Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

On Euthanasia and Crosses in the EU

Socialist Deputy Manuel Valls (1962- ) (centre) of the French Assemblée Nationale (the lower house of the legislature), sponsor of pro-euthanasia legislation in France.

Deputies of the French Assemblée Nationale rejected a bill proposed by Socialist deputy Manuel Valls, which advocated the establishment of “medical care for those wishing to die with dignity”, that is, the legalisation of euthanasia. 326 Deputies voted against the bill and 202 voted in favour of the legislation. “Every adult person with serious conditions may seek medical help to die with dignity”, the bill stated. Today, euthanasia is legal in some European countries, in particular, the Benelux countries and Switzerland.

The Spanish government intends to ban Christian symbols in schools, hospitals, prisons, and barracks. Spanish media reported that ministers of the government would no longer take their oaths of office using the Bible and the crucifix. Currently, the government is considering appropriate amendments to the Law on Freedom of Conscience. In 2008, the City Court of Valladolid, in response to a lawsuit of a group of parents, ruled that a private school had to remove all crucifixes from its classrooms. This decision provoked criticism from the Vatican and Catholic clergy in Spain.

The Spanish Constitution, adopted in 1978, guarantees freedom of religion with the stipulation that “no religion can have the status of a state religion”. However, it declares that the government must “take into account the religious beliefs of Spanish society and to cooperate with the Catholic Church and other religions”. In September, a survey showed that nearly 75 percent of Spaniards consider themselves Catholic, although only 15 percent attend Mass every Sunday, and 55 percent “almost never” do so. 20 percent of Spaniards identify themselves as atheists.

On 3 November, the European Court of Human Rights prohibited the display of crucifixes in Italian public schools in response to a suit filed by Soile Lautsi. She complained that Christian symbols in schools where her children attended prevented them from receiving a secular education. The government of Italy announced its intention to appeal the verdict of the court.

25 November 2009





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