The Lautsi v. Italy case, better known as the crucifix case, is of substantial importance. This importance is not only political and legal, it is also religious. Never yet in the history of the European Court and of the Council of Europe had a case aroused so much attention and public debate. The debate about the legitimacy of the presence of the symbol of the Christ in Italian schools is emblematic of the cultural and religious identity crisis of Western Europe. Against this attempt to secularisation of Italian schools, in an unpreceded move, twenty-one Member States of the European Convention on Human Rights joined Italy to reaffirm the legitimacy of Christianism in society and in the European identity. This was finally admitted by the Court when it recognised, in essence, that in countries of Christian tradition, Christianism has a specific social legitimacy which distinguishes it from the other philosophical and religious beliefs. Because Italy is a country of Christian tradition, the Christian symbol can legitimately have a predominant visibility in society.
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