Then why have them in the first place?

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Italian schools may display crucifixes, despite the objections of non-Catholic students and their families, because there is no evidence that such a display affects students.

Tell me something: if they don’t believe that putting up a symbol of a particular faith has any effect on students, why are they bothering to put the symbol up in the first place? Surely the school isn’t in such dire need of interior decoration that they will desperately grab any random object and affix it to their walls. The crucifixes are there for the express purpose of influencing the students. Obviously.

The Vatican has approved the ruling. No surprises there.

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6 Responses to “Then why have them in the first place?”

  1. I’m surprised the Church would approve a ruling stating that the crucifix has no meaning. And these are not people unversed in logic.

  2. No, that reasoning is unsound. First, just as when individuals wear crucifixes, it is primarily as a profession of their own faith, and not because of the effect on others. Second, many institutions have a logo, which is displayed frequently under many circumstances; again, this is primarily to promote awareness, not to influence people directly (though that awareness may in turn be used in that way, that is a separate activity which might not take place). And third, even if the reasoning were otherwise sound, it is most emphatically not the case that “[t]he crucifixes are there for the express [emphasis added] purpose of influencing the students”. Obviously, if that is indeed the purpose in some particular school or other, it is not express but implied.

    • First, just as when individuals wear crucifixes, it is primarily as a profession of their own faith, and not because of the effect on others

      One of the main reasons for wearing such symbols is to send a message to others – even if that message is no more than “I’m a member of this faction”.

      People do wear symbols to, in a sense, communicate with themselves. But the more visible this symbol is, the less likely this is the only reason for the donning.

      Secondly, the school is not an individual; if it needs to send messages to itself (abstractly) or the individuals comprising it (concretely), it can do so without putting up symbols in the classroom. That is an extremely inspecific and broadly-aimed way of self-communication.

      Second, many institutions have a logo, which is displayed frequently under many circumstances;

      The crucifix is not a logo obviously associated with the Italian school system or the Italian government.

      Obviously, if that is indeed the purpose in some particular school or other, it is not express but implied.

      Oh, no. It’s been years since that purpose was expressed, but it was expressed most clearly. The doubletalk now attempting to justify such placement without referring to the past reasons implies, yes, but it attempts to imply that the previous reason isn’t the purpose for the display. And that is absurd.

  3. I think they’re for adults rather than children. The atheist complaint about “under God” in the pledge wasn’t about kids either.

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