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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Italian Government Fined for Crucifixes

On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights fined the Italian government for having crucifixes in its schools.

It’s yet another example of oversize, secular bureaucracies pitted against the most natural forms of agreement, in this case the nation.The European Court of Human Rights ordered that the government pay 5,000 Euro ($7,390) to Soile Lautsi, a mother of two who claimed that public schools in her northern Italian town refused eight years ago to remove the crucifix from the classroom.

We might at first wonder, “It’s amazing that they’ve had crucifixes in the classroom for so long.” Yet, living in a culture where our battles have been over whether Catholic colleges may retain crucifixes, that only demonstrates our own lack of understanding of European history.

Manuela Mesco, writing for England’s The Guardian, explains that the reason crucifixes are hanging in Italian classrooms is that the decision was the result of a legal and political agreement between the Italian state and the Catholic Church.

That agreement, known as the Lateran Treaty (Patti Lateranensi), reached in 1929 between Benito Mussolini and Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, writes Mesco,“established a framework for the mutual recognition and cohabitation of the secular and the religious domains within the Italian state.”

Article 7 of the Italian constitution states: “The state and the church are, each one in its own domain, independent and sovereign.”

“The agreement, among other things, states that crucifixes must hang in every classroom and tribunal in the country,” says Mesco.

Read it all here.



3 comments:

Brian Westley said...

Hmm, you teach ethics, but you have no respect for religious rights?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Posting news reports is part of what I do at this blog, Brian. Making a wide range of news available to readers of Ethics Forum enables them to make more informed ethical choices. I'm sure you would agree.

Brian Westley said...

Wow, what a disingenuous response.

By your original remarks ("It’s yet another example of oversize, secular bureaucracies pitted against the most natural forms of agreement, in this case the nation") you really DON'T have any respect for religious rights. Yet you don't even bother to respond directly, instead tossing off a red herring.