Would this offend you on a classroom wall?

crucifixWell according to the European Court of Human Rights  it might. They’ve banned it from public schools in Italy. Here’s why.
Norightturn thinks it’s great news – the power of the Vatican leaves no space for religious freedom. But there’s no shortage of people out there who are outraged by this ruling.

‘It’s more surprising because it’s happening in Italy, the country which hosts the Vatican in Rome which has guided Catholic theology and culture since the first century. One can only imagine the reaction in Mecca to the Saudi Arabian Human Rights Court decreeing the Islamic Crescent as violating religious freedoms’ says this blog.

And that’s the line from the Vatican – your robbing Europe of it’s identity.
“It is astonishing then that a European court should intervene weightily in a matter profoundly linked to the historical, cultural and spiritual identity of the Italian people,” the Vatican spokesman Father Lombardi stated.

Saint Superman blogs that this is a touchy issue in the United States too.
‘We’ve struggled ourselves for some time to understand what the proper balance is between public religion and personal rights; is freedom to be understood as freedom from offense?  This is a subject we at WHYS have touched on before and I’m going to dig up a few of our past debates now.

This is what Red Cardigan has to say. It’s a good read. They feel secularism has gone too far.
‘The proponents of secularism pretend that secularism is the only logical, neutral way for a state to be…secularism, with its amorality and tendency to worship the state itself in the absence of anything better to worship, may cause harm…’

Is the crucifix a symbol of religion or culture? And in an increasingly multicultural Europe does it have a place in the classrooom?

61 Responses to “Would this offend you on a classroom wall?”

  1. 1 Kanchman
    November 4, 2009 at 11:19

    If you remove all religious symbols from the classroom this should also include the Sikh turban, the Islamic headscarf et al. Religion should be a personal choice not an obligation forced upon you in a place of education.

  2. 2 kyle
    November 4, 2009 at 11:43

    all religios simbols should not be allowed in schools they should be banned so u can make your own choices belive in what u want but outside of school.

    • 3 Maxine
      November 5, 2009 at 08:21

      I am grateful to have been brought up in a Christian country, the rule of law prevails here based on the 10 commandments in the Bible, such as: * you shall not murder, *You shall not steal. * You shall not give false testimony against you neighbor, etc. There are many forms of Christianity, for me it is enough that Jesus said “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” Now what is wrong with that. If the crucifix reminds people of Jesus – not the Pope – then so be it.

  3. 4 Nigel
    November 4, 2009 at 12:00

    I know who I am and I am comfortable with that….warts and all. As a result what other people believe and how they express it does not affect me one little bit. Turbans, Hijab, Crucifix etc. no problems………let them flow. I don’t look for a fight where one is not necessary and I recognize other people’s rights as I do my own.

  4. 5 Ray in Nairobi
    November 4, 2009 at 12:08

    I think it’s ridiculous. The Vatican is technically part of Italy as far as i know. Hence, it’s only reasonable for Italian schools to host symbols of Catholicism if not Christianity as a whole. This is yet another sign that extremely secular wing of modern european thought is hell bent on totally marginalising faith on that continent to absolute irrelevance.

  5. 6 Ronald Almeida
    November 4, 2009 at 12:40

    Yes, a macabre, sado-maso-christic image of the crucifix would offend me and any sensitive young student, while concentrating on his studies, unless of course it was the illustration of the only subject of his learning, as it is in most Catholic schools.
    Being born to Catholic parents, I was manipulated by the church at every step of my youth, only to find as an adult that all of it was false and only a tool of repression of my family and myself.

  6. 7 Bob in Queensland
    November 4, 2009 at 12:58

    My personal view is that state schools should steer clear of endorsing any religion as fact and leave that choice to parents. Displaying a crucifix reads to me like an endorsement.

    • 8 Dennis Junior
      November 4, 2009 at 14:12

      Bob in Queensland:

      You and I agreed 100% on this issue; Since, religion and the state should have a separation….

      =Dennis Junior=

  7. 9 VictorK - London
    November 4, 2009 at 13:28

    No, it wouldn’t, being a symbol of European culture, history and spirituality.

