Human rights ruling against classroom crucifixes angers Italy
By JOHN HOOPER - GUARDIAN.CO.UK
Added: Wed, 04 Nov 2009 00:00:00 UTC
Thanks to Ian for the link.
There was uproar in Italy today over a ruling by the European court of human rights that the crucifixes that hang in most Italian classrooms are a violation of religious and educational freedoms.
The seven judges, whose decision could prompt a Europe-wide review of the use of religious symbols on public premises, said state schools had to "observe confessional neutrality".
Except on the far left, the ruling met with condemnation among Italian politicians and was denounced by the Vatican. Silvio Berlusconi's education minister, Maria Stella Gelmini, said: "No one, not even some ideologically motivated European court, will succeed in rubbing out our identity."
A Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, said the crucifix was a fundamental sign of the importance of religious values in Italian history and culture, and was a symbol of unity and welcoming for all of humanity, not one of exclusion.
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