Thursday, 14 January 2010
An illegal crucifix?
A November news story, that still leaves a putrefied taste in our mouths, concerns the European Court of Human Rights ruling, that Italy would have to eradicate ALL crosses from Italian classrooms. Forgive me for my choleric capitalising of ‘ALL’, subtlety was never my forte. But the arrogance of the Court in delivering a judgment based on the campaigning of one Finnish mother, Soile Lautsi, which she did on behalf of her two kids, that will could impact on the lives of all Italian school children. Ms Soile Lautsi is the dame célèbre of the atheist movement; they see Soile Lautsi as the lady who took Italy’s soiled linen to the European Court. A quick search of the atheist sites and societies reveals their glee at the European Court decision.
The European Court of Human Rights did not actually order a specific body of people, such as school teachers or police to confiscate crosses in classrooms. So, no specific group of Italian state employees have it as their set responsibility to take down crosses. The European Court left the decision of ‘who’ would enforce their ruling to the Italian government.
Yet, in reaction to the European Court, there are some interesting developments in Italian law. Italy’s Constitutional Court is seeking to exercise Italian law so as to nullify the ruling of the Strasbourg Court. Their defence is that for the-removal-of-crucifixes-decree conflicts with Italian Constitutional law. But precisely which ‘provisions’ within Italian Constitutional law will allow Italy to robustly ensure that to hang a crucifix in a classroom is not an illegal offence?
I doubt very much whether or not the Italian Constitution has the following wording; ‘it is illicit for any court outside Italy to impost a judgment which would entail the elimination of crosses from our classrooms.’ Italy has no definite, certain protection against this ruling by the European Court/Strasbourg Court. Legal expert Roger Kiska has stipulated that Italy, if losing its appeal, may consider breaking with the European Court of Human Rights. That may involve a breaking with Convention of Human Rights. Should Italy seek a complete exemption from the Convention of Human Rights (the Strasbourg Court follows this convention) then they may need the approval of the other 26 ‘member states’. It is foreseeable that other European counties from tiny Malta to Germany could look for concessions on Italy’s exemption from the Convention of Human Rights.
Hence why ‘breaking free’ from a fetter of the European Courts is 27 times harder than it was to enter it in the first place. Both Britain and Ireland are signatories to the Convention. My last point is key to understanding why ‘we’ may get have such a ruling imposed on us. What is stopping a egnostic/pagan/druid parent from taking a similar case to the Strasbourg Court?
The stop-gap phrase for now is ‘only time will tell’. In the meantime, we must look for politicians who have legally effective policies for preventing the EU and the European Court of Human Rights from trampling on our traditional customs.