June 29th, 2010
03:57 PM ET

Italy fights for crucifixes in classrooms

Editor's Note: Click here for an update on this story

Italy will fight Wednesday against a European court ruling that crucifixes in classrooms violate students' right to freedom of religion.

The European Court of Human Rights found unanimously last November that the display of a particular religious symbol - such as the Christian cross - in a classroom "restricted the right of parents to educate their children in conformity with their convictions, and the right of children to believe or not to believe."

But the court agreed in January to hear Italy's appeal. Ten other European governments, dozens of European lawmakers and half a dozen non-governmental organizations have also gotten involved in the appeal.

The original case was brought by an Italian woman, Soile Lautsi, who objected to the crucifixes on the walls in her two sons' classrooms.

She fought her way through the Italian legal system starting in 2001, arguing that she wanted to raise her children as secular, according to court documents.

Italian courts ruled earlier that the cross was a symbol of Italy's history and culture, prompting Lautsi to take her case to the European court in Strasbourg, France.

It awarded her 5,000 euros ($7,400) in damages in November.

The court does not have the power to force Italy to take down the representations of Jesus on the cross, but if its ruling stands and Italy does not comply, the door would be open for others to sue on the same grounds, court spokesman Stefano Piedimonte told CNN.

Leading Catholic figures expressed astonishment and anger at the ruling last year. The Italian Conference of Bishops called it "cause for bitterness and many perplexities."

"It does not take into account the fact that in Italy the display of the crucifix in public places is in line with the recognition of the principles of the Catholicism as 'part of the historical patrimony of the Italian people,' as stated in the Vatican/Italy agreement of 1984," the bishops said in a written statement.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re told the leading Italian daily La Repubblica he could not understand it, and that no one with common sense could have expected it.

"When I think that we are talking about a symbol, the crucifix, an image that cannot but be the emblem of a universally shared humanity, I not only feel

disappointed but also sadness and grief," he said.

"The crucifix is the sign of a God that loves man to the point of giving up his life for him. It is a God that teaches us to learn to love, to pay attention to each man ... and to respect the others, even those who belong to a different culture or religion.

"How could someone not share such a symbol?"

Seventeen judges will hear the appeal Wednesday and will issue a ruling at a later date.

The governments of Russia, Greece, Armenia, Romania, Lithuania, Malta, San Marino, Bulgaria, Monaco and Cyprus are also involved in the appeal, the court said.

The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg by the Council of Europe Member States in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Education

soundoff (845 Responses)
  1. lili

    If the cross is seen as a symbol that is part of Italy's history then put it in a museum.

    June 29, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
    • Roger

      You weren't around when the brains were being distributed were you....

      June 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
    • dalis

      A museum is also a classroom; you would object to the crucifix there too.

      June 29, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  2. Pat

    I demand a Flying Spaghetti Monster statue in every classroom and courtroom, especially in Italy!!

    June 29, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
    • dalis

      Well, I'd oppose that on the grounds of the Establishment Clause, but display of the Invisible Pink Unicorn I fully endorse. 😉

      June 29, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
    • Isauro

      why do yo hate christmas, i mema they teach to love each other, ven other religions, people who offend you and it never asid to obly someten to become christian, just because there is the star of David in my classroom i am not going to become a jwe foro example. i mean whats the matter with destroying christianity if teaches godo things, maybe the followers of Christ have committed mistakes but that is just because we are all humans. Without religion the world would be a chaos, a world without ethics

      June 30, 2010 at 12:49 am |
  3. JodeteJesus

    Get that religious BS out of there!!!!! Death to all religions!!!!

    June 29, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • Roger

      Stop smoking that stuff kid....it's frying your brains

      June 29, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  4. Mike

    I really think that everyone should make their own choice of religion, and having religious symbols in the classroom I think can have a slight impact on that choice whether or not the student(s) realize it. I do not think they should be in the classroom (personal opion, everyone has a right to it).

    BUT, since Italy is stating that it deals with their history, which I think may have a point since they're close to Rome and the Vatican (especially with the Vatican/Italy agreement of 1984), they may have a case there. This in my opinion could go either way, its for the courts to decide.

    June 29, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  5. bob...........

    whhy oh why

    June 29, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  6. Piergiorgio

    this is ridiculous... with all the real problems we have in our country, we waste time discussing about this. i've spent all my school years with a crucifix in my class, and i can say no one, not even the religion teacher, would care about it once. religious as well as not religious people shouldn't even care about this.

    June 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
    • ER

      There are plenty of other blogs, articles and discussions about other problems, this is a blog on religion. Because we are in a recession/depression we should stop talking about cultural issues?

      June 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  7. Derick

    While we're at it why not display a guillotine? The cross is a torture device and yet people worship it. These same people would denounce cannibalism and yet eat the symbolic BLOOD and BODY of another human. Please, someone enlighten me here.

    June 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
    • Roger

      Trying to explain something to a person with such a mental block as you would take forever. I think I'll pass.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  8. lili

    "The crucifix is the sign of a God that loves man to the point of giving up his life for him. It is a God that teaches us to learn to love, to pay attention to each man ... and to respect the others, even those who belong to a different culture or religion.
    "How could someone not share such a symbol?"
    Not everyone believes in god. Therefore not everyone sees the crucifix as a sign of “god”…..point being keep your believes to yourself, out of schools, and quit trying to convert other peoples children.

    June 29, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
    • Woody

      One has to wonder that if Jesus was executed at a later date in history, maybe every church would have an electric chair or a noose or a bullet or a hypodermic needle or a guillotine on top their steeples instead of a cross.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • Bill

      Or is it a symbol of salvation by violent human sacrifice and ritual cannibalism? That is mainstream Christian belief.

      June 30, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  9. kapukane

    The classroom is absolutely not the place for such a religious symbol. Christianity is nothing more than a cult that poisons minds, and young minds are vulnerable to this brainwashing. The cross is highly inappropriate in a classroom and our children should not be exposed to this. They are our future and must be protected.

    June 29, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
    • CC

      Your comments are such garbage it isn't even funny. A cross on a wall does not impose religion, it is merely a display for those who wish to believe. If the students were told they must adopt Christianity in order to succeed in school then that would be imposing a religion upon them. The cross just hangs there....it neither speaks nor moves. Just as a Muslim person may wish to wear a certain item of clothing in public or stop to pray at a given time of the day....or a Jew may wish to wear a Star of David or yarmulke and offer prayer while dining....they are not forcing their religions upon anyone, but expressing their personal beliefs. If you do not wish to look at the cross, the Star of David, or any other symbol of faith then you are free to look away. Must everyone hide their religious symbols because you happen to think they assist in "poisoning" a mind or may offend you? You obviously have no beliefs and treat those who do with disdain and ridicule. You are no better than someone like Hitler who desired to eliminate anything and anyone that he did not like or agree with. No one is forcing this woman's sons to embrace Christianity, only hanging a cross in a room. She is free to raise her sons in a secular manner, but it is more important to her to force others to behave as she thinks they should because like so many others they are all about themselves and control.
      It is truly vile how harsh and intolerant so many people are, and how cruel they are to those who think and act differently than they do.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
    • bostonjim

      CC- and no one is forcing anyone to hide their personal, religious symbols. I suspect this woman would not argue with anyone in the classroom wearing a cross as a symbol of his or her piety and belief. It becomes an imposition when hanging on the wall because that changes it from being a personal view to an admistration sanctioned view. Surely, you recognize how that is different.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
    • dalis

      BostonJim writes "and no one is forcing anyone to hide their personal, religious symbols". The French state already has.

