Moreover, with the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to identify in the constant central core of Christian faith, despite the inquisition, despite anti-Semitism and despite the crusades, the principles of human dignity, tolerance and freedom, including religious freedom, and therefore, in the last analysis, the foundations of the secular State.
A European court should not be called upon to bankrupt centuries of European tradition. No court, certainly not this Court, should rob the Italians of part of their cultural personality.
In March, 2011, after five years of working its way through various levels of national and European courts, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights decided that a crucifix hanging at the front of a classroom did not violate the right to religious freedom under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Specifically, Ms. Soile Lautsi had complained that the presence of the crucifix violated her and her children's right to religious freedom and that its presence amounted to an enforced religious regime. The Grand Chamber, reversing the lower Chamber's decision, held that while admittedly a religious symbol, the crucifix also represented the cultural heritage of Italians.