Author: Stephen Evans

European ruling that ‘religious feelings’ trump free speech is a dangerous development

European ruling that ‘religious feelings’ trump free speech is a dangerous development

Posted: Fri, 26 Oct 2018 by Stephen Evans

Just as Irish citizens strike a blow for the right to freedom of expression, the European Court has fundamentally undermined it, argues Stephen Evans.

Irish voters decided this week to remove the 'crime' of blasphemy from its constitution. The majority of citizens,... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Blasphemy, Islam

The questionable ethics of evangelical debt advice

The questionable ethics of evangelical debt advice

Posted: Fri, 05 Oct 2018 by Stephen Evans

The good deeds of faith-based organisations shouldn't lead us to turn a blind eye to their more ethically dubious practices, argues Stephen Evans.

Personal debt in the UK has reached epic proportions. Millions of households are living beyond their means with... Read More »

Tags: Charity, Christianity, Public services

China's religious persecution is a secularist issue

China's religious persecution is a secularist issue

Posted: Fri, 21 Sep 2018 by Stephen Evans

China may be the most godless country in the world, but it is far from being a secular one. Stephen Evans says the intensifying religious persecution in the repressive state must be condemned.

China is by far the most godless country in the world. According... Read More »

Tags: Religious freedom, Freedom of Religion, China, Secularism

Do burka bans do more harm than good?

Do burka bans do more harm than good?

Posted: Thu, 02 Aug 2018 by Stephen Evans

As Denmark's ban on face coverings in public comes into force, Stephen Evans says standing up for fundamental rights and freedoms is the best way to push back against the oppression the burka represents.

Denmark became the latest country to "ban the burka"... Read More »

Tags: Burka/veil, Islam

Sectarian schooling is nothing to celebrate

Sectarian schooling is nothing to celebrate

Posted: Fri, 13 Jul 2018 by Stephen Evans

Integrating schools isn't a magic bullet to end sectarianism, but no serious attempt to address the issue can ignore the role of religiously segregated schools, argues Stephen Evans.

Last week, as Catholic worshippers were leaving Saturday evening Mass in Glasgow... Read More »

Tags: Faith Schools, Sectarianism

Ten years on from the abolition of blasphemy, free speech still needs defending

Ten years on from the abolition of blasphemy, free speech still needs defending

Posted: Wed, 11 Jul 2018 by Stephen Evans

Marking ten years since the criminal offence of blasphemy was abolished in England and Wales, Stephen Evans argues that the freedom to speak critically about beliefs others hold sacred is far from assured.

This week marks the 10-year anniversary of the abolition... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Bishop Rachel’s prejudiced thinking highlights the problem of state-sponsored religion

Bishop Rachel’s prejudiced thinking highlights the problem of state-sponsored religion

Posted: Wed, 13 Jun 2018 by Stephen Evans

The bishop of Gloucester is entitled to question whether atheists can truly have deep love or hope, writes Stephen Evans. But the state shouldn't indulge the view that the religious are morally superior to others.

The bishop of Gloucester drew criticism this... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Church of England, Disestablishment, Christianity

The government's U-turn shows the tide is turning against faith schools

The government's U-turn shows the tide is turning against faith schools

Posted: Fri, 18 May 2018 by Stephen Evans

The decision not to allow more faith-based admissions to new free schools in England is a big win, says Stephen Evans. But the expansion of faith schools is the wrong response to Britain's growing religious diversity.

The government's U-turn on its manifesto... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Fifty percent cap

The row over right of withdrawal highlights the need to reform RE

The row over right of withdrawal highlights the need to reform RE

Posted: Fri, 13 Apr 2018 by Stephen Evans

Teachers from the ATL union have voted to demand a clampdown on parents selectively withdrawing their children from RE. But Stephen Evans says the right to withdraw should only be scrapped once the subject is reformed.

A teaching union warned recently that... Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education

Religious freedom isn't a licence to violate others’ rights

Religious freedom isn't a licence to violate others’ rights

Posted: Thu, 01 Mar 2018 by Stephen Evans

Increasing clashes between religious orthodoxy and secular liberalism highlight one of the most pressing challenges facing contemporary societies; how to manage the incredible religious and cultural diversity that exist within them. This throws up important... Read More »

Tags: Circumcision, Healthcare

We can’t allow faith groups to hamper efforts to regulate supplementary schools

We can’t allow faith groups to hamper efforts to regulate supplementary schools

Posted: Mon, 12 Feb 2018 by Stephen Evans

As a trial reveals the brainwashing of boys during evening classes at a mosque in Barking, Stephen Evans says the Government should defy faith groups which resist the regulation of out-of-school educational settings.

Schools rightly have safeguarding responsibilities... Read More »

Tags: Education, unregistered schools, supplementary schools

Religious bullies are on a roll. It’s time we all stood up to them

Religious bullies are on a roll. It’s time we all stood up to them

Posted: Thu, 25 Jan 2018 by Stephen Evans

Amid a series of concessions to religious hardliners, Stephen Evans says those brave enough to resist their demands need much more support.

No sooner had Sara Khan been appointed the new Commissioner for Countering Extremism than the reactionaries were howling... Read More »

Tags: Islamism, Orthodox Judaism, Religious privilege

Will Anglicanism reign supreme at the next coronation?

Will Anglicanism reign supreme at the next coronation?