      June 30, 2010 at 1:44 am |


      June 30, 2010 at 6:32 am |
    • ventri

      Christianity is not a cult poisoning minds. It's man's interpretation and perversion of the truth that does the poisoning. True Christianity is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is a way to hope and love. It is a comfort for those in the dark and those that are alone. For those looking for shelter. That truth is in everyone, but it's man's ignorance that clouds it, making it unrecognizable and hostile, leading the to attacks on religion seen these days. The attacks should be directed to those twisting the truth for self gain. A message to all religions: If you don't know love, you don't know God, and never will. Continue to preach hatred and war in the name of religion. Your day will come. The truth always prevails.

      June 30, 2010 at 7:54 am |
    • Tony

      CC, a cross on the wall does. How can you not see that. The school is apart of the governmental system, which is secular, and having any religious symbol inadverntantly promotes its. But, your ignorance astonished when you can't even seperate that fact when you bring up someone wearing a religious symbol. Ones on a wall, and one is being worn. And you are comparing them as if they are the same? Idiot. And just to clarify, it is religious people who are intolerant because of what they believe... hated a gay much, how about others who don't believe... have you condemned them to hell for not seeing the world YOUR way? Hypocrite.

      Dalis, maybe it's good for them... not to openly express religions becuase of the conflict is could generate. What would you rather have, peace, or conflict.

      Don, the kkk's garb are not a religious symbol, though it is pretty disturbing... what are they forcing onto other people being that they only represent themselves and not an establishment claiming secularism? Think much?

      And Ventri, my favorite drivel spewer. Can you please show some physical evidence for all that you just proclaimed? Truth, as someone posted before, the arrogance of christians to proclaim that they have the only true religion, in your sense TRUTH. You completely contradict everythign you stand for in your post... Have you seen Jesus Camp? And your telling us that christianity is not a cult poisoning childrens minds... go jump off a bridge. And to proclaim mans ignorance, was it not the religious who proclaimed the earth the center of the universe, that's religious ingnorance not man. Was it not the religious who jailed those who spoke out against the church, that's religious ingnorance not man, I can go on and on...

      June 30, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  10. cc

    Religion,religion,religion.... i cant understand that people stil belive in this nonsence .

    June 29, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
    • Creston

      i'm with you

      June 30, 2010 at 12:04 am |
    • desert voice

      Without religion, people become monsters! Can you imagine a person giving his or her possessions in order to help the poor, without Jesus? I cannot. I have done it for Jesus! That is what religion does. It makes you more human! All religion presupposes some kind and degree of faith. In Christianity, it means faith in the Beautiful, Good, and True. Without this faith, we Christians would be the most pitiable of human beings. With faith, we are an example of what it means to be human, to all!

      June 30, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
    • Margot707

      @ desert voice – I'm amazed at how naive some people can be,

      June 30, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
    • Geo

      ...and when you stand before God, He will ask, "why should I believe in you?"

      July 1, 2010 at 4:26 am |
    • Winkyb

      [ JMJ ]@geo...Correction: "God judging the life of a nonbeliver: Now, uh, why should I believe you?"...

      July 1, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  11. Maria

    Bishop Sheen said it so eloquently: (watch this) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z3-F71abro

    June 29, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
    • Dan

      If religion stopped sticking their noses into other peoples business maybe we wouldn't mind having a crucifix in school or a nativity scene in a courthouse. When you use the church to take away other peoples freedom such as abortion, and gay marriage do not be surprised when others limit your presence and influence.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
    • Ron

      Seriously, I watched part 1 and 2. does it mean that as a jew, who does not accept Jesus divinity nor the cross, I warship Satan or accepted Satan?

      June 30, 2010 at 8:48 am |
    • ER

      Well said! Christians can't complain about censorship with one side of their mouth and try to restrict abortion/gay rights/other social issues with the other. I think most who protest the symbol display would compromise to get religious ideals removed from the lawmaking process.

      June 30, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  12. Sgstuck

    Cardinal Giovanni Battista is just absolutely baffled that anyone could fail to be amazed by his god.

    This blatant ignorance is mirrored by a few Christians I know in the US as well.

    June 29, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
    • Sergio

      Well said!

      June 29, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • Cassias

      "His" God????????? (only his?) Wow! The dude reigns supreme if he has his own God!

      June 29, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
    • spandypackard

      That's funny, I know a few Islamists who feel the same way, only they don't go to court to resolve issues – they cut the pliantiff's head off.

      June 30, 2010 at 4:52 am |
  13. Erik

    And thus marks the end is near.

    June 29, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  14. publius enigma

    The power of Money compels you! The pope owns you.

    June 29, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
    • Geo

      and the devil owns you...

      July 1, 2010 at 4:24 am |
    • Winkyb

      [JMJ]...Yeah...@geo! Hey, beat 'em down to the da ground! you forgot to tell 'em: The Power of Jesus Christ compels you!

      July 1, 2010 at 10:52 am |
  15. Flumer

    Is this for all schools or just public schools.

    June 29, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  16. relians

    this is how religions start, peaceful protest, but as more and more privileges are taken away from them, then the terrorism and violence will begin.

    June 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  17. loveChrist

    Fight Italy! Fight!

    June 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
    • USoldfolks

      Christians are such arrogant people to feel that theirs is the only real religion and God loves only them. Actually God does not like arrogance as I recall. You may really be mistaken, after all Jesus was a Jew, born a Jew, lived as a Jew, a rabbi, and died as a Jew. I suppose if he were to return to earth as the Jew he was you would try to convert him.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • knc

      this guy has been saying the same comment over and over, he needs to do some research before he posts a comment like that. Christian mean "follower of christ" , so with that in mind what would you think that means? that as christian should act like jesus. also, jews believe jesus has not been on earth, their still waiting for him. as for christians, we believe jesus was already here. big difference, so if jesus were to come back today i think he would be proud of SOME of the christian out there because of the fact we try to live our everyday life like him , and what he told us to do, which is spread the word of the good news.

      and yes! fight italy!

      June 30, 2010 at 1:25 am |
    • knc

      oh go read the ten commandments, its in every bible. 1. no other god 2. no idols(as in no person or thing is more important than god.)

      June 30, 2010 at 1:31 am |
    • Darth Vader

      "if jesus were to come back today"

      If the BORG came today to assimilate us, you would be happy too.

      July 1, 2010 at 10:17 am |
    • thatgirl

      No need to argue where to place the crucifix. It shouldn't even be used by Christians or any one else in the first place.