    The real point: why should such a ban should be introduced not by the Italian people, acting in their soveriegn capacity, but by an unelected, unaccountable, unrepresentative trans-national body?

    We in Europe need to destroy all such institutions, from the EU to the Court of Human Rights, which present an unacceptable challenge to our freedom and identity.

    • 10 Kevin PE
      November 4, 2009 at 18:14

      Victor K I do not live in Europe, but I am starting to smell totalitarianism in this whole EU thing. Get rid of it.

  8. 11 scmehta
    November 4, 2009 at 13:48

    First of all and as far as possible, religious passions should never be allowed to be mixed and misused/abused within politics, normal main streams of studies and international/multicultural establishments. Keeping aside the intricacies and controversies involved on the issue, it would suffice to say, that, it’s not a question of being offended or not, rather it’s that of discrimination and distraction; It won’t ever be proper to display a particular religious sentiment in secular institutions like political houses, courts of justice, schools and colleges, fun/entertainment places etc.

  9. 12 patti in cape coral
    November 4, 2009 at 13:56

    Crucifixes used to give me nightmares when I was a child. Now that I am an adult, they don’t scare me or offend me anymore. I have to agree with Nigel that at this stage of my life I am comfortable with myself and what I believe, and I’m comfortable with the fact that there aren’t concrete answers to every question. I do think that crucifixes are a scary image for younger or more sensitive children.

    Ideally, I think a state school should not be endorsing any one particular religion. A good rule would be if you show the image of one religion, you must show an image of all of them.

    November 4, 2009 at 13:56

    Its not the best time for symbolism. Religion is about keeping of promises and symbols have no place in a world that continues to exhibit a lot of verbage with very few or no promises kept. This is happening with nearly all religions since the onset of commercialism as a challenging social concept.
    Most Christians especially the protestants take the crusfix to mean Catholicism and are openly opposed to it as a symbol of Christianity. On the other hand why would some Muslims tell you ‘Asalaam Aleikum’ when in fact they may be gearing to undermine the very ‘peace’?
    Religious symbols are not for classrooms and neither is the plying of church music in pubs as happens in my country. Religious teaching are okay but the deeper meaning of it can not hold when there is so much cheating. Enough of ambivalence and ego trips. I support the move.

  11. 14 Dennis Junior
    November 4, 2009 at 14:05


    I did the search for religion that have been covered here on WHYS via the blogs….

    =Dennis Junior=

  12. 15 Eva, Berlin
    November 4, 2009 at 14:21

    I have spent seven years at school in a catholic abbey in Bavaria/Germany which has been very homogenious when it comes to religion. Bavaria still ist very much conservative in every respect of live. There has been the Christian cross as religious symbol from the very beginning of my life throughout the time at school.

    I think the cross should not be displayed in school just as there should be removed every symbol of any other religion. But, from my own experience, religion and believe should be given a different status to the one that we see in secular society in genereal.

    I regard myself as a “catholic atheist”. For me my catholic childhood is like a cultural heritage which I wouldn’t want to miss. It is like colour and one of the riches in my life. The religious life of my childhood and youth comprised so many things I am still based upon. In the years that followed the 1968s up to today one had to justify oneself for appreciating the personal religous heritage.

    I also realise through the immediate contact with people, who have lived in the communist GDR, that they often even do not have an idea of the stories of the bible, which I regard as deprivation.

  13. 16 gary
    November 4, 2009 at 14:23

    Yeah, it pretty much would. Religious iconography has always been little more than subliminal advertisement.

  14. 17 Mark Sandell
    November 4, 2009 at 14:38

    One of the things we discussed at the meeting was “what’s so great about secularism ?” – you’ll see that Kroops linked above to the Red Cardigan blog, but there are others out there… this piece argues that secularism would be better for women :
    This, says better for the Middle East :
    http://atheism.about.com/b/2009/10/28/atheism-in-iraq-can-atheism-secularism-grow-in-the-middle-east.htm and of course there was this “attack” on secularists earlier this year

