Golden Rule Radical

a global ethic for a global civilization

Weeds in a Golden Rule Garden

“What would become of the garden if the gardener treated all the weeds and slugs and birds and trespassers as he would like to be treated, if he were in their place?”  – Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), British biologist

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It was Huxley who coined the term “agnostic” to identify his position as the opposite, not of a theistic believer, but of those who claimed to possess “gnosis” or “spiritual knowledge.”  He was also known as “Darwin’s bulldog” for his advocacy of the then-revolutionary concept of evolution.

I’m not sure what context Huxley’s comment above was made in originally. But I find it curious that a man of his insight and intellect would make such a simplistic statement in regard to the Golden Rule.

Huxley’s comment assumes, as do so many people who object to the Golden Rule, that it is only applied on a one-to-one basis. That approach, to continue the analogy, would mean that, as we move through the garden, we would look at each weed as if only it and ourselves existed. If that were true, we’d be perfectly correct to leave each one to grow and continue on our way.

But it isn’t true, is it?

When we look at a garden, we have to consider not only each thing in it, but also their relationship with each other, the reason they’re there, and of course their eventual use.

A weed, while having it’s own purpose, stunts the growth of the vegetable it overshadows, which in turn diminishes the vegetable’s ability to fulfill its purpose as food for the gardener and their family, which in turn, if they rely on the garden for sustenance, affects their health and well-being.

Likewise a slug, or a bird, or a trespasser must be considered both individually and within the greater whole.

This interconnectedness is what the Principle of Mutuality teaches us. We cannot naively ignore the damage that the “weeds” of greed, or selfishness, or arrogance or anger do in society. We are compelled, if we apply the Golden Rule in full measure, to act to tend the garden and protect it.

But neither can we callously discard anyone or anything simply because we think of them as “weeds” because they differ from us in some way. All have a role to play which contributes to the whole. A garden that grew only one kind of fruit or vegetable would not provide much nourishment.

The more closely we look at, and the more deeply we live into, the Principle of Mutuality – the Golden Rule – the more challenging it becomes.

And, to the extent that we are able to meet that challenge, the more rewarding.

Good News, Better People – Media Role and Responsibility

Posted By David on April 6, 2011

“According to lead author Karl Aquino, who studies forgiveness and moral behaviour issues, four separate studies found a direct link between a person’s exposure to media accounts of extraordinary virtue and their yearning to change the world.  He said media reports could potentially play a crucial role in the mobilization of history makers if less attention was paid to negative coverage.” – from the article

This might seem pretty obvious to most of us. However, we live in a world that believes in quantifying and qualifying everything. If this research encourages even one news editor to replace even one picture of death and destruction with even one additional story of selflessness, courage, or compassion, it will be well worth it.

Golden Rule Day April 5, 2011

Posted By David on April 5, 2011

Message on the occasion of the celebration of the Golden Rule Day on April 5Th, 2011 from Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Board Chairman of Interfaith Peace-building Initiative and Regional Director of United Religions Initiative for Africa

Dear Fellow Citizens of the World

It is indeed my great honor and pleasure to present you greetings of peace and best wishes from Ethiopia on behalf of Interfaith Peace-building Initiative (IPI) and United Religions Initiative ( URI) Africa Region and send you the following message on the occasion of the celebration of the Golden Rule Day-APRIL 5Th

As you know it the GOLDEN RULE which says “TREAT OTHERS THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED” is the most prevalent and universal moral principle which is accepted and embraced throughout the world and for thousands of years it has been affirmed in many religions, traditions, indigenous cultures and secular philosophies as a fundamental principle of life and the foundation on which a global ethic is founded. Its message is simple, universal and powerful.

The GOLDEN RULE is also the best tool to educate people about respect, compassion and mutual esteem in order to achieve peaceful coexistence and solidarity among members of different ethnic groups, cultures and religions and it plays a major role to build right human relationship, and to promote the culture of dialogue so that understanding and trust may develop among individuals and peoples as these are the conditions of authentic peace

With this core and strong believe Interfaith Peace-building Initiative in 2007 proclaim April 5Th as Golden Rule Day and call upon all Heads of States, United Nations, The African Union, The European Union, the League of Arab States, Religious Leaders, Mayors, Higher Learning Institution, Schools, the business community, Interfaith Organizations and Civil Societies to join IPI in proclaiming the Golden Rule Day and to live according to its teaching to make this world a better place for this generation and generation yet to come. In response to this call different Religious Leaders, Mayors and different organizations in over 90 countries joined us in proclaiming the Golden Rule Day and many organizations are joining us on a daily base. Currently we are working the Golden Rule Day to be celebrated throughout the world and the General Assemble of the United Nations to pass a resolution on the Golden Rule Day.

Since 2007 every year IPI is also honoring individuals and organizations as Goodwill Ambassadors of the Golden Rule and Present the Golden Rule Medal. Karen Armstrong, the noted Religions scholar and founder of the Charter for Compassion, is among those who are Goodwill Ambassador of the Golden Rule

We strongly believe that the Golden Rule will help to build Alliance of Civilizations, World Interfaith Harmony and more trust, understanding, harmony and respect among followers of different religions and will create the opportunity for them to come together to resist forces of division that spread misunderstanding and mistrust among peoples of different religions.

