Seniors at a New Haven, Conn., high school will not be graduating “in the year of our Lord” this year – or any future years, according to the superintendent of schools.
The school district has removed the traditional phrase from high school diplomas after someone complained.
“It’s a religious thing,” Superintendent Reginald Mayo told the New Haven Register. “I’m surprised it took this long for someone to notice it. We certainly don’t want to offend anyone.”
Last year, former alderwoman Ina Silverman filed a complaint about “in the year of our Lord" when her daughter was a student at Wilbur Cross High School. According to the newspaper, Silverman took her concerns to the mayor, who then asked the superintendent to remove the words.
Mayo told the newspaper it was a small change – but it was a necessary change. The American Humanist Association heralded the decision.
“It removes the bias toward Christianity and puts all New Haven students on an equal plane without religious bias,” Bob Ritter, a staff lawyer with the American Humanist Association, told FOX News Radio.
“The fact of the matter is all New Haven students deserve a diploma which is religiously neutral,” Ritter said. “It favors no religion over another.”
But the move has outraged a number of people across the city – especially in the Christian community.
Local resident Betsy Claro called the decision “hideous.”
“I do believe that it’s a travesty to keep removing the Lord’s name,” the mother of three told FOX News Radio. “I believe that our nation was founded on the principles of belief in God, and our Founding Fathers made sure it was incorporated into every document that they produced.”
“This is political correctness gone mad,” said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League. “What this New Haven school is doing is more than a detour from our moorings, it is unconscionable; attempts to scrub clean any reference to our founding is a disservice to the students and their community.”
Donohue told FOX News Radio he doesn’t buy into the argument that the words have been censored to avoid offending people.
“To base this decision, in part, on the need not to ‘offend anyone,’ is disingenuous – it offends beyond belief the vast majority of Americans,” Donohue said.
It’s not the first time the phrase has generated controversy. This year, a Muslim student at Trinity University in San Antonio petitioned to have the words removed from diplomas. The university, affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of America, decided to keep “in the year of our Lord.”
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is "God Less America”.