Crucifixes can be displayed in state schools, European court rules
Saturday, March 19, 2011
The European Court of Human Rights ruled unanimously yesterday that state school classrooms displaying do not violate the rights of non-Catholic pupils.-based
In a reversal of the unanimous November 2009 decision the court said, although the crucifix is "above all a", it is an "essentially passive symbol" and there is no evidence crucifixes displayed on classroom walls influence pupils.
The court's final ruling reverses their 2009 decision in a case brought by a Finnish-born mother living in Italy who objected to the Roman Catholic symbols in her children's classrooms on the grounds that they violated the principles state schools should uphold. The court agreed, saying the crucifix might be "emotionally disturbing for pupils of other religions or those who profess no religion". But the decision created a vociferous outcry in many European countries, such as Italy, which argued the crucifix is a symbol, and a part of Europe's culture and history.
Italy's foreign minister,, welcomed the reversal. According to the newspaper he said, "The decision underlines, above all, the rights of citizens to defend their own values and their own identities. I hope that following this verdict Europe will begin to examine issues of tolerance and religious freedom with the same courage."
Friday's ruling is binding on the 47 countries that are members of the Council of Europe, the continent's monitor of human rights, paving the way for petitions to other governments to allow religious symbols in schools for those who want them.
- Riazat Butt. "European Court of Human Rights rules crucifixes are allowed in state schools" — , March 18, 2011
- "School crucifixes 'do not breach human rights'" — , March 18, 2011
- Associated Press. "Vatican praises EU decision on crucifixes in class" — , March 18, 2011