  15. 18 Kevin PE
    November 4, 2009 at 14:48

    Being a non-practicing Catholic myself and then putting that aside, I do not believe that religions icons should be displayed in Government/public schools. If the institution is private Catholic/Christian and its membership so desires, what right does the state have to say otherwise? There are many public buildings, parks, even boardrooms where you will have to put up with some stern looking president/ex-president or founder gazing down at you.
    As a part time atheist I do notice a trend by the secularists and ultra lefties to demonize all Christian based traditions. My question is why are Christian institutions, norms and traditions the focus of their attention, while Muslim and Jewish customs are strictly off-limits? Hindu and Buddhist practices are almost never mentioned because they probably don’t understand them. So if they have any character then why don’t they attack these institutions with the same vigor? Remove that funny looking necklace, I see some symbol there that may or may not offend me. Perhaps one day we can all be fellow atheists until that offends somebody. We separated Church and State not to have the State become religion.

  16. 19 Peter Gizzi UK
    November 4, 2009 at 14:56

    I was baptised a Roman Catholic while still a baby. I consider that a violation of human rights. I’ve had my Catholism officially revoked by The Roman Catholic Church so can now be regarded an atheist. I do not force my beliefs on anybody but am uncomfortable with displays such as this in a non-religious setting. Religion should be private.

    Now The Lisbon Treaty has been forced upon British and European Member Countries this is but a small demonstration of what is to come! We will quickly see The Federal States of Europe emerge and there is nothing we can do about it! The European Union will even decide which countries may leave should they so decide!

    Is this any different to The Soviet Union?

    • 20 Kevin PE
      November 4, 2009 at 18:16

      Peter Gizzi UK I never realized one needed an official “release” to change one’s beliefs. However I think you are over doing the human rights thing.
      The Jewish custom of a “briss” (circumcision) performed on a boy at about 8 days old would better fit your assumption, as well as many African, European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and American ceremonies of the same description. Also you cannot get an annulment to put it back. This can is full of worms, so I will go with Ann below – Buddhists are aways so accomodating.

      • 21 Peter Gizzi UK
        November 5, 2009 at 00:57

        Surely one should be old enough to decide for ones self regardless of what is being done? What purpose does it serve anyway?

  17. 22 Ann
    November 4, 2009 at 15:27

    I am not a Catholic, I am a Buddhist, but I have to say I find the ban in Italy, political correctness gone wrong! For heaven’s sakes Italy is tradtionally a Catholic country. What will they do next – dismantle the Vatican!?

    If we want to live in a world where we expect to be treated with toleration and respect, we need to remember that religion is integral to many people’s lives, we should all be allowed to expressed our faiths in the public sphere without having to hide it away in the cupboard where it wouldn’t offend secular atheists. It reminds me of that daft ruling where a nurse in the UK had to remove her cross and in France where Muslim’s are denied the right to wear the hijab. Can’t we just let people be?????

    For those who think secularism is the way ahead? I’d say be careful what you wish for… Religion is banned from being taught in American state schools and think about how much Christian fundamentalism exists in the US. Religion was banned in the USSR and well we all know justice and equality did not prevail there either. Let’s be careful we don’t turn secularism into totalitarianism.

  18. 23 VictorK - London
    November 4, 2009 at 15:51

    @Kevin PE: the Catholic church and Christianity are central to the Western tradition. Those who hate that tradition (multiculturalists, radical leftists, etc) will also hate the Church, the faith and the symbols of both.

    @Peter Gizzi: yes. What’s really alarming is how the news & political agenda across Europe is managed to exclude the root cause of an issue like this: the erosion of national sovereignty (the Italian people would never have blasphemed against their spiritual heritage like this).

  19. November 4, 2009 at 16:15

    Religeous symbols do not offend me,but I don’t want them thrust upon me,especially in public places.Have as many symbols as you wish,in your private churches,chapels and meeting houses,but I should not be forced to witness them in public.They would make me feel as though I had no right to be there.Contrary to Red Cardign,secularism is not amoral,it has perhaps more morals and principles than any religeon. It also has democracy,sadly lacking in any of the holy books.Secularism is all things to all people,have a religeon,or don’t have one,but welcome,and come on in.

    • November 4, 2009 at 19:16

      PS.I forgot to say,yes bring your symbols with you.But please dont hang them around my neck.

