76. #MeToo finds an Answer in the Golden Rule.
Updated: Apr 16
The #Me Too movement swept our world over the past decade, causing much controversy and selling a lot of valuable media space in the process.
Its most visible supporters were primarily well-intentioned, privileged, usually white women who readily attracted media attention by reason of their fame, beauty and access to the media and who, by connecting their stories with those of even more famous men, won popular attention to their disclosures.
Its aim was to end a previous tolerance of degrading behaviours at the hands of others, mainly but not exclusively men.
Despite numerous stories told by the affected women, only a few resulted in legal action, whilst their tales besmirched many who were caught up in the process.
The intention of this movement was highly commendable. It called many people to account, and brought greater focus to a level of sexual abuse of youth and children previously tolerated within institutionalised settings such as the Catholic Church.
However, in many ways the #Me Too movement merely replaced a previous situation of 'Might is Right' which indulged the powerful, with another of 'Trial by Social Media'.
This resulted in an open season on smears and accusations, a type of reverse bullying where the ends justified the means, where an uncritical public assumption of guilt paid little regard to the enduring damage done to innocent members of marriages and families whose reputations and lives were ruined. Was this justice?
Whilst fear of public shame and humiliation may impose temporary limits on the outward behaviour of perpetrators it does not necessarily change that individual's inner personal values. It may, in fact, merely make the behaviour more secretive, underground and less accountable, whilst continuing to victimise the innocent. This is not the operation of justice.
"There are spiritual principles, or what some call human values, by which solutions can be found for every social problem". --Universal House of Justice, Promise of World Peace 11.
These principles and values have existed in diverse cultures and religions across the ages. Known collectively as the Golden Rule, they address every issue, including those that are the focus of the #Me Too movement, thus providing a shared ethic for all.
Many of history's great spiritual leaders recognised in the Golden Rule a simple and readily understood means by which a family or nation or planet could learn to treat others as they would wish for themselves.
At a recent UN Leader's meeting NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reflected the global nature of this issue by suggesting a more appropriate name that expresses collective responsibility; from '#Me too' to '#We Too'.
In today's increasingly godless world, where do people turn to learn global human values? To where can concerned parents - the first educators - turn? Today the promotion of this ethic presents a mighty challenge to every parent, to every spiritual and secular educational institution.
Recognising these values as essentially peace issues, the Universal House of Justice (UHJ) observed: "...the primary challenge in dealing with issues of peace is to raise the context to the level of principle, as distinct from pure pragmatism. For, in essence, peace stems from an inner state supported by a spiritual or moral attitude, and it is chiefly in evoking this attitude that the possibility of enduring solutions can be found."---October 1985 message To The Peoples of the World.
Over time all humanity must collectively accept a range of moral principles that recognise and embody the universal values of the Golden Rule.