Author: Stephen Evans

Religion shouldn’t frustrate assisted dying reform

Religion shouldn’t frustrate assisted dying reform

Posted: Thu, 14 Oct 2021 by Stephen Evans

Ahead of parliament's first consideration of assisted dying for six years, Stephen Evans calls on secularists to help ensure that religious objections don't stand in the way of necessary reform. Read More »

Tags: Assisted dying, Healthcare

Schools should be liberated from the compulsion of worship

Schools should be liberated from the compulsion of worship

Posted: Thu, 16 Sep 2021 by Stephen Evans

As a bill to reform collective worship progresses in parliament, Stephen Evans argues that the time has come for lawmakers to recognise that laws mandating worship have no place in modern Britain. Read More »

Tags: Collective worship, Opinion Out Loud

Afghan Taliban spokesman

The Taliban takeover is part of a wider threat to secular liberal democracy

Posted: Thu, 19 Aug 2021 by Stephen Evans

Stephen Evans argues that secular liberal democracy is the antidote to the totalitarian Islamism offered up by the Taliban – so we need to do a better job of defending it. Read More »

Tags: Religious freedom, Secularism

Schools aren’t there to save the church

Schools aren’t there to save the church

Posted: Thu, 22 Jul 2021 by Stephen Evans

The Church of England's new evangelical missional strategy should lead us to question its entitlement to proselytise in schools, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Collective Worship, Education, Evangelism, Faith schools, Opinion Out Loud, Religious education

Daughter comforts ill mother

Evidence and compassion should trump dogma in assisted dying debate

Posted: Thu, 24 Jun 2021 by Stephen Evans

As politicians again grapple with assisted dying, we should beware attempts to impose a religious worldview on those who want the option of alleviating their suffering, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Assisted dying, Healthcare

Batley Grammar School

The outcome of the Batley investigation is a surrender of liberal principles

Posted: Thu, 27 May 2021 by Stephen Evans

As an investigation into the Batley Grammar affair concludes, Stephen Evans says we should recognise the censorious precedent it has set. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression

Batley Grammar School protesters

The DfE must show leadership when religious hardliners turn on schools

Posted: Thu, 06 May 2021 by Stephen Evans

The start of an investigation into the Batley Grammar affair raises questions over the government's willingness to ensure assertive religious voices don't dictate what happens in classrooms, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression, Opinion Out Loud

Religiosity inspections National Secular Society report

Faith groups have no business inspecting schools

Posted: Fri, 30 Apr 2021 by Stephen Evans

Publicly funded school inspections which enable clerics to exert undue influence should have no place in a modern education system, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Inspections

Catholic priest

Regressive religious demands shouldn't hold sway over political decisions

Posted: Thu, 15 Apr 2021 by Stephen Evans

Much of a pre-election letter from Scotland's Catholic bishops highlights the risks of allowing religious dogma to dictate public policy, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Abortion, Assisted dying, Catholic Church, Education, Election, Scotland

Batley Grammar School

A lesson in blasphemy

Posted: Fri, 26 Mar 2021 by Stephen Evans

After a teacher was suspended for showing cartoons of Muhammad in class, NSS CEO Stephen Evans says we shouldn't accept a religious veto on critical enquiry in the classroom. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression

Abortion rights Northern Ireland

Women in NI should have the same abortion rights as other UK citizens

Posted: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 by Stephen Evans

Other people's religious beliefs shouldn't be allowed to continue to thwart women's access to safe and accessible abortion services in Northern Ireland, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Abortion, Northern Ireland, Reproductive rights

Church open sign

The lockdown exemption for communal worship represents a dangerous double standard

Posted: Tue, 05 Jan 2021 by Stephen Evans

With the country again plunged into a strict lockdown, Stephen Evans questions the rationale behind and wisdom of an exemption for religious worship in England. Read More »