      1) an image or symbol that is an object of intense devotion, veneration, or worship is an idol. thus, the crucifix is an idol. God warns against even making an image before which people bow down – Exodus 20:3,4
      2) you may not pray to the cross but you pray through it. you may just use it as inspiration but you use it to worship. God asks as to worship Him in spirit – John 4:23,24
      thus, those who rely on images as aids to devotion are not worshiping God in spirit but they depend on what they can see with their physical eyes.

      July 1, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • Bunny

      Amen, thatgirl!!! I wish more "christians" would understand this concept.

      July 1, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
  18. brad

    you might take away a few things but jesus said destroy this temple and on the third day i shall raise it up again an everlasting throne of dominion over all the earth and heaven then all things that offend him will be removed so its ok if you know the whole story

    June 29, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
    • Luke

      Uhm....what? And what does that have to do with the article?

      June 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • publius enigma

      Maybe Jesus should come down and destroy THIS temple. Ever think of that?

      June 29, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • Kevin Camilleri - Malta

      @ relians

      If he lied, than it will be written down as the biggest lie in history – because 2 Billion people believe in God! Because what he said 2000 years ago still applies to today's lives. Please... don't show the CNN bloggers what is your level of intelligence. Spare us 🙂

      June 29, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
    • gatlin

      Don't worry Pubic E. Your temple will be destroyed in less than 100 years guaranteed. (Thank God.)

      June 29, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
    • Jacques De Nostrechat

      Anyone who can be offended by a bloody piece of wood, on a wall, with a toy action figure nailed on it, should not be taken too seriously. I m not Christian, infact i'm Goth, but when in Rome: i expect to see those everywhere. After all, that's their corporate logo. As for the schools, i thing it is a good idea to remind the italian kids that their people killed the jewish hippie dude then build themselve a conscience by decreting that Rome was not the holy place of christianity, which is IMHO, quite hilarious.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:23 am |
    • Charles

      Your interpretation of biblical passages is amazing...and equally extreme. The cross is just a symbol. Because Jesus was Jewish, the only way to symbolize things is through suffering or guilt...hence the cross. This is a new century, I would put him in a mountain bike or a jet ski, or even an open roadster, like a 427 Cobra. Then it would be not only cool, but entertaining.

      June 30, 2010 at 6:59 am |
  19. Jim Bob

    Way to be regressive Italy! Fight for your right to primitivity!

    9 years of Berlusconi in office. A man of very questionable character. It makes one question the character of the nation that elects him. Not to say you're the only nation with shady leadership. If Bush were allowed a third term he'd still be bumbling along. But you're in the EU, a comparatively advanced society, why are you dragging it down with a religion in the classroom argument? The pope still running things there? You going to legalize child molestation next? Maybe outlaw condoms and stop the female vote?

    Way to be a leader!

    June 29, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • KRB

      Jimbob wrote..."But you're in the EU, a comparatively advanced society..." Advanced how? And in comparison to whom?You must be kididng. Anyway, Italy has a long, long history of Catholicism – one cannot re-write history. If there is a crucifix on the wall,who cares? For those who are not Christians, could they not view it as a symbol, but not significant to their own beliefs. Seems as if tolerance is a-okay these days, unless Christianity is involved. Bizarre, indeed.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
    • Agnostic but not bitter

      Oh great, another enlightened Redneck. Finding a way to jab President Bush and convinced that anything "european" MUST be advanced culture. Tell you what Hillbilly, spend about 15 years over there like I did and see if that changes your opinion. They have just as much good and bad over there as we do. Just as much bigotry and hate, just as many problems.

      I went to a Catholic school in Australia....I didnt turn Catholic. I spent many months working with Jews....I did not convert. I spent years in the company of Mormons.....I'm still Agnostic.

      I can look upon a symbol and see it for its historical merits as well as being able to respect the feelings of those who wish to display them. I have taught my kids the same ability. Maybe these parents should teach thier kids the same. Or are they afraid thier children will find something in them, not found at home?

      You can not alter history by removing it from sight.

      And lastly, this is Italys fault for allowing themselves to be pulled into the "super union" of idiots. (That being the other countries governments, not the people)

      June 30, 2010 at 8:34 am |
    • Kate

      The point is not that exposure to a religious symbol will have an affect, but that a government wall holds just that symbol. That is a statement that the government is endorsing that religion – not exactly something anyone that is not that religion finds comforting or comfortable.

      Go to a private school and it's obvious that the school endorses a religion, who cares, right? You can always go find and patronize a different school, but when your government endorses a religion, where do you go when you are not that religion?

      That's a whole lot more threatening and why this issue is so important.

      July 1, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  20. Giuseppe Alvaro

    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???

    June 29, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • relians

      you say it so well...

      June 29, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • publius enigma

      Those attempting to enforce their belief system on society do not follow the teachings of Jesus very well do they?

      June 29, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
    • Sgstuck

      So Brad is just some atheist pretending to be a Christian and throwing as many bad arguments into a sentence as possible, right.

      Please tell me that was satire, please.

      June 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
    • Sergio

      Good Jebus Brad, on the 8th day god created punctuation marks! Feel free to use them

      June 29, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
    • USoldfolks

      Well said Mike.
      I believe everyone should have the right to display their religious symbols, but in their churches or places of worship and in their homes. Schools and public places have no business promoting any religious teachings or beliefs!

      June 29, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
    • mel

      Why can I not make comments here?

      June 29, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
    • mel

      Why is a reasonable challenge I am trying to make being censored, while religion-bashing isn't?

      June 29, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
    • mel

      Firstly, If one's religion believes in public profession of the faith (of their community), ie if it doesn't believe in privatised religion as you are trying to impose, then such measures are never acceptable.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
    • mel

      Secondly, there is a difference between witnessing to something (proposing) and imposing. Having symbols of a religion are not an active imposition, they are a proposition, that a person is free to believe in, ignore or reject, as is the case.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
    • mel

      Thirdly, not all citizens would be comfortable in having their religion driven underground – most would find it both uncomfortable and restrictive of their freedom of religious expression.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
    • mel

      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?

      June 29, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
    • Cassias

      i am totally bumfuzzled as to the fact of a cross hanging on a wall is "imposing' a certain belief on someone. Let me get this straight,, if I see a picture of Ben Franklin on a wall then I am to assume his religious belief is being imposed on me? If not, why not? Are not they both just symbols ? A picture of King Richard the 3rd, since he famously led a Crusade, is imposing his Crusade belief? And we wonder why everything is totally screwed up today!

      June 29, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
    • Randy

      Guiseppe's argument sounds good at first, but it's hypersensitive nonsense. Intereference with the right to worship requires action – proactive steps taken to interfere. No one can be intimidated by passivity. If the mere presence of a symbol with which one disagrees makes one uncomfortable or interferes with ones own religion, then one is has far deeper personal problems than the presence of that symbol. And there is nothing about the presence of such a symbol in a public place that makes it more intimidating. There just isn't.

