When high school seniors in New Haven, CT, receive their diplomas this week, they will not be graduating "in the year of our Lord." 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."
"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."
Last year, former alderwoman Ina Silverman filed a complaint about "in the year of our Lord. Her daughter was a student at Wilbur Cross High School. According to the newspaper, she took her concerns to the mayor who then asked the superintendent to censor 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 plain 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 some Christians disagree with that assessment. 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."
It's not the first time the phrase has generated controversy. Earlier 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."