NEWPORT, Tenn. – An East Tennessee magistrate has been replaced months after ordering a baby’s name changed from Messiah to Martin because she believes Messiah is a title held only by Jesus Christ.
Lu Ann Ballew (pictured) was a child support magistrate, serving at the pleasure of the chief judge of Tennessee’s fourth judicial district. Judge Duane Slone terminated Ballew on Friday and appointed a new magistrate. He did not return calls seeking comment, and his order does not explain why he ended Ballew’s appointment.
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.
The name change happened in August, when Jalessa Martin and Jawaan McCullough appeared before Ballew at a child support hearing in Newport about their 7-month-old son Messiah Martin. As part of the hearing, the father requested the baby’s last name be changed to McCullough.
Jawaan McCullough, left, and Jaleesa Martin, center, and lawyer Kristi Davis speak during interviews following an appeal hearing regarding their son’s name at Cocke County Chancery Court on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, in Newport, Tenn. Amy Smotherman Burgess,AP Photo/The Knoxville News Sentinel
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.”
She also said that the name would likely offend many residents of Cocke County, with its large Christian population.
That decision quickly made international news, prompting the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation to file a complaint with the Board of Judicial Conduct.
Ballew’s decision was overturned in chancery court a month later, and both parents agreed to name the baby Messiah McCullough.
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Continue reading Judge Who Told Mom She Couldn’t Name Her Baby Messiah Fired
Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015
From <a href="http://hellobeautiful.com/2015/12/22/sandra-bland-family-non-indictment/" target="_blank"><strong>Sandra Bland</strong></a> to the shootings in <a href="http://hellobeautiful.com/2015/06/20/why-is-south-carolina-using-a-judge-in-the-charleston-church-massacre-who-has-used-the-n-word-before/" target="_blank">Charleston, South Carolina</a>, African Americans were sadly reminded that being <a href="http://hellobeautiful.com/2015/12/13/police-brutality-2015/" target="_blank">Black in America</a> is much harder than it ought to be. And yet in the same breath, 2015 was a year of Black joy during which our culture dominated not only in our lives, but in the mainstream consciousness. From <a href="http://hellobeautiful.com/2015/07/16/lee-daniels-and-taraji-p-henson-emmy-empire/" target="_blank">Cookie Lyons</a> to the <a href="http://hellobeautiful.com/2015/10/17/ebony-editor-comments-cosby-cover/" target="_blank">Cosby <em>Ebony </em>cover</a>, our brilliance helped to push the conversation, affirm our greatness, make history and most important, make us laugh.
So to celebrate that greatness, we put together this list of the most defining Black pop culture moments of 2015. And don’t worry: <a href="http://hellobeautiful.com/2015/12/08/rachel-dolezal-interview/" target="_blank">Rachel Dolezal </a>is nowhere to be seen.