NEGATIVE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND SECULAR THOUGHT IN THE LIGHT OF THE CASE OF LAUISI V. ITALY (Negatywna wolnosc religijna i przekonania sekularystyczne w swietle sprawy Lautsi przeciwko Wlochom)
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The article provides an analysis of the European Court of Human Rights judgments in the case of (http://www.echr.coe.int/echr/resources/hudoc/lautsi_and_others_v__italy.pdf) Lautsi v. Italy (application no. 30814/06), also known as the Italian crucifix case. The applicant claimed that displaying crucifixes in the Italian State-school classrooms attended by her children was contrary to the principle of secularism, by which she wished to bring up her children, and therefore infringed her right to ensure their education and teaching in conformity with her religious and philosophical convictions, and also breached her freedom of conviction and religion, as protected by Article 9 of the Convention. In its judgment of November 3, 2009, the seven-judge Chamber declared that there had been a violation of Article 2 (right to education) of Protocol No. 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights taken together with Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience, and religion) of the Convention. The judgment was given unanimously and none of the judges appended a separate opinion. The Italian Government asked for the case to be referred to the Grand Chamber by virtue of Article 43 of the Convention. In the judgment of the Grand Chamber, delivered on March 18, 2011, the Court held, by fifteen votes to two (and with separate opinions of six judges), that there had been no violation of Protocol No. 1 and no violation of the Convention itself. The analysis in the article is focused on selected principal factors determining the Court's decision. It shows that the proposal for the Court to recognize secular convictions as those protected by Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 or Article 9 of the Convention has no sufficient basis in the Convention itself and in earlier Court's case-law and, even, may be considered as promotion of religious intolerance, threatening the freedom to publicly manifest a religion or belief, as guaranteed by Article 9 of the Convention.
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