No freedom from religion for you

Marc Alan di Martino told me an Italian judge had been fired for refusing to work under a crucifix. Yes really. There’s no reporting on it in English; all I could find was a blog post by…well, a theology-fan. The blogger could be writing approvingly.

Italy’s highest court of appeal — the Cassation Court — confirmed today (March 14, 2011) the sacking of a judge who refused to hear cases with the crucifix in the courtroom, according to the Life In Italy website…

The CSM said in its ruling that Tosti – who is a Jew – was guilty of refusing to do his job in the Marche town of Camerino from May 2005 to January 2006, when he withdrew from 15 hearings to contest the presence of the cross displayed in the courtroom.

It’s arbitrary, but at least in English “a Jew” sounds different from “Jewish,” and not in a good way. The blogger may not have meant it that way – but it sounds…well, you probably know how it sounds.

In its ruling today, the Cassation Court said that CSM was wholly “correct” and rejected Tosti’s argument that the presence of crosses was a threat to freedom of religion and conscience.

Because…? Because it doesn’t stand for religion and thus, in a courtroom, for theocracy? Because it doesn’t stand for one particular religion, and thus, in a courtroom, cast the judge as an outsider at best? Because it’s entirely neutral and has no meaning for atheists and other non-Christians? Because it doesn’t claim to stand for “God” and thus, in a courtroom, make secular law subordinate?

I don’t know. I look forward to finding out. I think Marc will be telling us more.

Update: Terry Sanderson alerted us to background from the NSS.

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