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Judge Nixes the Baby Name 'Messiah'

Judge strikes down the baby name "Messiah"

Two Tennessee parents have been forced to change their 7-month-old's name, after their first pick was struck down by a local judge for being too ... well, holy.

"Messiah Deshawn Martin" is now legally "Martin Deshawn McCullough," after his parents went to court over a debate about his last name, only to wind up in a debate over his first one, too.

"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," said Lu Ann Ballew, the Child Support Magistrate who ruled in the case.

But Martin's mom Jaleesa isn't letting the fight go that easy, and is appealing the decision. "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 said. She maintains that the moniker was never about naming her child "God" but simply about liking the name—and the way it sounded with those of her other children, Micah and Mason.

But for Ballew, she says the decision was one made with care, after thinking ahead to the child's future and how he would be treated with a name like Messiah in a predominantly Christian town.

In an interview with CNN, a reporter points out one obvious contradiction in the whole matter: What about names like Jesus? Should they be outlawed, too? A more than fair point, but one that Ballew awkwardly tiptoes away from answering.

Watch the CNN interview here:

What do you think? Should the judge have ordered the name change?

Image via Heidi Wigdahl/Associated Press

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