Religion and the State: the ‘Lautsi’ Case of the European Court of Human Rights About Crucifixes in Italian Class Rooms

Book chapter by Andreas Føllesdal in Dirk Ehlers & Henning Glaser (ed.), State and Religion: Between Conflict and Cooperation (Baden Baden, Nomos, 2020)


The relationship between political authorities and religious communities is complex and controversial. One area where the tensions are evident is in public education. A central task of public authorities is to ensure the education and socialisation of children to become well informed and responsible citizens with a sense of justice. The children must on the one hand appreciate the history and past culture of their society, and at the same time be prepared for their present and future multi-cultural society. Tensions between these objectives are visible when the state seeks to include or exclude contested religious symbols and teachings within the public educational system. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR, ‘the Court’) has been brought in to address and resolve some of these issues, insofar as they fall under relevant paragraphs of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR).

The chapter is published in the book State and Religion: Between Conflict and Cooperation (Baden Baden, Nomos, 2020) edited by Dirk Ehlers & Henning Glaser

Andreas Føllesdal is professor and director at PluriCourts at the University of Oslo.

Published Feb. 16, 2021 3:22 PM - Last modified Feb. 16, 2021 3:27 PM