Skip to main content

Who We Are

1995 to 2010

1995 Dan Bruce's Thru-Hiker's Handbook for the AT (Appalachian Trail, a 2000-mile Georgia-to-Maine footpath that I completed in 1979) commends the golden rule as "a good standard to live by on the AT (as in the rest of life), and the relatively few problems that develop among hikers could be eliminated if this simple rule were observed by everyone. It requires that you value and respect your fellow hikers in the same way you expect them to value and respect you."

1996 Jeff Wattles's The Golden Rule, the first scholarly book in English on the golden rule since the 17th century, gives an historical, religious, psychological, and philosophical analysis of the golden rule.

1996 Harry Gensler's Formal Ethics studies moral consistency principles, emphasizing the golden rule.

1996 Confucian scholar David Nivison calls the golden rule "the ground of community, without which no morality could develop: it is the attitude that the other person is not just a physical object, that I might use or manipulate, but a person like myself, whom I should treat accordingly."

1996 Tony Alessandra and Michael O'Connor's The Platinum Rule proposes that, instead of treating others as we want to be treated, we treat others as they want to be treated. 

1996 Amitai Etzioni's The New Golden Rule dismisses the golden rule in two brief sentences and gives as the "new golden rule" a norm to balance shared values with individual freedoms: "Respect and uphold society's moral order as you would have society respect and uphold your autonomy."

1997 Nancy Ammerman's "Golden rule Christians" gives a sociological analysis of liberal Christians who emphasize doing good more than orthodoxy.

2000 Paul McKenna, an interfaith golden-rule activist with Scarboro Missions in Toronto, creates a poster that teaches the golden rule's global importance and presence in the world's religions. The poster has sold 100,000 copies across the globe, with copies in different languages and many prominent places.

2000 Richard Kinnier's "A short list of universal moral values" summarizes research into which values are common to nearly all societies. The golden rule is seen as the clearest and most impressive universal value.

2000s DUO ("Do unto others" - connecting the golden rule with volunteer work to help the larger community) and TEAM ("Treat everyone as me" - emphasizing people helping each other within a given school, sports team, company, or military unit) become popular models for implementing the golden rule.

2001 Tom Carson's "Deception and withholding information in sales" uses the golden rule to determine the duties of salespeople. Carson has us look at proposed practices from the standpoint of the salesperson (who must earn a living), the customer (who wants a good product for a reasonable price), and the employer (who needs to sell products). Any action we propose as permissible must be something we'd consent to in the place of any of the three parties.

2001 - 09 Republican President George W. Bush in at least eighteen speeches uses some variation of this distinctive golden-rule phrasing: "Love your neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself."

2001Terrorists on 11 September crash hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing 3,000 people. A key challenge of the 21st century arises: How can diverse religions live together in peace? This same day, Leslie Mezei is to interview Paul McKenna about his interfaith golden-rule poster (see

2002 Pam Evans, a world-religions teacher in Wales, is distressed at the bullying of her Muslim students. She designs a Peace Mala interfaith golden-rule bracelet (, as a symbol of golden rule commitment.

2002 Don Eberly, at the end of his Soul of Civil Society, describes how societies suffer from moral decay and confusion about values. He proposes that we turn to the golden rule, which appeals to people, is rooted in diverse cultures and religions, and gives a solid practical guide for moral living.

2002 Richard Toenjes's "Why be moral in business?" says: "The widespread appeal of the golden rule can be seen as an expression of the desire to justify our actions to others in terms they could not reasonably reject."

2003 John Maxwell's There's No Such Thing as "Business" Ethics claims that the same golden rule covers both personal life and business.

2004 Howard (Q.C.) Terry's Golden Rules and Silver Rules of Humanity in seeking a universal wisdom uncovers a great variety of golden-rule like formulas.

2005 A British television station surveys 44,000 people to create a new "ten commandments." The golden rule was by far the most popular commandment: "Treat others as you want to be treated." (Spier 2005)

2005 Izzy Kalman's Bullies to Buddies describes a golden-rule anti-bullying program. He suggests that victims be calm and treat bullies not as enemies (treating them as they treat you) but as friends (treating them as you want to be treated).


2005 Ken Binmore and others explore the golden rule's role in our hunter-and-gatherer phase. Small, genetically similar clans that use the golden rule to promote cooperative hunting and sharing have a better chance to survive.

2005 Singer Helen Reddy's The Woman I Am (p. 112) recalls her daughter asking, "Mummy, when you're not with me, how can I tell if something is right or wrong?" Reddy answered, "Ask yourself, is this what I'd want someone to do to me? Think about how you'd feel if you were the other person."

