The Symon Hill Column

Ekklesia associate director Symon Hill reflects on religion, society and politics

  • 15 Jan 2013

    The European Court of Human Rights has rightly declared that Christians who object to same-sex relationships do not have the right to use their jobs to practise discrimination. A critic of the ruling has claimed that they should have the same rights as conscientious objectors in wartime. This attempted parallel is inaccurate and misguided.

  • 5 Jan 2013

    The Church of England has announced that people in same-sex relationships can become bishops if they do not have sex. It is tempting to see this as a sign of progress, but for many gay and bisexual people it will be the latest message telling them that they are not welcome as equals in the Christian Church.

  • 12 Dec 2012

    The government's proposals for same-sex marriage have revealed them to be clueless about religion, contemptuous of civil rights and bizarrely ignorant about the history, culture and politics of Wales. There is a serious possibility of these proposals failing to pass through Parliament. We must step up the campaign for civil rights, not assume they have been won.

  • 21 Nov 2012

    As news came through of the Church of England's rejection of women bishops, Symon Hill was reminded of a small clique of sexist Christians who he knew at university. Supporters of equality have tried to reach accommodation with opponents, but their efforts have been aggressively rejected. We must stop appeasing prejudice and stand up for equality, he says.

  • 30 Oct 2012

    Every time that I think I can no longer be surprised by the behaviour of church institutions, I am proved wrong. Like many others, I was shocked to learn that a conference for arms dealers will take place in Church House. Thankfully, many Christians are still campaigning against the arms trade, militarism and cuts.

  • 15 Oct 2012

    A year after the beginning of Occupy London Stock Exchange, Symon Hill gives a personal reflection on the response from St Paul's Cathedral. Symon was dragged from the cathedral steps as he prayed during the eviction of the camp. He marked the anniversary by joining an act of witness and protest at St Paul's by Christianity Uncut.

  • 4 Sep 2012

    Four Christians have gone to the European Court of Human Rights to argue that Christians as a group are being discriminated against in the UK, notes Symon Hill. But it is one thing to argue for free expression, quite another to argue for the right to discriminate against same-sex couples. Meanwhile, other Christians have witnessed to their faith by preparing to go to prison for a protest aganist nuclear weapons - but that case has received far less attention.

  • 12 Jul 2012

    The 'Keep Marriage Special' campaign has attracted publicity with claims that the legalisation of same-sex marriage could lead to incest and illegal immigration. A look at the groups and individuals behind the campaign suggests that gay and bisexual people are not the only targets of their hostility, suggests Symon Hill.

  • 1 Jul 2012

    We can only guess what was going through the minds of Martin McGuiness and Elizabeth Windsor as they shook hands in Belfast last week. Several commentators recognised the symbolism of a painful process of reconciliation. Lessons from Northern Ireland about the futility of violence need to be applied in other parts of the world, and in other areas of life.

  • 12 Jun 2012

    The Church of England have today issued their formal response to the government’s consultation on same-sex marriage. They had a great opportunity to acknowledge the diversity of views within their own ranks and to move on from the defensive tone that characterises so many Christian contributions to debates over sexuality. It is an opportunity that they have completely missed.

  • 11 May 2012

    The Bible says more about money than about almost any other ethical issue. In a world where critics of capitalism are described as "unrealistic", Christians can point to a greater reality than the dominant values of our own time and culture. We can recognise that capitalism depends on faith in the idols of money and markets.

  • 11 Apr 2012

    I was dragged by police from the steps of St Paul's Cathedral as I knelt in prayer during the eviction of Occupy London Stock Exchange. The occupiers had arrived on the cathedral's doorstep after they were prevented from protesting closer to the Stock Exchange. The Occupy movement attracted a surprising degree of public sympathy and Christians, like others, were challenged to choose sides.

  • 29 Mar 2012

    Economic inequality is growing in the UK. The government is slashing the welfare state, while parts of the media demonise disabled people, benefit recipients and the working class generally. Since the 1990s, churches in the UK have spoken out strongly about global inequality. Are we now prepared to speak up just as strongly about inequality in the UK, and to make the links with the global situation?

  • 31 Jan 2012

    One of the nastier stereotypes about working class people is that they hit their children. Now, however, working class people are being blamed for not hitting their children enough. Politicians and columnists who are encouraging parents to smack their children are relying on prejudice and class stereotypes.

  • 8 Jan 2012

    Ekklesia associate director Symon Hill is planning to join in nonviolent direct action by blocking a central London road in protest against reckless driving and the policies of central and local government. In this article, he explains why.