UPDATE: According to Newsmax Chancellor Telford Forgety has reversed the decision of Tennessee Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew and ruled Jaleesa Martin can name her baby “Messiah”. Chancellor Fogerty said in his ruling that requiring Ms. Martin to give her baby a “Christian” name, violated the establishment clause of the Constitution.
A Tennessee child support magistrate took it upon herself to change a baby boy’s name from Messiah, to Martin, because Messiah is not a Christian name. Lu Ann Ballew was asked to mediate a dispute between the baby’s parents over which of the parent’s last names the baby would have. Instead, she decided on her own volition to rename the baby. Explained Ms. Ballew:
“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.”
The magistrate observed that the baby would be living in heavily Christian Cocke County, and the name Messiah “could put him at odds with a lot of people.” She gave the baby the name “Martin McCullough”, “Martin” being his mother’s last name, and “McCullough”, being his father’s surname.
Said Jaleesa Martin, the baby’s mother:
I didn’t think a judge could make me change my baby’s name because of her religious beliefs.”
Jaleesa Martin is appealing the ruling, saying she “never intended on naming my son Messiah because it means God.”
And even if she did, so what? According to the Social Security Administration, “Jesus” came in #101, on the list of most popular baby names last year. Asked about the common usage of the name “Jesus” Ms. Ballew (photo left) said it was “not relevant to the case.”
Child Support Magistrate is an appointed position, and Ms. Ballew could be removed by the judges elected to the district court, but so far no such action has been announced.
You can watch a news report on the story below:
Supporters of Jaleesa Martin’s right to name her own child have begun a Change.org petition to disbar Lu Ann Ballew, that you can sign here.
Ms. Martin’s appeal is scheduled to be heard next month.
Photos are from the Disbar Lu Ann Ballew Facebook Page
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