    • 26 Josiah Soap
      November 4, 2009 at 23:37

      Yes I can see your point David and others, I do not like things thrust upon me in public places either. I think we should ban gay parades and the rainbow flag should not be flown in public, both of these offend me. They should only be allowed in private residences. I am sure this will generate some replies, but it goes to show the PC agenda. Its fine to be anti- Christianity, but you cannot be anti- “victim group”

  20. 27 Elias
    November 4, 2009 at 16:52

    When I was about 12 years old and attending a catholic school in which most of the masters wore priestley clothes, I was late in arriving the school, it happened that the Principal was near the entrance of the school, at the entance wall there was a giant replica of Christ on the cross like the one we see above. After the Principal told me off for being late, knowing I was not a catholic or a protestant, said I should bow when I see Jesus Christ on the cross, for which I replied I was not a catholic and it would be against my religious beliefs to do so. He looked absolutely annoyed by my answer, and later bore a grudge against me. I think it would be better not to make such a display in a classroom or school, however the right place for it is in a Church where it was always ment to be.
    Religion is a private matter and no one should be indocrinated against his own beliefs.

  21. 28 Jennifer
    November 4, 2009 at 17:03

    Re: Would this offend you on a classroom wall?


    It is absurd that the crucifix has been banned in public schools in Italy.

    I wonder if other things are being banned like Muslim headscarves. I wonder also if atheists are allowed to say that they have do not believe in God in schools. How long before people are monitored and not allowed to carry a bible, rosary, etc.

    A total overreach.

    If people are uncomfortable with seeing the crucifix it’s a good thing. They should be. It’s not meant to be silly. It is meant to provoke thoughts/thinking. If you choose not to; fine.

  22. 29 Elias
    November 4, 2009 at 17:15

    On another occassion I went to Italy around 1958 and took up residence in what is known as a Pension, ie an apartment which served bed, breakfast and dinner, it was run by an italian lady, there were also 2 or three other men renting there we each had a room. This was in Rome a walking distance from the Vatican. When I went to bed at night I noticed a smal cruserfix on the wall behind my bed, being not a catholic I took it off and put it under my mattress. A day or two later she came to my room and asked “wheres Jesus Christ”, I replied “I believe in heaven”, she said “no no no it was on the wall behind your bed”, “ah I said that one”, I lifted the mattress and brought it out and gave it to her, and told her I was of a different religion and could not have it on the wall behind my bed. She looked annoyed and left the room.

  23. 30 nora
    November 4, 2009 at 17:31

    The advantages of a bleeding and suffering Jesus is that the teacher and glance at it, and with a mere facial tick remind the student that if he tips the tables of the money lenders and shoots his mouth off, he could hang from that cross too.

    I guarantee that if it had been in my classroom, I would have snuck in off hours and pasted little pieces of hologram baseball cards on his eyes so they would follow you around the room. Jesus, please save me from your followers

  24. 31 John in Salem
    November 4, 2009 at 17:50

    As a religious symbol I find it more graphic than most but still fairly representative of the mythologies of it’s time – the concept of the sacrificed and reborn human incarnation of divinity had been around for thousands of years before the Christians adopted it.
    But whether it offends me or not is beside the point. The issue that needs addressing is – should the European Council on Human Rights have the authority to make this decision?
    As an American taxpayer I would be offended if it were being displayed in an American public school but the Italians should have the right to do whatever they want so long as no Italian taxpayer objects and if one does it should be a matter for the Italian courts.

  25. 32 Tom K in Mpls
    November 4, 2009 at 18:05

    First to Jennifer, the issue is not what people wear, it is what the government/school does.

    As for the rest, almost all so far support this, as I do. But I want to put it another way. Removing the cross supports religious freedom, it does not hinder it. Here is the reason. If only one religion is supported there is no choice. Any family following another faith will be constantly fighting the schools or be forced to seek other schooling options. That is not freedom or equality. If the school in no way supports any religion, all are equal.

