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.