A judge in Spain has ruled that crucifixes hung on classroom walls contravene the secular and neutral nature of the country’s constitution.
The Macias Picavea state school in Valladolid must now remove the religious symbols from classrooms and public spaces. The case was sparked by a 2005 complaint from a parent and a local secular association.
The judgement is said to be the first of its kind in the country’s history: “What you have to realise is that the content of this ruling corresponds exactly with the provisions of the constitution and the secular character of the State,” said Mercedes Cabrera, Spain’s Education Minister.
Despite the provisions of the 1978 constitution, ensuring the separation of Church and state, Catholic symbols are prominent in many of Spain’s schools and colleges. The Catholic Church in Spain criticised the decision, saying it could make religious co-existence more difficult:
“I think what is important is not to get rid of all religious symbols, but to help people learn to respect them, whatever their religion,” said Carlos Amigo, the Archbishop of Seville.
The Vatican is equally unhappy with the judgement. An article in its semi-official newspaper, “L’Osservatore Romano”, said the move was motivated by “anti-religious hatred”.