My Note - I fully support the public display of religious symbols. I also support an attitude of inclusion. Instead of society tearing down its symbols, so as not to offend the sensibilities of some one or some group, I say, INCLUDE all religious symbols. I'm sure we could all learn something from each other if we were not being so quick to deny representations of the expressions of our faiths.
Pope advocates religious symbols in public places
Sat Dec 9, 5:35 PM ET
From Yahoo News
Religious symbols should be allowed in public places, Pope Benedict XVI told a group of Italian Catholic legal experts.
"Hostility to all forms of recognition of the political and cultural importance of religion and in particular the presence of any religious symbols in public institutions ... is not a sign of healthy secularism, but the degeneration of secularism," the pope said.
"The state cannot consider religion to be simply an individual feeling that can be confined to the private sphere," said the head of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics.
Religion "should be recognized as a common public presence," and its symbols should be allowed in offices, schools, courtrooms, hospitals, prisons and so on, the 79-year-old pontiff added.
"An areligious vision of life, thought and ethics" has led to an erroneous conception of secularism, "a term that seems to have become the essential emblem ... of modern democracy," he lamented.
The question of crucifixes and the secular nature of the Italian state has inflamed passions in the country in recent years, with parents objecting to the display of religious symbols at state schools.
All religions are considered equal under the constitution, but two decrees from the 1920s, confirmed by legislation in 1984, allow Catholic symbols in state schools.
Benedict said Saturday: "It is out of the question for the Church to indicate what political or social order is preferable, but the people should freely choose the best and most appropriate ways to organize public life."
He added: "Any direct intervention by the Church in this area would be illegitimate interference."
But, he said, the Church may "affirm and defend great values that give meaning to a person's life and safeguard its dignity."
The conservative pope, elected in April 2005, made a similar call for the display of crucifixes in public buildings last year, saying it was important that "God be visible ... and present in public life."