Author: Stephen Evans

Government’s GCSE subject content review is another missed opportunity

Government’s GCSE subject content review is another missed opportunity

Posted: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 by Stephen Evans

The Government's proposal to reform the religious studies GCSE subject content falls far short of what's really needed, argues Stephen Evans.

The Department for Education is currently consulting on its proposed subject content for religious studies GCSE and... Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education

The Christmas nativity: Let it go! Let it go!

The Christmas nativity: Let it go! Let it go!

Posted: Tue, 02 Dec 2014 by Stephen Evans

After it this week emerged that some school nativity plays are losing their religion, Stephen Evans argues that schools should be free to innovate and have a bit of fun with their festive plays without po-faced nativity police telling them they can't.

Predictable... Read More »

Tags: Christmas, Education

Transport to faith schools: Local authorities shouldn't be subsidising religious segregation

Transport to faith schools: Local authorities shouldn't be subsidising religious segregation

Posted: Thu, 06 Nov 2014 by Stephen Evans

A "hideous form of discrimination" or the justifiable removal of a religious privilege? NSS campaigns manager Stephen Evans takes on Conservative MP Nigel Evans over the removal of transport subsidies to faith schools.

Last week, during Education Questions... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Transport

Sixth formers: You have the right to withdraw!

Sixth formers: You have the right to withdraw!

Posted: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 by Stephen Evans

Sixth form pupils can excuse themselves from acts of worship – but it appears some schools aren't so keen on recognising their students' rights to religious freedom.

Sixth form pupils over the age of sixteen have, since 2006, enjoyed the right to withdrawal... Read More »

Tags: Collective Worship, Education, sixth form

Teachers shouldn’t be the victims of religious discrimination

Teachers shouldn’t be the victims of religious discrimination

Posted: Tue, 16 Sep 2014 by Stephen Evans

The degree to which we tolerate discrimination against teachers in state-funded faith schools would be totally unacceptable in almost all other areas of public life, argues Stephen Evans.

Parents with children at a primary school in East Sussex expressed outrage... Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Faith Schools

Principles of secularism and equality must be defended

Principles of secularism and equality must be defended

Posted: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 by Stephen Evans

Attempts to erode equality and undermine secularist principles must be challenged, argues Stephen Evans.

Those seeking to preserve or carve out additional privileges for Christianity in the UK appear buoyed by news that the Equality and Human Rights Commission... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Equality & Human Rights

Ministerial role that promotes religion should have gone, not just the Minister

Ministerial role that promotes religion should have gone, not just the Minister

Posted: Wed, 06 Aug 2014 by Stephen Evans

As Eric Pickles takes over Baroness Warsi's ministerial responsibilities for promoting faith, Stephen Evans argues that the job should have gone, not just the minister.

In one of the more popular moves of her political career to date, Baroness Warsi this week... Read More »

Tags: secularism

Why the time has come to end compulsory worship in schools

Why the time has come to end compulsory worship in schools

Posted: Fri, 11 Jul 2014 by Stephen Evans

With the launch of a new petition calling on political parties to make the removal of the collective worship requirement part of their education policy, NSS campaigns manager Stephen Evans explains why the time has come to relieve schools of the obligation... Read More »

Tags: Collective Worship, Education, Religious Freedom

School chaplains: the Church of England's latest plan to evangelise in schools

School chaplains: the Church of England's latest plan to evangelise in schools

Posted: Tue, 03 Jun 2014 by Stephen Evans

With the majority church schools now employing Christian chaplains, Stephen Evans questions whether public money intended for education should be used to fund the Church of England's missionary work.

A new study on school chaplaincy, published last week by... Read More »

Tags: Church of England, Education

‘Halal hysteria’: Religious exemption from animal welfare law is the real issue

‘Halal hysteria’: Religious exemption from animal welfare law is the real issue

Posted: Thu, 08 May 2014 by Stephen Evans

Food retailers should be upfront about what they're serving up, but the main issue is one of animal welfare, and the religious exemption that allows animals to be slaughtered without being stunned, argues Stephen Evans.

Halal again hit the headlines this week,... Read More »

Tags: Religious Slaughter

Faith schools: whose education is it anyway?

Faith schools: whose education is it anyway?

Posted: Thu, 06 Mar 2014 by Stephen Evans

Education policy and practice should focus more on children's independent interests and building a shared society rather than pandering to religious groups motivated by self-preservation, argues NSS campaigns manager, Stephen Evans.

According to a comprehensive... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

The Church of England’s unrelenting exploitation of the nation’s schools

The Church of England’s unrelenting exploitation of the nation’s schools

Posted: Wed, 20 Nov 2013 by Stephen Evans

The Church of England's intention is clear. State funded schools will be regarded as churches – and serve as pulpits for evangelisation, argues Stephen Evans.

Parents and their children may have deserted the pews in droves – but that doesn't really... Read More »

Tags: Church of England, Education, Faith Schools

Secularism seeks to balance everyone’s religious freedoms fairly. Why would anyone oppose that?

