November 8, 2009 / 4:48 PM / 9 years ago

Italians want crucifixes to stay in classrooms: poll

A crucifix is seen on a wall as a student writes on a blackboard in a school classroom in Rome November 3, 2009. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

ROME (Reuters) - Some 84 percent of Italians oppose a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that crucifixes should be removed from Italian classrooms, according to a poll on Sunday.

The poll in the Corriere della Sera newspaper showed 84 percent of Italians want the crucifixes to stay, 14 percent said they should be taken down and two percent had no opinion.

Those in favor included many who are not practicing Catholics. Some 68 percent of those who said they never attended Mass said they still wanted the crucifixes to stay in schools.

Italy has said it would appeal the ruling, made last Tuesday in Strasbourg, and government leaders from Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on down said the crucifixes would stay because they are a part of Italy’s Christian culture.

The ruling — which said crucifixes could disturb children who were not Christians — prompted Vatican anger and an uproar in Italy, where such icons are embedded in the national psyche.

The case was brought by an Italian national, Soile Lautsi, who complained that her children had to attend a public school in northern Italy which had crucifixes in every room.

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