He was meant to be Messiah, but a spoil-sport American judge has reduced his name to Martin

Muhammed has become the most popular name for baby boys in London for the first time.

But across the Atlantic, in Newport, Tennessee, a judge has changed a toddler’s name from Messiah to Martin, saying the religious name was earned by one person and “that one person is Jesus Christ.”

Funny old world, eh?

Alf learned from the Daily Mail (here) that combined spellings of the Islamic prophet’s name have made it the most popular name for newborn boys in England for three years in a row.

They rank higher than other favourites such as Harry and Jack in the top 100 names for boys from the Office for National Statistics.

Now, however, the single variant Muhammad has topped the list in the capital with 768 registered births last year, ahead of Daniel on 666.

When combined with Mohammed, the name was more than double any other with 1479 boys given the name.

Across England, a total of 7,032 babies were given the name using the spellings of Muhammad (18th), Mohammed (25th) and Mohammad (58th) – topping the 6,893 that were called Harry.

Harry and Amelia were the most popular baby names in 2012 for the second year running.

But names such as Hugo, Sonny and Seth for boys, and Ivy, Darcey, Tilly and Violet for girls are storming up the list.

Several modern names which had gained popularity in recent years – Alf is delighted to report – have dropped out of the top 100 altogether.

These include Ashton and Reece for boys and Nicole and Kayla for girls.

Lisa Penney, of the parenting club Bounty.com, believes that while celebrity-styled or unusual names may be fun, parents know their children will ‘probably have an easier ride in the playground if they choose a more traditional name’.

Damned right.

The judge in Tennessee who changed a seven-month-old boy’s name from Messiah to Martin is Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew.

Dunno if she would want to be called Lu, if she realised that this is remarkably similar to loo, which is another word for dunny Down Under.

Never mind. The fact is she ordered the name change last week, according to WBIR-TV .

The boy’s parents were in court because they could not agree on the child’s last name, but when the judge heard the boy’s first name, she ordered it changed, too.

“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.

It was the first time she ordered a first name change, the judge said.

But hey. The report which brought this matter to the Grumbles’ attention said Messiah was No. 4 among the fastest-rising baby names in 2012, according to the Social Security Administration’s annual list of popular baby names.

The judge seems to have been oblivious to that fact.

The judge in eastern Tennessee said the baby was to be named Martin DeShawn McCullough, which includes both parents’ last name.

The boy’s mother, Jaleesa Martin, of Newport, said she will appeal. She says Messiah is unique and she liked how it sounded alongside the boy’s 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.

But Judge Ballew said the name Messiah could cause problems if the child grows up in Cocke County, which has a large Christian population.

“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.

But the parents of this child don’t have to stick with Martin, surely.

And if they want to go for something Biblical, well, as you can learn here, there are some 200 names and titles of Christ found in the Bible.

The site lists some of the more prominent ones, organized in three sections relating to names that reflect the nature of Christ, His position in the tri-unity of God, and His work on earth on our behalf.

One of the listed names is Judge.

Wonder what Judge Bellew would make of that.

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