Katy Koontz, Editor
THE INSIDE SCOOP
Karen Armstrong wants to bring back the
Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would
have them do unto you. Not that the tenet
has ever gone away. As the New York Times
best-selling author and religious historian
explains, the principle lies at the heart of
every major religion. Yet Armstrong (the
subject of this issue’s “Listening in With …”)
notes that in modern times, the Golden Rule
is often overlooked, even by many representatives of the very religions
that built it into their foundations.
Initially, Armstrong was one of those representatives. She became a
nun in England in her teens but left the convent after seven years. She
taught English at a girls’ school while writing a 1982 memoir about
her difficult life in the convent. Two years after Through the Narrow
Gate was published, a British television network hired Armstrong
to work on a documentary about St. Paul, which sparked a personal
epiphany about the similarity of the core values of all major religions.
Eventually Armstrong became a prolific author of books on
religion. She then turned her expertise into activism. She’s lectured
to policy makers at the U.S. State Department, addressed the Council
on Foreign Relations, and joined the United Nations Alliance of
Civilizations, which works to promote diversity and reject extremism.
She’s also spoken at the U.N.’s first session on the role of religion in
In 2008, with a $100,000 TED prize in her pocket, Armstrong
launched the Charter for Compassion, hoping to ignite a worldwide
movement to promote the Golden Rule. Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
the Dalai Lama, singer/songwriter Peter Gabriel, director David
Lynch, playwright Eve Ensler, actress Goldie Hawn, Queen Noor of
Jordan, and the late boxing champ Muhammad Ali are among the 2
million-plus who’ve signed the charter.
I’ve twice had the privilege of seeing Armstrong take the stage at the
Parliament of the World’s Religions (the largest interfaith gathering
on the planet)—first in Salt Lake City in 2015 and most recently in
Toronto last November. Her vision of a compassionate planet and her
drive to make it happen are both impressive and inspiring.
Speaking of impressive and inspiring, I’m overjoyed to announce
that Unity Magazine has won a 2018 Folio: Eddie Award. Last October,
I traveled to New York to attend the awards gala for magazine media’s
most prestigious recognition program, full of hope because we’d been
named as finalists in three categories—two writing and one design.
When they announced the winner for single article in a religious/
spiritual consumer magazine, I immediately recognized the headline
for the story (“Going for Greatness,” from our July/August 2017 issue)
as poignantly prophetic.
Congratulations to our hardworking staff as well as to Molly
Pennington, Ph.D., whose polished prose pushed us over the top.
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