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Constitutional Law

Baby Messiah regains moniker

Posted Sep 18, 2013 1:10 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A Tennessee court on Wednesday reversed a magistrate's change of name for an 8-month-old baby named Messiah by his parents, finding that it was not the lower court's job to overrule the name on which his parents had agreed.

However, the latest ruling in the Cocke County Chancery Court case upholds the magistrate's decision to give the boy the same last name as his father, according to WBIR. He will now be known as Messiah DeShawn McCullough.

Disagreement between the parents on little Messiah's last name had put the matter before the family court magistrate in a paternity case. She changed his first name to Martin because the "title" had been "earned" only by Jesus Christ.

Chancellor Telford E. Forgety Jr. said in the ruling today that the magistrate's decision to change Messiah's first name violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, reports an Alabama Media Group story.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: "Judge explains why she ordered name change for baby ‘Messiah’: Only Jesus has that title"

Alabama Media Group: "ACLU challenges judge who ordered child's name be changed from 'Messiah' (poll)"

USA Today: "Tenn. judge: Parents can name their baby 'Messiah'"

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