“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
I, and I would suspect most of you, grew up with that phrase. Oft repeated by parents and primary teachers, this paraphrase of the Savior (Luke 6:31) is commonly known as the Golden Rule.
About what was the Lord teaching us with this maxim?
One word: Consistency.
Consistency is a key element of morality. If a given concept is morally good, it is good whether you’re man or woman, right- or left-handed, tall or short, American or Laotian. If a given concept is morally bad, it is bad whether it is night or day, weekday or weekend, winter or summer. And most particularly, as Christ implies in the Golden Rule, those concepts are the same for you and for me. Without consistency—If we arbitrarily determine when or to whom those principles apply—they can no longer be considered moral principles. At best they can only be considered preference or whim. At worst, they are examples of our hypocrisy.
I think we forget the concept of consistency far too often when we get into the political arena. It would be wise if we were to apply the Golden Rule more often as we contemplate current events and political issues.
- If we don’t care for the idea of the government stepping in and telling us we can’t marry the person we love, or restricting how we pursue marriage, then we shouldn’t use government coercion to interfere with marriage for others.
- If we want the sort of safeguards deemed most appropriate for protecting the innocent in the event that we are accused of a crime, then we should ensure those safeguards are applied to others accused of crimes.
- If we feel it is acceptable for our nation to have WMDs in order to protect itself, we should be willing to allow other nations to make that same decision.
- If we would not appreciate others using our government to promote their religious beliefs, we should not use our government to promote ours.
This isn’t about law and legal obligations. We are talking about basic decency.
Its a pretty simple concept, actually. I would hope more people would consider it.