World religions have more in common than most people imagine. A very basic tenet of every religion is what we call The Golden Rule. It is so well known, that even some who claim no religion at all know it: “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do To You.” 

Jesus, who was a Jewish Rabbi, summed up all the Law and Prophets with this basic understanding of God’s intention for human behavior. (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31)

Rev. Mary B. Blessing

The Golden Rule may be phrased differently in Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism and more! Known as The Golden Rule because it holds a universal truth, even when some religions use a negative language form of “Do Not Do To Others That Which You Do Not Want Them to Do Unto You”.

Twentieth century American artist Norman Rockwell expressed this Golden Rule as revealed in America. In his 1961 painting, Rockwell may have been addressing the need for healing across differences with civil rights. His painting of the United States population depicts people from all world religions in one beautiful, colorful citizenry. 

We are not a melting pot of all becoming the same mushy soup, rather a bouquet of distinctly different flowers enhancing one another’s uniqueness. The painting includes his own white male portrait amid colorful men, women and children, dressed in religious garb. On it is imprinted: Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

The U.S. was founded on the principle that everyone is free to express their own religion. Our country created a rule of law with our Constitution, rather than the rule of law of a Monarch. The very first and foremost important rule, the First Amendment, states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” 

It was understood by all that to be a healthy community we are to treat others as we would like to be treated, to follow the Golden Rule. How can we today, continue to honor our founding fathers who formed a new way of being a country, composed of people from all over the world?

Here in South Santa Clara County, we developed a welcoming space for free expressions of religious faith. Since our family moved here in 1997, we have seen the growth of non-Christian faiths blossoming throughout the region. 

Interfaith Clergy Alliance (ICA) and Interfaith Community of South County (ICSC) have done remarkable development of mutual understanding and genuine joy in relation to others who look, think, speak and express religion differently. It has made each of us grateful as we freely express such rich traditions, enhancing our own understanding of God and humanity. 

The Golden Rule has been our faithful guide, treating one another as we wish to be treated. We invite you to do the same.

The Rev. Mary B. Blessing is an Episcopal Priest serving in the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real, and lives in Morgan Hill. She can be reached at [email protected]

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