The Golden Rule: a law that teaches when one is harmed we’re all harmed; when one is helped, we’re all healed. It is the base for several religions with versions of it existing in several sacred texts (see below). Recently, I have reflected on how the Golden Rule can help unite us, despite having differences.
During Pride Month it was impossible for me not to notice anti-LGBT protesters, with their hurtful signs and hateful comments on social media when it came to anything about LGBT pride or political LGBT equality.
I was disheartened—I thought we were further along than this.
Progress has been made—President Obama signed an order for LGBT equality, state bans on gay marriage continue to be ruled unconstitutional, and in my city of San Antonio, cases of violations against our fairly new non-discrimination ordinance protecting our LGBT community are surfacing and getting attention. Yet several hateful comments stand out in the discussions concerning these issues.
Comments claiming homosexuality is a mental disorder followed by a Bible verse, posts accusing the LGBT community of pushing a lifestyle they’ve “chosen,” signs that read, “God Hates Sin” accompanied by a verse—these are examples, just to name a few.
As the signs were being made, as the comments were being typed, and as the verses were being thrown as stones, I wonder at what point did these individuals decide this is what’s right?
At what point did they convince themselves that they were obeying God?
I value the Bible, however, I do not lean on verses that lead so many to hate. Instead, I lean on verses that support the Bible’s universal theme of love. Some have chosen to use the Bible to trap God’s love, but God’s love can’t be trapped in a book. It belongs to everyone. It seems to me that for certain people, the Bible itself—not God—is God.
There’s no shame in believing heaven is for people of all faiths, beliefs, genders, nationalities, races and sexualities. God does not exclude, only humanity does. God’s love belongs to everyone, and I’m looking forward to a heaven with people of all faiths.
I’m looking forward to a heaven where I stand with LGBT and straight people. I’m looking forward to a heaven where those titles won’t be necessary. But for now, I’m looking forward to a world where we are all just people trying to live and for a world where we praise our differences.
The Golden Rule tells us how we can be united in our diversity.
Although divisions exist, they do not have to be bigger than our hopes. We can unite together regardless of unresolved issues. For those who truly seek to love their neighbors, there’s unity—a unity that allows us to respect each other’s differences.
Politics often don’t change hearts, but a change of heart can change politics. Once everyone recognizes being LGBT is not a choice, then we can really start talking about equality. After all, we’re talking about people with lives, families, and feelings. We’re talking about people who have an equal right to live and be free.
We’re talking about people who are LGBT because that’s the way God created them.
Follow The Golden Rule, and change your heart to include all of God’s creations.
Christianity: In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)
Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. (Shabbat 31d)
Islam: Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself. (13th of the 40 Hadiths of Nawawi)
Hinduism: This is the sum of duty; do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. (Mahabharata 5:1517)
Buddhism: Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. (Udana-Varga 5.1)
Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. (T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien, 213-218)
Unitarianism: We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. (Seventh Principle)
Photo via flickr user See-ming Lee