Strasbourg, France, Mar 18, 2011 / 10:08 am
Updated on March 18, 2011 at 4:26 p.m. MST.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Italian public schools can continue to display crucifixes in classrooms, providing a final resolution to a case that had sparked concern about aggressive secularism on the continent.
The new ruling overturns an earlier judgment by a lower chamber of the same court, which declared in 2009 that the crosses violated students' human rights and represented a form of religious discrimination.
Seventeen judges of the Grand Chamber gave the 15-2 ruling on March 18, holding that there had been “no violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (right to education) to the European Convention on Human Rights.” The protocol requires that state schools “shall respect the right of parents to ensure … education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions.”