C.S. Lewis was not a Baptist, but he is held in high regard throughout Christendom for his books and writings. I remembered this quote from Mere Christianity when I was thinking through the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday. I doubt Lewis would have been scandalized by the ruling. I wonder if he might even have been opposed to Christian opposition to same-sex marriage:
“Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question—how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mohammedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not,” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, New York: HarperCollins, 1980, paperback edition, 2001, 112.)
Although my disagreement far outweighs any agreement I may have with him about embodying a Christian morality in the law, it appears that we now have little choice but to adopt Lewis’s idea of two kinds of marriage if we are to maintain any kind of respect for the law (with the protections, benefits, and accountability it affords to married couples) and fidelity to our conviction that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman.