The Scarboro Missions Golden Rule poster is making a global impact. Here at Scarboro Missions, we are constantly receiving e-mails and letters about the poster. And they are coming from all over the globe. We also receive newspaper articles about the poster from various parts of the world. Here are some recent samples of these e-mails, letters and articles
The Scarboro Missions Golden Rule poster is making its way around the world. What began as an obscure idea in the basement of Scarboro Missions’ headquarters is now emerging as a ‘coat of arms’ for the international interfaith movement.
This striking and beautiful four-colour poster features a written and symbolic depiction of the Golden Rule in 13 religions. Scarboro Missions has been overwhelmed by both the success and the universal appeal of the poster.
Most striking is the diversity of audiences that are purchasing this piece of multifaith art. This audience includes penitentiaries, airports, seniors’ homes, corporate offices, hospitals, schools, religious institutions, universities, social justice groups, stores, Sunday schools and private homes.
Various institutions use the poster as a healing tool. For example, a network of addiction recovery homes in Calgary, Alberta, utilizes the poster in its programs. Jeff Archambeault, chaplain to North Bay Psychiatric Hospital in Ontario, has discovered some very creative ways to use the poster with patients and staff at the hospital. In the words of Archambeault, “this amazing poster just keeps on giving.”
In the weeks following the September 11 tragedy, multifaith prayer services took place all over North America. Organizers of many of these prayer services used the Golden Rule poster in a number of ways in their efforts to promote forgiveness and healing.
Schools are the biggest audience for the poster, with accompanying lesson plans now being planned for elementary and high school classes. World religions classes find the poster extremely useful. Joe Wey, a teacher at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in Toronto, begins his world religions program with the poster. Says Wey, “Most of the students have studied only Christianity, so some of them are surprised to see the similarities among the religions…We teach not just tolerance, but respect for other religions.”
In tune with Scarboro Missions’ global vision, the poster is travelling the world. Fr. Tony Cereskos of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales writes from Divine Word Seminary in the Philippines: “Thank you very much for the kind gift of the Golden Rule posters. We plan to have one framed for one of our classrooms. The message of the poster is very timely for the Philippines. As you are probably aware, Muslim-Christian relations here are very tense and problematic, especially in the South.”
In the coming years, Scarboro Missions will join with people all over the world in translating the poster into several languages. Indeed, we have every reason to believe that this piece of theological art will continue to work its wonders in terms of interreligious healing, unity and reconciliation.
The framed Golden Rules poster was presented to Mrs. Gillian Sorensen, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations on January 4, 2002. It was presented by the Board of the North American Interfaith Network (which has sixty-five member organizations) and Scarboro Missions, on behalf of the people in the many religious, spiritual and humanistic communities who honour these Golden Rules. In presenting the poster, the following statement was read:
Because the United Nations is a home for our highest human ideals, and because the world’s religions have a duty to articulate and promote those ideals, we are honoured to present you with “The Golden Rule.” In this poster, thirteen religious and spiritual traditions state a universal principle in elegant and distinctive forms.
These Golden Rules are evidence of a Global Ethic that transcends nations, civilizations, and religions. Yet no other statements so clearly summarize the simple practices of kindness and sustainable human conduct. In recent years, gatherings of religious and spiritual leaders have confirmed that “this ancient precept is found and has persisted in many religious and ethical traditions of humankind for thousands of years. . . [and] should be the irrevocable, unconditional norm for all areas of life, for families and communities, for races, nations, and religions” (Toward a Global Ethic).
The United Nations provides a unique forum where the subtleties of this universal principle can be translated into the realm of international affairs. We are inspired by key United Nations documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its premise that those rights we wish for ourselves shall be granted to others as well. Equally challenging is the principle that no nation will find peace until it wants for others the same peace and security it seeks for itself.
We believe that these Golden Rules, also known as the “law of reciprocity,” must be obeyed by all nations, and that, in the interests of global security, no nations or leaders may exempt themselves. Whatever is hateful or injurious to ourselves, we must not do to others.
Failure to adhere to these moral principles brings great hazards to all, ranging from unsustainable development practices to environmental crises and nuclear threats with their inherent potential for catastrophe. Nations must treat other nations as they wish to be treated.
Together, these precepts remind us that our diversity can flourish within a greater and simpler unity – the human family, with its common origins, needs, and aspirations. The Golden Rules teach that no one – no nation, culture, or religion – is an island unto itself. Drawing on time-tested wisdom and experience, they presume our interdependence and declare our personal responsibility for the common good.