The European Court declared crucifixes in Italian state-run schools illegal, but Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will defy the court and keep the crucifixes in the schools.
Although Catholicism is no longer the state religion of Italy, other Christians and even many non-Christians such as Muslims believe in the Scriptural account of the Crucifixion of Jesus, while many others at least recognize its historicity. Crucifixes have long been in Italian school classrooms, except during the Fascist regime, when they were replaced by large portraits of dictator Benito Mussolini.
Indeed, Crucifixes are the Italian way to remind them that their equal rights come from our Creator, not the state, just as American schoolchildren pledge allegiance to the Flag of their republic “under God.” Thus, even non-believers are dependent for their liberty on the faith of those who do believe. Therefore, it is only right that those believers publicly declare their faith from time to time, in order to reaffirm the commitment of the state to protect the liberty of all the people.
But the Italian school Crucifix issue is part of a larger issue: the potential loss of sovereignty of member states to the European Union. These states, like Italy, have surrendered much of their sovereignty already, but it is not yet clear just how much they have lost. Berlusconi stated that he intends to defy the court order because it lacks any authority. He is right to stand up for federalism within the “United States of Europe,” just as conservatives in the United States of America must do.