An Italian television news anchor has ignited a firestorm of criticism by wearing a crucifix around her neck while reporting the news, drawing the ire of “Muslims, atheists and many viewers,” according to reports.
Marina Nalesso, a well-known news anchor on the State-owned Tg1 television news show, wore a crucifix around her neck several times last week while on the air, a choice that Silvio Viale, a leftist politician and vocal atheist, has described as “arrogance.”
“TG is a public, secular news show, not a Vatican news show,” he said.
On her FanPage, Nalesso defended her actions saying that she wears the crucifix “out of devotion and to offer witness,” though she can say nothing further because “we RAI journalists are not permitted to grant interviews without the authorization of management.”
This is not the 44-year-old TV anchor’s first offense. She has also been criticized for wearing small medals around her neck bearing the face of Jesus or the Virgin Mary.
Despite the storm of criticisms, however, Nalesso has also received support from several public figures such as Giorgia Meloni, an Italian politician and leader of the Fratelli d’Italia party.
“We have now reached the point of absurdity,” Meloni wrote on the party’s Facebook page. “Christianity is part of our culture and our history as Italians and Europeans, even if you are an atheist or believe in another religion.”
“Whoever is bothered by a crucifix is bothered by our identity and they should go live somewhere else,” she continued. “A large part of the values of our civilization are bound up with that crucifix: a symbol that represents a richness for all of us, which we are proud to defend. Bravo Marina,” she wrote.
Others noted that if the newscaster were wearing a Muslim veil instead of a Christian symbol, liberals would “rush to her defense in the name of sacred freedom of expression.”
Several countries of northern Europe, such as Norway, have banned the wearing of religious symbols on television, but at the moment Italy has no such laws.