Lithuania supports Italian crucifix appeal

  • 2010-01-18
  • Oskars Magone

The Lithuanian parliament agreed that crucifixes should be allowed in public places.

VILNIUS - Lithuania has thrown its support behind an Italian initiative to allow the display of crucifixes in schools.

The European Court of Human Rights last November ruled that Italian schools would have to remove crucifixes from schools, a decision which the country has said it will appeal. Last week the Lithuanian Parliament said it would support Italy in the matter.

Lithuania is one of the most Catholic countries in the EU, with crucifixes prominently displayed many places in the country. One of Lithuania's most famous landmarks is the hill of crosses, which hosts tens of thousands of crucifixes and crosses.

"The use of crucifixes in public space does not violate the freedom to choose a religion to exercise,” the Lithuanian parliament's committee on foreign affairs said in a statement.

"The symbol of a crucifix does not compel anyone to follow a specific religion, and it is a historically inseparable part of the entire European Christian humanist tradition, the use of  which does not affect unbelievers or non-Christians and does not restrict the freedom of pupils or their parents to exercise any religion and beliefs and their freedom of expression," it said.