Of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, 21 have voiced objection
to the European Court of Human Rights decision on the question of crucifixes
in schools.

The affair has impassioned Italy for several years. Mrs Soile Lautsi had
asked the administration of her children’s local school to remove the
crucifixes from their classrooms. When the request was refused she took
legal action. In 2005, the Italian Administrative Tribunal ruled against her
on the grounds that “the crucifix is the symbol of both Italian history and
Italian culture and, in consequence, of Italian identity, and the symbol of
the principles of equality, liberty and tolerance as well as of the
secularity of the State.”

However, on 3 November 2009, the Court at Strasbourg condemned this
judgement, affirming that: “the compulsory display of the symbol of a faith
during the performance of a public service, particularly in classrooms,
limits the right of parents to educate their children according to their
beliefs as well as the right of children being educated to believe or not to

Taking issue with this decision, Armenia, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco,
Romania, the Russian Federation and San Marino lodged an objection with the
Court, which heard their case on 30 June 2010. Subsequent to the hearing,
Albania, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia (FYSM), Moldova, Poland,
Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine, added their support to the objection.

The reason for this sudden executive revolt against the Court becomes clear
in light of the alliance concluded last May between the metropolitan
Hilarion (in charge of external relations of the Orthodox patriarchate of
Moscow) on behalf of the patriarch Cyril I, and Pope Benedict XVI. The
separate Catholic and Orthodox churches decided to join forces against the
secularization of European societies.

Translated from French by Carl Freeman.