Posts Tagged ‘Golden Rule’

Vote For The Community You Want to See

June 5, 2014

Today I am pleased to share a post written by House of Friendship Chaplaincy Director, Michael Hackbush.

House of Friendship encourages you to vote for a poverty free Ontario

The Golden Rule is something aspired toward by most world religions. Put simply this is “do to others as you would have them do to you.”

This can be an approach to dealing with conflict in your own life and family, it can help you understand and approach problems in your work or business and it can help us ALL think about how to deal with problems we all face as a society.

Voting is one of many ways of expressing your values as an individual and when I consider who will get my vote on June 12th I will be measuring each party’s position based not on what I’ll get out of it but on what impact said platforms will have on my neighbours.

That’s because, a simple way that The Golden Rule is monetized (that is, how it is given a dollar value) is through taxes and how we collectively decide to spend money through our government. Funding for schools, hospitals, roads, community centers and unemployment benefits are something we all pay for as individuals but which benefit all of us everyday either by using them directly, or indirectly when you consider the broader benefits to health and social stability.

Do employers want to interview candidates for jobs who are sick, stressed out and starving? Or do they benefit from hiring job seekers who have not had to make hard compromises between food or shelter during a period of unemployment. What about choosing dental care for their children, or medical services for themselves or their spouse?

When I hear tax cut I interpret that as taking away from my neighbours with the least means and giving to those with the most. That sounds subjective I know. I happen to work in the not for profit social services sector and so have a deference for my neighbours who are struggling to make ends meet. But the facts are that taxes are an investment in you, my neighbour, either directly, or indirectly.

The Dollars and Sense of Solving Poverty speaks of taxes as INVESTMENT. Every dollar spent gets back more both immediately in programs supporting people but also in the future return on that investment: healthier lives, cleaner air and water, safer communities for all of us.

In Tax is Not a Four Letter Word edited by Alex Himelfarb (find it online here) Alex mentions the fact that for all the talk about cutting the 2% of the GST, not once did people ask “At what cost?”. That cost is $14 Billion each year (to date exceeding $84 BILLION) of lost social investment.

I want to collectively work with you to build better hospitals, roads devoid of pot-holes, good schools and institutions, to create a community where all can belong and thrive. My taxes afford me the privilege to partner with my neighbour and create such a place. The facts demonstrate that taxes can do that.

So when the politicians speak of tax cuts, I will ask the question, “What will this cost us?” How will this benefit my neighbour?

I try to live by the Golden Rule. I invite you to do the same.

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Our Common Ground: A 75 Year Journey

May 20, 2014

Extending the Hand of Friendship for 75 years at the House of Friendship

Throughout House of Friendship’s (HOF) 75th year of service we are Remembering, Reflecting and Renewing. This discussion starts and ends with HOF’s core values. When we introduce people to House of Friendship, we share our core values: COMPASSION – We extend the hand of friendship; INCLUSION- We believe everyone has a seat at the table; JUSTICE- We value a society where all have a voice; DIGNITY- We honour the self-respect of each person; and, HOPE – We always see hope, even in times of trouble. We explain that these values are inspired by Christian Faith.

What does this mean, ‘Inspired by Christian Faith’? We think this is a fair question. After all, we want you to get to know House of Friendship. And if we are to build a trusting, caring relationship then we need to be open and honest in all of our communications.

First, ‘Inspired by Christian Faith’ is an acknowledgement of our roots. House of Friendship was founded as an evangelical Christian storefront mission in 1939. As its services grew, House of Friendship evolved into a social service agency. It has retained a commitment to serve mind, body and spirit, but respects the right of any individual to define their spirituality at all times.

Second, throughout its history, House of Friendship has had, and continues to have, very close working relationships with local Christian churches and the Mennonite community. House of Friendship ‘For All Nations’ has always served anyone, but as it grew into a social service agency, its diversity increased. Today, House of Friendship is a diverse organization in every sense of the word, welcoming people of all faiths amongst its staff, volunteers, community partners, supporters, and participants.

Over the years we have come to understand, and to appreciate, that the values to which we subscribe are not exclusive to any one faith, including Christianity. Rather, they are our shared values, the common ground on which we stand. This is best illustrated in the Charter of Compassion (November 12, 2009), seen here:

The Charter starts by saying, “The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions.” It goes on to say that compassion demands that we work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of others and that we treat everyone with equity, justice and respect. Sounds good to us!

The Charter, the dream of Karen Armstrong, a former Catholic nun, was created on-line by more than 150,000 contributors from around the world. It is a call to action to return to this ‘Golden Rule’ as a way of building humanity and creating a just and peaceful society for all.

House of Friendship’s vision, ‘building a healthy community where all can belong and thrive’, is part of this global movement. House of Friendship is proud of its history and sees it as a foundation on which we can help build a better tomorrow.

We invite all people in our community to serve with us as we strengthen people and communities by being there when needed, speaking up and working together.