COMMENTARY: A Misuse of the Golden Rule
Published: August 22nd, 2019
In July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning President Donald Trump for his Twitter remarks directed toward four Democrat congresswomen, calling the remarks, ‘racist.’ The floor vote to approve was 240-187.
All four GOP representatives from Oklahoma voted against the resolution.
Fifth district U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn, D-Oklahoma City, voted with the majority. In a press release Horn said: “Growing up, my parents taught me the importance of the golden rule. Of treating everyone, no matter who they are, with dignity and respect. That’s what today’s vote was about. I’m troubled on many levels by the tone and tenor of our discourse. And I’m troubled by the remarks of the President, which are below the dignity of the office he holds.”
The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as you would wish to be treated. It is a precept found in many religions and cultures.
It has such universal appeal that in 1993, 143 leaders of the world’s major religions endorsed the Golden Rule as part of the “Declaration toward a Global Ethic.” Most young children, no matter their cultural or spiritual background, are taught a form of the Golden Rule.
John Piper says this about the Golden Rule: “If we will put God back in the Golden Rule, we will see that it is not a bland bit of moral counsel intended to improve us slightly. It is a radical way of living that can be followed only by those who daily experience the infinitely great generosity of God in their own lives.”
First, Horn didn’t follow the Golden Rule. Invoking higher ethics as justification for her vote and ignoring remarks of her four Democrat colleagues’ hateful rhetoric in this battle of mud exposes Horn’s ignorance of the Golden Rule. The Rule is about justice. Horn didn’t treat Trump as she wished to be treated — she judged, she condemned — the exact opposite of what the Rule teaches.
John Calvin said about Christ’s command in Matt. 7:12: “We are here informed, that the only reason why so many quarrels exist in the world, and why men inflict so many mutual injuries on each other, is, that they knowingly and willingly trample justice under their feet, while every man rigidly demands that it shall be maintained towards himself.”
Second, President Trump didn’t follow the Golden Rule. While attacked first, Trump struck back twice as hard. In what has become a pattern, his attackers then transformed to victims and the cycle of balderdash escalated. Both parties used sensationalism and puffery to gain publicity for their position. Neither party took the high road in their actions and it is important that Christians do not excuse misbehavior, no matter who is committing it.
Alistair Begg teaches the Christian Golden Rule is believers directing their love toward their enemies and giving to those who offer nothing in return.
The Golden Rule is certainly not a tool of vindication to be used to justify a vote in Congress.
Steve Fair is Chairman of the Fourth Congressional district of the Oklahoma Republican Party. His columns appear regularly at CapitolBeatOK.com, an independent news website based in Oklahoma City. He can be reached by phone at 580.252.6284 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His blog is stevefair.blogspot.com.