The Golden Rule


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The Golden Rule is such a hallowed touchstone of civilized behavior that every generation finds new ways to capture its power to inform.

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you"
"What's good for the goose, is good for the gander"
"What goes around comes around"
"Do not pass judgment until you've walked a mile in another man's shoes"
"There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven who does not know slavery is wrong; for him" - -Frederick Douglas

Some people live by the Golden Rule, while others need to be reminded. It is amazing how frequently a person will cleave tightly to their opinion as both right, reasonable and applicable to all, only to suddenly realize if their opinion were in the minority, how much they might chafe under the moral certitude of others....

School Prayer The argument for school prayer usually claims school prayer is so banal as to be a generic plea to a generic god. But, if the proponents of school prayer truly believe their particular version is fair, then (by the Golden Rule) they should not mind if the Pledge of Allegiance says "one nation, under Gods", or "one nation, under the watchful eye of the Earth Mother", or so on. Since presumably this alternative wording might be found offensive by the very people advocating prayer in school, and since there is ample opportunity for organized religion outside of school, and private thoughts throughout the day, prayer should be prohibited in school and in other governmental settings.
Equal Rights

If a women earning 80 cents for every dollar a man earns in the same job is fair, then a man should be willing to toss a coin, and swap salaries with a women coworker. If a white man protests being searched every time they board a plane, because their name is Tim McVay, then they should fight against the racial profiling of Arabs simply because of 911's connection to the Middle East.

Equal rights for others, is nothing more than equal rights for yourself.


Yes, there are circumstances (such as the overused "ticking bomb" scenario) where torture is reputed to be justified. But, do we really want other countries to achieve their moral goals by torturing American soldiers or civilians? If we cannot stomach the idea of an American being kidnapped and held in secret for years by a foreign government or organization- how can we do the same to other citizens of the world? Torture is almost never justified, and we reserve the most severe accountabilities for torturers and ethnic murders.

In those extremely rare circumstances where the "ticking bomb" upends all four Core Values of Democracy, torture can be justified. BUT, the barrier to that decision must be higher than our usual protection against search, seizure, self-incrimination, etc. Our most recent experience with torture lowered the barrier of proof and oversight- and thus violated our most hallowed core values.

Teaching Religion in School

Absolutely! To deny the role of religion in history, or its role in the live of our citizens, is to deny reality. Of course, the Golden Rule and the Freedom to Be teaches us that a course on religion must be even handed- not preferring by word or by inference one religion over another. It must fairly describe the successes, as well as the failures of religious belief through the ages. If a school is incapable of fairly portraying religion, and avoiding coercion of its students, then our Responsibility to others may require independent third parties to teach or audit such courses.

Since religion is usually first taught by family or ashram, religious courses in school might need to be delayed until High School, when students are more capable of dealing with opinions which may differ strongly with their upbringing.

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