Tuesday, July 6, 2010

If Not The Year of Our Lord, Then What?

In New Haven, Connecticut, they have finally responded to a request from 1976, where a graduate noticed "In the year of our Lord" on the bottom of her diploma to help specify the date. According to a new account, the Superintendent of Schools saw to it that the phrase was removed from diplomas. Part of the justification for this action was the presumption that it violates the so-called "separation of church and state."

This seems a bit silly to me. The only reason we use the year 2010 today is that it was based on a system counting from the incarnation of Jesus Christ. You may have also seen "A.D." used after a year, which originated from the same counting system. That abbreviation stood for "Anni Domini Nostri Jesu Christi." Scholars believe the exact year chosen for the 0-base of this system is not quite accurate, but nonetheless the reason for now being 2010 is based on Jesus' life. Whether we use 2010 alone, in the year of our Lord 2010, or 2010 A.D., we are counting the same way

You may already know that the "separation" metaphor was used once by Thomas Jefferson to help explain the purpose of the First Amendment. I have pointed out in this blog many times that the metaphor does not, even in Jefferson's own words, properly explain what Jefferson thought was the purpose and value of the First Amendment of our Constitution. But perhaps more to this particular point, Jefferson went one step further by using the designation "in the year of our Lord Christ" when signing official documents as President of the United States. That document was signed several years after his letter where he used the "separation" metaphor.

Our Constitution Convention used "in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven." You can find the phrase in some of our state constitutions. Founder John Adams as President used the phrase when he declared a national day of prayer. And so it has gone throughout our history.

To base an argument for not using "year of our Lord" on Jefferson's metaphor is very loose.

Read more in the link below:


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