Thinking Anglicans

ECHR rules in Italian school crucifixes case

Updated Friday evening

Long-suffering TA readers will recall this case.

The Associated Press reports today: European court: Crucifix acceptable in classrooms.

The full text of the judgment is available as a PDF over here.

Here is the official press release from the court also as a PDF.

The ECHR Blog has published Grand Chamber Judgment in Lautsi: No Violation.

Austen Ivereigh at America has written Lautsi overturned: secularization has a reverse gear. Earlier he had written a much longer article, Waiting on Lautsi.

The National Secular Society has reacted with Crucifix case overturned by Human Rights Court.

Riazat Butt writes in the Guardian European Court of Human Rights rules crucifixes are allowed in state schools

AFP has Vatican hails ‘historic’ ruling on crucifixes in schools

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peterpi - Peter Gross
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peterpi - Peter Gross

I know I’m mixing apples and oranges, and making a mess thereof, but: Let me get this straight. It is OK for France to tell Muslim female students that they cannot wear head scarves to publicly-funded schools, but it’s OK to hang crucifixes in publicly-funded schools? I fail to see how a crucifix — not a cross, but a crucifix — is anything other than a religious symbol. How anyone can argue that a crucifix merely “symbolised the principles and values which formed the foundation of democracy and western civilisation” [quote from the PDF] is beyond me. To non-Christians, especially… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
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peterpi - Peter Gross

Simon, sorry for the addendum: In my previous post, I assume that a “crucifix” is specifically and exclusively “a cross with a representation of the body of Jesus of Nazareth laying upon it.” But I see that several Internet dictionary definitions state that a crucifix can be just a cross. I don’t know what definition the European Court is using. Nonetheless, how a taxpayer-funded school, a symbol of government, can display crucifixes without making a statement about the primacy and importance of Christianity over other religions, or no religion, is beyond me. From my perspective, a non-Christian student will almost… Read more »

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

I must confess that I found the original ruling rather troubling and, on balance, think the latest ruling is the right way for the European court of human rights to proceed in terms of correctly situating itself in the European domain. I think that the court should have regard to the margin of appreciation. Its authority is severely put at risk where it doesn’t which risks the entire human rights framework in the council of Europe especially at a time when the UK is posturing against the court on prisoner voting.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

A crucifix is a timely symbol. It is a constant reminder of the need to struggle for human rights.

Randal Oulton
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Randal Oulton

I think it’s really important that every student in an inclusive society, regardless of religion or non-religion, class, colour, race or orientation, feels that they are part of their school. A symbol of what is the “right way to be and believe” religion-wise is not helpful. The Quebec Parliament recently voted to keep the cross in the lower house, while banning muslims from dressing certain ways and Sikhs from carrying Kirpans. Again, not helpful. But if you’re Jewish, you know official Catholic Quebec hasn’t always been a hotbed of tolerance (though its people are.)

Sara MacVane
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Sara MacVane

As someone who lived in Italy for Forty years and raised two children who went to Italian state schools, I’ll put my two cents in. The crucifixes (and yes, the Body is there, and they generally or always plastic in tot, that is not just the Body but also the cross) were not hung in Italian state funded school (or hospitals, post offices, government offices etc etc) after 1860 (the Unification of Italy) and 1929 (Mussolini’s, repeat Mussolini’s agreement with Catholic Church) and afterwards, always. It seems to me quite ironic that those, including the Roman Catholic Church, arguing IN… Read more »

robert ian williams
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robert ian williams

Interesting how evangelicals in Italy joined with the secularists to oppose the crucifix!

Sara MacVane
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Sara MacVane

Re RIW: Not what you are thinking of as evangelicals, that’s the Italian word for protestants – and yes, they are much better than the Catholics about the separation of church and state, which had its brief time in Italy between Garibaldi and … Mussolini – fine company …. and of course he was an absolutely a-religious (if not atheist) tyrant who was out for his own interest……

Richard
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Richard

Why “interesting” that the evangelicals joined with the secularists to oppose the crucifix? Evangelicals see the crucifix as a “Catholic” symbol, and therefore to be detested.

Scot Peterson
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Probably too late to add anything. But compare this case from Switzerland: Dahlab v Switzerland [2001] Appl. Nr. 42393/9 (http://baer.rewi.hu-berlin.de/w/files/l_adr/dahlab_echr_2001_4239398.pdf). No complaints from anyone about a Muslim woman who wanted to wear a scarf in a nursery school, yet the ban is upheld on grounds of protecting the rights and freedoms of others (who *might* be offended) and of preserving public safety. This court is a rubber stamp for whatever a particular member state wants to do. There is simply no principled way of reconciling these decisions.

Robert Ian Williams
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Robert Ian Williams

It should be noted, the Waldensians ( the historic Protestant church of Italy ) recently voted for gay marriage. Once the darling of English Evangelicals, the Waldensians may now be liberal, but thay are still very anti-Catholic.

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

Thanks for that I looked the Waldensians up, and very much enjoyed reading about them. Inspiring. How had I missed them ?

Their present day successors are, in some sense,the Anabaptists.

Robert Ian Williams
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Robert Ian Williams

Baptists and evangelicals would like to believe that the Waldensians were a pure line of Christians from the Apostles, but in reality they were a mediaeval heretical quasi monastic movement that was taken over by Swiss Calvinists in the 16th century.

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

Thou art a real ecumenist Robert. Are those adjectives The Fruit of contemplation and prayer?

See you at Churches Together ?

A pater noster for you.