Tags: Coronavirus pandemic, Healthcare

Freedom of and from religion

All I want for Christmas is freedom of and from religion

Posted: Fri, 18 Dec 2020 by Stephen Evans

Opponents often erect a straw man of secularism to justify demands for religious privilege. But freedom of religion must come with freedom from religion, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Christmas, Freedom from Religion, Religious freedom

Janet Daby MP

Religion is not a justification for discrimination

Posted: Tue, 08 Dec 2020 by Stephen Evans

A shadow minister was wrong to say religious registrars should be able to opt out of providing same-sex marriages. And her comments are a reminder that we don't need a ministerial office for faith, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Equality & Human Rights

Church and state should be separate

Church and state should be separate

Posted: Tue, 03 Nov 2020 by Stephen Evans

Ahead of the NSS's 2020 Bradlaugh Lecture on the subject, Stephen Evans says the disestablishment of the Church of England is right in principle and could benefit church and state alike. Read More »

Tags: Church and State, Disestablishment, Opinion Out Loud

Society

Those providing public services – including religious groups – should respect reasonable boundaries

Posted: Thu, 08 Oct 2020 by Stephen Evans

Following a call for a greater role for religion in public services, Stephen Evans argues that any expansion of faith-based provision mustn't see equality and fair treatment relegated to secondary or dispensable matters. Read More »

Tags: Public Services

Public debate

The Scottish hate crime bill is a threat to free and open debate

Posted: Mon, 21 Sep 2020 by Stephen Evans

As ministers consider changing Scotland's hate crime bill to address free expression concerns, Stephen Evans says their insistence to date that the bill won't undermine legitimate debate has been unconvincing. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Scotland

Hand on Bible

Why make a spectacle out of religion in the courtroom?

Posted: Fri, 24 Jul 2020 by Stephen Evans

Stephen Evans argues that the current system of religious oaths and affirmations should be replaced by a universal secular declaration of the solemn duty to tell the truth. Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Law

Classroom

We must protect pupils’ educational rights where schools consistently fail

Posted: Sun, 28 Jun 2020 by Stephen Evans

Religious schools that censor textbooks, teach creationism and limit pupils' chances aren't respecting the right to a quality education. The government shouldn't let them repeatedly fail inspections, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Children's rights & welfare, Education, Independent schools

Church open sign

Places of worship shouldn’t reopen prematurely

Posted: Thu, 04 Jun 2020 by Stephen Evans

As a group of religious leaders threatens legal action over the closure of places of worship during the coronavirus crisis, Stephen Evans says public health must be the priority in deciding when to reopen them. Read More »

Tags: Coronavirus pandemic, Healthcare

Religion

Will Wales lead the way in reforming Religious Education?

Posted: Tue, 02 Jun 2020 by Stephen Evans

The Welsh government's plans to reform RE risk being a missed opportunity for more radical reform of the way we approach religion in schools, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Religious education, Wales

Elizabeth I

Why respect religious demands to keep pupils in the dark?

Posted: Tue, 28 Apr 2020 by Stephen Evans

After a select committee chair urged more leeway for a faith school which has long censored textbooks, Stephen Evans says politicians with responsibility for education should stop pandering to religious interests. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Orthodox Judaism

Bishops' bench

The bishops’ bench is an affront to democracy. Let’s scrap it

Posted: Fri, 31 Jan 2020 by Stephen Evans

A new bill proposes to end Church of England bishops' automatic right to sit in parliament. This religious privilege is part of an unjust status quo and should be addressed, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Bishops' bench, Church & State, Church of England

Collective worship

Promote religious freedom in schools: abolish the worship requirement

Posted: Wed, 22 Jan 2020 by Stephen Evans

A private member's bill to replace compulsory worship with inclusive assemblies should prompt the government to reform the archaic collective worship law, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Collective worship, Education

Sex education

Don’t let controlling ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups undermine sex education

Posted: Fri, 03 Jan 2020 by Stephen Evans

Sex education empowers young people. The government must stand up to those making faux religious freedom arguments in an attempt to stop them receiving it, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Education, LGBTQ rights, Orthodox Judaism, RSE