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European Court of Human Rights: Crucifixes are acceptable in public school classrooms

 
 
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2011 10:55 am
In the case of Lautsi and Others v. Italy, which concerned the presence of crucifixes in Italian State-school classrooms, the Court found no violation of the Convention. It held in particular that the question of religious symbols in classrooms was, in principle, a matter falling within the margin of appreciation of the State - particularly as there was no European consensus as regards that question - provided that decisions in this area did not lead to a form of indoctrination.

Quote:
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that crucifixes are acceptable in public school classrooms, dismissing claims that they violate the rights of non-Christian and atheist students.

The European Court of Human Rights on Friday ruled that displaying crucifixes in classrooms does not breach the rights of non-Catholic families.

The case was brought to the court by an atheist mother whose two sons attend a public school in the Italian city of Abano Terme.

The woman had argued that the refusal to remove the crucifix from classrooms was in violation of the secular principles that public schools are to uphold.

She had, without success, exhausted all levels of jurisdiction within Italy before taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Court overturns earlier decision

The lower chamber of the court ruled in favor of the woman in 2009, saying that displaying crucifixes was in breach of freedom of religion.

However, the Italian government refused to accept the 2009 decision and appealed the verdict.

In Friday's ruling, 15 judges of the 17-member ECHR's Grand Chamber ruled in favor of Italy, and two against.

The new verdict is binding on all 47 countries that are members of the Council of Europe, the continent's human rights watchdog.

Author: Andreas Illmer (epd, AFP, dpa)
Editor: Martin Kuebler
Source

Press release issued by the registrar of the court

Grand Chamber ruling
 
saab
 
  2  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2011 11:27 am
@Walter Hinteler,
In some ways the whole thing is so funny.
A Finnish lady from protestant Finland lives of free will in Catholic Italy with her two children brought up as atheists tries to change the traditions in Italian schools. I saw some place that Berlusconi said "A cross in Italy is not a religious symbol but a symbol of Italian culture"
I can´t imagen a Catholic Italian lady living of free will in Finland going to the European Court of Human Rights for not having crucifixes in the Finnish school.
(I don´t know if there are or not crucifixes in the Finnish schools)


InfraBlue
 
  2  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2011 04:55 pm
So, how does this ruling affect the rest of Europe?

Also, how does this ruling affect the hijab bans effected in some countries in Euope?
fbaezer
 
  3  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2011 08:58 pm
I personally believe it is not a good tradition. It's a compulsory thing imposed by the Vatican and Conservative politicians.
Not in a country with a huge population that is not brought up religiously, and certainly not in a country where the Holy See usually interferes with politics.

As a student in Italy, it shook me to find a crucifix in all the classrooms, as they are prohibited in Mexican public schools.
My schoolmates told me that, sadly, it was illegal to take them away. Practically none of them were practicing Catholics, or believers.

In 1986-87, when my son was in kindergarten in Italy, a new provision was made to have religion lessons in all schools. They were not compulsory, I was told, and the other children would be learning about local legends and traditions. Since I wanted my child to mix, I asked the teacher how many children were taking religion classes. 6, was her response. I thought "only 6 out of 20", and told her the boy wouldn't take religion lessons. The teacher didn't hide her happiness with my decision. (But it was not 6 children out of 20 in my boy's class... it was 6 children in the whole school).

Well, now -I'm told- there is a strong pressure for the children to attend those lessons, the priests that give them are paid by the State more than then non-clerical counterparts.

The problem is far more complex than a simple crucifix.


High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2011 09:25 pm
@saab,
What's even funnier is that someone decided crosses have some hitherto unknown connection to Judaism and tagged this thread "Jewish-Christian".
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2011 09:30 pm
@fbaezer,
Thanks for that insight..
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2011 11:57 pm
@InfraBlue,
InfraBlue wrote:

So, how does this ruling affect the rest of Europe?


What rest? All member states of the Council of Europe have signed and ratified the Convention about the court. That just leaves out Belarus, Kazakhstan, Vatican City and "states with limited recognition".
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2011 11:59 pm
@InfraBlue,
InfraBlue wrote:

Also, how does this ruling affect the hijab bans effected in some countries in Euope?


Those who want to change that, can go to the Courts as well - and I suppose, some have done so already.

This ruling was about crosses in public schools.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Mar, 2011 01:59 am
@InfraBlue,
It could - according to Scandinavian papers - gone so far that we in Scandinavia and all together I think 19 flags from 19 European countries could have been forced to change our flags.
These 19 countries have a christian symbol in them. The cross in the Scandinavian flags were from the beginning a Christian symbol.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Mar, 2011 02:48 am
@saab,
Why that? When you read the ruling, you'll notice that it is only about crosses in classrooms in public schools. (It's about "right of education" - not about "national emblems")
saab
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Mar, 2011 02:48 am
@saab,
A star was often from the beginning a Christian symbol. A symbol of the Star of Bethlehem, Christmas and advent. Should then also the flags of USA and EU not be allowed to have stars just in case some one would find that against their believes?
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Mar, 2011 02:50 am
@saab,
The court is the European Court of Human Rights. The USA isn't a member state of the Council of Europe.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Mar, 2011 02:51 am
@Walter Hinteler,
The ruling was the crucifixes yes, but had the ruling been yes all crucifixes should go, then others who are against Christian symbols could ask for not only crucifixes to go but also any form of Christian symbols, which are outside of churches.
It was a discussion some time ago.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Mar, 2011 02:53 am
@Walter Hinteler,
I know USA is not a member, just happened to think of two countries with stars.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Mar, 2011 02:54 am
@saab,
I gave links both to the press release as well as to the full text of the ruling.

So any "buts" and "ifs" can easily be verified.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Mar, 2011 03:05 am
@Walter Hinteler,
The idea behind it was that if it had been a yes, some Dane or whatever could have gone to the European Court and said s/he did not accept to see Christian symbols all the time as a cross on the flag.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Mar, 2011 04:17 am
@saab,
Following your 'logic', anyone could go to the court, because she/he sees crosses on paintings, church spires, procession crosses in the landscape ...

As said: it was about crosses in classes of public schools.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Mar, 2011 05:57 am
@Walter Hinteler,
There is no reason to be critical of me for what others have said. I have not said it is my opinion.
There are some in Sweden being critical that on the cementries are mostly christian symbols on the grave stones. They don´t like that and want it changed.
The non christians have their symbols and I have not heard anybody getting upset about that.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Mar, 2011 08:11 am
@Walter Hinteler,
So long as they allow a Jewish child to have a Star of David, or a Muslim to have a short burst from the Koran, and so on for Hindu's etc.....I hope they have big walls .
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Mar, 2011 09:38 am
@Ionus,
Seems, you weren't interested in the topic and/or case at the court.

On the other hand, if you think that Jewish children are to be hung on a classroom wall or Muslims ... Rolling Eyes
 

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