LMU Student Penalized for Calling God “He”: A Petition to President Snyder to Protect Student Expression of Religious Beliefs

Dear President Snyder,

Recent news reports indicate that an LMU Professor in the Department of Theological Studies has penalized a student because she referred to God using male pronouns. In explanation of her use of male pronouns to refer to God, she cited the Apostle’s Creed, which includes references to God as “the Father almighty” and refers to God with the pronoun “his.” The student added, “This is my belief and at a Catholic university and in a Christian course you should not be able to take any points off for this.”

This professor would presumably also penalize Pope Francis, who in his Encyclical Care for Our Common Home wrote, “we are called to be instruments of God our Father, so that our planet might be what he desired when he created it and correspond with his plan for peace, beauty and fullness.” Pope Francis writes about God in this way for a simple reason: in the Gospels, Jesus of Nazareth refers many times to God as “Father.” When His disciples asked Jesus how to pray, Jesus taught them to pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven….”

It is radically inappropriate that in a university sponsored by the Society of Jesus, referring to God as Jesus did is penalized by a professor of Theological Studies. Deducting points for reverently and faithfully referring to God directly contradicts Loyola Marymount’s mission statement claim that LMU “is institutionally committed to Roman Catholicism,” has a mission of the “service of faith,” and maintains a “Catholic identity.” LMU should be encouraging and celebrating students who have Catholic beliefs, rather than penalizing, marginalizing, and stigmatizing them.

As an LMU alumna and the mother of three LMU alumni, I know from firsthand experience that this sort of situation is by no means rare.  It is long since time for LMU actively and intentionally to support and bolster the Catholic faith of her students.  I respectfully ask that you take steps explicitly to protect students from any professor in any department, particularly Theological Studies, who would penalize students for the faithful expression of their Catholic beliefs.  I invite you seriously to consider the wonderful yet grave and eternal responsibility entrusted by God to LMU as a whole – and to you in particular – to form and guide the souls of the students, His children.


Barbara Berg, LMU Class of 1993 and Parent of three LMU graduates

To support this effort, please sign below and circulate the link to this petition https://renewlmu.com/ by emailing friends and posting on your social media.  LMU’s President can be reached at 310.338.2775