Case Note: Why Appearances Matter. State Endorsement of Religious Symbols in State Schools in Europe After Lautsi

Eugenio Velasco Ibarra


In Europe, religion continues to exercise a significant, albeit variable influence over the conformation of national identities.1 Therefore, European states have adopted a panoply of institutional arrangements, ranging from the official recognition of religion to official secularism, in order to reflect the relevance of religion in their particular identity.2 The display of Christian religious symbols in state schools is a common means of affirming the role played by religion within the polity. However, this practice has become exceptionally contested out of concern for the protection of the religious freedom of students and of the parental right to raise their children in conformity with their own religious convictions, in accordance with Article 9 and Article 2 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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