the crucifix as a cultural object

This NY Times opinion piece discusses Italy’s debate over the crucifix in classrooms:

As we discussed in class, the meaning that we attach to cultural objects morphs over time. However, we cannot escape its original meaning. Some are arguing that the crucifix is no longer a religious symbol; rather, it’s a cultural object, a representation of a nation. The author, Stanley Fish, mocks the argument that the crucifix is “everyone’s symbol” and that it is “the universal sign of the acceptance of and respect for every human kind.” While the crucifix may carry this meaning to some people, it is naive to deny the religious symbolism of the object.