Judge: ‘Messiah’ Is Not an Acceptable Baby Name

"It's a title that has only been earned by one person," said Tennessee judge Lu Ann Ballew of Cocke County

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Heidi Wigdahl / AP

This photo provided by Heidi Wigdahl of WBIR-TV shows seven-month old Martin DeShawn McCullough being held by his mom Jaleesa Martin.

In the U.S., all kinds of wacky baby names are totally fair game — especially among celebrity parents. (See: Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen Zappa, Moroccan Cannon, North West, etc.) But now, there’s apparently one baby name that won’t fly. And that name is Messiah.

A Tennessee judge ordered the parents of 7-month-old Messiah DeShawn Martin to change the baby’s name to Martin DeShawn McCullough instead, NBC affiliate WBIR reports. The parents initially ended up in court because they couldn’t agree on what the child’s last name should be. They’d already settled on the first name, but when Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew heard it, she sprung to action.

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“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. As WBIR reports, the boy’s mother, Jaleesa Martin, responded saying, “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.”

Ballew ruled that the boy’s parents must change the name on his birth certificate. In the meantime, his mother, Jaleesa Martin, is pushing back. Her appeal will go before the Cocke County Chancellor next month.

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