Washington: Thou shalt not be named Messiah! A US judge has forced a 7-month-old boy`s name to be changed to mundane Martin from Messiah, saying the religious name was earned only by Jesus Christ.
Jaleesa Martin, mother of the baby, is now appealing the court`s decision after the judge ordered her son`s name be changed.
Messiah`s parents could not agree on a last name, and which is why they ended up at a child support hearing in Cocke County Chancery Court, in Tennessee, last week.
That is when the first name of the baby came into question by the judge, `WBIR-TV` reported. Judge Lu Ann Ballew ordered the baby`s name be changed to "Martin DeShawn McCullough" which includes both parent`s last names but leaves out Messiah.
"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," Ballew said in the judgement.
"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." Martin said.
Ballew said it is the first time she has ordered a first name change. She ruled the decision is best for the child, especially while growing up in a county with a large Christian population.
"It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is," Ballew said. Martin`s two older children are named Micah and Mason. She liked how the name Messiah sounded alongside the other two siblings and thought it was unique, the report said.
"Everybody believes what they want so I think I should be able to name my child what I want to name him, not someone else," Martin said.
Ballew said the parents will have to change the name on the birth certificate. However, Martin is appealing against the judge`s decision.