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German Pupils Greeted with Crucifixes

Students filing into classrooms across Bavaria last week for the first day of public school were greeted with acrosses on the walls, despite a federal court ruling in August that prohibits the hanging of the religious symbol there.

The ruling, which came in response to a complaint made by a couple in Bavaria, Germany’s most staunchly Catholic state, had outraged many Bavarians and resulted in an unusual silence from Germany’s 45,000 strong Jewish community.

To date, Ignatz Bubis, executive director of the Central Council for the Jews in Germany, has not commented on the issues, though several prominent Jews, in letters to the editor, have expressed support for the court’s stance.

Edmund Stoiber, Bavaria’s president, told the German media that he believes that hanging a crucifix in a public classroom is constitutional.

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl also disagreed with the ruling.

Unlike the United State, Germany does not have a strong tradition of separation of church and state.

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