The Italian government will appeal a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, which decided this past week that hanging of crucifixes school classrooms violates religious and education freedoms.
Italy’s Minister of Public Instruction Mariastella Gelmini and Minister of the Interior Claudio Scajola told media this week that the state will appeal Tuesday’s decision, arguing that the cross in Italy has become more than a symbol of the Church. They say it has also become a symbol of Italian and European history and tradition.
“The crucifix is a global symbol of love, docility and peace,” Scajola said in an e-mailed statement.
Crosses in Italy are “a symbol of Italian tradition” and their exposure does not necessarily signify affiliation to the Catholic Church, Gelmini added.
According to the European Court of Human Rights, however, the display of crucifixes in Italian public schools is in violation with the European Convention on Human Rights, particularly in when it comes to the right to education and the freedom of thought, conscience and religion.