Methodological Perspectives and Empirical Applications
Edited By Inés Olza Moreno, Óscar Loureda Lamas and Manuel Casado
The Crucifix and the Court in Strasbourg: Press Reaction in Italy to a European Court Decision: Diego Contreras
The Crucifix and the Court in Strasbourg: Press Reaction in Italy to a European Court Decision
On November 3 2009, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg handed down a sentence stating that the display of the crucifix in public schools in Italy amounted to a “limitation on freedom of religion” and a “violation of the right of parents to educate children in accordance with their beliefs”. The court decision sparked a significant, generally negative, response in Italian public opinion. In conjunction with a number of other institutions, the Italian government appealed the decision; and in a new ruling issued on March 18 2011, a plenary sitting of the court overturned the previous sentence. This chapter explores how the Italian press addressed the controversy, as well as the main arguments in favor and against the public display of the crucifix advanced in the context of this debate.
Keywords: Secularism; Religious symbols; Religious freedom; Religion in the public sphere; Crucifix.
1.Introduction and theoretical context
On 3 November 2009, the European Court of Human Rights handed down a sentence concerning the display of the crucifix in public schools in Italy. The court found that the display was a “limitation on religious freedom” and a “violation of the right of parents to educate their children in accordance with their beliefs”.
The sentence caused a media storm in Italy. Not for the first time, the media engaged with the...
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