      The mentality at work here is that people have some amorphous right to be insulated from opinions with which they disagree. They don't. And it is only the secular loathing of religion that places religious opinions in some special category of offensiveness. That is the real bigotry and intimidation going on here. Look it's very simple: no one can make you uncomfortable, no one can intimidate you, no one can interfere with your rights, unless either 1) you let them or 2) they overpower you. #2 isn't happening here, so if there's any oppression it is self-inflicted.

      Oh no, there's a symbol I don't like in the room. I might have to...to...LOOK at it. My eyes! My eyes!

      Seriously. Sew on a pair.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
    • Sixoh

      Why, yes, it is. I find it hard to understand why something with such importance, such a good message and something that has driven and molded civilization as we know it today is frowned upon by people. Why does it bother them? Why does it scare them? That Christ died for their sins?

      I'll tell you why, most people don't want to be reminded there is a God, because that holds them accountable for their actions and people want to do what they want and get away with it, without any guilt.

      Why is that so difficult? What's wrong with Christianity? And don't give me examples of repression and violence. That's not God, that's people, and it's found in any and all religions, clubs, countries, or whatever groups people organize themselves into. PEOPLE are the problem, NOT Christianity.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
    • ron

      The problem with the current secular view, is that religious symbols are seen as something negative. These secularist will give you point after point that supports their view that religions are militant and discriminative... I believe that reasonable people can see that the worlds religions, at their base, give a practical means for living ones life. History has proven that humanity is capable of some pretty horrid things, but these misdoings are not a product of religion but of humanity in general.
      BTW- I am still waiting for someone to "shove their religious views in my face". This is the most milk-toast argument against the "oppressive religious people". Can we also hear another story about the crusades? Right after that, please talk about Hitler's allegiance to Christ.. How about the hypocrites in the Church? and so the song goes...

      June 29, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • mel

      Well said Cassias, Randy and Sixoh! If the religious secularism/intolerance gets any worse we will soon be back to the daily experience of Christians back in Roman times: being accused of cannabalism, incest and treachery, the neros of the day scapegoating them, etc. In fact, we have reached that already and what next now – being fed to the lions in public arenas, imprisonment for conscientious objectors? The level of hatred against those of religious belief, evidenced on this forum, is ugly, sad and frightening.

      June 29, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
    • Sgstuck

      I just hope that you all will be equally welcoming to the 6'x8' poster of Richard Dawkins I'd like to have in all the classrooms in my area. It won't be imposing his views on anyone, just there to remind people like me that he exists.

      I also think it would be appropriate to bring in a "Praise Allah!" poster and hang a large replica of the Flying Spaghetti Monster from the ceiling of each classroom.

      June 29, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
    • mel

      Certainly, I would. I would encourage students to read his "God Delusion"as well. No objections to any of that, even the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Open mind, open heart, open world!

      June 29, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
    • Mike

      For those of you who are confused why the symbol of a cross can be so powerful to some people (powerful as in a negative connotation), think of it this way: wouldn't you be offended and wouldn't you want to shield your children from a place with swastika banners hanging all over the place? Now, before any of you get all excited and say that I am comparing the catholic church to the Nazi regime, I am not. I am simply making the point that a symbol can have a powerful effect on people and can be offensive. In this case, many people are offended and/or frustrated by the very sight of the cross because of the atrocities committed by the church and positions the church takes on certain issues. I really understand this woman's point of view and wholly agree with her. Public areas, including schools, should be religion-neutral. I have no problem with someone having a cross in their own home, car, etc. If you want to pray, go to a church, synagogue, temple, or whatever. But whenever religion is brought into the public scene where people of various backgrounds and beliefs convene, things get messy.

      June 29, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
    • keep it 2 yourself

      Keep your religious beliefs to yourself and out of my face. Here in the United States are bashed by the Christian Taliban who try to control everything and violently. Italy is just a country that is one of the bases of the Christian Taliban Crusades from the Romans on up. Thousands of years of this mentality are starting to see cracks.

      June 29, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
    • mel

      "many people are offended and/or frustrated by the very sight of the cross because of the atrocities committed by the church and positions the church takes on certain issues." Atrocities? Strong word, some would say a prejudiced word.

      Why should only your position on certain issues be allowed to stand? Where's the freedom in that?

      The cross teaches us something here: the sins of the members of the Church is borne by the victim on the cross. Christians have a realistic view of human nature – we are not surprised that evil and sin exists even in people who aspire to be good. It seems to me that you think all sin and evil would end, if those trying to live good lives as Christians were gone.

      June 29, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
    • Invictus

      America was, Western Civilizaton wasn't. Sorry Mike, but you are trying to impose American/Atheist values on many, many countries and peoples that are not related to them. The Soviets tried this too. Please go away now, and take your agenda with you. Thank you for your co-operation.

      June 29, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
    • mel

      What kind of person comes into a "belief blog" and says keep your religion to yourself or stop sticking your religion in my face? How hilarious! It is like going into a strip joint and demanding others to put some clothes on... :0)

      June 29, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
    • Serge Crespy

      Does the design of The Great Seal of The United States of America not establish "Religion" in combination with "Politics", as being acceptable ?

      June 29, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
    • mel

      Difficult one that religion and politics. There should be a dividing line between the two, even Jesus said (Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, etc.). Ideally, countries should be run in a pluralist way, ie there is room for everybody, believer and non-believer alike.

      June 29, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
    • jeff

      @Brad we didn't just come from monkeys we are monkeys and are dna is closer to that of a chimp than a horses dna is to a donkey. So do you understand the implacations of that?

      June 29, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
    • one dua Malaysia

      sure and right you have my vote.

      June 29, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      Yeah, just keep it up you heathens. God's going to send the frogs! Don't think he won't. He sent em before and he'll send em again. When you're up to your eyeballs in those croaking little devils you'll wish you never had a secular thought in your sinful head. Just keep watching the skies for a cloud of amphibians. It's on its way.

      June 29, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
    • Michele Patrone

      Are you serious? Italy is 90% Roman Catholic. Lets make an analogy. Try and go to Israel and remove every Star of David, menorah, or kippah from classrooms. It's not only unreasonable, but illogical. The cross is not only a religious symbol, but for Italy is a historical one as well.

      June 29, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
    • Sgstuck

      Mel you seem to have an open mind about the issue of different religions and thoughts, which is better than I can say for most of the religious crowd (forgive and correct me if I've assumed too much), but I think you're being naive as to the issue of indoctrination.

      I have no problem with anyone being exposed to a cross, and in fact, I encourage it. The problem I have is with it being used by those with authority to influence children. Likewise, I encourage the teaching of comparative religion classes in all schools, but in private schools it has to stop at that. A cross in a classroom- especially in predominantly Christian nations like the US or Italy, spells trouble because it creates a hostile environment to those in the minority.

      I admire the open mind you have about it, but if Praise Allah were written in classrooms in parts of the US, there would be quite the uproar.

      June 29, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
    • gatlin

      Pubic Enigma must be referring to where the Bible tells believers to spread the gospel of Christianity.

