Judge Fired for Pushing Religious Beliefs on Family
A Cocke County Tennessee judge, Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew, was fired last Friday, January 31, by the Tennessee fourth judicial district's presiding judge O. Duane Slone. Ballew's termination resulted from inappropriate religious bias that culminated in her ordering two parents last August to change the name of their 7-month old son from "Messiah" to "Martin"
The child's mother and father, Jaleesa Martin and Jawaan McCullough, had come before Ballew because they were in dispute about their son's surname. Instead of resolving their dispute with one of the names, Ballew ordered them to change the name to Martin DeShawn McCullough.
In an interview with Knoxville TV station WBIR, Ballew explained that “messiah” is a title earned by one person and reserved for Jesus Christ.
Yet, child name statistics within the United States don't match Ballew's opinion. In 2012, the Social Security Administration received 762 applications in the United States for the name Messiah.
Martin and McCullough successfully appealed Ballew's order before a separate Tennessee who noted that the original order was "unconstitutional."
After the incident last year, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct cited Ballew for inappropriate religious bias and scheduled a hearing for March 3, 2014.
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