By Eric J. Lyman, Special for USA TODAY
ROME — An Italian atheist is suing a parish priest for saying Jesus Christ existed.
The hearing in a court in Viterbo, a city located in a valley 25 miles northwest of Rome, opened Friday and could take weeks to decide. Luigi Cascioli, 72, a lifelong atheist, is suing the Rev. Enrico Righi, 75, a local parish priest.
The case has opened debate here over whether it's appropriate for a civil court to decide matters of religious faith.
"Excuse me, Mr. President. Do you have a comment on the pending lawsuit in Rome regarding the existence of Jesus Christ?"
"Wow! Brazil is big." —George W. Bush, Nov. 6, 2005
"Uhhh, Mr. President, Brazil is in South America."
"Do you have blacks, too?" —George W. Bush, Nov. 8, 2001