herself should be ashamed she let her own personal beliefs impact a judgement that’s grounds for an appeal right there

  6. Bethany says:

    I think that it’s hard enough trying to find a name for your child. Everyone has opinions about the names that you think of, both positive and negative. I think that you should name your child what you want, but parents should keep in mind what connotations will be associated with that name.

  7. I would feel bad for a child named Messiah. Who could live up to such a name and how difficult could it be to get a job. There’s many things I would worry about with that name. I do believe it’s a parent’s decision to name their child but I do not believe it is their RIGHT. What about the child’s right to buy walk around with a stupid name like Apple or Blue? What about the parents duty to protect their kids? I think naming your child something like that is not fulfilling that duty.

  8. Rhonda says:

    As a Christian I don’t think it’s right, many names where given to Jesus and they should remain sacred. I think it is just pushing the envelope and I don’t think it should be done with a child. There are many names out there that are very nice that mean thing like: gift from God etc… That would be appropriate!

  9. Stephanie says:

    A name is a name, PLAIN AND SIMPLE and it is a parent’s RIGHT to name their child whatever they want, it is their child! If the child grows up to not like their name, they can change it themselves. SMH

  10. Phammom says:

    I don’t agree with naming your child that, it will cause problems.

  11. Emily says:

    It just goes to show that the judge doesn’t know her Bible very well, as there are many “messiah”s listed in the Old Testament. All the term means is anointed, and even Cyrus the Persian (a Zoroastrian) was given that title in the OT. That being said, I’m a Muslim and have to agree that the Jesus (peace be upon him) does have the main claim on the title of Messiah as the Qur’an gives that title only to Jesus (peace be upon him), and I would never name my kid that.

    • Channel says:

      @Emily please the judge know what she is saying quite alright, it is you who dnt knw what u re saying there is no other person in the bible that was called messiah except jesus christ…do your research well.

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