Saturday, July 03, 2010

Images of torture banned in Italian schools

Catholicism stopped being the state religion in Italy in 1984, but the Catholics don't seem to have noticed. I was asked to write a report on a Humanist conference in Turin in 2007 (a conference I didn't actually attend), where delegates spoke about the Vatican’s interference in state affairs and its parasitic presence in all areas of public life. Among other things, the church interferes with education, enrolling thousands of religious teachers who're chosen by bishops and paid from state funds.

Now the Italian government is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights to overturn a ban on classroom crucifixes - the government, not the church, for crying out loud! The case against crucifixes was won by a woman who argued that her children were entitled to a secular education. The BBC report doesn't say whether anyone's pointed out that images of a tortured and bleeding man nailed to a cross aren't appropriate interior decoration in schools, especially primary schools. British Catholics presumably don't have a problem with it. No wonder they're all so f****d up. Say your prayers children, and don't have nightmares.

Update, 18 March 2011
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that crucifixes are acceptable in the continent's state school classrooms, describing them as an "essentially passive symbol" with no obvious religious influence. In its judgment, handed down in Strasbourg, the court found that while the crucifix was "above all a religious symbol" there was no evidence that its display on classroom walls might have an influence on pupils.
Atheist Ireland has an interesting reaction to this:
Today’s judgement lays down many important points of human rights law in favour of secularism, and it leaves open the possibility of further legal challenges about crucifixes in classrooms where the overall school environment is not secular.

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