Despite being one of the USA’s fastest growing baby names, parents of 7-month-old Messiah were ordered to change his name to Martin.
His parents, Jaleesa Martin and DeShawn McCullough, went to a child support hearing last week in Tennessee as they couldn’t decide on the baby’s surname. Instead, the judge objected to his first name and told to change it.
The magistrate dictated that baby Messiah be named Martin DeShawn McCullough, which includes both of his parents names, but leaves out Messiah.
Magistrate LuAnn Ballew said: “The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ.”
Growing up in a predominantly Christian community, Judge Ballew said, and having the name Messiah would “put him at odds with a lot of people”. She said the parents would have to change his name on his birth certificate.
His mother is appealing the ruling. “I was shocked. I never intended on naming my son Messiah because it means God and I didn’t think a judge could make me change my baby’s name because of her religious beliefs.
“I want to name him, not someone else.”
According to social security data in the US, the name Messiah is gaining popularity. In 2012, it was the 387th most popular name for boys.