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June 30th, 2010
01:21 PM ET

Is Italy right to fight for crucifixes in classrooms?

Tons of comments coming in on Italy's decision to fight to keep crucifixes in classrooms in the face of a European court ruling that such symbols violate students' religious freedom rights. Here's one that applaud's Italy's effort:

Would you ban a crucifix that others believe in (a symbol of love for all) and replace it with the "blank wall" of your own intolerance towards others' beliefs? Where is the love in this brave new world of religious discrimination and intolerance?

Another reader sides with the European Court of Human Rights:

Italian social system as well as the rest of Western civilization is NOT based on Christianity but on SECULARISM, i.e. the clear distinction between PERSONAL beliefs and social norms. Everyone should have the right to wear a cross or a scarf (NOT burka for security reasons) but nobody can impose any particular religious symbols in public spaces such as school or courts.

The Law, the Armed Forces, the school should be religion-free so that all citizen can feel comfortable and not discriminated no matter what faith they profess. Is it that difficult to understand???

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Dimas Rocha Maia

    I'm very disapointed with the fight of some Italian people against the crucifixes in the classrooms and other places. I'm Christian from Brazil and I fell like happpening here the same situation. Brazil, Italy and other countries were built among the Christian culture. What is gonna happen is to truy to clean something in our and many peoples' mind suddenly. We need to respect the history of a folk and country.

    July 4, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  2. warrior63

    I feel sorry for all the Christian haters out there. It is better to live with the hope of eternal life, then to live thinking all you are is food for worms. God loves you Christian haters out there, I challenge you to open your minds and read the Bible, New Testament, for yourselves, to see Jesus Christ even died for your sins. Would you die for something you knew was a lie? Would two men die for a lie? Would 12 men die horrible deaths for a lie? No they wouldn't and neither would you. Yet, 12 men died horrible deaths because it was a FACT that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Do you really want to live a life without hope? I challenge you to read the Bible. Are you strong enough and brave enough to do it with an open mind?

    July 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
    • quainsd

      Why not enjoy your time on earth? Stop worrying about your "afterlife", and enjoy your time alive!

      July 1, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
    • jawn lawk

      why not do both quainsd?

      July 1, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Are there no christians who study any history? Philosophy?
      Pascal's Wager. Google it.

      July 2, 2010 at 10:46 am |
  3. Richard Hogan

    Christianity is a disease. Let us applaud all efforts at the rehabilitation of the Western World. Get crosses out of public schools!

    June 30, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      Richard, really? Do you think that Christianity is a disease? How? When God was kicked out of schools, the children became rebellious, hateful, racist, drug addicts, drug dealers, young parents, and evil! YES EVIL....because the heart is the root of all evil, even in the heart of a child. The crosses doesn't represent God, that is for sure, praise the Lord!

      June 30, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
    • Claude

      I agree Richard. If there are true believers in the schools then god was never kicked out, the all powerful creator I'm sure could over the power of a state school board or can he?

      July 1, 2010 at 5:40 am |
  4. Toby

    Christianity is little more than sadomasochism and self debasement wrapped up with the false promise of salvation by faith and an afterlife. None of this can be, or has ever been proven. Christianity warps the minds of innocent young children by telling them they are born sinful, guilty, diseased, and in need of salvation by human sacrifice. In short, Christianity infects the mind as a disease and then offers to provide the cure. Sick, sick, sick.

    June 30, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
    • Lila Sovietskaya

      i was much happier when i was a Christian because I belied in the teachings. Now as an agnostic i feel bad that this temporary consciousness will end one day. i did not moss being not alive for 13.7 billion years, right now i am not happy to feel that i return back to being nothing (referring to consciousness) for eternity Purpose is gone. Maybe believing in things that are not true is better than knowing the truth. Hoke: I saw the Truth and did not like it.

