Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons Issues Statement in Support of International Golden Rule Day

5 April 2012

On the occasion of the 4th annual International Golden Rule Day which was established by our member Ambassador Mussie Hailu from Ethiopia, we the members of Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons, a Cooperation Circle of URI, declare our emphatic support for the role of the Golden Rule in conflict prevention and peacemaking and also stress its importance in bringing about the end of the threat posed by nuclear weapons.

Human society has ethical and moral norms based on wisdom, conscience, and practicality. Many norms are universal and have withstood the test of human experience over long periods of time. One such principle is that of reciprocity, reflected in the Golden Rule’s call to “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” 

Application of the Golden Rule brings equity. Inequity brings instability. The claim by a handful of states that nuclear weapons are a legitimate and stabilizing weapon in their hands and immoral, illegal, and destabilizing in the hands of other states is intrinsically inequitable and thus dangerously unstable. The equity and integrity of the Golden Rule is thus perverted into “Do as I say, not as I do.” 

If possessing and threatening to use nuclear weapons is a means of deterrence legitimate for some, others will surely follow suit and nuclear weapons proliferation will result. Should all states be able to have nuclear weapons or should no states have nuclear weapons? 

114 Nations are members of Nuclear Weapons Free Zones thus rendering Latin America, Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific virtually nuclear weapons free. These countries are less threatened with nuclear annihilation than countries which have nuclear weapons. 182 nations have renounced these weapons as non nuclear States parties to the Nuclear Non proliferation Treaty, in which even the nuclear weapons states promise to pursue nuclear disarmament. The basis for applying the Golden Rule to nuclear weapons is well founded. 

How long will we continue to see nations seeking to build peace based on the threat of annihilation rather than the promise of reciprocal understanding? It is time to apply a new and practical iteration of the Golden Rule: “States should treat other States as they wish to be treated.” 

We stand in solidarity with the International Golden Rule Day and, as individuals of diverse faiths working in cooperation on this issue, cannot emphasize enough its importance in bringing people together to work towards the elimination of Nuclear Weapons. It underlines the shared morality that lies at the heart of religion around the globe, a morality in which nuclear weapons have no place. 

Dr. Sidney Drell, Professor of Theoretical Physics (Emeritus) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory; Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution 

Roger Eaton, Technology and Communications Coordinator for URI-North America 

Ambassador James E. Goodby, former Ambassador to Finland; served as Vice Chairman of the U.S. Delegation to the Strategic Nuclear Arms Negotiations with the U.S.S.R. Bipartisan Security Group Expert 

Jonathan Granoff, President, Global Security Institute 

Ambassador Mussie Hailu, URI Regional Director for Africa and Representative at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa; Chair of the Interfaith Peace-building Initiative CC in Addis Ababa 

Dr. Abraham Karickam, URI South Zone Coordinator for India; former Director of Comparative Literature at the Mar Thoma College in Kerala, India 

The Honorable Secretary George P. Shultz, former Secretary of State and Chairman of the President’s Economic Policy Advisory Board under President Ronald Reagan 

The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, President and Founder, United Religions Initiative; Retired Episcopal Bishop of California 

Monica Willard, URI NGO Representative at the United Nations 

Sam Ruben, Executive Assistant, URI Global