NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A Wisconsin-based nonprofit association of atheists and agnostics says it has filed a complaint against a Tennessee magistrate for changing a baby's name from Messiah to Martin.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to the Board of Judicial Conduct on Wednesday accusing Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew of violating the state's code of judicial conduct.
At a paternity hearing last week, Ballew ordered a child's name changed from Messiah DeShawn Martin to Martin DeShawn McCullough. Martin is the surname of the child's mother, while McCullough is the surname of the child's father.
In her order, Ballew explained the change by saying that "`Messiah' is a title that is held only by Jesus Christ."
Ballew did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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New Zealand: 'Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii'
In 2008, a nine-year-old girl whose parents gave her this "name" was put into court guardianship in New Zealand so that it could be changed. According to <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/25/newzealand" target="_hplink">the Guardian</a>, the judge also banned names including: Stallion, Yeah Detroit, Fish and Chips, Twisty Poi, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit were disallowed by registration officials.
According to <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/07/03/mf.baby.naming.laws/index.html" target="_hplink">CNN</a>, in Germany, rejected baby names depend on gender -- if you can't tell the gender of the child by the first name (like Matti, apparently), it's a no go.
Denmark: 'Anus, Pluto And Monkey'
In Denmark, parents must choose from a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/08/world/europe/08iht-danes.html" target="_hplink">government-approved list </a>of 7,000 names. If they want to go "off-list", they have to get permission from a local church. About 1,100 names are reviewed every year, and 15 percent to 20 percent are rejected, mostly for odd spellings.
Sweden: 'Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb- 111163' (Pronounced Albin)
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Dominican Republic: 'Dear Pineapple'
In 2007, a judge in the Dominican Republic submitted a proposal to ban names that are either confusing or gave no indication of gender, the Globe and Mail reported. <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/new-zealand-bans-odd-baby-names-no-more-lucifers-dukes-or-kings/article2102204/" target="_hplink">Among unique names </a>used to prove his point: Mazda Altagracia, Toshiba Fidelina, Querida Pina (Dear Pineapple), Tonton Ruiz (Dummy Ruiz) and Winston Churchill de la Cruz.