Images of Jesus and Mary can be used (4)

Sentence 'betrays respect for religion' Jesuit tells ANSA

(ANSA) - Strasbourg, January 30 - Images of Jesus and Mary can be used in advertisements, the European Court of Human Rights said Tuesday. The ECHR condemned Lithuania for fining a firm that used Jesus and Mary on posters and on the Internet to sell suits. According to the judges, the fine issued for "offending public morals" violated the company's right to free expression.
    The company used the photo of a tattooed, jeans-wearing man and a white-dressed woman in a pearl necklace with haloes, captioned "Jesus, what pants!", "Dear Mary, what a dress!", and Jesus and Mary, what are you wearing!".
    The ads sparked a series of protests to the national agency for the defence of consumer rights, which fined the company 580 euros for not respecting religion.
    Speaking to ANSA in Rome, Jesuit Father Francesco Occhetta said the ECHR "betrayed the principle of lay society which is based on respect for religious freedom" in ruling that ads featuring Jesus and Mary are OK. Occhetta, who writes for influential Jesuit publication Civilta Cattolica, said "if you safeguard freedom of expression you should also safeguard the right of not seeing your religious sentiments humiliated". He said "it is a question of checks and balances; you can't elevate one principle in order to destroy another".


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