Posted: Fri, 12 Jan 2018 by Stephen Evans

As the BBC focuses on the Queen's coronation, Stephen Evans says the next initiation of the UK's head of state will be a major test of the monarchy's ability to evolve and reflect the nation it serves.

On Sunday the BBC will broadcast an hour-long film on the... Read More »

Tags: Monarchy, Church & State, Church of England

The Minister for Faith went on a tour of Anglican cathedrals and all we got was a lousy report

The Minister for Faith went on a tour of Anglican cathedrals and all we got was a lousy report

Posted: Thu, 04 Jan 2018 by Stephen Evans

Stephen Evans questions the point of a Minister for Faith and says his recent tour of all 42 of England's Anglican cathedrals was a waste of ministerial time and taxpayers' money.

I've often wondered what the point of a Minister for Faith is. What do they actually... Read More »

Tags: Religious privilege, Church repairs

Secularism is a challenge to religion’s political power and privilege, not people of faith

Secularism is a challenge to religion’s political power and privilege, not people of faith

Posted: Fri, 22 Dec 2017 by Stephen Evans

Some Christians use the Christmas period to attack secularism for its challenge to their sense of entitlement. But Stephen Evans says the faithful have far more to fear from religious fanatics than secularists.

Buying a copy of the Christmas edition of the... Read More »

Tags: Christmas, Christianity, Secularism

Who controls religious education?

Who controls religious education?

Posted: Thu, 16 Nov 2017 by Stephen Evans

Necessary reforms of religious education are being frustrated by religion's lingering influence. It's time to liberate RE from the vested interests, argues Stephen Evans.

Religious education in England faces "a perilous future" unless it is subject to "strategic,... Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education

Beware the drip drip of religious exemptions

Beware the drip drip of religious exemptions

Posted: Sat, 02 Sep 2017 by Stephen Evans

As a theme park lifts its ban on Sikh ceremonial swords, NSS campaigns director Stephen Evans questions the wisdom behind religious exemptions from generally applicable rules.

The latest submission to religious demands came this week when a popular theme park... Read More »

Tags: Multiculturalism, Secularism, One law for all

Intolerant religion mustn’t dictate England’s education policy

Intolerant religion mustn’t dictate England’s education policy

Posted: Wed, 26 Jul 2017 by Stephen Evans

The government is under fire over proposals to lift the cap on faith-based admissions in faith schools. Stephen Evans says the plans should be abandoned - and religious groups' role in education rolled back.

Following criticism of the government's divisive... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Church & State, Fifty percent cap, admissions

Separate is not equal ­– not in this ‘faith’ school

Separate is not equal ­– not in this ‘faith’ school

Posted: Tue, 11 Jul 2017 by Stephen Evans

Turning a blind eye to discriminatory gender discrimination in Islamic schools would be disaster for future generations of British girls growing up in Muslim communities, argues Stephen Evans.

I was in court this week for Ofsted's appeal of a ruling that gender... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Gender Equality

Anti-Muslim hate must be challenged. Silencing criticism of Islam won’t help

Anti-Muslim hate must be challenged. Silencing criticism of Islam won’t help

Posted: Fri, 23 Jun 2017 by Stephen Evans

Both the Government and civil-society have a role to play in challenging anti-Muslim hate, but efforts to silence criticisms of Islam will only be counterproductive, argues Stephen Evans.

In the wake of yet more manifestations of violent Islamism and anti-Muslim... Read More »

Tags: Anti-Muslim Bigotry, sectarianism, Hate crime

Scottish care provider’s decision to drop faith test should prompt a rethink over equality exceptions

Scottish care provider’s decision to drop faith test should prompt a rethink over equality exceptions

Posted: Tue, 13 Jun 2017 by Stephen Evans

When religious organisations are delivering state-funded public services they should neither discriminate nor proselytize – argues Stephen Evans, looking at the case of CrossReach and its implications.

The decision of The Church of Scotland this week... Read More »

Tags: Public Services, Discrimination

We need to defend both our lives and our way of life

We need to defend both our lives and our way of life

Posted: Thu, 08 Jun 2017 by Stephen Evans

Terrorist atrocities have a way of bringing the nation together, albeit temporarily. We need a glue to keep us together, to protect our lives and our way of life, writes Stephen Evans.

There's a lot to be said for Britain's calm, defiant response to the threat... Read More »

Tags: Community Cohesion, Terrorism, Islam

Why we need a 21st century RE for all

Why we need a 21st century RE for all

Posted: Wed, 17 May 2017 by Stephen Evans

2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the Education Reform Act 1988 which saw the introduction of a national curricular entitlement for all pupils. One subject alone remains set apart from this - religious education.

What gets taught in religious education is... Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education

Caste discrimination: Fear of upsetting religious groups must not impede social justice

Caste discrimination: Fear of upsetting religious groups must not impede social justice

Posted: Fri, 31 Mar 2017 by Stephen Evans

Caste discrimination is the latest area where misplaced sensitivity could allow deference to religion to trump social justice, argues Stephen Evans.

The Government's recently launched consultation on caste discrimination reveals something very alarming. Despite... Read More »

Tags: Caste, Equality & Human Rights

Why are we still allowing religion to retard young people’s education and health rights?

Why are we still allowing religion to retard young people’s education and health rights?

Posted: Thu, 09 Mar 2017 by Stephen Evans

The Government's proposals on Relationships and Sex Education are a welcome step in the right direction – but religious opt outs mean many children will continue to be left behind, writes Stephen Evans.

The Government's move to make Relationships and... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Sex Education