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Will Displays of Christianity Be Removed From All Public Buildings In Europe? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 16:42
Incredible. As melodramatic as it sounds, listen to this.

From Anna Arco's Diary at the Catholic Herald (UK)

Barrister Neil Addison has written extensively about the European Court of Human Rights ruling on the crucifix over on his blog. He believes that the ruling may have implications for Britain.

He writes:

“As several press articles on the case have pointed out the court did not expressly order the school to remove its crucifix but this is because the court does not have the power to make such orders what it does do is find a violation of the convention and then the Italian government has to report back to the Council of Europe exactly what it proposes to do in order to impliment the ruling which in this case will mean removing crucifixes from the classrooms, courts public buildings etc. In the UK because of s2 of the Human Rights Act the ruling has effect as a binding precedent in UK law and I suspect we will shortly be hearing about public displays of Christmas decorations being removed, School nativity plays being banned etc by local authorities who will say they are acting in accordance with this court ruling.

On his Religion Law blog, Neil expands on the implications:

"Unless the Grand Chamber of the ECHR overrules this Judgment on appeal Italy, and indeed the rest of Europe, has a serious problem; for example in Greek and Cypriot Schools it is common to see Icons displayed, but under this judgment those Icons will have to be removed and, arguably so will displays of Christianity from all Public buildings throughout Europe."

However I do wonder if perhaps this Judgment may, in time, come to be seen as European "Dredd Scott" case ie a moment when the implications of a Court ruling are so significant and so contrary to public opinion that they lead to a public backlash. Americans will, be familiar with the 1857 Dredd Scott case when the US Supreme Court defended slavery to such an extent that, in effect, it extended slavery to the free as well as the slave states and that ultimately strengthened the abolitionist movement and is often quoted as a leading cause of the American Civil War. I often refer to the Dredd Scott case when arguing with my more "liberal" legal colleagues who simplistically believe that Supreme Courts are always filled with nice liberal types who will uniformly do the right thing. They are not, Judges are as prone to personal prejudices as anyone else which is the danger of trying to use the Courts to force change in society rather than relying on the slower processes of democracy, voting and debate.

If I can misquote Abraham Lincoln

"We shall lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of Europe are on the verge of becoming a multi-faith society, and we shall awake to the reality instead, that the European Court has made Europe a non-faith society"

Anna is tracking this story as it unfolds, so watch her blog for UK developments.

 

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