Student Wants “Our Lord” Off Her Diploma

Some students at Trinity University, a San Antonio, Texas school founded by Presbyterians in 1869, want the school take “our Lord” off their diplomas. According to an article by Melissa Ludwig in the San Antonio Express-News:

“A diploma is a very personal item, and people want to proudly display it in their offices and homes,” said Sidra Qureshi, president of Trinity Diversity Connection. “By having the phrase ‘In the Year of Our Lord,’ it is directly referencing Jesus Christ, and not everyone believes in Jesus Christ.”

Qureshi, who is Muslim, has led the charge to tweak the wording, winning support from student government and a campus commencement committee. Trustees are expected to consider the students’ request at a May board meeting.

Apparently Qureshi first noticed the words “our Lord” when she was looking at one of those pre-made diploma frames in the school’s bookstore. When Trinity told her they wouldn’t print custom certificates she asked to have the words removed from everyone’s diploma.

It’s a little unclear why Qureshi is so concerned about two words on the diploma of a school with a fairly nominal religious affiliation.

Note that the wording does not indicate that Jesus is, say, actually issuing the diploma. It merely occurs in a clause stating the date, a fairly common practice in formal documents.

Even removing “our Lord” from students’ diplomas wouldn’t actually eliminate all religious language. Qureshi apparently has no problem with the name of the school itself, which makes a somewhat obvious reference to the Holy Trinity, the Christian doctrine that maintains that God exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. “Trinity University” occurs in very large font on the diplomas.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer