Taking the Cross Out of the Classroom

Here‘s my most recent contribution to the National Post’s religion blog: I’m defending the recent European Court’s direction to the nation of Italy (!) to remove crucifixes from public schools.

(This may be the first time I’ve disagreed with a whole country, but I suppose it was inevitable.)

0 Responses to “Taking the Cross Out of the Classroom”

  1. Roger

    One less Christmas card from the Vatican this year headed towards Vancouver John.

    Another fine missive on a powerful topic.

  2. Rosemary M

    The Italian half in me bristled at first glance but as I read further, I had to concede that your perspective made a lot of sense. I never really looked at it from such perspective.

  3. robahas

    Thank you for the interesting article. While I agree overall and have made similar statements in the US context, I have a doubt about this statement:

    “Maintaining the crucifixes in the public schools to assert continuing Christian cultural dominance is frankly inhospitable to non-Christian neighbours who ought instead to be welcomed as equals.”

    The idea behind it seems to be that it is somehow inhospitable to have a national cultural identity that sides with one religion. I don’t see how that follows. To be consistent you would have to say this about any marker of cultural identity. Is it inhospitable to be different? I guess I want to say that if Italy truly were a Christian nation it would be entirely appropriate to display the crucifix.

  4. John Stackhouse

    Brother Rob, I agree with you. If Italy were indeed a Christian nation–officially and substantially–then it would follow that Christian symbols might be part of the national repertoire.

    (I say “might be” because a thoughtful Christian nation might decide that it is best always to separate symbols of the Kingdom of God from any earthly political arrangement short of the Church itself.)

    My point is that it is inhospitable–disrespectful, selfish–for Christians to cling to public privileges at the expense of their non-Christian neighbours who are their political equals in every way.

    And you have no doubt divined the sub-text: I’m not talking only about Italy…


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