Therefore on the occasion of the Golden Rule Day we ask different organizations to proclaim the Golden Rule Day and to promote its teaching as one practical action to create a better world for all

On this Golden Rule Day I want to extend my appreciation, acknowledgement and thanks to all individuals and many organizations in the world who are working hard to promote the Golden Rule, Compassion, Interfaith harmony and a culture of peace.

Interfaith Peace-building Initiative a URI member organization in Ethiopia is a Peace organization based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which is working to promote the teaching of the Golden Rule, a culture of peace, interfaith harmony, and constructive dialogue among different religions and cultures. URI is a global interfaith peace organization with Special Consultative status with Economic and Social council of the United Nations. Its purpose is to promote enduring daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.

May Peace and Golden Rule Prevail on Earth

Inspired by Love

Posted By David on April 1, 2011

“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” – Bertrand Russell

I first saw this quote on Century of Compassion’s Twitter feed. It is, I think, about as succinct a statement of the need to be both compassionate in our dealings with each other and the world, and to ensure that our actions are based on the most complete understanding of the mutuality that binds us together as possible.

That, in turn, means that – rather than resort to inflexible and unchanging doctrine or dogma – we must be willing to re-examine and modify our beliefs and actions in the light of new information.

To do less is a disservice not only to those around us, but to ourselves as well.

Scarboro Golden Rule Movie to be screened at United Nations

Posted By David on March 31, 2011

Scarboro Golden Rule movie screened at United Nations

Dear Golden Rule allies: the Scarboro Missions Golden Rule movie will be screened on April 5 at UN headquarters in New York. The DVD features eleventh grade students in three Toronto high schools embodying golden rule values in skits, artwork, interviews, music, dance, song, rap. The film eloquently demonstrates how character education can be engendered in young people using play, creativity and the arts.

April 5 is international Golden Rule Day around the planet. We are encouraging all groups and individuals to find ways to observe this important day pioneered by Mussie Hailu, a dynamic Golden Rule activist in Ethiopia.

See below the press release announcing the Golden Rule movie screening at the UN.

Paul McKenna

Scarboro Missions Interfaith Dept.

International GOLDEN RULE DAY to be celebrated at the United Nations  April 5th.2011 with special screening of Toronto Filmmaker’s new film.

In our globalized world, we have all rapidly become neighbours. The Golden Rule “treat others as you want to be treated...” is no longer something to aspire to, but an urgent necessity.


A film presentation of “Animating the Golden Rule…” a new documentary by  Tina Petrova. This life affirming video gives new meaning to the power of Compassion. Through self -directed explorations in rap, art and drama skits, high school youth embody what it is to live by the Golden Rule (ethic of reciprocity) in 13 of the world’s great religions.


866 United Nations Plaza

1st. Floor. Offices of the Bahai



Tuesday April 5th. 1:15- 2:45 pm.

Limited Seating. RSVP by April 1st.

to [email protected]

(212) 726 1617.

On November 12th, 2009, the United Nations unveiled The Charter for Compassion (based on the Golden Rule).

Sponsored by TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) and The Fetzer Institute, the Charter for Compassion calls upon the world to take practical and sustained action in an effort to address the political, religious and social issues of our time.

GOLDEN RULE DAY is an effort of the Interfaith Peace Building Initiative (IPI) a URI member organization in Ethiopia chaired and founded by Mussie Hailu. It was first proclaimed April 2007.

Tina Petrova is an award winning actor, writer, director and producer who is an alumni of the Canadian Film Center, founded by Academy Award Winner Norman Jewison. Critics have deemed Tina a “visionary” creating works of “faith and healing.”

Her film classic, “Rumi Turning Ecstatic” screened in 15 countries to date and translated into 3 languages – played to a full house at the U.N. in 2007.

This GOLDEN RULE DAY program is a project of The Sacred and Transcendental Arts Working Group of the NGO committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns (a Committee of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative relationship with the United Nations.)

Co Sponsored by:

The United Religions Initiative, The Fetzer Institute, Scarboro Foreign Missions, Canadians 4 Compassion, World Harmony Council, IDEAL- Spring Foundation Inc., The Institute for International Social development and Global Family

For more information, please visit: www.thegoldenrulemovie.com


Available for Interview:
Director / Producer Tina Petrova

For media inquiries please contact:

Pennant Media Group

Kevin Pennant  [email protected]

Toronto 416.596.2978

Los Angeles 818.748.7517

Is It Crazy

Posted By David on March 30, 2011

I received the following email today. I’m only too happy to share it with you. The UK-based Mind With heart blog says: :”This blog aims to inspire educators with the philosophy, science and practice of empathy and compassion education”. I hope you’ll take a look. – David

Dear David,

If you feel this is suitable, please add this post to your website (s).
Very best wishes for your work.
Love, Vinciane Rycroft
Mind with Heart coordinator

Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is…

Risky? Natural? Is it in my interest? A matter of choice? Is it crazy?

Do you wish you had time to discuss the values of empathy, respect, non-violence and compassion with young people around you?

Take part in isitcrazy.com, a real life blog for 13 to 19 year olds.

If you’re a teacher, with just two hours, including preparation, you are invited to take part in the isitcrazy teen blog between now and 13th May, along with teachers in Australia, the UK, France, Ireland and Germany. The blog is a project of Mind with Heart, an educators’ network for education in empathy and compassion.
Contact [email protected] for an educators pack.

If you are aged 13 to 19, go now to www.isitcrazy.com and check out the “call for stuff”.

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