Author: Stephen Evans

Clerics shouldn’t be the gatekeepers to publicly funded schools

Clerics shouldn’t be the gatekeepers to publicly funded schools

Posted: Fri, 25 Nov 2016 by Stephen Evans

A progressive education policy would seek to break down barriers between people of different faiths and beliefs, not erect them, writes NSS campaigns director Stephen Evans.

The schools adjudicator recently ruled against a new policy across all Catholic schools... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Fifty percent cap, admissions

Why the Ashers Bakery 'gay cake' ruling was reasonable

Why the Ashers Bakery 'gay cake' ruling was reasonable

Posted: Tue, 01 Nov 2016 by Stephen Evans

Despite the hyperbole, the decision in the Ashers Baker case is both reasonable and straightforward, opening the door neither to a denigration of religious freedom or equality laws. Had the case gone the other way it would have undermined both.

The decision... Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, LGBTQ rights, Northern Ireland

The demonisation of Louis Smith: This is how a de facto blasphemy law works

The demonisation of Louis Smith: This is how a de facto blasphemy law works

Posted: Tue, 11 Oct 2016 by Stephen Evans

The castigation of a British gymnast for 'mocking Islam' is illustrative of a troubling return of blasphemy, argues Stephen Evans.

If you've been following the hounding of British Olympic gymnast Louis Smith this week, you'd be forgiven for forgetting that... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Stephen Evans

Inclusive education: divisive faith schools are the elephant in the room

Inclusive education: divisive faith schools are the elephant in the room

Posted: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 by Stephen Evans

NSS campaigns director on why progressives of all political and religious stripes should unite in opposing Theresa May's plan to open a new wave of divisive 'faith schools'

As an advocate for secular education, my hopes were raised momentarily this week when... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Fifty percent cap, admissions

Facilitating more religious segregation in faith schools can only harm social cohesion

Facilitating more religious segregation in faith schools can only harm social cohesion

Posted: Mon, 12 Sep 2016 by Stephen Evans

In a move devoid of any common sense, Theresa May's government looks set to capitulate to the demands of religious groups by relaxing admissions rules for faith-based academies, allowing them to select all pupils along religious lines.

It's hard to think of... Read More »

Tags: Education, Fifty percent cap, admissions

What do pupils need to know about religion?

What do pupils need to know about religion?

Posted: Tue, 02 Aug 2016 by Stephen Evans

In recent years faith communities have amplified their demands for a better understanding of religion in the private and public sector. But what do pupils need to know about religion by the time they leave school?

In recent years faith communities have amplified... Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education

Living better together: secularism and cohesion

Living better together: secularism and cohesion

Posted: Fri, 29 Jul 2016 by Stephen Evans

Later this year the NSS will mark its 150th anniversary with a special conference around the theme of 'living better together'. Campaigns director Stephen Evans explains why the time has come for people of all faiths to stand together in supporting secularist... Read More »

Tags: Community Cohesion, Events, Secularism

In modern Britain, tradition is no excuse for retaining religious privilege

In modern Britain, tradition is no excuse for retaining religious privilege

Posted: Fri, 27 May 2016 by Stephen Evans

News that those declaring themselves to have no religion have exceeded the number of Christians in England and Wales has again prompted questions about Christianity's privileged role in public life.

Despite the vast majority of Brits being secular in outlook... Read More »

Tags: Church & State

Furore over Islamic bus adverts is nothing but disingenuous propaganda

Furore over Islamic bus adverts is nothing but disingenuous propaganda

Posted: Mon, 09 May 2016 by Stephen Evans

Christian groups are being disingenuous and divisive in claiming unfavourable treatment over the decision to allow Allah adverts on buses, argues Stephen Evans.

Christian groups have reacted with faux dismay to news that buses around England will soon be displaying... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression

Faith schools add to the angst of school offer day

Faith schools add to the angst of school offer day

Posted: Mon, 18 Apr 2016 by Stephen Evans

National Offer Day is when many parents fall victim to religious discrimination or discover they've been allocated a religious school against their wishes. Stephen Evans argues that a move towards a secular education system might make school offer day a little... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, admissions

Religious worship shouldn’t be a requirement of public office

Religious worship shouldn’t be a requirement of public office

Posted: Fri, 18 Mar 2016 by Stephen Evans

With an atheist mayor facing criticism for opting not to attend church services, Stephen Evans argues that elected officials shouldn't have to worship or feign religiosity in order to represent the citizens they serve.

The newly elected Mayor of Totnes has... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Secularism

Classrooms should be free from an overbearing religious ethos

Classrooms should be free from an overbearing religious ethos

Posted: Mon, 15 Feb 2016 by Stephen Evans

With the Church seeking to extend its influence over the management of schools, Stephen Evans argues that religious groups' demands shouldn't outweigh parental rights and children's independent interests.

In 2013 the former chair of the Church of England's... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

Secularism protects us all. Let's embrace it.

Secularism protects us all. Let's embrace it.

Posted: Wed, 27 Jan 2016 by Stephen Evans

Britain today is one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world, with more non-believers than ever before. With society at risk of fragmenting along religious lines, secularism could be our salvation, argues Stephen Evans.