  26. 33 Jennifer
    November 4, 2009 at 19:03

    Removing the cross does not “support” religous freedom; it stifles some in favor of others. If it did, people who didn’t believe wouldn’t have obviously been so “offended” that they had it removed. You can’t remove one without removing the sentiments of other religions including muslim head coverings. Atheists should not be able to voice their religious beliefs in no God either. All would have the ability to offend someone who didn’t believe the same way. It should be all or nothing.

    It’s interesting that people like Patti don’t feel threatened by seeing religious symbols. I truly believe that if more people were like that there would be no need for this silly discussion.

    Like the cross tribute to veterans in the desert that now has a box covering it because some people were “offended”. Get. Over. It.

    • 34 Tom K in Mpls
      November 4, 2009 at 20:07

      How does supporting one religion support others? It is taking a discriminatory stance. The displaying of a cross or crescent is just one small symptom, not the issue. And personally, I don’t care who gets offended. It happens to everyone from time to time. And yes atheists are no different, that is the point. And the desert cross is a question of legal procedure some want to make into more. Pretty lame really.

      The question is, do you support religious freedom, or do you want to support your choice.

      • 35 Jennifer
        November 4, 2009 at 21:07


        I am talking about in the school setting. If you want to support true religious freedom then you should remove ALL such symbols or references to any religion. This includes atheism.

        I can see symbols of other religions and not be bothered. However, if others are going to be bothered by others’ beliefs to the point where some symbols are removed; all should be. If you did not do so; then you would not have true religious freedom since you could offend me by saying you don’t believe in God or making women wear head coverings in my presence. It must be an entirely fair playing field to ensure freedom for all from religion if that’s what is being desired.

        Ridiculous, huh? 🙂

        It’s not just about the legal stuff; it’s also about what was erected in 1934 as a memorial to veterans. 1934.

      • 36 Tom K in Mpls
        November 5, 2009 at 17:48

        Jennifer, a question and two comments. What is ‘the’ symbol for an atheist?

        Regarding the dessert cross. It was a tasteful symbol erected on private land. The land is now public. There are two reasonable options, either preserve it as a historical artifact or move it to private land. Either option would satisfy most people ( since most don’t care ) and cost less than all the time and effort of this media circus.

        And as I see it on religion, the media likes the offense issue, it sells. I don’t care about offense. It’s all about rights and it has nothing to do with what people wear. It is all about what the government does and doesn’t support.

  27. 37 yusuf mohamed
    November 4, 2009 at 19:10

    yes. its somehing which we can not tolerate to do this in the class room.

  28. November 4, 2009 at 19:15

    Yes i would be offended if it is displayed in a classroom. I wont be offended if one wore it or held it over his head as a ‘symbol’ of thier PERSONAL belief. On symbols, the Hijab is a totaly different matter. Hijab is not a Symbol of islam but rather a fulfilment of a muslim womans PERSONAL belief,emphasis on personal. Comparing the Hijab which a personal fulfilment of a womans individual belief to statue stuck on the wall for everyone to see is simply ubsurd!! On the other hand i feel religion should be a guide to our day to day life.

  29. 39 Tom D Ford
    November 4, 2009 at 19:23

    Offended by a “Dead Guy On a Stick”, DGOAS, on a classroom wall?

    That is actually a real question?

    Hmm, maybe if they turned it horizontal and rotated it like barbecue spit, and maybe basted it, well, then maybe the Christian idea of Communion would make sense, you know, the part about pretending to eat the body of Jesus and drink his blood.

    Yes, it would offend me to see that on a classroom wall. But then religion itself is offensive, too.

    • 40 patti in cape coral
      November 5, 2009 at 17:05

      Oh Tom, I understand what you are saying, but isn’t there a more respectful way for you to make your point? That was pretty awful.

  30. 41 Tom D Ford
    November 4, 2009 at 20:39

    @ Mark Sandell
    November 4, 2009 at 14:38

    “One of the things we discussed at the meeting was “what’s so great about secularism ?””

    Religion is a belief in a supernatural being and that is all it is. But everything that those believers wrap their belief in is secularism, or humanism, if you will.

