Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Europe and the Cross: Christianity (and the EU) in the Dock

"May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ"---St. Paul, Gal 6:14

Recap: The European Court of Human Rights held a hearing in this case in June and on Wednesday September 29, 2010, the matter being an appeal in what has been called the "Italian Crucifix Case", Lautsi v. Italy (application no. 30814/06), regarding Italy’s right to display crucifixes in its public school classrooms. The European Court of Human Rights originally ruled in November 2009 that displaying crucifixes in Italian classrooms violates parents’ rights to secular education for their children. The case obviously involves far more than just Italy. For the EU, the Cross and Christianity are in the dock. For Christians, the EU is in the dock. In Greece it is reported that icons may be removed from all court chambers and that swearing on the Bible could be outlawed (nothing higher than the State / EU?).

At the hearing the Italian Government argued in defense of religious freedom and its right to express its unique heritage and identity through the display of crucifixes in state funded schools while attorneys for the plaintiff, an immigrant woman residing in Italy, argued that secularism should be the rule. The government argued that a symbol which belongs to the nation's traditional self-identity could in no way be construed as proselytism or indoctrination, and thus did not infringe the children’s right to freedom of conscience, nor the children's parents.

For Catholics the redemption won at the Cross by the Lord Jesus Christ is not reduced to a classroom Crucifix, but as a symbol which participates in the Reality to which the Crucifix points, the Crucifix, and any sign of the Cross, is sacred.

14 Member States of the Council of Europe joined Italy in opposing the original decision handed down in November 2009. Even the cross-bearing Danish flag it is said could be in jeopardy due to the ruling now under appeal, and democracy itself is certainly on trial here as well---to say nothing of the sovereignty of the nation---because what will be determined in part is whether an immigrant (or any) minority can overturn the majority's will, tradition, and indeed the will of the government of a nation. A final judgment it was said would likely be handed down by this year's end. If so, we are very close. What follows is a chronology of related events which signals trends in recent years---SH

* In October 2006 a British Airways check-in worker was banned by her employers from wearing a small crucifix around her neck. Of Egyptian ethnicity, Nadia Eweida, was told by BA that the wearing of all publically visible jewellery was forbidden by the company.
* In January 2007 Robert Napier School in Gillingham, Kent, ordered a 13 year-old Roman Catholic schoolgirl, Samantha Devine to remove her crucifix at school because it posed a health and safety risk. The school indicated it would be happy with a cross worn in Samantha’s blazer lapel.
* In December 2008 a Spanish court ruled that it was inappropriate for a state school to display crucifixes in its classrooms. Earlier that year, the Spanish Evangelical Alliance had supported the omission of crucifixes from public ceremonies and a law guaranteeing the religious neutrality of public officials.
* In November 2009 the European Court of Human Rights, sitting in Strasbourg, ruled that an Italian school’s refusal to remove the crucifix following the request of Finnish-born Italian Soile Lautsi that it be removed from her children’’ classrooms was a ‘violation of parents’ rights’ to educate children in accord with their convictions. The ruling was expected to have repercussions across all 47 Council of Europe member states. Italy appealed the judgement in June 2010 and awaits a final ruling.


* In April 2010 a British nurse, Shirley Chaplin, lost her appeal to wear a crucifix at work. The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust argued that the cross and necklace she had worn for over 40 years was a health and safety risk. The Trust suggested she wear a lapel pin or cross earrings.

