Gay teacher forced to put up crucifix under “fascist” laws

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An Italian teacher who removed a crucifix from his classroom has been forced to put it back up under “fascist” laws.

Gay philosophy teacher David Zotti took down the crucifix from his classroom in Trieste in October to protest against homophobia by the Catholic Church. The school board forced him to put it back up at the beginning of this month, citing laws dating back to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

AFP reported that the Italian Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics said: “It is stupefying that in 2014 a state school cannot find a better way of imposing the crucifix than resorting to a fascist rule”.

Italian courts have ruled in the past that crucifixes can be displayed in schools, despite Italy removing Catholicism as its official religion in 1984.

In 2009 the European Court of Human Rights ruled against the display of crucifixes in Italian schools, overuling previous Italian rulings on the matter. A mother had brought the case to the ECHR to demand a secular education for her children.

The EHCR said at the time “The compulsory display of a symbol of a given confession in premises used by the public authorities… restricted the right of parents to educate their children in conformity with their convictions.”