      June 29, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
    • Tom

      No one is saying that a cross will be converting anyone. I was raised as a Roman Catholic and i can tell you that i didn't buy into any of it. I'm now a very happy Atheist. I will be exposing my son to as many religions as possible and treating each one is as valid as any other. I would support exposing kids to all religious symbols or none at all to be fair, given a choice i would say no religious symbols at all. Let's keep supernatural beliefs to ourselves. As for the Cross being part of Italian Culture. I say it's part of the Culture today, it wasn't always this way and why should we assume that Italy's culture isn't changing all the time. Let me know what Italy's culture is like 200 years from now.

      June 29, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
    • Pix

      It is not, Giuseppe. If people are educated and/or intelligent. Most of the people who post here are bigots or religious fanatics who just want to preach. "What are you gonna do"? Oh well

      June 29, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
    • Judy

      It seems to me that it is the woman with the two children-the one who wants to raise her children "secular"- who is the one imposing her beliefs on the majority. The crucifixes should remain, and that woman needs to "get a life" and stop trying to impose her minority beliefs on everyone else.

      June 30, 2010 at 12:12 am |
    • Chaos

      >>>there is one god<<<

      Actually there are 214 of them. Which makes about as much sense as what you just said.

      June 30, 2010 at 12:12 am |
    • Daws

      Randy, I suppose, will not mind then if we put Holy Islamic symbols in every classroom of his country?

      June 30, 2010 at 12:36 am |
    • pockets

      Nothing like displaying a dead man hanging from a cross to instill fear into the kids is there. You have to look at the Catholic Church for all of this worshiping the idol thing they have been doing for centuries. Its barbaric to say the least and should be stopped. All the nonsense out of the "magic book" ,( bible ), has lead millions to their deaths for nothing. Religion poisons everything. I have a sincere hope that science will lead us out of this cancer that people call religion. There is no god, relax and enjoy your lives.

      June 30, 2010 at 1:26 am |
    • James

      And you call this freedom of religion/belief?????? I thought freedom of religion/belief meant to believe and promote any religion and NOT TO BE UNLIBERAL and ban religious symbols. If anything other religious symbols should be introduced in public places thus haveng a mixture of symbols for every citizen and promoting collaboration between religions/beliefs. the banning of religious symbols is purley an attack on humanity's right for freedom disguised by the excuse of human rights. The Human rights court should better safe guard freedom rather than suspress freedom otherwise what's the use of having this court.

      June 30, 2010 at 2:51 am |
    • Kevin

      It is not hypersensitivity to feel threatened by the presence of the symbol. By allowing just the crucifix to be shown in a public school classroom, the government is essentially endorsing one religion: a clear threat to a supposed "secular" government.
      Those that keep mentioning what the cross represents (sins of humanity) are taking an extremely ethnocentric side to this argument, as well as showing circular logic. Symbols mean what you believe them to mean, if you do not believe in the religion, than there is no reason to believe in the meaning of the symbol. For example, the "reverse swastika" represents peace in Hindu religion; but how many non-Hindu's associate the symbol with peace?

      June 30, 2010 at 3:06 am |
    • Peter Klika

      You are suggesting that classroom walls be devoid of any symbolism lest it offend someone. So should we ban pictures of the Coluseum because Christians were killed there? Or how about images of the Sistine Chapel because Michael Angelo was
      gay. Even the Mona Lisa offends somebody. If we had to remove every symbol that offended some parent or student we would be left with a very sterile culture. No one asked this kid to worship the crucifix! So lighen up and enjoy art, culture, and history even if you don't agree with every aspect. Peter Klika, Kapaau, Hawaii (far from Waikiki).

      June 30, 2010 at 3:11 am |
    • Devon

      Look, I am Jewish and I kinda get the creeps being in a Church for whatever reason. I've been in churches for wakes and and I've been in homes of Catholic families and the cross can give me the willies at time. I don't mean it offensively but I'd feel extremely uncomfortable living there and going to school there with that while being a non-Catholic. Since I"m a Jew, it's hard for me to understand and accept a symbol of something I do not believe in. Oh, and by the way, Israel has always been intended to be more of a religious state in my opinion, hence all of the religious symbols in their government buildings, properties, and logos such as the star of David and the menorah. A picture of Ben Franklin is different from a cross. Ben Franklin represents America and its values. There would be no reason to complain about having a symbol of America up in an American classroom. And I'd have the same issue with the cross as I would if a picture of King Richard were hanging in every room in every classroom. If you want all of these symbols and whatnot then you go to the Theocracy in the heart of Rome known as Vatican City. Last time I checked, there was no state religion of Italy. It's kind of funny because Italy is one of the few predominantly Christian countries without a symbol of the cross on their flag and they're doing this.

      Honestly, I"d feel more comfortable if they had a symbol of Jesus not on the cross. What you guys don't seem to really understand is whenever you see a cross you think of Christianity. It's the same with the star and crescent and Islam and the star of David and Judaism. I'd honestly be a bit weirded out if I were a Christian and my public school had a star of David in every room or a star and crescent in every room. Another aspect I notice that you guys haven't touched on is how discrete the cross is. It's not like it's in the back or kinda hidden away or next to something; it's in the very front of the room and almost completely alone which means you're looking in that direction more than anywhere else so you'll notice it immediately and can see it the entire class period to the point it can become a distraction.

      I honestly don't agree with it because of my personal opinions but I think they could compromise and have a symbol of Jesus without the cross or put it in the very back of the room or in a place less out in the open and noticeable. I'm not Italy or any of the European judges or anything so my opinion's virtually useless to them but I think there are ways to compromise including the ones listed above. It's a very touchy subject to many and I apologize if I offended anyone but I honestly find some of the comments to be quite ridiculous. Hopefully this all works out.

      June 30, 2010 at 3:55 am |

      I have to disagree with you regarding the armed forces schools etc.
      The bill of rights says one is free to practice a religion or not to practice a religion.
      Saying a soldier is prohibited from practicing a religion is absurd.
      The separation of church and state was misinterpreted by those who had the power to force thier agenda on the masses.
      All the founding fathers meant when they called for separation of church and state is that the head of the chuech and the head of the state cannot be one and the same. Based on the english system back then, the head of the church (the church of england) was the king/queen who was also the head of the state. Check your history.

      June 30, 2010 at 6:29 am |
    • allevilwillbegonesoon


      June 30, 2010 at 6:51 am |
    • Charles

      Good point. A bit overstated when separation of Church and State would have sufficed, but well stated. As for the fellow using "firstly, secondly...and PARTICULARLY thirdly"....please, First and Second are perfectly good adverbs, do not attempt to destroy them. True, Firstly and Secondly have been used since the 17th century, but you need to know that it stops at Secondly. Can you imagine if your points ranged all the way through 27? Would you begin your sentences with Twentyseventhly...?

      June 30, 2010 at 6:55 am |
    • Jeff

      It is difficult to understand since displaying a cross or crucifix is not imposing ones beliefs on another. If that were the case, then one could also say by not displaying a crucifix is imposing on his/her rights.

