Tag Archives: crucifix

EU Court Limits Religion In Schools

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.

Can A Crucifix Be Allowed In A Classroom?

The European Court of Human Rights has sent many Italians into a frenzy of anger over its decision that the crucifixes that hang in most Italian classrooms are a violation of religious and educational freedoms. The Court ordered that state run schools had to “observe confessional neutrality.” Italy’s education minister, Maria Stella Gelmini, reacted with anger saying, “no one, not even some ideologically motivated European court will succeed in rubbing out our identity.” The Vatican denounced the ruling as “partisan and ideological.” The ruling was the end result of a seven year campaign by a Finnish-born mother to have crucifixes removed from schools where her two children attend in a town located in north-east Italy.

Naturally, nationalist comments are flowing about the nerve of a “European” court to interfere in the lives and customs of the people of Italy. On Facebook, within hours of the decision, about 23,000 people indicated their protest at the ruling.

Italy is changing, Europe is changing, the world is changing.