Rush-die, by Polyp

Freethought, open enquiry and free speech – or ‘free discourse’, as it has elegantly been called – are often concerned with the critical and dispassionate examination of controversial subjects. Arguably, there is no freethought worth the name unless these subjects can be discussed. Not to discuss them, out of fear of causing offence, is tacitly to accept the imposition of ‘blasphemy’ laws or taboos on whole areas, not just of abstract ideas, but of our lives and humanity. Granted that they should be discussed, the question is how.

In 2022, the Freethinker was concerned with developing ways of approaching difficult topics, as far as possible in a civilised, clear, intelligent and objective manner, but without fear of offending those who want to impose silence on anyone who disagrees with them. We shall continue with this approach in 2023.

Below is a selection of articles on six of last year’s themes that were most controversial, sensitive or liable to be censored: Islam, blasphemy, the trans debate, race, the pandemic, and China.


Silence of the teachers – by Nath Jnan

The ‘Women’s Revolution’ – by two activists in Iran

The radicalisation of young Muslims in the UK: an ongoing problem? – by Khadija Khan

The price of criticising Islam in northern Nigeria

Blasphemy, freedom of religion and freedom of speech

The secular religion of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster – by Mienke de Wilde and Paul Cliteur

Secularism and the struggle for free speech – by Stephen Evans

Jesus and Mo on civil rights – cartoon by Mohammed Jones

Blasphemy Month at the Freethinker

The trans debate

The falsehood at the heart of the trans movement – by Eliza Mondegreen

‘A godless neo-religion’ – interview with Helen Joyce


Race: the most difficult subject of all? – interview with Inaya Folarin Iman

The pandemic and civil liberties

‘The defence of liberty is a state of mind’ – interview with Jonathan Sumption, Part I

‘The light of democratic scrutiny was switched off for two years’ – interview with Adam Wagner

When science and civil liberties clash – by Helen Dale

‘To protect us all’: the UK government’s contempt for Parliament during the Covid pandemic – by David McGrogan


Jackboots in Manchester – by Simon Cheng

Hong Kong exodus, 2021-22 – by James Lin Shan Hon

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