Italy Battles to Save Crosses in Classroom

Europe says they violate freedom, Italy says they're culture
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2010 4:56 AM CDT
Updated Jun 30, 2010 5:44 AM CDT
In this Sunday, April 9, 2006 file photo, a cameraman films a crucifix hanging from a wall of a classroom used as a polling station during Italy's general election, in Milan, Italy.   (AP Photo/Giuseppe Aresu, files)
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(Newser) – Italy is fighting a court ruling that bans crucifixes from classrooms. After a secular Italian woman sued to have crucifixes removed from her sons' classrooms, Italian courts said the cross belonged there as a symbol of Italy's culture and history. The European Court of Human Rights disagreed, ruling religious symbols in the classroom are a violation of students' religious freedom, and awarding the woman $7400 in damages.

Italy is now appealing the European ruling, to which the Catholic Church strongly objects, CNN reports. The European ruling "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," the Italian Conference of Bishops said.

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