    The only difference between religionists and non-believers is that belief in the supernatural, everything else is common to all humanity. Religionists wrap themselves up in humanism, to try and make their belief look pretty and to separate themselves into their particular cult. All the songs, rituals, gatherings, buildings, incense burnings, ideas of social justice, the golden rule, compassion, etc, are humanism, or secularism, if you will.

    I guess in a way, you say that religion is non-reality and secularism is humanity-reality.

  31. 42 Bert
    November 4, 2009 at 21:06

    Offended no, but out of place, yes. Having never had crucifixes displayed at school, I would find the practice odd.

    Just as odd as it is to display a national flag in church, by the way. I find that custom wrong, because it implies that somehow the universal God prefers me to everyone else. Sort of self-serving, yes?

    I’m annoyed by all overt displays of religiosity, however. All of them. Don’t try to convince me how holy you are by what you wear. Prove it through your actions, or just keep it to yourself.

  32. 43 Joseph
    November 4, 2009 at 22:31

    Well this and others are clear signals that days of european culture are numbered. It was the cross that has made Europe what it is now if we like it or not and sadly it is Europe that has decided this backbone is no longer needed. It is sad and unfortunate EU bureaucrats have decided to give up on tradition and without asking people make EU multicultural society with all negatives that comes with. Nobody explained crosses will be eventually removed, millions of muslims will live in our countries asking us to give up on what we used to have for centuries. We didnt have a chance to say no, we still dont have the chance to do anything about it. Few people decided and we just have to accept. Today they remove crosses, tomorrow still growing muslim population will put their symbols in the classrooms. Democracy is not working and our governments are making these important decisions without any support from their voters, without asking them.

  33. 44 Josiah Soap
    November 4, 2009 at 23:30

    Yes of course its offensive, because its politically incorrect. Its a display of the dominant culture and its religion. People are free to criticize this display and call it offensive and the PC police will step in and oblige by removing it. But it doesn’t go both ways. If a rainbow flag was flown in school or some muslim religious symbol was displayed and someone complained, then the complainer would be charged with being a bigot or a hater. I think the crucifix should be displayed everywhere to show these PC idiots we won’t back down. We are proud of our history and culture and their bigoted PC ideaology is the one that needs to be dismantled.

  34. 45 claudine
    November 5, 2009 at 01:35

    Go to Iran or Pakistan and ask them to ban religion from the classroom.

    These people come to europe and start to vituperate, to stir up things.
    If they dont like it, let them go back.

    A cross in the classroom cant cause soooo much offence even to atheist that they cant bear seeing it in a classroom.

    I am atheist but if they like to put it up, let them do it.

  35. November 5, 2009 at 03:47

    Jennifer wrote:

    I am talking about in the school setting. If you want to support true religious freedom then you should remove ALL such symbols or references to any religion. This includes atheism.”

    What other religious symbols are in Italian state schools?

    “I can see symbols of other religions and not be bothered. However, if others are going to be bothered by others’ beliefs to the point where some symbols are removed; all should be.”

    What religious symbols are you referring to? Crucifixes are required in Italian state schools because of legislation that Benito Mussolini passed in the 1920s. I haven’t seen any news reports that any other religious symbols are in Italian state schools.

    So I don’t know why you’re arguing against this ruling.

  36. 47 Don in Detroit
    November 5, 2009 at 04:39

    The real question here seems to be one of concern over the “Establishment” of certain beliefs in prference to others. If that is in fact that criteria then acklowledging that the cultural traditions on which the morals and laws of any nation may be based in the tenets of a given religion simply recognizes something which is a reality as being a “fact on the ground” without “establishing” it which by any sane, logical definition means using coercion to force people to do something or other because of the belief. Anything “that neither breaks my arm nor robs my purse” is just fine with me and should also be with anyone who is not afraid that exposure to some idea other than the one which they absent-mindedly cherish just might convince others that the alternative idea is a superior one. That idea of what constituted “separation of church and state” worked out just fine in America for about 150 years before the atheists and abortionists were allowed to hijack it.

  37. 48 Ronald Almeida
    November 5, 2009 at 08:21

    People really believe politics and religion can be seperated. They don’t seem to realise that religion IS politics.

