NEWPORT, Tenn. — A Tennessee mother has appealed a judge’s decision to change her 7-month-old baby’s name from Messiah to Martin.
However, Child Support Judge Lu Ann Ballew decided Thursday the child’s first name, Messiah, needed to be changed.
“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,” the judge told WBIR-TV, a local channel.
She ordered the name be changed to Martin DeShawn McCullough. The name includes both parents’ last names but left out Messiah.
“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 told the TV station.
The name Messiah has become more popular in the U.S. recently, ranking fourth on the U.S. Social Security Administration’s list of fastest-growing names for boys between 2011 and 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The appeal was expected to be heard Sept. 17.