(WBIR-Newport, TN) On Tuesday, 10News obtained the court documents where a Tennessee judge detailed her reasons for changing the name of a boy named Messiah.
Messiah's parents, Jaleesa Martin and Jawaan McCullough, who are not married, appeared before Child Support Magistrate LuAnn Ballew in a Cocke County courtroom on August 13.
As 10News first reported on Saturday, the parents were debating child support issues, and the 7-month-old boy's name. Martin named the boy Messiah Deshawn Martin. His father initially argued for the name to be changed to Jawaan McCullough, Jr., but by the end of the hearing, according to the documents, only asked that his last name by changed to McCullough.
Last week, Judge Ballew ordered that the boy's name should be changed to Martin DeShawn McCullough, using the mother's last name as his first name, and giving the boy his father's last name.
On Tuesday after recieving the documents, Judge Ballew agreed to meet with 10News and speak about her decision since the story first aired. But at the last second she declined our interview and told us her only statement is in the order.
She said her ruling was in the child's best interest, and wrote, "'Messiah' means Savior, Deliverer, the One who will restore God's Kingdom. 'Messiah' is a title held only by Jesus Christ."
She went on to say, "Labeling this child, 'Messiah' places an undue burden on him that as a human being, he cannot fulfill. The Court also takes judicial notice of the fact that Cocke County, Tennessee, has a large Christian population, as evidenced by the many churches of the Christian faith located in Cocke County, Tennessee. Therefore, it is highly likely that he will offend many Cocke County citizens by calling himself 'Messiah'."
The parents are appealing the ruling. They're scheduled to appear in court on the matter on September 18.