Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
(T)he true knight in shining armor of this story is a New York University law professor, Joseph Weiler, a devout and observant Jew, who represented, pro bono, the governments of Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, The Russian Federation and San Marino against the court's ruling.
With expert arguments, a mixture of wisdom drawn from the Old and New World and an occasional spark of humor, Europe's modern Galahad, made his winning case.
He compared the cross to a picture of the queen of England hanging in the classroom. "Like the cross," Weiler noted, "that picture has a double meaning. It is a photo of the head of state. It is, too, a photo of the titular head of the Church of England."
"Would it be acceptable," he asked, "for someone to demand that the picture of the queen may not hang in the school since it is incompatible with their religious conviction or their right to education since they are Catholics, or Jews, or Muslims?"
He closed with a warning, one that should echo in the United States: "A one rule fits all, as in the decision of the Second Chamber, devoid of historical, political, demographic and cultural context is not only inadvisable, but undermines the very pluralism, diversity and tolerance which the Convention is meant to guarantee and which is the hallmark of Europe."
Weiler won the day -- the court decided 15-2 in favor of Italy. Much like the Knights of Malta in 1565, who single-handedly held off the Turkish fleet, Professor Joseph Weiler and the nations and advisors who came to Italy's rescue, struck a decisive blow in favor of Europe's religious freedom.
Read all here.