Spanish judge orders school to remove crucifixes
The state school is the first in Spain to be ordered to remove Catholic symbols from its classrooms and public spaces.24 November 2008
MADRID – A judge in Spain has ordered a state school to remove crucifixes from the walls of classrooms, Spanish newspapers said Sunday.
The judge in the northern city of Valladolid was complying with a 2005 request by a parent and a local secular association, which said Spain's constitution guarantees "freedom of religion" and ensures the "secular and neutral" character of the Spanish state.
The judge, Alejandro Valentin, is the first in Spain to pass such a ruling. He ordered the Macias Picavea school to remove religious symbols from classrooms and public spaces.
"The presence of these symbols in areas ... where minors are being educated can promote the idea that the state is closer" to Roman Catholicism than other faiths, the judge said in his ruling.
It is the first time that a court in Spain has taken such a decision, according to the secular association that made the complaint, quoted by the ABC newspaper.
A similar case arose in the southern town of Jaen in 2006, but the regional government there removed the crucifixes from the school before the court could take action, ABC said.
Despite the provisions of the 1978 constitution, which ensures the separation of Church and State, Catholic symbols remain in many schools in Spain, 30 years after the end of the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, who had made Roman Catholicism the official state religion.
[AFP / Expatica]