The existence of Jesus Christ won’t go on trial, an Italian judge ruled today in the case of an atheist who brought a lawsuit against a priest.

Judge Gaetano Mautone threw out a petition by 72-year-old Luigi Cascioli, who wanted Rev. Enrico Righi to stand trial for asserting Jesus Christ was a real person.

Cascioli, a retired agronomist, contended Righi violated a law that forbids deceiving the public. The atheist said the priest, who had publicly criticized him for casting doubt on the truth of the gospels, had no evidence Jesus ever existed.

“The Rev. Righi is very satisfied and moved,” Righi’s attorney, Severo Bruno, said. “He is an old, small-town parish priest who never would have thought he’d be in the spotlight for something like this.”

Cascioli, who once trained for the priesthood, further accused the church of having profited from its deception for 2,000 years, another crime under Italian law.

Following the judges dismissal of the case, Cascioli said the matter is not concluded and he may take it to the European Court of Human Rights.

In dismissing the case, the judge recommended Cascioli be investigated for slander against the priest, a prospect Cascioni dismissed, saying proving the charge would still require Righi to prove Christ’s existence.

“They don’t have any proof,” he said.

As WorldNetDaily reported, Cascioli and his attorney know their case has little chance of success in the home of the Roman Catholic Church. But their strategy is to go through the necessary legal steps that will enable them, ultimately, to bring the case before the European Court of Human Rights. There, he will accuse the church of “religious racism.”

On his website, Cascioli alleges the person known as Jesus is “for the most part based on the figure of John of Gamala, son of Judas, downright descendant of the Asmoneian stock.”

Righi says the existence of Jesus is “unmistakable” due to a wealth of both pagan and Christian evidence pointing to his reality.

Special offers:

Does science back up Jesus’ resurrection?

Old Testament IDs God’s anointed Messiah

Don’t be embarrassed to be a Christian!

Criminalizing Christianity: How America’s founding religion is becoming illegal


Previous stories:

Jesus Christ case begins

Jesus Christ’s existence going on trial?

Related commentary:

The Jesus trial

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.