It's hard to argue with most variations of the golden rule - the attitudes seem so obviously progressive and liberal-minded. As Harry Gensler, http://www.jcu.edu/philosophy/gensler/goldrule.htm, suggests it provides a test of consistent attitudes towards others and less so advice for specific situations. To me it's closer to the traditional Greek idea of virtue ethics (qualities of a 'good' person) rather than the utilitarian and deontological ethical approaches more popular in recent times. (There has been some revival of virtue ethics though).
I wonder how one would apply the golden rule (e.g. "Treat others only as you consent to being treated in the same situation.") to the following circumstance. Families of a local community are arguing over whether or not to allow creationism (or ID) to be taught in public school classes outside of religious instruction, essentially in competition with evolution. All families believe in the veracity of their positions. The conservative Christian families truly believe that revealed knowledge of God via the bible and churches takes precedence over that from human-based sciences. They see God's word as obviously more important than man's, so to speak, and should be given to all. The more secular families including moderated Christians feel the evidence from science is overwhelming and that to teach otherwise would put their children at a severe disadvantage. The two sets of families are at logger heads.
I'm curious on how one would proceed with the golden rule in mind?
Simple. The secular thinker says: Ok, we can teach your religion if we also teach about Allah, Jehovah, Shiva, Christna, Zeus, Thor, Satan, and every other form of worship currently in the United States.
That will shut them up pretty quickly. I'm sure they'd rather debate with only creationism than having to put up with every religion that has ever existed.
It came up in all those places independently of each other. Reciprocation isn't a super brilliant idea, it's fairly simple and it's not surprising that people with the free time to think could derive it.