      More importantly...why should a crucifix be allowed in schools and hospitals? Oh, I don't know...maybe because they were founded by Christian. Namely Catholics. Or should we take our founding fathers and presidents off of our coins and dollar bills?

      June 30, 2010 at 7:11 am |
    • mark

      If I live in America I drive on the right hand side if i drive in the UK I drive on the left hand side. This is the law of the land and if it offends me or not to drive on the opposite side I have to abide. If the national language in Germany is German and even though it offends me as a Jew should they change for me. As the birth place of Catholicism it should be their right to express their religious beliefs. Why allow foreign inhabitants change the DNA of their country.

      June 30, 2010 at 7:31 am |
    • sagebrush

      Regardless of the issue, this is an example of what happens when a country accepts a court sytem such as "The European Court of Human Rights " This is Italy's problem to solve and Italy should tell this court to butt out.

      June 30, 2010 at 7:33 am |
    • MD

      you and the minority always want to change the world, not for the better, but because you can, and the idiots that rule us all, allows it. I am tired of a few ruling over us all...and its about time we stand and fight back. Is it the minority that rules or is it the majority?

      June 30, 2010 at 7:35 am |
    • David

      Mel and Cassias,
      Hanging a religious symbol in a public (government) area is imposing your religion on others. The school is choosing the symbol. If it isn't, then any student should have the right to take it down any day and put another one up. I could just see this leading to some interesting fights. No one is driving anyones religion underground. No one is suggesting closing your churchs/mosques or whatever. No one is suggesting you take your cross off your front lawn. Just not in a government area where students are required to spend countless hours.

      June 30, 2010 at 7:42 am |
    • romansonetwenty

      don't understand why catholics even use crucifixes...Jesus died once and for all for sins, the cross is meant to be a remembrance symbol of his sacrifice. even with communion its a recrucifying of Jesus all over again instead of "in remembrance of me" for recognizing the resurrection, he died once and resurrected once...i wish religion was based more on truth than tradition....excuse my rant. i'm done now.

      June 30, 2010 at 7:57 am |
    • Scott

      All the Christians crying is very annoying. This isn't being done not to offend foreigners, its being done not to brain wash kids whose parents, or more importantly themselves, do not share these beliefs.

      I believe schools should be allowed religious symbols but at the cost of their funding. It is not the job of the government to fund religious dogma. If the school wants a cross and funding well I'm sure the Holy See have enough money to fund the school.

      Imagine how outraged the religious nutbags would be if we opened atheist schools where kids are told that no God does not exist.

      I would also allow the cross if they also put up all other religious symbols and a symbol for atheism.

      June 30, 2010 at 8:22 am |
    • Fulvio Garofalo

      Thank You Giuseppe finally someone is showing the reality of Italy limiting culture, I agree fully we Your point of view; unfortunately we are not so many open minded around

      June 30, 2010 at 8:23 am |
    • Gerard

      Why in this world of freedom of expression and freedom of speech that we live in does it seem that certain people’s rights seem to outweigh others. What happens to the parents who are trying to raise there children to Love God and who want there children to have a constant reminder of his presence during their school day, what happens to their rights? The crucifix should not only be viewed has a Christian symbol(although it is) but as a symbol of hope and mutual respect for all mankind. By having crucifixes in the classrooms or in public areas Christianity is not being imposed on anybody, IT IS STILL YOUR CHOICE , but by forcing them to be removed you are imposing your beliefs on others. Is this not your arguments to have them removed?

      June 30, 2010 at 8:27 am |
    • jesus

      The cross by itself alone is a primitive Bonze Age execution device that does not belong in a classroom of children. With an artistic rendering of a Jesus figure hanging on that cross, it then becomes a symbol of a Christian religious principle, to wit; he died for your sins. That religious principle embodied by Christians should be confined to their Church and not imposed on anybody in a secular environment. I don't believe the Jesus tale or myth and should not have it thrown in my face or in my child's face. That goes for crosses placed in a high position on buildings or structures subject to public view. Crosses should be kept WITHIN the Church. not outside it.

      June 30, 2010 at 8:29 am |
    • Stephanie

      I hope Italy wins and they get to put crucifixes in every classroom! 🙂 We need to do what we can to keep our Catholic faith strong! I don't believe in the separation of church and state.

      June 30, 2010 at 9:00 am |
    • vpenning

      A symbol only means something-whether at the discretion to be ignored or not-if someone knows what it means. So, the child's choice would be determined by someone having to teach him/her that it is a symbol of love....and in order to do that, the child needs to be taught the beliefs of the Catholic church.... (ever hear the joke about the kid who goes to a Catholic school and gets way better in Math. When his parents ask him why, he said that when he saw the guy nailed to the plus sign, he knew he should straighten up?!?)

      Is the school teaching the meaning of that cross? Is the teacher teaching it? Is it being taught by the surrounding culture? Is the child not even aware?

      June 30, 2010 at 9:01 am |
    • planter

      "Is it that difficult to understand???"

      Yes. For many people, it IS that difficult to understand.

      They, like you, Giuseppe, seem unable to comprehend that someone else can have deep-seated beliefs that differ significantly from their own.

      June 30, 2010 at 9:07 am |
    • Cato

      Giuseppe you cannot have it both ways. If you restrict and remove the crosses from any and all public places so as to endorse secularism you have rejected the religion of Christianity and in its place you have asserted and exalted the religion of secularism/atheism. You inevitably do this in the name of neutrality and neutrality is a myth. Call this for what is, a frontal attack on Christianity. In reality what you are really doing is imposing your secularism on the rest of Italy. You are seeking to this in the name of national neutrality. Italians should see this foolish line of reasoning for what it is, a farce. No nation is ever devoid of religion. Nations don't live in vacuums, if it's not the religion of Christianity then its the religion of secularism. If it's not secularism then its Islam. Neutrality is a myth. Italy should stand up and denounce the likes of Giuseppe and those wanting a secularist state. The last time a secularist state existed it's leaders demanded that secularism/atheism reign throughout the land and they created an archipelago and murdered roughly 30 million people. Don't be fooled religious state neutrality where secularism prevails throughout the land is a deadly and destructive myth.

      June 30, 2010 at 9:10 am |
    • Jason

      Isn't Italy the religious persons fantasy? A place where the majority of citizens share the same religious beliefs? Home of the Vatican? Land of religious artifacts as far as the eye can see? All of that considered, I would have expected the smaller crosses to be built into the wall somehow, making removal impossible. If Italians want to keep them, then I really don't see what the problem is. Let Italy do "it's thing". No one is being harmed by this.

      June 30, 2010 at 9:16 am |
    • Paola

      well said, Giuseppe!
      although, unfortunately, the Bishops of Italy won't read our comments ... ah, povera Italia!

      June 30, 2010 at 9:16 am |
    • rudy

      I like to agree with you but European liberalism has brought about these problems. However these restrictions apply to governmental actions. If the school were a private school, of if you wanted to put on a cross in your own home or store, there is nothing that the European or italian court for that matter can do about your choice. When you dismental your borders and permit people from other cultures then you invite disaster and this is what the modern states face. Cohesive societies are disappearing and there is nothing that binds people together except that they share the wealth of the territory they live in. The church knows that and this is the reason it opposed Turkey's effort to become part of the Euro zone.