2006 Responding to a negative comment from Pope Benedict, 38 Muslim leaders write a letter to correct misconceptions, point out Muslim-Christian similarities, and call for dialogue. By 2009, this becomes a book, A Common Word, signed by 300 Muslim leaders and 460 organizations, stressing the Islamic golden rule ("None of you has faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself") and the ideals of loving God and neighbor that both faiths share. Christians, including the pope, respond positively.

2006 Mussie Hailu, an interfaith golden-rule activist from Ethiopia, translates McKenna's interfaith golden-rule poster into African languages and starts distributing fifty thousand copies, including one to every African head of state. He sees the golden rule as a path to peace, justice, and interfaith harmony.

2007 World climate experts, at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, say global warming is likely caused by humans and may lead to massive food shortages. A key 21st-century challenge arises: Will we treat future generations as we ourselves want to be treated?

2007 Donald Pfaff's Neuroscience of Fair Play: Why We (Usually) Follow the Golden Rule explains the physical basis for golden-rule thinking. The brain blurs the difference between ourselves and the other person: "It is decreased social recognition that leads someone to obey the golden rule. A person momentarily forgets the difference between himself and the other." This suggests (my paraphrase): Treat others as if the difference between you and them were blurred.

2008 Jacob Neusner and Bruce Chilton sponsor, at Bard College in New York state, a three-day academic conference on the golden rule in world religions. The papers were published in Neusner & Chilton (2008 & 2009).

2008 Pope Benedict XVI as he prepares to visit the United States proclaims: "Do to others as you would have them do to you, and avoid doing what you would not want them to do. This 'golden rule' is given in the Bible, but it is valid for all people, including non-believers. It is the law written on the human heart; on this we can all agree, so that when we come to address other matters we can do so in a positive and constructive manner."

2008 Abdullah An-Na'im's Islam and the Secular State (p. 24) argues "for a secular state, constitutionalism, human rights, and citizenship from an Islamic perspective because that approach is indispensable for protecting the freedom of each person to affirm, challenge, or transform his or her cultural or religious identity. My right to be myself requires me to accept and respect the right of others to be themselves too, on their own terms. The golden rule is the ultimate cross-cultural foundation of the universality of human rights."

2008 Christian Troll, a German Jesuit who does Christian-Muslim dialogue, suggests a golden rule for understanding other religions: "Try to understand the other's faith as you would like your own faith to be understood."

2008 Barack Obama highlights the golden rule in a video at the Democratic Convention. He often appeals to the golden rule in speeches as president.

2008 Deepak Chopra's Third Jesus begins by emphasizing how radical it is to try to treat everyone (even our enemies) as we want to be treated.

2008 Karen Armstrong, a world-religions expert who emphasizes the golden rule and compassion, wins a TED award which she uses to launch the Charter for Compassion ( Her acceptance speech urges: "If we don't manage to implement the golden rule globally, so that we treat all peoples as though they were as important as ourselves, I doubt that we'll have a viable world to hand on to the next generation."

2009 C.K. Cole's "Math proves the golden rule" (in his The Universe and the Teacup) argues from game theory that cooperative strategies do best, even though they "sound a lot like old-fashioned homilies: think ahead, cooperate, don't covet your neighbor's success, and be prepared to forgive those who trespass against you." A cutthroat strategy at first may work but later will "destroy the very environment it needs for its own success."

2009 Paul McKenna helps develop interfaith golden-rule retreats for high-school students in Toronto. His is the most extensive golden-rule site on the Web, with materials on golden-rule workshops, golden-rule meditations, golden-rule school curricula, and a golden-rule movie (produced by Tina Petrova).

2009 Laurie Keller's Do Unto Otters is a children's book about how various animals learn to get along using the golden rule.

2009 Ramona Moreno Winner's The Wooden Bowl, El Bol de Madera is a bilingual children's book telling how a grandson reminds his parents to follow the golden rule toward Grandpa. (See my §§1.1 & 6.3.)

2009 Neil Duxbury's "Golden rule reasoning, moral judgment, and law" defends the golden rule but raises questions about its meaning: "Does 'do unto' mean 'do good unto'? Does 'others' mean all others? Are we doing unto others as they would do unto us if we were them, or if we were us in their shoes?"

2009 Olivier du Roy's La Règle d'Or: Le retour d'une maxime oubliée, the first golden rule book in French, looks to the return of the golden rule as the natural-law norm common to all peoples.

2010 At a golden-rule conference in Edinburgh, Sohaib Saeed proposes an Islamic golden rule: "Treat others as you hope God will treat you, in this life or the next."


←  Go back                                                  Next page