      I agree that Crucifixes are a symbol of faith and should not be imposed in public buildings. However some people are going overboard by wanting to remove crosses from flags or forbid mention of God in national anthems or money. No objection if majority wants to change flag or hymn, but not the Courts

      Are churches, mosques, synagogues and temples an affront to a secular society. They are buildings that though belonging to 'private' organizations occupy public space. If religions were to disappear would such buildings be acceptable as museum or should we destroy our cultural past?

      June 30, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
    • james

      but how might a religious symbol warp someones mind? Most symbols have some religious ties if you trace them back... the pope lives there, why not let them display a symbol on the wall?

      June 30, 2010 at 9:49 pm |
    • Believer

      I get so tired of listening to people like you. You're no better than the lunatic fringe of any other group. No room for any thought other than your own. Christianity, as well as just about every other belief (I say belief because I know you cringe at the word religion) has been around for thousands of years and continues to be one of the most uniting forces on the planet. BILLIONS of people believe in God, Jesus, Buddha, Allah, whomever. Overall religion is a good thing – even if you don't completely agree with all of the teachings of a specific group. But to say that Christianity is a disease sounds just as bad as the religious right telling you that you'll burn in hell if you don't follow every word they say. For your own sake, try to look at both sides of the coin and meet somewhere in the middle. There are enough whackjobs in the world that refuse to see any view but their own.

      July 2, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  5. Ddubbya

    If Italy is now a secular society, then such religious symbols should be removed. However, if Italian society is still very much religious, then said symbols should remain.

    One can honor the religious origins of the past but still be secular. There is a balance that can be achieved.

    This is a much heated issue. The main reason being is that it is about Christianity. If this pertained to any other religion and it's symbols, I doubt there would be such ruckus about it all.

    I can understand that Christians of all walks fear that many are wanting to stiffle their beliefs. But, that is a misconception. I can also understand how many non religious also feel as if their are being silence for their belief (or lack there of). I believe this also to be a misconception. It all goes back to the balance. And, maybe people just aren't wanting or have no desire to reach that middle ground.

    All in all, whatever the law of the land happens to be, it must be respected. Even Christians can not argue that without laws we would be living in complete chaos. That isn't anything I think anyone wants to be subjected to.

    June 30, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  6. Thorrsman

    Amazing how much the Evangelical Atheists wish to rewrite history. For good or ill, the Church has had a huge place in the society of Italy, indeed, all of Europe, for many centuries. To deny that today and claim that their societies are based on secularism is a lie on par with anything that ever came out of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy or Communist Russian.

    June 30, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
    • bostonjim

      I don't think anyone is trying to rewrite history. No one is denying the historical power the church had over Italy, or many parts of the world. However, there are many that argue no church, or particlular religion, should have power over a state today. It's all well and good to argue that the cross has historical significance to Italy. However we all know there is substantively more meaning and power to that symbol than just its historical value.
      That being said- I do have to admit I'm not sure it's the European court's place to dictate to Italy whether or not its schools should be allowed to have crosses on their walls. I agree with the fundamental points of the ruling, I just don't know how I feel about that authority.

      June 30, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
    • Tellurian

      You need to get a more accurate source for your history information. The Catholic clergy warmly embraced the Fascists and Nazis. Hitler was a Catholic who required the teaching of Christianity in public schools. Even Stalin was such a good Christian that he received a scholarship and became a seminary student. Christianity has a long history of totalitarianism in Europe along with the Fascists, Nazis, and Communists. Have you heard of the Dark Ages when the Christian church suppressed the teaching of anything that disagreed with biblical scripture. Have you heard of the Inquisitions that tortured and killed people for not being obedient to the clergy's teachings? Christianity has an evil history in Europe just as bad as that of the Fascists, Nazis, and Communists. Removing religious symbols such as the crucifix from the classrooms would just be the same as removing a swastika or hammer and sickle.

      July 1, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Read your bible. Displaying crosses goes against the teachings of Jesus. So does building a church. You should worship in your home and go to temple on the high holy days. Not that I believe in them anyway, but I have studied the book. Haven't you?

      July 2, 2010 at 10:35 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.