European court’s ban of crucifixes in classrooms being challenged in Italy
Italy appealed recently a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that bans crucifixes in the classrooms of all state schools, the Telegraph said.
The Italian government’s appeal will be raised before the Grand Chamber in Strasbourg. A decision is expected within three months and if Italy loses, crosses will be banned from all state schools in the European Union, the Telegraph said.
The case was initiated originally by Soile Lautsi, an Italian citizen. Lautsi was upset because her children went to a school in a small town near Venice where the cross was displayed in all of the classrooms, the Telegraph said.
When education authorities refused to take the crosses down, she filed a case in the Italian courts for several years. Finally, she brought her case to Strasbourg, the Telegraph said.
Last year the court ruled in her favor, causing an outcry in Italy where 90 percent of its people are Christian. The ruling was viewed to be invasive of the nation’s culture, religion and history, the BBC said.
The Vatican said the European court had no right to intervene, and added that the court seeks to ignore the part that Christianity played in the making of Europe’s identity, the BBC said.
Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini decried the ruling and cited the cross as a symbol of the country’s tradition, the BBC said. Gelmini added, “…If we erase symbols we erase a part of ourselves,” the Telegraph said.
Crucifixes have been displayed in all classrooms in Italy since the 1920s, the Telegraph said.