Sources: CBS, BBC, LifeinItaly (http://www.lifeinitaly.com/node/12434), http://www.iltasanomat.fi/uutiset/ulkomaat/uutinen.asp?id=1748871
– Olemme saaneet kaiken maailman uhkauksia, nimettömiä kirjeitä, tappouhkauksia, hävyttömiä puhelinsoittoja, hävyttömiä kirjeitä. Ei tämä kovin hauskaa ole ollut, Lautsi kertoi.
Hän perustelee asian viemistä EIT:n ratkaistavaksi sillä, että uskonnolliset veistokset voivat häiritä joitakin oppilaita.
Suomalaisnainen pyysi kahdeksan vuotta sitten, että hänen lastensa koulu poistaisi ristiinnaulittua Jeesusta esittävät krusifiksit luokkahuoneiden seinältä.
– Krusifiksit saattavat olla tärkeitä uskonnollisille oppilaille, mutta ne voivat olla häiritseviä muiden uskontokuntien edustajille ja ateisteille, Lautsi perusteli.
Nyt tuomioistuin määräsi Italian valtion maksamaan Lautsille 5000 euron korvaukset.
The note Joe sent to me coincides with a a hotting-up issue in Italy about the Crucifix in schools – and in courtrooms.
Teacher Franco Coppoli took down a Crucifix in his classroom because he is of the belief (?) that education and religion do not mix. His students complained. He was then dismissed. One can say that dismissal is a tad harsh. I side with the school authorities. After all, a teacher needs all his faculties (sorry) to teach. It might be a good idea to keep him out of the school until an intrusion of psychoanalysts have had the time to measure the size of his ego – and measure his id too. But just to be sure there is no doubt, his head should be measured for its size (surely the Italians don’t want a fathead teaching their children). To ensure that he is no more nor less than who he claims to be, a biopsy should be performed, on his brain, to ensure his skull contains brain matter. Perhaps testing his CSC – Common Sense Quotient – may be necessary though I admit this is a tad tricky as it might reveal that he has some but it is just too shabby.
In another case, Judge Luigi Tosti, himself a Jew, refused to sit Court where the chamber had a hanging Cross. He was subsequently judged by his peers. Thumbs down for being a berk was the decision, however he appealed and the Italian Supreme Court ruled against his conviction which held a seven month jail sentence.
On Finnish radio yesterday, a short report caught my ear. YLE is charged to inform us about the to-ings and fro-ings of Finns on the international stage. One of these was about a Finnish-born mother of two, living in Italy (short and forgettable – the report not the woman) who has taken Italy to European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and won. Italy has appealed the landmark ECHR ruling against Crucifixes in Italian classrooms.
I do not know this woman – just because I live in Finland – but the fact is that she too should have her ego and id and super-ego analyzed. It is a tad unusual though to hear of Finns in put under such a sharpish spotlight. More correctly put, Finns avoid the spotlight like a pagan avoids a missionary.
I judge Finns, on the whole, to be sensible gritty people; not that bothered by such matters as Crucifixes in classrooms – not especially if they reside in Italy, the home of Papist Satanism (sorry, I just had to get a dig in at the old and very avuncular Ian Paisley). Indeed, even atheist Finns have their children baptized and then confirmed (a long, socializing process when children are between 13 and 15) because that is what is done, has been done since time God knows when and it does not scar the children. This Finnish mother of two, it was reported by YLE, took this action on behalf of her sons. What a load of twaddle! you must be thinking. Her sons are already adults. But then again, her sons may have been delicate babes who are/were traumatized by the sight of such a thing as a man hanging on a cross – dieing, as Christians claim – for them. It’s a bleeding scandal – the traumatizing of these children, not the Passion of the Christ.
According to the EHCR court, the rights (and sensibilities, no doubt) of Finnish immigrant Soile Lautsi and her children were violated. These rights were more important than the feelings of the thirty or more classmates of these two boys – who accepted the Crucifix in the classroom as part and parcel of the place in which they lived. This then is the essence of the argument. Which is: can a society be vigourous, healthy, if it allows its own traditions and rules of behaviour to be questioned and finally overturned to satisfy the whims of one person? Can the society survive if it allows itself to be reshaped by one person, no matter what station in life, regardless of the merit of their case and whether it contradicts common sense, public wisdom, tradition and cultural ethos? Does the single person for whatever motive demand social change to suit his own beliefs and lifestyle? The answer is yes and no and yes and no and …
The Renaissance brought to us the notion that the measure of the society is how it treats its citizens, individually. Furthermore, the society’s measure of sophistication is visible in how we treat dissenting voices. Ergo, if we can erase a tradition of the society, even if it has been embedded for thousands of years, to the benefit of one individual, then the society is healthy and fit to continue. These questions can be left to another day. When I am less annoyed but spritely Finnish matrons who take it upon themselves to criticize their hosts.
Back to our four musketeers. In all these cases one can ask the blatantly obvious question: if you knew that conspicuous hanging of the Cross (or any other object, for that matter) is part and parcel of ethos in the place you live, the profession you practice, in the places you and your family frequent, then why do you live there? Indeed, why would you emigrate to a country in which the likelihood of a Cross hanging in a classroom was as certain as night follows day. If you have been a judge in Italy most of your life and then shazzam it hits you that there is Crucifix attending your courtroom.
I would not be surprised if Soile next took the Italian State to court for teaching her children in Italian and not some other language. When asked why she took her actions against the Italian State she said (my translation from Finnish): “We have received threats all kinds, unsigned letters, death threats, scandalous telephone calls, shameful letters. This has not be very pleasant.” Lest your heart starts to bleed and betrays your common sense, remember that the threats were not the reason for her actions but a consequence.
She makes the claim that her court action was taken because she believes that the religious symbols (statues?) may disturb some pupils. She asked, some eight years ago, that the Cross be removed from the classroom because it was disturbing to her children. She claims “the Crucifix may be important for believing pupils but may indeed disturb students of other religions and atheists.” Well then that’s alright. You can go to sleep with a clear conscience, Soile. I fear though that your children’s disturbed state was less due to the Cross in the classroom than you, their mother.
OK, you must thinking, Finns, what good are they when they go prancing about in lush Italian valleys cocking at snook at local traditions? Maybe they should be sent back to Finland, or better still, to northern Russian Carelia. Soile, Franco and Luigi have company though. A Muslim parent, Adel Smith, has also objected to the Cross in schools. What can one say: Missus Smith is an odd duck. I know many Muslim families who send their children to Catholic Schools (in England). Yes, I can hear your noggin ticking over. What if one of these parents …? Anyway, Missus Smith should be reminded that when you live in a glass house you should not throw stones, or, er, ah, more aptly; when in Rome do as the Romans.
Italy’s leader of centre-left block, the Democratic Party (PD), Italy’s largest opposition party – Pierluigi Bersani said, turgidly, that sometimes the Law didn’t have enough common sense. He is quoted as saying: ‘I think that on delicate issues like this, sometimes common sense falls victim to the law.’ He adds: ‘I think a longstanding tradition like the crucifix can’t be offensive to anyone. Mister Bersani is a former Communist.
Not to worry. There is more to come. So just suck in your breath, like a tolerably good/bad/tolerant Christian that you are and do as the Vatican is doing – await development. What else can you do? I heave my shoulders in resignation.
There are many who sympathize with the individuals offended by the Cross. There are those who do not. Ben Stein, in the light of what he writes below, does not.