Monday, February 13, 2012

Journal Entry #14

In our last class period, we analyzed our projects and our project research and identified areas where we could do more research to strengthen our understanding of our topics. I noticed that one area where my research was weak was in current opinion leaders in the United Kingdom. My only cited source taken from a current well-known leader in the UK was PM David Cameron. Last week, however, I did cite an article that reported on the plan of one well-known atheist to build a "temple to atheism", but other than Cameron's words I have not researched the views of any specific individuals whose opinions might resonate with people in the UK.

For today, I cited a speech given by Sayeeda Warsi that was given on January 20, 2011. To me, it was a remarkable speech to be given by a member of Parliament and of the current government about religion, and was cited by the 28th British Social Attitudes Survey that was published at the end of 2011. Her comments, coming from the first Muslim member of Parliament, were very bold in their condemnation of religious bigotry in the nation and the persistence of attitudes such as Islamaphobia and other stereotyping of religious groups or minorities. It's interesting to note her boldness with that of David Cameron's, for it shows how willing the current Conservative government is to express opinions about religion very openly. In the British Social Attitudes Survey made this last year, the author Lucy Lee commented that with the decreasing influence of religion in the lives of Britons, the opinions expressed by current government leaders is likely to resonate less and less with average citizens than before. I suppose it may never have been studied to what degree the opinions expressed by government leaders has an effect on the opinions of the populace. I, however, do believe that the influence of well known people in society have a significant influence on the normal members of society because they shape the debate of the country. It could be that Britons simply have thought much about their religious attitudes very much. Debating it openly may bring about a more assertive response from the populace about where their values really lie - whether they are for or against religion. It will interesting to use these comments as I ask questions to individuals while in London to discover how they feel about them.

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