Can we apply the Golden Rule to political discussions?

What would happen if we did?

Can we call forth our better angels and treat those who have different views with dignity and respect?

As Americans, we are hungry for a respectful tone in our politics and public life. Many people of faith believe we can overcome our bitter divisions by following the ethical principle we call the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you want them to do unto you.”  Easier said than done, but we’ve all experienced the power of the Golden Rule when we’ve practiced it in our own lives.  It is both a spiritual practice and a practical strategy which can help create breakthroughs between individuals and groups.  Golden Rule 2020 is a call for Americans to accept the challenge of applying this principle to our political discussions and activities in the coming election year.

Golden Rule 2020 was launched by people in Christian churches, but actively welcomes all people–regardless of their faith. It provides an opportunity for Americans from a wide range of theological and political views to act on their concern about the polarization in our country. Congregations and individuals that participate in Golden Rule 2020: A Call for Dignity and Respect in Politics are invited to pray for our country and take specific actions to foster dignity and respect in politics.

Prominent Faith-based Leaders and Organizations Support Golden Rule2020

We are Christians with different theological and political views who have come together to express concern about the polarization and incivility that is tearing our country apart. We are also deeply troubled by the prospect of an angry and hateful political campaign season in 2020 that will further divide us as a nation.

We believe that we can find guidance through this national dilemma in the teachings of Jesus. In particular, we believe that Jesus’ command to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” should be taken seriously by Christians who engage in political activity. We also believe that if enough people follow this “Golden Rule” principle, it will help generate the respect and civility we so desperately need in our country. Churches have an important role to play in helping to heal America, and we hope and pray that local congregations will be active in efforts to increase understanding and bridge divisions in our country between now and the 2020 election.

To this end, we encourage Christians of different political views to come together on Sunday, November 3, 2019–exactly one year before the 2020 election–to participate in Golden Rule 2020: A Call for Dignity and Respect in Politics. On that day, we invite congregations and individuals to do two things: 1) pray for the healing of the divisions in our country, and 2) promote the use of the Golden Rule in our own political discussions and election activities in 2020

Denominational and Organizational Leaders
Supporting Golden Rule2020

  • Dr. Paul Baxley—Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Director
  • Most Rev. Timothy P. Broglio—United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Committee on International Justice and Peace
  • Galen Carey—National Association of Evangelicals, Vice President
  • Most Rev. Michael B. Curry—The Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop and Primate
  • Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane—United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human
  • Bishop Elizabeth Eaton—Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presiding Bishop
  • Rev. Curtis DeYoung—Minnesota Council of Churches, Director
  • Rev. Mark Ford—Love Akron Network, Founder
  • Don Golden—Red Letter Christians, Executive Director
  • Rev. Jimmie Hawkins—Presbyterian Church USA, Director, Office of Public Witness
  • Shirley Hoogstra—Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, President
  • Rev. Gabriel Salguero—National Latino Evangelical Coalition, President
  • Rev. Lee Spitzer—American Baptist Churches USA, General Secretary
  • Sandy Sorenson—United Church of Christ, Director of Washington Office
  • Ed Stetzer—Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, Director
  • Lance Walker—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Director, Public and International Affairs
Congregations can

Take Action

  • Distributing a pledge affirming the desire to practice the Golden Rule in politics
  • Issuing a joint statement to the media endorsing Golden Rule 2020 that is signed by pastors and church leaders who have different political views.
  • Preparing a Sunday School lesson on Christian teachings about the Golden Rule or using short non-denominational Golden Rule lesson plans.
  • Sponsoring a joint prayer service with members of another congregation where most people have different political views

The Golden Rule 2020 Pledge

We all have an important role to play to help heal our nation, increase understanding of each other, and bridge our divisions. I stand with other Americans by joining Golden Rule 2020: A Call for Dignity and Respect in Politics. I commit to do my best to practice the Golden Rule and treat others with respect and dignity as I engage in political discourse and behavior throughout the 2020 campaign season.

Why others took the Golden Rule 2020 Pledge:

I took the Golden Rule 2020 Pledge because (1) public discourse in America needs to improve, (2) the improvement needs to start with me, and (3) the pledge describes how I myself want to be treated by those on the other side of issues.


We cannot let our different political views divide our commitment to the Great Commission.


To take a stand agaist the politics of personal destruction that has been waged across the nation


To make 2020 a year of love and growth and learning instead of a year of distrust and status quo and blindness.


I want to be a part of the change we need.


Because we are all humans created by God. We are allowed to have differing views right or wrong and not be cast down for those views


Civil discourse is essential for the preservation of a civil society and for a faithfulness to the Christian witness.


Longing for reconciliation and civility in the church and the larger country.