Dr Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology,
and Director of the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life,
at the University of Oxford;
and Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

Professor Biggar will be introduced by the Rt Revd June Osborne, Bishop of LLandaff

Talk to be held at National Assembly for Wales 20th March 2018

The September 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, the June 2016 referendum on leaving the European Union, and the September 2017 vote on Catalan independence have all raised important ethical questions about national identity and sovereignty; nationalism, patriotism, and trans-national loyalties; and staying in, and withdrawing from, multi-national political unions. Is national identity just a fact to be respected or is it susceptible of moral evaluation? What kinds of sovereignty are possible and desirable? Should our loyalties not be global, rather than national? When is it right, and when wrong, to exit a political union? And, more specifically, what, ethically speaking, are the benefits of the United Kingdom, and the cons and pros of Brexit? This talk will address all these questions from a Christian point of view.

In sum the talk will reflect on:

  • national identity
  • the role of Christianity in British and European identities
  • national sovereignty
  • national vs trans-national loyalties
  • the rights and wrongs of exiting a political union
  • the benefits of the United Kingdom
  • the cons and pros of Brexit, including its effect on the Christian culture of the UK and the EU

Speaker’s biography   

NIGEL BIGGAR is the Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford, where he directs the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life. He is also a Canon of Christ Church Cathedral. Among his publications are Between Kin and Cosmopolis: An Ethic of the Nation (James Clarke, 2014), In Defence of War (Oxford, 2013), Religious Voices in Public Places (Oxford, 2009); and Burying the Past: Making Peace and Doing Justice after Civil Conflict (Georgetown UP, 2003). He has written on the possibility of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Northern Ireland in the Irish Times, on the Iraq war in the Financial Times, on Scottish independence and on Rhodes, race, and empire in Standpoint magazine, on the ethics of Trident in The Scottish Review, and on Charlie Hebdo and freedom of speech and on Britain’s imperial record in The Times. His hobbies include reading history, playing cards, walking around historic cities, and visiting battlefields. In 1973 he drove a Morris Traveller from Scotland to Afghanistan; and in 2015 and 2017 he trekked across the mountains of central Crete in the footsteps of Patrick Leigh-Fermor and his comrades, when they abducted the second-in-command of the German garrison in April-May 1944.

Professor Biggar will be introduced by the Rt Revd June Osborne. She was one of the first women to be ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 1994, and since 2017 is the 72nd Bishop of Llandaff, the first to be a woman. Bishop June’s ministry has been characterised by her passion for equality and diversity and she was a founder of the Church’s Leading Women programme.

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The event is supported by Cytûn (Churches Together in Wales), which brings together the main Christian churches of Wales for common witness and service. Cytûn also provides the secretariat for the Inter-faith Council of Wales, which brings together all the faith communities of the nation.


The event is also supported by These Islands