A Tennessee judge who was religiously opposed to a Black baby’s name being Messiah and ordered the parents to change it to Martin, has been fired.
Lu Ann Ballew, the Child Support Magistrate of eastern Tennessee’s Cocke County was relieved off her position by Judge Duane Slone after she had been accused of violating Tennessee’s Code of Judicial Conduct during a hearing this past August.
Ironically the ordeal occured when parents Jaleesa Martin and Jawaan McCullough went to court in a dispute on what their baby’s last name would be. In attempt to appease both parties and herself, as she felt the name Messiah should only be reserved for Jesus Christ, she ordered the parents to change their then-7-month-year-old’s name to Martin DeShawn McCullough.
Naturally they refused, appealing the decision and here we stand today.
Ballew, an attorney, still faces a March 3 hearing on accusations that her order to change Messiah’s name violated Tennessee’s Code of Judicial Conduct. Among other things, the code requires judges to perform all duties without bias or prejudice based on religion.
In a response to the Board of Judicial Conduct, Ballew has denied that her ruling was a violation.
Ballew surprised both parents by ordering that the baby’s name change to Martin McCullough, saying that the name Messiah was not in the baby’s best interest. Her written order stated that “Labeling this child ‘Messiah’ places an undue burden on him that as a human being, he cannot fulfill.”
Ballew’s decision was overturned in chancery court a month later, and both parents agreed to name the baby Messiah McCullough.
Check the gallery for pics of Mr. Messiah McCullough. That’s the name his momma named him and that’s what he shall be called.
Photo: NBC WBIR