A big win for the theocrats

So there’s no freedom of/from religion for Italy or for 47 other European countries either.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled Friday that crucifixes are acceptable in public school classrooms, and its decision will be binding in 47 countries.

The ruling overturned a decision the court had reached in November 2009 in which it said the crucifix could be disturbing to non-Christian or atheist pupils. Led by Italy, several European countries appealed that ruling.

And they won, so non-Christian and atheist pupils just have to lump it. The majority wins so ha; no rights for you.

The original case was heard by a seven-judge panel. The appeal hearing was heard by a “grand chamber” of 19 judges.

The case set up a confrontation between traditional Catholic and Orthodox countries and nations in the north that observe a strict separation between church and state.

In other words, between countries that impose a particular religion on their citizens and those that don’t; in other words between theocracies and secular states.

The ruling came as Vatican officials announced the Holy See is reaching out to atheists with a series of encounters and debates aimed at fostering intellectual dialogue and introducing nonbelievers to God.

We’ve already been introduced. We don’t want to know their “God.”

The theocrats are delighted, of course.

Friday’s decision was welcomed by Italy’s foreign minister as a win for European “popular sentiment”.

“The decision underlines, above all, the rights of citizens to defend their own values and their own identities,” Franco Frattini said, according to Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.

“I hope that following this verdict Europe will begin to examine issues of tolerance and religious freedom with the same courage,” he added.

What exactly is “tolerant” (much less religious freedom) about imposing a symbol of a particular religion on everyone? Not to mention the morbid nastiness of the symbol in question – a device for torturing people to death.

…the ruling will affect all 47 Council of Europe member states as citizens in other countries who want religious symbols in classrooms could use it as a legal argument in national courts.National governments could also the ruling as a justification to change laws on religious symbols.

Strap in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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