Peru court upholds presence of crucifix in public places

The Constitutional Court of Peru ruled that the Bible and the crucifix do not violate the secular nature of the the country.

On March 22 the court ruled against a lawsuit filed by Peruvian lawyer Jorge Manuel Linares Bustamante, who demanded that crucifixes and Bibles be removed from courtrooms.

Constitutional Court Justice Gerardo Eto Cruz explained to CNA on March 23 that said the presence of crucifixes and Bibles in public places does not violate the religious freedom of persons.

In its ruling the court explained that “the presence of religious symbols such as the crucifix or the Bible that have historically or traditionally been present in public areas such as the offices and courtrooms of the justice system does not affect religious freedom or the principle of the secular nature of the state.”

“We have a non-sectarian or secular state as a rule, but the Constitution itself established in article 50 that within this regime of independence the state has with the Church, the Church is truly a part of the historical, cultural and moral heritage of Peru,” Justice Eto Cruz said.

“Historically, nobody in his right mind can deny that Spain’s presence in Latin America came through its language and religious heritage. This is part of our cultural formation,” he added.

The religious symbols in a courtroom do not amount to an endorsement of religion, but rather they signify the historical and cultural connection of these symbols to the state as such, Eto Cruz said.

The Peruvian ruling comes only days after the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg allowed crucifixes in public classrooms in Italy.

Eto Cruz said the rulings by both courts were very similar.

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