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Influence of Social Forces on Behaviors, Attitudes and Opinions[1]

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Influence of Culture on Behaviors, Attitudes and Opinions

Noted as one of the most diverse countries in the world, the United States of America comprises various social groups with different mindsets and ideologies that shape the behaviors, attitudes and opinions of people. Renowned sociologist Robin Williams identified the core values of Americans. The values according to Williams were individualism, achievement and success, activity and work, efficiency and practicality, science and technology, progress, material comfort, humanitarianism, freedom, democracy, equality and racism and superiority.

(1) An article dubbed “Cheerleaders with Bible Verses Set off a Debate”, on October 4, 2012 sought to highlight the debate between the freedom and exercise of rights in Texas. The story is about a group of cheerleaders who recently created banners for their school football team with Biblical inscriptions. The use of the banners has caused heated debate in the town of Kountze regarding God and the cheerleaders’ rights (Fernandez, 2012). The cheerleaders purported that the school infringed on their rights to practice religion based on the First Amendment, which advocates for the freedom to exercise religion (Stone, 2012). The school officials based their restrictions on the violation of religious expression by the students. Additionally, the cheerleaders decided to incorporate religious messages on the run through posters, which fueled the school officials into prohibiting the use of the banners. A not for profit organization, Freedom From Religion, joined in the struggle advocating social action against the use of banners terming then unconstitutional. Unconstitutionally, judicial precedents stated that acts of religious worship forced those in the audience to take part, regarding prayer rallies in football games in high schools. Furthermore, the decision to prohibit the religious messages avoided discrimination of other students with different religions.

(2) Religious expression is part of the value of freedom highly revered by Americans. The article, though situated in a small town, sought to clarify the effects a social force such as religion had on the society. For instance, by publicly relaying their religious doctrines, the cheerleaders believed that they had the right of religious expression while the school officials and other organizations viewed the acts as discriminatory to other, different religious individuals. Thus, the effect of religion enhanced the creation of varied opinions and attitudes that either advocated for or against religious expression.

(3) Social forces have a significant impact on members of the society. Personally, a social force such as religion has an impact on my attitudes and opinions. I concur that religion is divisive because of the many religions that are present in the world. These religions are competing to topple one another despite their inherent similarities. As an influential aspect, religion drives most of the actions and thoughts I engage in since it acts as a foundation and therefore, shapes my personality and opinions regarding various matters. For instance, according to Akers (1998), religion advocates for upholding of morals and values, thus involving the shunning of society’s functional problems such as crime and deviance.

Social forces have an inevitable effect on society. Wars and government authority are some of the forces that influence the various societies they affect. Such mechanisms develop certain thoughts and opinions and therefore, change the way in which people behave. Despite the constant values in the American society, various influences are eluding such values because of the effect they have on the new generation who have no idea why such past forces are affecting them.

References

Akers, R. L. 1998. Social learning and Social Structure: A general theory of crime and deviance. Boston: Northeastern University Press.Fernandez, Manny. 2012. “Cheerleaders With Bible Verses Set Off a Debate,” New York Times, October 4, 1-2 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/us/in-texas-cheerleaders-signs-of-faith-at-issue.html?pagewanted=2&ref=usStone, G. R. 2012. The First Amendment. New York: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.

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