      June 30, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • tobosbunny

      I agree with you 100%! The thing is that the one's who say it isn't pushing a certain religion on people fight tooth and nail if some other religious symbol was displayed. Would they say the same for a Penticle? Hindu figures? Would they stand and fight for the right for the Muslims to worship? Most would not. The majority only are ready to defend what is "their" religion but no others. I don't believe in religion, but I will defend all, because my right to not believe is no stronger than their right to believe.

      June 30, 2010 at 9:39 am |
    • Dina di Lucca

      I guess you've never been to Italy, have you, Giuseppe? Because everywhere you go, there are religious icons. There are announcements of the deceased, usually decorated with the face of Christ or the Madonna; there are small statues of various saints imbedded in the walls of the older buildings; banks have religious statues and crucifixes; religious memorials are on the sides of roads, just to name a few. If Italy had to rid itself of ALL public religious icons, it would literally destroy the ancient architecture of the country, as well as it's culture. I was born in Italy. I love that country. It's a sad shame what it has become over the years. Progress? I think not!

      June 30, 2010 at 9:43 am |
    • Melina

      Italians should be able to do whatever they want in their country. No one else has the right to interfere or impose their beliefs. If this lady that initiated this cruzade does not like how Italy runs their internal affairs, then she should move out of there and go live somewhere, perhaps America. The catholic faith is part of Italy's history and has been for hundreds of year. Just because in America we have the freedom of religion does not make our view the right view for the rest of the world.

      June 30, 2010 at 9:51 am |
    • Randall

      The issue here is that despite what you seem to think, Italy's very fabric as a culture is intwined with Christianity. Possibly more so than any other nation. You don't have to agree with or even like Christianity but suggest that Italy isn't based in Christianity is just not honest. I think many posters here are imposing American views on this subject. In the US while the majority of people are Christian, the US has never been a Christian nation. If one were to go to an Saudi school one should expect to see the crescent and star. The same Italy, while its government is now secular Italy is a nation who's history is linked to Christianity. Anyway who lives or visits there should recognize and respect that.

      June 30, 2010 at 10:14 am |
    • Aaron

      I agree with the court's decision. Religious icons have no place in schools and other public buildings. It is simply not fair to those that don't believe in what is being presented. Remember, these building are paid for by the taxpayers of the country, both the religious and the non-religious. Some of those that are religious are certainly not Christian, and to display Christian icons in public schools is not only unfair to the students, but to the population as a whole.

      Unfortunately, too many political leaders that happen to be Christian feel compelled by their beliefs to proselytize, and that compulsion spills into their policy-making. People argue that putting a cross in every classroom is not an attempt to impose Christian beliefs on children. If this is the case, then what do the children think of when they see the cross as the enter the room? Certainly not, "Oh look, a medieval Roman torture device! Cool!" It serves as a representation of religion, something that has no place in what should be a secular education.

      June 30, 2010 at 10:18 am |
    • kevin

      posting only one of the many religous symbols is showing favoritism to that particular religion. if it was a symbol of the cresent moon rather then the cross you nutter christians would be all over it and you know it.

      whoever said the thing about the benjamin franklin pick and the king richard is a total moron and is grasping at straws. those pictures are NOT religious symbols.

      i understand it represents a portion of the history of italy, but there are no pagan symbols on the walls which is an even larger part of italy's history.

      June 30, 2010 at 10:35 am |
    • SMC

      I'm not sure why people are so offended by the crucifix?! If it's not of your belief just ignore it. People today are so freaking soft....I'd like to see a reversal in the "political correctness" gone mad in today's society.

      June 30, 2010 at 10:58 am |
    • steve

      Christian arguments for the cross to be displayed 24/7 in a public classroom as a constant reminder every second of the day that Jesus was murdered by Jews and died for our sins won't hold up to Christian review if all other religious symbols were placed right next to it. Their same arguments in favor of the cross would then suddenly melt if having to defend the star of david in every public classroom. I love Christians constant arguments on "gay agendas" in the United States (meaning civil rights). As if the church has never had a more sinister agenda.

      June 30, 2010 at 11:12 am |
    • McCluck

      Christians imposing their religion on others?-that’s weird, where have I heard of that before, lol. At least their not killing people over it this time...

      Waaa(baby crying) but its a part of our history!

      -Yes, it is a part of your history, a part that was separated from schools and government for a reason. Keep it that way. Religion is for the naïve and only clouds your judgment with fairytale logic.-Keep it out of the governing process.

      June 30, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • DDRM

      The common sense laws that are in place all stemmed from a religious point of view (not secular views). Christianity has been part of the infrustructure of Italy as well as Landmarks – it's really petty on the atheist's mind. It seems that the atheists are the ones that are intolerant of the culture of a country.

      June 30, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
    • rita

      For those of you who say Americans don't really have a say in what goes on in Italian public classrooms, I would like to remind you to remind the pope to keep his nose out of American politics every time we have a debate on health care and abortion, gay civil rights, gay marriage, end of life issues and a whole host of other topics and policy debates. Shew!!!!!

      June 30, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
    • mel

      Sgstuck, yes I think I am being naiive, unfortunately, not all Christians believe in respecting others' beliefs and go too far in trying to convert others (They should take the log out of their own eye first).

      Sorry for my overuse of firstly, Charles! Point taken... :0)

      June 30, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • mel

      (There seems to be a character limit here)
      David, I have started to change my mind, regarding the American situation, government schools without a religious founding ethos shouldn't have crucifixes as this would go against secular values.

      June 30, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • Ronaldo D.

      The crucifix or cross as sometimes called is not a Christian symbol. Its roots are found in ancient pagan belief. The "T" or cross is the symbol for the ancient god Tamus. The cross was not the means of execution used to kill Jesus of Nazareth, but an upright pole or "tree" as the Greek term literally means in ancient manuscripts. This has been established since the late 1800s. Revering the instrument of death is tantamount to rendering honor to the symbol a revolver used to murder a person. So even though it is of pagan origin revering this symbol is ridiculous. Jesus taught his followers to "walk by faith, not by sight". Holding this pagan idolatrous symbol as sacred goes against what the Christ taught.

      June 30, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
    • Mark V E Y

      The symbol of secularism is the blank wall. I think putting on a symbol of Catholicism (the crucifix) does not, in any way, impede the rest of the blank wall's message. If anything, it shows that there is freedom of religion in that space because it conveys the message the FACT that the VAST MAJORITY of the country is Catholic and another viewpoint (other than secularism) is represented. The minority who hate religions must not be allowed to oppress and subjugate the majority with their petty rules.

      June 30, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
    • Thessalonian

      enigma, better read the gospels a bit more. Jesus went in to the town square and preached. Nothing shows that he wanted religion out of the public square.

      June 30, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
    • Ronald Harper

      Yeah you can't say it any better than this, this is a universal sentiment and will eventually be settled law. Putting religious symbols in a classroom full of young people is a form of abuse, cruelty pure and simple.

