A Tennessee judge has ordered a baby's name changed from Messiah to Martin, because she says 'Messiah' is a title that has to be earned.

"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."


Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew was supposed to settle a dispute between the boy's parents over his last name. The boy's mother, Jaleesa Martin, told WBIR-TV she was shocked by the judge's order that her 7-month old son's name be changed to Martin DeShawn McCullough, a name that reflects both parents' last names.


"I never intended on naming my son Messiah because it means 'God,' " Jaleesa Martin tells WBIR, "and I didn't think a judge could make me change my baby's name because of her religious beliefs."

According to the Social Security Administration, the name Messiah has gained popularity recently, and was fourth on the SSA's list of fastest-growing names for 2012.

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