The following brief exchange is from the comments section to my recent post. I’d mentioned that Martin Yanosek – a commenter from Stanley Fish’s original NYT piece – wasn’t being clear. Did he agree with Fish, or did he agree with the judges? Or, improbably, both?
Anyway, he found my blog and cleared things up as best he could. I admit I’m still in the dark about his reasoning, though, and I’ve begun to suspect he may have been one of the judges in Strasbourg.
Martin Yanosek says:
Hello there, Mr. Di Martino! I agree with the court and, although I admire Dr. Fish’s analysis, I think Italian parents should be allowed to let their kids study in the presence of the crucifix. You’re right, though. I don’t know about “all” Italian parents. Only God does! You do believe in God, dontcha!?*
Oh, Mr. Di Martino, I see that I missed answering your question about how the crucifix is Christianity’s greatest symbol. In its evolution as a symbol one must take into consideration the cosmic irony of the crucifix’s meaning over time. The crucifix’s meaning has evolved from that of a purely utilitarian implement of torture to today’s meaning of everlasting life. I think the tremendous irony inherent in the evolution of the crucifix’s meaning is what makes it Christianity’s greatest symbol. I hope I answered your question. Regards, Martin Yanosek
Marc Alan Di Martino says:
Martin, I appreciate you taking a moment to clarify your stance. That said, your position is still unclear. You wrote, “If the Vatican was headquartered on Long Island I would probably disagree with the court’s ruling.” Why is that? Were that the case, and by your logic, American parents would have the right to have their children educated “in the presence of Christianity’s greatest symbol.” Or is it okay if it’s in a country you don’t live in, but not okay when it’s in yours?
As for the symbol itself, does it matter at all that most Christian denominations don’t recognize the crucifix as their symbol? Not to mention non-Christians and non-theists – which is quite a lot of us, even here in Italy. Don’t we have the right to have our children educated in the presence of our symbols? Or are we expected to submit before the irony of the holy Roman torture device?
Martin Yanosek says:
Long Island doesn’t have the tradition of Roman Catholicism that Italy does. Long Island has more of a Great Gatsby tradition. Without our traditions life would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof of St. Peter’s Basilica! We should submit to the irony of everlasting life! Peace be with you, Mr. Di Martino! Amen.
Just to recap, Italy has numerous traditions other than Roman Catholicism. It’s still just another religious confession, and it’s not even the oldest one we have. Shalom, Mr. Yanosek.