Italy has historically been a Catholic nation for nearly two thousand years even though a small minority of people from other religions is found within the populace. It was “normal” for Italian children to attend schools in which classrooms displayed a crucifix. But, in recent years the country has become religiously mixed as millions of non-Catholics enter and challenge norms. However, being a member of the European Union adds a complication in dealing with individual rights. A parent brought a case to the European Court of Human Rights because her children attended a public school in which a crucifix was found in every classroom. The Court ruled display of religious artifacts violated EU human right standards. “The compulsory display of a symbol of a given confession in premises used by public authorities restricted the right of parents to educate their children in conformity with their convictions.”
The question of religious symbols in public places also raises issues as to why must they be displayed outside of churches or mosques or synagogues. What is the purpose of a crucifix in a classroom, given that students can not use it to pray? Frankly, such items are a crutch for those who lack faith in their own religion.