Winning the Battle by Losing the War: The Lautsi Case and the Holy Alliance between American Conservative Evangelicals, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican to Reshape European Identity

in Religion & Human Rights
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The compulsory display of crucifixes in Italian public schools does not violate the European Convention on Human Rights. The victory before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in the Lautsi judgment of a variegated coalition of actors ranging from the strong alliance between the Vatican and the Italian Government to the Russia of the New Orthodoxy as well as to American Conservative Evangelicals, promises to change our understanding of church-state relationship in Europe and signals the emergence of a ‘new ecumenism’ in which the religious groups of different traditions work together toward common political goals. But was this judgment a real success for the Holy Alliance that successfully overturned the first Lautsi decision? I will argue that the March 2011 decision may result in a pyrrhic victory. The continuous reliance on State support to defend majority religious privileges may endanger, rather than benefit, religious vitality.

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