While religion may be something one would closely associate with England, religious diversity usually doesn’t follow closely behind. Growing up, school kids in America all learn the stories about how England split from the Church, and then America split from England separating Church and State. It’s a timeless tale that possibly not so inadvertently ingrains the idea of the evils of combined Church and State, along with a permanent association of England and religion. The fact of the matter is, though, while the Church of England may be the officially recognized religion of the State, with the monarch as its head, the majority of the English are not actually Christian. There is a huge amount of religious diversity around London from Catholic to Atheist, Muslim to Jediist. As mentioned in class, walking down the street one can see a Christian church, Jewish temple, and a number of other places of worship all relatively close to each other. There are regions of the world, and possibly inside the UK itself, where such close proximity to other religious beliefs would present problems, but here in London, the city residents pride themselves on their tolerance for diversity. It puts London in a unique position to be able to showcase their religious and cultural tolerance and diversity to the entire world with the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics. Hosting athletes from all over the world will result in athletes of all sorts of religions. In my opinion, though, I believe London will have no issue hosting people with such diverse backgrounds simply based off of my limited experience in the city. Every tour I have been on has made some mention of the large spectrum of people living inside the city. While my visit to Paris proved the French were clearly uncomfortable with Muslims – one of the most controversial religions with racial profiling apparent in all parts of the world – London, only a two hour train ride away, obviously embraces them and has no immediate issue with the culture. In fact, London has even introduced Sharia courts to help accommodate the most devout Muslims that try to consistently live their life by the Qur’an. This is just one of the many ways that London helps celebrate their religious diversity, which results in a positive environment for all faiths. Overall, London certainly has an atmosphere of positive religious diversity. While other regions of the world have a hard time embracing so many different cultures, or struggle with not discriminating against at least one, London makes an active effort to embrace everyone.
London is home to two of the most famous places of worship in the world: St Paul’s Cathedral and the New West End Synagogue.