Atheist Father Obtains Withdrawal of Crucifix in Bavarian Highschool Despite Other Parent's Protests

Country: Germany

Date of incident: November 10, 2010

Category: Government Restrictions / Social Hostility / Intolerance

Attack against: Faith

Area of case: Education / Governmental / Private



An atheist father obtains the withdrawal of a crucifix in his son’s classroom in Regensburg (Bavaria, Germany) despite the opposition of the majority of parents. Morning prayer was changed to a neutral “Good Morning Circle”.

According to the Law on Education of the state of Bavaria, in every classroom a cross could be displayed. If a parent or legal guardian opposes the cross, and a compromise solution cannot be found, the school’s headmaster has to make a decision considering the opponent’s views as well as the beliefs of all pupils concerned.

Arguing his request for removing the cross in his son’s classroom and stopping the morning prayers, the father had also referred to a verdict of the German Federal Constitutional Court from 1995. The High Court had ruled crucifixes in classrooms of public schools as unconstitutional “forcing religious views of some pupils on other pupils.” In an open letter the school’s headmaster stated that his decision was also made in respect of the Federal Constitutional Court verdict, which is somewhat stricter than Bavaria law.

Other parents protested the headmaster’s decision, criticizing him for removing the cross without hearing the opinion of the other pupils and parents concerned.

Only four to five crucifixes are removed in Bavarian classrooms every year, the “Mittelbayrische Zeitung” reports. Most of these actions are not discussed in public.

More information available on the following links: 

Open letter of the school’s headmaster:

http://www.schulen.regensburg.de/amg/Neues_vom_AMG/Neues2010/AMG Elternbrief Nov2010.pdf

English: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20101117-31229.html 

German:

http://www.mittelbayerische.de/nachrichten/oberpfalz-bayern/artikel/regensburg_kreuz_musste_weiche/606213/regensburg_kreuz_musste_weiche.html - 606213

http://www.mittelbayerische.de/region/regensburg/artikel/das_kreuz_duerfte_kein_casus_b/607457/das_kreuz_duerfte_kein_casus_b.html