  38. 49 Ibrahim in UK
    November 5, 2009 at 11:35

    It wouldn’t offend, but it might distract depending on the size of it.
    It is interesting to see that it was an Italian atheist who complained about it, but still some comments here blame immigrants and muslims and demand that they “go back home”.
    I think Europe is trying very hard to be secular and religion-neutral, and in doing so is erasing some historical and cultural identities. The majority of Europeans are not yet comfortable with giving up that religious culture.

  39. 50 Don in Detroit
    November 5, 2009 at 13:34

    False religion (sectarian dogma) and politics can be separated and long were in America anyway as Jefferson so effectively demonstrated when he argued for and got the provision which was intended to reassure Roger Williams’ Baptist Assembly that Congregationalists who were in the vast majority in the Congress at the time would not be able to “establish” their belief system by the enactment of any laws which would institutionalize penalizing or coercing the Baptists or any other bacically CHRISTIAN group of worshippers because of theirs while still recognizing that acceptance of certain basic moral tenets was critical to promoting a harmonius sense of national identity and that those moral tenets were in fact uniquely present in identified and nurtured by reasonable interpretations of the Christian religion for which reason it was decided that those tenets should be used as the basis for the system of laws which were to govern the nation. Politics is a mechanism free of any moral restraints against coercion while properly practiced religion is the persuasion of people that a certain body of practices and beliefs is more beneficial than others, but in order for it to function in the only way in which persuasion can it’s ideas must be free to be disseminated and under the POLICIAL ENFORCEMENT of a hegemony of secular atheism it is prevented from doing so and sundry harm is inflicted upon the citizens as a result.

  40. 51 JanB
    November 5, 2009 at 14:59

    I’m all for secularism, hell, I’m not religious myself, but I think they’ve gone too far here, if people actually understood what that symbol (Jesus on the cross) stands for they wouldn’t give these knee-jerk reactions to anything even remotely associated with Christianity.

    If I remember correctly that man on the cross stands for humility, reflection (upon one’s own sins as well as those of humanity) and service to others (an innocent man who died for our sins, or perhaps more probable, because of our sins), an example to all, regardless of how medieval power hungry men and women abused his teachings. Let me ask you, what does the statue of Lord Nelson on Trafalgar Square stand for? Useless, bloody wars that only served to enrich Emperors, Kings and other nobility?

    Let government and religion be separated, let’s abolish religious education, remove symbols that promote institutions with blood on their hands, like the Catholic Church or Islam from the schools, but this has nothing to do with that, it’s just a symbol of one of history’s most influential philosophers, one who doesn’t have any blood on his hands that isn’t his own, let them put Buddha up there too, I don’t care, as long as they don’t put mass murderer’s like Moses, Mohammed or Lord Nelson up there…

  41. 52 patti in cape coral
    November 5, 2009 at 18:19

    @ Tom K – I was curious about what symbol atheists use, so I looked it up. The idea I had that if one religion is represented in a public school, all must be represented included atheism, and it would be easier with an atheism symbol.

    One of them looked like the fish that christians use, except it had feet on it. Others looked like a unicorn with a circle around it. There was one that was an atomic symbol with an “A” in the middle. There was also one that was a scarlet A. Apparently, a symbol cannot be agreed upon and there are those who feel atheism should have no symbol at all. Of course, there is always the flying spaghetti monster symbol too.


  42. 53 claudine
    November 6, 2009 at 01:48

    Tom, Jennifer:
    “If you want to support true religious freedom then you should remove ALL such symbols or references to any religion. **This includes atheism.**”

    “remove religious signs of atheism” doesnt make sense to me.

    Actually, having an atheist parent ask for the removal of a religious sign in the classroom of their child, then that means restricting the freedom to believe of their child.
    That means those parents are trying to limit the religious freedom of their child to force it into atheism.

    So, removing the sign doesnt mean religious freedom. It means limiting religious freedom.
    As I wrote before, I am atheist, but my kidz have to decide on their own whet they want religiously.

