Judge changing baby’s name Messiah draws reaction

In this undated photo provided by WBIR-TV, 7-month old Martin DeShawn McCullough is held by his mom, Jaleesa Martin. A judge in eastern Tennessee changed the boy's first name to Martin from "Messiah." Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the name change, saying Messiah is a title that has been earned by one person "and that one person is Jesus Christ."(AP Photo/WBIR-TV, Heidi Wigdahl)
In this undated photo provided by WBIR-TV, 7-month old Martin DeShawn McCullough is held by his mom, Jaleesa Martin. A judge in eastern Tennessee changed the boy's first name to Martin from "Messiah." Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the name change, saying Messiah is a title that has been earned by one person "and that one person is Jesus Christ."(AP Photo/WBIR-TV, Heidi Wigdahl)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee judge’s decision to change a baby’s first name from Messiah to Martin is drawing strong reactions from people.

Some believe the judge overstepped her powers while others think parents’ creativity should have some limits.

Thousands of people have commented online about the judge’s order since WBIR-TV published its story over the weekend. Many of them — but not all — said Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew went too far.

Laura Wattenberg is the founder of babynamewizard.com. She says even before the story she was using the name Messiah as an example of how baby names are changing.

Hedy Weinberg, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, says the judge can’t impose her religious faith on others.

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