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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » December 16, 2009
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Deputies Condemn Crucifix Ban
December 16, 2009   
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The lower house of Poland's parliament Dec. 3 passed a special resolution condemning a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that banned crucifixes from classrooms in Italy.

Deputies said the resolution was designed to assert people's right to freedom of religion and promote values that constitute the common heritage of European nations. They also called on national parliaments in Council of Europe member states to engage in common reflection on the subject. A total of 357 lower house deputies voted for the resolution, 40 deputies were against, and five abstained.

According to the resolution, the crucifix expresses values that build respect for the dignity of all human beings and their rights. The resolution also describes the crucifix as a symbol of the freedom-oriented tradition of the First Republic of Poland (mid-15th century until late 18th century) which was a model example of ethnic and religious tolerance in Europe. The deputies added that in the past, "especially under Nazism and communism, hostile acts against religion were coupled with massive abuse of human rights and led to discrimination."

The lower house also referred to the words of Pope John Paul II, who in June 1999 said in the Polish parliament that "democracy without values easily degenerates into overt or covert totalitarianism." By citing the pope, the deputies expressed their "concern over decisions that harm freedom of religion, disregard the rights and feelings of religious people and ruin peace in society." According to the lower house, the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights was such a decision.
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