Author: Stephen Evans

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

Dr Scott

Medical regulators shouldn’t let doctors push religion on patients

Posted: Tue, 10 Dec 2019 by Stephen Evans

The General Medical Council has decided not to pursue a case against a GP who was accused of pushing religion on a vulnerable patient. Stephen Evans warns against allowing this exploitative behaviour. Read More »

Tags: Healthcare, Workplace

Faith school signs

Why the blind spot when it comes to faith schools?

Posted: Fri, 22 Nov 2019 by Stephen Evans

Politicians need to end their fetishisation of faith schools and face the fact that a religiously divided education system is unfit for the future, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

Ballot box

Election 2019: pledges that should be in the parties’ manifestos

Posted: Tue, 05 Nov 2019 by Stephen Evans

As the UK's political parties consider their manifestos for the upcoming election, Stephen Evans outlines a series of secularist pledges they should include to advance freedom, fairness and equal citizenship. Read More »

Tags: Assisted Dying, Caste, Charity, Church & State, Circumcision, Collective worship, Election, Faith Schools, Freedom of Expression, Public services, Religious slaughter, admissions

IICSA

The Catholic Church’s snub to the child abuse inquiry speaks volumes

Posted: Fri, 01 Nov 2019 by Stephen Evans

The Holy See's refusal to fully assist the UK's sexual abuse inquiry reveals unchangeable deficiencies within the church and highlights the need for a new mandatory reporting law, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

Church & state

Time to stop pretending we have a ‘national church’

Posted: Fri, 18 Oct 2019 by Stephen Evans

As affiliation to Anglicanism continues its rapid decline the Church of England's privileges are increasingly unsustainable, says Stephen Evans. Let's disestablish the church and embrace a secular state. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Church of England, Statistics

Defend free speech

Islam, like any other religion, must be fair game for criticism

Posted: Thu, 22 Aug 2019 by Stephen Evans

The disqualification of a GCSE student who criticised halal meat is a reminder of the need to resist censorious offence-taking on Islam and the normalisation of the idea of 'Islamophobia', says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Nick Bourne

The ‘minister for faith’ shouldn’t be replaced

Posted: Tue, 30 Jul 2019 by Stephen Evans

After the minister for faith's resignation, Stephen Evans says this unnecessary role enables the government to promote a positive view of religion and should be abandoned. Read More »

Tags: Religious privilege