American atheist Michael Newdow had his day in court but failed to remove God from Pledge of Allegiance. Now, a vocal atheist may be given a chance in Court to take Christ out of Italy by suing the Roman Catholic Church
Luigi Cascioli, a one-time seminary student, is suing fellow septuagenarian Enrico Righi, a priest writing for the parish newspaper, on claims that Jesus did not exist.
"I started this lawsuit because I wanted to deal the final blow against the Church, the bearer of obscurantism and regression," Cascioli told Reuters.
Cascioli is claiming that Righi and by extension the whole Church broke two Italian laws. The first is "Abuso di Credulita Popolare" (Abuse of Popular Belief) meant to protect people against being swindled or conned. The second crime, he says, is "Sostituzione di Persona," or impersonation.
"The Church constructed Christ upon the personality of John of Gamala," Cascioli claimed, referring to the 1st century Jew who fought against the Roman army, according to Reuters.
A court in Viterbo will hear from Righi, who will be called for a Jan. 27 preliminary hearing that will determine whether the case has enough merit to move forward.
Righi, who like Cascioli is from the town of Bagnoregio, said he is baffled as to why the fellow seminary student would single him out in what is actually a battle against the larger church. Righi also said he believes justice is on his side since the judge presiding over the hearing has tried to dismiss the case several times.
"Cascioli says he didn't exist. And I said that he did," he told Reuters. The judge will decide if Christ exists or not."
Cascioli also agreed that the odds are against him, admitting that it would take a miracle to win his case in Roman Catholic Italy.