Judge Lu Ann Ballew gained national attention this week by changing an infant boy's name from Messiah to Martin, attributing the decision to her personal belief that the word Messiah is “a title that has only been earned by one person, and that person is Jesus Christ."
The boy's parents originally went to court because they couldn't settle on a last name, but when Ballew saw the boy was called Messiah, she ordered an immediate name change.
According to the Tennessee judge, the name Messiah "could put [the boy] at odds with a lot of people," especially if he grows up in Cocke County, which boasts a majority Christian population.
The 7-month-old is now officially Martin Deshawn McCullough--at least for the time being. His mother, Jaleesa Martin, plans to appeal Ballew's order, as she's taken to the name Messiah, and thinks it sounds nice alongside Micah and Mason, the names of her other two sons.
"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.