Posted by: becketfund | February 18, 2009

Italy: Teacher Suspended Over Removal of Cross

ROME – A teacher in Italy has been suspended after some students complained that he removed a crucifix from his classroom, the BBC reported on February 18. Franco Coppoli, a literature teacher from Umbria, took down the crucifix in his classroom, arguing that education and religion should not be mixed. After some of his students complained, the National Education Council suspended Mr. Coppoli for a month. The hanging of crosses in public buildings is not compulsory in Italy, but it is customary. The case follows a decision this week by Italy’s Supreme Court to quash the conviction of a judge who refused to enter courts where crucifixes were hanging. Judge Luigi Tosti, who is Jewish, had been given a seven-month jail sentence for failing to carry out his official duties. He had earlier issued an ultimatum declaring that either he or the crosses should remain the courtroom – not both. The separation of church and state is laid out in the post-war Constitution and is designed to give equal status to all religions. A Concordat further underlined the constitutional change in 1984, which ended most of the Catholic Church’s privileges.


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