Author: Stephen Evans

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

Council meeting

Prayers aren't appropriate in the public realm

Posted: Thu, 25 Jul 2019 by Stephen Evans

As Brighton's new mayor comes under fire for abolishing prayers at council meetings, Stephen Evans argues that Britain's growing indifference to religion should prompt a rethink of religion's public role. Read More »

Tags: Council prayers, Prayers

Sexual freedom and secularism have always gone hand in hand

Sexual freedom and secularism have always gone hand in hand

Posted: Fri, 07 Jun 2019 by Stephen Evans

Stephen Evans says religious concerns weren't a good reason to restrict understanding of birth control in Victorian England and they aren't a good reason to undermine relationships and sex education today. Read More »

Tags: Education, Equality & Human Rights, LGBTQ Rights

Nurse and patient

Praying on the vulnerable

Posted: Fri, 24 May 2019 by Stephen Evans

A ruling that a nurse was not wrongly dismissed for repeatedly evangelising was unsurprising, says Stephen Evans. Healthcare professionals must be prepared to set aside their personal beliefs at work to protect patients. Read More »

Tags: Healthcare, Workplace, Christianity

Theresa May speech

Britain needs to stand up for everyone’s religious freedom

Posted: Tue, 23 Apr 2019 by Stephen Evans

The appalling attacks in Sri Lanka again highlight the growing global persecution of Christians. But there should be no hierarchy of importance when it comes to protecting people from persecution, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Religious freedom, Terrorism, Freedom of religion

Religion and public benefit – why it’s time to rethink charity law

Religion and public benefit – why it’s time to rethink charity law

Posted: Fri, 22 Mar 2019 by Stephen Evans

An NSS report says 'the advancement of religion' should be removed as a charitable purpose. Stephen Evans says the law should align with public opinion and only support charities that deliver a genuine public benefit. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Church & State

Doctor and patient

Religious dogma still clouds assisted dying debate

Posted: Thu, 07 Feb 2019 by Stephen Evans

As the Royal College of Physicians consults its members over assisted dying, Stephen Evans says we should be aware of often well-disguised theological objections to reform. Read More »

Tags: Assisted dying

Prayers

Institutionalised prayer doesn't belong in parliament

Posted: Wed, 16 Jan 2019 by Stephen Evans

As MPs launch a motion against parliamentary prayers, NSS CEO Stephen Evans says ending the anachronistic custom would strike a blow for modernity, equality and freedom of conscience. Read More »

Tags: Prayers, Church & State

Students should be free to excuse themselves from worship

Students should be free to excuse themselves from worship

Posted: Fri, 14 Dec 2018 by Stephen Evans

After two students pushed the Welsh government for a response to a petition to remove schools' obligation to hold acts of worship, Stephen Evans says pupils should be free to opt out of religious practices in schools. Read More »

Tags: Collective worship, Education

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