eurel     Données sociologiques et juridiques sur la religion en Europe et au-delà


  • May 2018 : Crosses in public buildings in Bavaria

From 1 June 2018 on, a cross should be hung in the entrance hall of public buildings in Bavaria as a sign of recognition of the Bavarian identity. This measure, which comes at the initiative of the Minister-President of Bavaria, Markus Söder, was decided on 24 April 2018 by the Bavarian government as a whole, without requiring a vote by the Bavarian Regional Parliament. It will apply only to buildings owned by the State of Bavaria and not to those of the federal state (Bund) or the municipalities.

However, Bavaria’s Minister of Sciences, Marion Kiechle, distanced herself from the Bavarian government leader’s decision to impose a cross on the entrance to public buildings in Bavaria, saying it was not "a particularly clever idea”. The Bavarian government has come under widespread criticism from the Greens, particularly the Liberals. Liberal Party (FDP) leader Christian Lindner said : “The way in which Markus Söder and the CSU are exploiting religions for partisan purposes is reminiscent of Turkish President Erdogan. The Basic Law has no religion” (Die Welt). The head of the Bavarian government, Markus Söder, dismissed all criticism, saying that the cross was above all a “decisive symbol of Western-Christian cultural identity”.

In the early 1990s, in a public school in Bavaria, Anthroposophic parents had requested that crucifixes be removed from classrooms in which their children were schooled. Their complaint having been rejected by the administrative jurisprudence of Bavaria, they then turned to the Federal Constitutional Court of Karlsruhe, which issued its decision on 16 May 1995, stating that the obligation, enshrined in the rules of Bavarian public schools, to hang crosses in classrooms was an infringement of the fundamental principle of freedom of conscience and religion (Art. 4 of the Basic Law) and the principle of State neutrality. The judges had found that the cross was not only a traditional cultural symbol, but insisted on its confessional character. As the presence of crucifixes in Bavarian classrooms was deemed incompatible with the Basic Law, the State of Bavaria was asked to no longer make the display of crucifixes mandatory in public school classrooms. The Bavarian parliament ultimately adopted a law in December 1995 reaffirming the presence of a cross in each public school classroom and provided for a conciliation procedure in the event of dispute. Since the ruling handed down by the Constitutional Court in May 1995, crosses can be removed from Bavarian classrooms upon individual request.

See : Zeit online, Spiegel online, Die Welt.

D 14 mai 2018    ASylvie Toscer-Angot

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