      June 30, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
    • Bedista

      Crucifixes are all over Italy in public places and it will be hard for that person not to notice a crucifix in any public place INCLUDING the public schools there... so I don't know why this person would suddenly sue the government for having a crucifix at a walking or sitting at a PUBLIC school which does not teach religion any more than a walking at a PUBLIC pedestrian where you would probably find more crucifixes as you walk by. The government could fix that by not taking the crucifix from all public schools which is already part of the Italian culture but by letting the student decide which school to go to maybe a PRIVATE school which doesn't have any crucifixes in it, and direct the government's money to that school instead for that student, rather than taking all the crucifixes in all PUBLIC schools and in all PUBLIC places which I don't see any difference at all.

      July 1, 2010 at 3:50 am |
    • Geo

      Secularism is just the cover that ATHEISTS use to impose their OWN religion. A blank wall would become the symbol of ATHEIST.

      YES, atheism is a religion...it is a way to say that the atheist is his own god. Atheists put their own EGO's as the godhead.

      July 1, 2010 at 4:21 am |
    • JamesH

      Nonsense – Christianity is the bedrock of Western Civilisation.

      Equality before the law, separation of church and state, the humanity of women, peasants and children, free education and healthcare for the poor, even the idea that nature is subject to laws – all these developed in Christian countries, and nowhere else! The Islamic universities were all eventually closed down for being un-Islamic; China never had religious people looking after lepers and homeless; Atheist regimes were murderous and totalitarian.

      What we now call secularism is the cultural capital built up over centuries of Christianity. We're spending it without replacing it, and the time will come when we're living in a stone-age culture with advanced technology.

      And the dying will begin.

      July 1, 2010 at 4:47 am |
    • Ginger315

      Mr. Alvaro: You know not of what you speak. ALL of western civilization is founded upon the tenets of Judaism and Christianity. As a history teacher and professor, I have done years of research. If you don't believe me, even Wikipedia says so.....and aren't they are always right? (That's a joke, btw)

      July 1, 2010 at 10:35 am |
    • Winkyb

      [ JMJ ] Tell 'em @geo-babey!!!  



      July 1, 2010 at 10:39 am |
    • Nick

      If we want God out of our Schools and goverment.... Good luck. Its going to be one hell of a mess.

      July 1, 2010 at 10:51 am |
    • dd

      I agree 100% with your statement!

      July 1, 2010 at 11:11 am |
    • inbetween

      Soo, funny...people try to impose their religious beliefs on others, sometimes force it on them. Yet when athiests like myself promote athiesm through symbols, and speech we are met with hatred from the religious side. I guess my belief in letting you go about your lives as you see fit doesn't match with your religious beliefs. I get absolutely disgusted when I see crosses in public places. Even as a child, I had a problem with pledging my alliegance to the flag, because of the one nation under god part.....does that mean i'm not a part of this nation? So from 5th grade on, I chose to sit out of the morning pledge. I'm grateful, my parents supported my decision and belief even though they were religious. They still allowed me to be free...If i want to believe, then believe but I just simply don't need that crutch (as people call him sometimes) so I didn't and never will. Can't we agree to disagree without resorting to war and violence? If the religious people have the right to push and force their religion on us, then we have the right to force our athiesm on them. It's absolutely "religulous".

      July 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
    • PaganChick

      "How could someone not share such a symbol?"

      They're not Catholic.

      July 1, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
    • Nathan

      You make a lot of sense and for the most part I agree. Mind you I only slightly disagree on faith based schools, for instance catholic schools, etc. They should obviously be able to display their chosen religion freely. Another aspect I disagree on and again minorly is the Armed Forces. While the main force should be a unified group, individual soldiers should have the right to display and practise their faiths openly, such as mass and religious items within their personal space.

      July 1, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
    • Walter Roberts

      Quick: name the first 'secularist' in Roman/Italian tradition? Easier said than done. You'd have to go back to the Romans and even there it would be tough going. I could only think of Lucretius. As for your so-called 'clear distinction between personal belief and social norms' I pretty much think that you are talking about Luther and his crew: even the Romans (for all their tolerance) tried to get the Christians to sacrifice to the old gods or the Emperor. Don't press modern ideas onto ancient peoples: that's called 'anachronism'.

      July 1, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
    • Bunny

      Randy: People treating symbols as just that – meaningless symbols – is a lovely idea, but not very realistic in the actual world. Sadly, in this world symbols mean something to people. No one would tolerate a swastika being hung in the classroom (that's just a symbol, correct?); it's actually illegal to deface or destroy the US flag (that's just a symbol, right?); a burning cross is also extremely offensive (but that's just wood burning, right?). If atheist wanted to hang the Darwin fish symbol right in between a cross and a pentagram, people would lose their minds. The point here is that religion has to be treated equally by gov't and if a cross is allowed then all other religious symbols would need to be allowed as well and then the classroom turns into a religious marketplace instead of a gov't funded place of learning.

      Religious symbols on your person, in your house, and in your place of worship is your own business. Religious symbols in a public school is now the business of everyone. People do have "some amorphous right" to be insulated from gov't backed opinions with which they disagree. The gov't is for everyone, not just christians. Non-christians should no sooner be made to sit in a public school room looking at a cross all day than Jews should be made to sit looking at a swastika all day.

      So while your theory makes sense in an abstract way, to say that symbols have no meaning and are "passive" is a little naive. Peace.

      July 1, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
    • carol_cairo

      Yo, it's 2010. We have a LHC – Large Hadron Collider working to discover even more natural mysteries. We have a famous biologist whose team has created life out of four inorganic compounds. Let's get out of the Bronze thinking, eh? whywontgodhealamputees.com

      July 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • Joe

      Exactly, having a crucifix there is brainwashing. It's a tool of fear. The cross is a form of ancient capital punishment. It's the equivalent of having a little statue of an electric chair with a person sitting in it fried. Then telling the kids "look! That's the son of god kids!" Now go every Sunday to a church and give them some money.

      July 4, 2010 at 10:40 am |
    • Paolo

      Everyone should calm down.The Catholic religion is NOT very important to most Italians.The SYMBOLS and the idea Italy is a Catholic country are quite important for tourism and image.The faith is practiced by older women in small towns and guilty Italian-American tourists..Go to mass in Florence and count the number of men in attendance.

      A crucifix,a thermostat and fire alarm should be in all Italian schools.Two of those items are quite important.

      July 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • michael

      Why are American's involved in this issue? Leave the US Conservative ideals of control in the US and allow other countries to practice their state religion. Why do you think we are in the situation we are with the Muslim countries? Because America is on it crusade.

      I feel it should be fine to allow this symbole in their classrooms. They DONOT force religion down the throats of others like the US does and it is a base for their countries being. Afterall, I think Rome might be somewhere close by and the Pope as well.

      When living in EU, I never felt presure from the IT people over differences in their faith and mine and I respect that. I wished I could say that for other countries that preach freedom!

      July 6, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
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About this blog

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.