14:02 by Editor · 0 Post a comment on AAWR

DISPLAYING a crucifix in a classroom violates religious and education freedoms, according to a landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

Italian schools will now be told they have to remove the symbols for fear their presence could disturb children who are not Christians. 

The judgment in Strasbourg could force a Europe-wide review of the use of religious symbols in government-run schools and has infuriated the Vatican.

The case was brought by an Italian mother, Soile Lautsi, who complained that her children had to attend a public school in northern Italy which had crucifixes in every room.

Ms Lautsi said this ran counter to her right to give her children a secular education and the court ruled in her favour.

The Italian government had argued that the crucifix was a national symbol of culture, history and identity. But its case was rejected and it was also ordered to pay 5,000 euros in “moral damages” to Ms Lautsi.

“The presence of the crucifix...could be encouraging for religious pupils, but also disturbing for pupils who practised other religions or were atheists, particularly if they belonged to religious minorities,” the court said in a written ruling.

“The State (must) refrain from imposing beliefs in premises where individuals were dependent on it,” it added.

The Italian government immediately said that it would appeal against the ruling, which will be enforced in three months.

Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini said having a cross in the classroom was “a symbol of our tradition.” continues here

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