jesus christ
An actor plays Jesus Christ in agony as he bears his cross during the 154th annual re-enaction of the cruxifiction in the Mexico City neighbourhood of Iztapalapa March 28. Reuters

A Tennessee court judge last week ordered a baby’s first name to be changed from Messiah to Martin saying only Jesus Christ has earned the title of Messiah, reports said.

Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the name change after the seven-month-old baby’s parents approached the court as they could not decide on the baby’s last name.

But, when Ballew heard the child’s first name, she said she believed the name “could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is,” WBIR-TV reported, according to New York Daily News.

“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 said, adding that the name could cause problems in future if the child grows up in Cocke County, which has a large Christian population, the report said.

According to reports, the baby’s last name has been decided as DeShawn McCullough, which contains both his parents’ last names.

But the baby’s mother, Jaleesa Martin, said she would appeal against the name change, as she is not happy with the decision.

Martin said she chose the name Messiah as it was unique, and it went with the names of his two siblings – Micah and Mason.

“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.

In the U.S., Messiah was among the top baby names of 2012, according to a report released by the Social Security Administration.

In New Zealand, however, where parents have to obtain the government’s nod before naming their baby, Messiah is among the many names that are on the country’s list of banned names.