Crucifying secularism with the crucifix

​The [European court] case of Lautsi v. Italy, better known as the Crucifix Case, is particularly significant… Never before in the history of the Court and the Council of Europe has a case raised so much public attention and debate. The debate regarding the legitimacy of the symbol of Christ’s presence in Italian schools is emblematic of the cultural crisis in Western Europe regarding religion.

Twenty-one State parties to the European Convention on Human Rights, in an unprecedented move, joined Italy to reassert the legitimacy of Christian symbols in European society. The Court finally recognised, in substance, that in countries of Christian tradition, Christianity enjoys a specific social legitimacy which distinguishes it from other philosophical and religious beliefs. Because Italy is a country of Christian tradition, Christian symbols may legitimately hold greater visibility in society…

By this final judgment overturning a unanimous judgment rendered on 3 November 2009 by the Second Section of the Strasbourg Court, the Grand Chamber Judges decided, by fifteen votes to two, that the compulsory display of crucifixes in Italian State-school classrooms did not breach Article 2 of the first Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 2 of the first Protocol protects the right of parents to ensure the education and teaching of their children in conformity with their religious and philosophical convictions…

Quote source

Puppinck, G. (2011). The case of Lautsi v. Italy: a synthesis [Article presented at the Eighteenth Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, “Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Age: Trends, Challenges, and Practices,” 2-4 October 2011]. Available Last accessed 1st May 2017


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