* In April 2010, a German First Minister, Aygül Őzkan who is of Turkish heritage, , called for a ban on crucifixes in state schools in Lower-Saxony and Germany. She withdrew her suggestions following criticism from members of the ruling CDU to which she belongs.
* In June 2010 the Spanish Government introduced a draft Law of Freedom of Religion and Conscience which regulates the use of the crucifix, including its removal from public places such as schools, hospitals and council buildings. The Spanish EA interpreted the use of crucifixes in such places as evidence of a ‘confessional state’, something to which they remain opposed.
* In June 2010 an Amsterdam appeal court ruled that the city’s public transport authority was within its rights to ban an Egyptian-born tram conductor from wearing a crucifix. The judge ruled that the transport authority was correct in imposing a ban on the basis that the crucifix was attached to a necklace, not the fact that it was worn visibly.
* During August, 2010, in Roman Catholic majority Poland, 80% of respondents in an online poll of 11,000 urged the removal of a cross from the square in front of the Presidential palace commemorating the death of the former President in an air crash. [Note: This seems more than a little suspicious to me and I would like to see if this poll was in any way engineered, and if so by whom.--sh]
* The BBC reported in August 2010 that in Greece, the human-rights NGO, Helsinki Monitor, has urged Greek Courts to remove icons from its chambers and drop the practice of requiring witnesses to swear oaths on the Bible.---Source: europeanmission.wordpress.com

Nations supporting Italy in EU Court of Human Rights crucifix appeal are Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, San-Marino, Romania, and The Russian Federation. I have seen the number 14 also. 12 NGO's also signed on to support Italy.

The things that we love tell us who we are---St. Thomas Aquinas

--->BA 'crucifix case' goes to European Court of Human Rights...

--->New World Order. Argentinean archbishop denounces proposal to remove religious symbols...

--->Evangelicals join fight in Italy to ban the crucifix from classrooms (click)... So clearly, for some Protestants at least, what is at stake also in traditional Catholic nations is whether the Faith of the Church of over two milleniums, or late arrival faith communities deriving from Luther's revolution, in concert with others, determines identity. Just how many Protestant groups affirm against traditional Catholic religious symbols is unclear to me.

--->US Professor's tesimony in Europe's "Crucifix trial"...

--->Young Muslim writer defends crucifixes in Italy...

--->Cardinal: Christianophobia at Work in 'Crucifix Trial' in European Court...

--->When the State is Ultimate...

--->Irish protest loss of sovereignty at IMF...See video; Also, Sinn Féin protest outside government buildings - IMF bondage... , demand new elections...And BBC coverage here

--->North Korea fires artillery barrage on South...; South Korea says it has returned fire... China has a defense pact with N. Korea, US has the same with the South. US Condemns N. Korean Attack, Says Too Soon to Act, Russia sees great danger... Meanwhile, Analysis - North Korea likely needed outside help for centrifuge... Telegraph: Are we skipping towards a nuclear apocalypse (click)? "It isn’t that the Korean fighting signals the coming of an East Asian nuclear apocalypse – but it does demonstrate just how nuclear weapons fundamentally transform geopolitical equations". --->Blogger friend Joshua Snyder in South Korea (updated): "Now I'm starting to care..." Via email Joshua writes, "Things have calmed down, it seems." Thank God.

--->TSA airport employee accused of kidnap, assault...

--->Corporate Profits Hit New Record, U.S. Workers Still Struggling...

--->Castro Calls Obama a 'Snake Charmer'...

--->DN: 22 Arrested at Protest Outside
School of the Americas...

--->TSA animated: Don't touch my junk...

--->Paul Craig Roberts: TSA Gestapo Empire

--->To Your Health: Red wine packed with antidiabetes compounds...

--->Cardinal Walter Brandmuller: Atheism is irrational...

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me"---St. Paul, Galatians 2:20

1 comment:

  1. This sort of thing has been going on in Europe for the past 150 years!The German Kulturekamph, the Italian reunification, and various other policies in France, Russia, etc during the 19th and early 20th century were various arttempts to forcibly eradicate religion and IMPOSE secularism in European society. It was supposedly done in the name of religious liberty. Maybe they were actually sincere. But it is the forced imposition of a worldview that is in spirit a violation of the concept of religious liberty. The fact that secualism may not technically be called a religion(one can argue that it can be but I digress)makes it no less oppressive.
    To see this sort of thing revive in modern times is quite omminous. It will be argued that this is not an attempt to erradicate Catholicism of Christianity in general but we must remember that the French Revolution did not start out as an attempt to wipe out religion either but developed into that as the radicals took power and imposed their worldview on France.

    ReplyDelete