Secularism seeks to balance everyone’s religious freedoms fairly. Why would anyone oppose that?

Posted: Tue, 19 Nov 2013 by Stephen Evans

Despite the claims of its critics, secularism protects the freedom of conscience for all citizens, and welcomes believers and non-believers into the public square on equal terms, argues Stephen Evans.

As the old idiom goes, throw enough mud and some of it will... Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Religion & Belief, Secularism

Evangelism in schools?

Evangelism in schools?

Posted: Fri, 11 Oct 2013 by Stephen Evans

A report published this week by the National Secular Society has shone a much needed spotlight on the activities of evangelical Christian organisations operating in our children's schools.

The report reveals a concerted effort from evangelical organisations... Read More »

Tags: Education

Egyptians are in urgent need of the protection secularism can offer

Egyptians are in urgent need of the protection secularism can offer

Posted: Wed, 14 Aug 2013 by Stephen Evans

Earlier this week a ten year old child was shot dead as she walked home through the streets of Cairo on her way home from Bible study.

Jessi Boulus was the latest target of Islamist extremists who have targeted Egypt's Christian minority, holding them partly... Read More »

Tags: Egypt, Islam, Middle East

Why the Guides’ new Promise is something to be celebrated

Why the Guides’ new Promise is something to be celebrated

Posted: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 by Stephen Evans

The reaction to the Girlguides decision to amend their promise has been greeted in some quarters as if it signals the end of the world.

Some Christian commentators have sought to portray this as yet another 'attack on Christianity'. It is of course nothing... Read More »

Tags: Girl Guides

Woking: equal treatment vs. religious privilege

Woking: equal treatment vs. religious privilege

Posted: Wed, 05 Jun 2013 by Stephen Evans

This week, The National Secular Society launched legal action against Woking Borough Council over its policy of offering free parking to worshippers, while charging others.

Woking Borough Council, like Bideford Town Council before it, has come out fighting.... Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Parking

Why are children being forced into faith schools?

Why are children being forced into faith schools?

Posted: Thu, 25 Apr 2013 by Stephen Evans

By Stephen Evans, Campaigns Manager, National Secular Society

When primary school places were allocated in England last week, around sixty thousand families missed out on their first choice of school. For some parents, this meant their children being placed... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

Take part in the Scouts and Girl Guides consultations on the promise

Take part in the Scouts and Girl Guides consultations on the promise

Posted: Tue, 08 Jan 2013 by Stephen Evans

Despite describing themselves as "open and inclusive" organisations, both the Scouts and the Girl Guides currently insist that new members take a 'Promise' that includes a religious oath. However, this could all be about to change.

The Scouts have launched... Read More »

Tags: Girl Guides, Scouts

Census 2011: What has caused this massive flight from Christianity?

Census 2011: What has caused this massive flight from Christianity?

Posted: Tue, 11 Dec 2012 by Stephen Evans

So, now we have the census figures and, as expected, there has been a huge drop in the number of people declaring themselves Christian in Britain – from 72% to 59%. The rise in those declaring they have no religion has risen from 15% to 25%.

So what has... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, statistics

Why won’t the Government get serious about caste discrimination?

Why won’t the Government get serious about caste discrimination?

Posted: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 by Stephen Evans

When the Equality Act was passed by parliament in 2010, it was hailed as a piece of landmark harmonising anti-discrimination legislation that embraced new discrimination strands and strengthened existing ones. One discrimination strand that didn't quite make... Read More »

Tags: Caste, Equality & Human Rights

An important lesson that politicians can learn from the American election

An important lesson that politicians can learn from the American election

Posted: Wed, 07 Nov 2012 by Stephen Evans

"The Religious Right is dead" announced the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday morning after the defeat of the Republican Party in the US election.

The headline was over a blog by the paper's rather wacky blogs editor Damian Thompson, but Mr Thompson seems to be... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Obama, Politics, Romney, USA

Time to rethink the Church's role in state education

Time to rethink the Church's role in state education

Posted: Mon, 01 Oct 2012 by Stephen Evans

It's the same every year. No sooner have kids gone back to school than we notice a spike in calls to the office from parents concerned about the amount of religion being forced down their children's throats. This year it appears to be on the increase.

In March,... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

Time to challenge the religious slaughter of animals

Time to challenge the religious slaughter of animals

Posted: Fri, 07 Sep 2012 by Stephen Evans

Last week, the Birmingham Mail reported that Birmingham City Council's trading standards department had seized hundreds of chickens as part of an investigation into selling of meat wrongly labelled as halal to Muslims.

It turns out that some businesses had... Read More »

Tags: Religious Slaughter

Faith based welfare looms as local authorities ask 'Big Society' to feed the poor

Faith based welfare looms as local authorities ask 'Big Society' to feed the poor

Posted: Wed, 29 Aug 2012 by Stephen Evans

As the UK economy stagnates, charity-run food banks are booming. But as most are run by churches and faith groups, secularists should be concerned about reports that local authorities are considering funding such initiatives.

Cuts next year to the social fund... Read More »

Tags: Big Society, Charity, Public Services