  43. November 6, 2009 at 05:49

    Its interesting that most of these coments blame muslims for the remuval of the crusifix when it was an atheist who complained and went to court. @ janb. I would like to advise you not to insult My prophet and the prohet of more than a billion people ‘with blood on their hands’. You have no right to do so and frankly i am wondering (not suprised) why the bbc moderator would consider such insults as contribution to this topic. Its precisly for people like you who would promote their beliefs while disrespectfuly demonize others, that the guy on the cross should be removed. I dont care if you wore it or held it over your head, as long as your exercising your PERSONAL BELEIF, i have no problem. But the moment you stick it on the wall for all to see, then that is unacceptable. What if you dont believe in that thing? To be frank, i consider it an idol and all those who believe in it as Idol worshipers.so that offends me when it is put in public schools as it implies that we are all idol worshipers. But as a muslim, we are taught to RESTECT others beliefs something that may be Alien to most here.

  44. 55 VictorK - London
    November 6, 2009 at 08:26

    Re Tom D Ford’d comments of November 4, 2009 at 19:23: exceptionally offensive remarks. The BBC knows not to publish anything half as insulting about Islam, but sneering abuse about Christ and Christianity is always an acceptable substitute for ‘conversation’ on this forum. You are shameless hypocrites.

    The solution to this supposedly offensive imagery is simple: give people the choice to attend church schools or secular state schools free of all religious imagery. And then watch the number of church schools burgeon while the state institutions wither and die.

  45. 56 Jennifer
    November 6, 2009 at 13:48


    Your solution sounds simple but I don’t think freedom from ALL religion is really the goal here. It’s stifling the religions with which one does not agree: Christianity, Catholicism. All others including atheism are catered to.

  46. 57 Jennifer
    November 6, 2009 at 13:53


    Re: Jennifer, a question and two comments. What is ‘the’ symbol for an atheist?

    Please re-read my last comment. I said all symbols/references. This means that atheists can no longer mention their disbelief in God during school hours. That would be forcing their opinion onto others and would not be religious freedom inspiring. The point I was making was that in everything regarding religion you must be neutral if you want to ensure that one religion is not being given any advantage.

    The cross monument has historical value. People want to change it because they see it as yet another way to assault religion. At least Christianity; Catholicism wasn’t responsible for the horrible shooting yesterday.

    • 58 Jennifer
      November 6, 2009 at 15:46


      I am talking about the cross monument that is located in mojave desert. Just to clarify………

      • 59 Tom K in Mpls
        November 6, 2009 at 17:22

        “The point I was making was…” my point exactly. I consider myself an Agnostic for one simple key reason. No science or document can prove or disprove any religion. Some points of the Old Testament of the Bible don’t hold up if you use a literal interpretation. But as a conceptual story or parable, it is very accurate.

        And the box on the cross very silly. Extreme ideas are fine, extreme actions are not.

  47. 60 Brian Westley
    November 6, 2009 at 15:17

    “The cross monument has historical value. People want to change it because they see it as yet another way to assault religion. ”

    No, people want to change it because they don’t want state schools to push a particular religion on children.

    Some people are so used to favoritism that a level playing field looks slanted to them. Removing crucifixes makes the schools a neutral setting instead of promoting religion.

  48. 61 Tom D Ford
    November 8, 2009 at 18:03

    @ Tom K in Mpls
    November 6, 2009 at 17:22

    “I consider myself an Agnostic for one simple key reason. No science or document can prove or disprove any religion.”

    I think it is a mistake to cede any ground to Religionists by allowing them to use the argument that you cannot prove a negative, that you cannot prove that “God” does not exist.

    I think that the burden of proof is on those who make the assertion that some “God” exists, to provide and present evidence of that existence. Without that evidence they ought to just be considered as children with childish imaginations imagining childish things.

    After all, humans have the ability to “imagine” all kinds of fantastical things but that “imagining” does not bring those things into existence in reality. Unicorns, Paul Bunyan, Superman, Mickey Mouse, The Golden Goose, Elves, those are all fun stories and sometimes instructive but the characters don’t exist in reality.

    The one who makes an assertion has the Burden of Proof, it is not the Burden of a Realist to rush around Dis-Proving every wild thing imagined.

    Grownups put away “childish things” when they become adults, and start dealing with reality.

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