More than two thirds of... Read More »

Tags: Secularism

So called Lord’s Prayer ‘Ban’: It’s Winterval all over again

So called Lord’s Prayer ‘Ban’: It’s Winterval all over again

Posted: Mon, 23 Nov 2015 by Stephen Evans

The controversy over cinemas rejecting religious advertising appears to be another attempt to reignite the Christian victimisation narrative, argues Stephen Evans

Praising the Church of England isn't something I often find myself doing, but you've got to take... Read More »

Tags: Church of England

Operation Christmas Child: Christian fundamentalism, gift-wrapped

Operation Christmas Child: Christian fundamentalism, gift-wrapped

Posted: Thu, 12 Nov 2015 by Stephen Evans

The Operation Christmas Child 'shoebox' appeal is a front for a project to convert children in predominantly Muslim countries to literalist Christianity. Parents should give it a wide berth, argues Stephen Evans.

My heart sank this week when picking my daughter... Read More »

Tags: Charity, Christmas, Girl Guides, Samaritans Purse

Publicly funded services shouldn't be a platform to proselytise

Publicly funded services shouldn't be a platform to proselytise

Posted: Fri, 06 Nov 2015 by Stephen Evans

Any attempt to give faith-based organisations more room to discuss religion when running public services risks making their services less inclusive. Besides, public money shouldn't be funding evangelism, argues Stephen Evans.

A new report from the Christian... Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Public Services

The unreasonableness of ‘reasonable accommodation’

The unreasonableness of ‘reasonable accommodation’

Posted: Fri, 16 Oct 2015 by Stephen Evans

Calls to introduce a new workplace duty of 'reasonable accommodation' for religion and belief are a flawed solution to a problem that doesn't really exist, argues Stephen Evans.

The UK has some of the most comprehensive anti-discrimination laws in the world.... Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights

Let Ofsted inspect religious education in faith schools

Let Ofsted inspect religious education in faith schools

Posted: Wed, 09 Sep 2015 by Stephen Evans

Religious education should receive the same scrutiny as any other area of the curriculum – and be inspected by Ofsted, argues Stephen Evans.

I recently came across a local newspaper headline about a school being praised for its religious education. As... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Religious education

Christians shouldn’t put self-interest above Britain’s need to better integrate

Christians shouldn’t put self-interest above Britain’s need to better integrate

Posted: Fri, 31 Jul 2015 by Stephen Evans

The long history of Christian involvement in state education shouldn't stand in the way of a more integrated education system, argues Stephen Evans.

No sooner had David Cameron finished delivering his landmark speech on extremism which stressed the need for... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

NHS pastoral care should be a non-discriminatory service for all

NHS pastoral care should be a non-discriminatory service for all

Posted: Thu, 16 Jul 2015 by Stephen Evans

If NHS Trusts want to provide pastoral care for all, then there is no rationale for restricting the role of chaplain to those of faith, argues Stephen Evans.

God forbid – but if you or any your family end up in hospital, and feel the need for some emotional... Read More »

Tags: Chaplaincy, Healthcare

Tim Montgomerie need not worry, secularism and tolerance go hand in hand

Tim Montgomerie need not worry, secularism and tolerance go hand in hand

Posted: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 by Stephen Evans

There's nothing "anti-Christian" about a society that sets about dismantling historic religious privilege, argues Stephen Evans.

In a Times opinion piece about the power of forgiveness – so poignantly expressed in Amazing Grace, the former slave trader... Read More »

Tags: Christianity, Religion & Belief, Secularism

Faith schools: education’s sacred cow

Faith schools: education’s sacred cow

Posted: Fri, 19 Jun 2015 by Stephen Evans

Faith-based schools have been part of Britain's educational landscape for a long time. But as Britain's religious outlook changes, the time has come for some people to come to terms with their fear or unwillingness to question them, argues Stephen Evans.

Britain's... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

Allowing children to languish in illegal religious 'schools' is the bigotry of low expectations

Allowing children to languish in illegal religious 'schools' is the bigotry of low expectations

Posted: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 by Stephen Evans

NSS campaigns manager Stephen Evans warns that growing numbers of unregulated religious 'schools' are badly letting children down, and argues that the rights of children to education should be prioritised.

This week it was revealed that officials at the Department... Read More »

Tags: Education, unregistered schools

Let’s stop confusing education with religious inculcation

Let’s stop confusing education with religious inculcation

Posted: Fri, 03 Apr 2015 by Stephen Evans

The blurring of the distinction between education and religious inculcation in British schools is preventing young people from receiving good quality objective education about religion and belief, argues Stephen Evans.

The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Religious education

Eric Pickles' 'evangelical charter' on its way to becoming law

Eric Pickles' 'evangelical charter' on its way to becoming law

Posted: Thu, 12 Mar 2015 by Stephen Evans

A small group of Christians in parliament are changing the law to give local authorities the power to summon councillors to prayers. Stephen Evans argues that the right to freedom of religion should always be balanced by the right to be free from religion.... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Council Prayers, Religious Freedom, Secularism