The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” These words appear in some form or another in most of the religions. Many consider that if one applies just this single rule to their lives, it covers all of the others.
So, why is it that it seems to be the one that is espoused so often, yet so rarely adhered to?
We are meant to be our brothers, and sisters, keepers. That does not mean that we have the right to regulate and demand their lives or their choices. It means that we are to care for them, regardless. That we are to come to their aid when needed. That we are to be a community with them and help them to be the best that they can be, offering support when needed, guidance when asked. But, as their keeper, we must allow for them to make their own decisions. To love and accept them as much in their differences as in their sameness. So long as they are not harming others in their choices, it is not up to us to mandate what and who they are.
These thoughts come to me with all the things in the current news. Komen Foundation withdrawing funds from Planned Parenthood, politicians opposing gays in the military and wanting to police the internet, doctors, employers and insurance companies wanting the right to refuse birth control, stores wishing the right to refuse to service same sex couples.
One of the most amazing and beautiful things about the human race is the diversity of it. Left to blossom and flower naturally, it is a cascade of colors and variations. Not all of the blooms will be to the liking of every person that looks upon it. Some will love the stark expanse of the desert with its thorny monuments and jutting rock faces. Others prefer the tree studded mountains where moss creeps and wraps about everything it touches. Still others revel in the marshes and swamps where the heat and moisture hang like a blanket and fill every breath with its layers of decay and growth. All, if not worthy of worship, at least worthy of their place in the universe. All worthy of fostering and maintaining.
We, none of us, can know the true mind of the divine. We speak in contradictions. We decry a woman terminating a pregnancy, yet applaud heroism in battle and the slaughter of our enemies. We say we have no right to play god by terminating that pregnancy, yet we defend sustaining a shell of a life which is kept alive with the machines of man. We set ourselves apart from the rest of the creatures of this earth, then turn and compare ourselves to them. We exclaim scientific knowledge when it backs what we want and decry them when it goes against.
We are all of us members of this human race. We are all of us gifted with the brains and free will that we can make our decisions for ourselves. We are all both cast out of a similar mold as well as there being unique variations in each casting. Some of us have red hair, some blonde, some brown. None is better or less than the other. Some of us move to math and the sciences. Some to the arts. Some to healing. The fruits of our labors, in all these areas are what we are meant to be shared freely, with all of our brothers and sisters. We are not being our brother’s keeper when we refuse him the right to seek and reach the goals that are his heart’s desire simply because he loves someone that is not one we would love. We are not being our sister’s keeper when we withdraw funding for medicine because the caregiver’s ideology differs from ours. Are the funds being used as they were agreed on, toward the purpose they were given? Does the man or woman do the job that he has committed himself to with dedication and excellence? These should be the only things that matter in such issues.
Do you feel pain when someone turns from you because you see things differently, feel things differently, want different things or look different? You would not be human if you did not. For, one of the amazing things about humans is their capacity for caring. For their ability and willingness to be their brothers and sisters keepers. We don’t have to be the same. We don’t have to agree. We don’t have to even understand. All we need to do is to think how we would feel if we were in their place. And if in that place, how we would wish to be treated. We would want to be seen as a viable contribution to our community. We would want people to look past those things that are different and look instead on what is the same. The need we all have to be loved and accepted. It all seems so very simple to me. Love them even if you don’t understand, disagree. Right will show itself on its own. And we may find that right comes in as many colors and dimensions as humans do. As life itself does.
Do unto others as is written in the most well known religions:
Christianity: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
Confucianism: Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state.
Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
Hinduism: This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.
Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.
Talmud, Shabbat 3id
Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.
Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien
Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself.
Wiccan Rede: And it harm none, do as thou wilt.