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C. S. Lewis on Marriage: Church and State

Found on the Internet: An interesting quote from C. S. Lewis in 1952, relevant (possibly) to current controversies about 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 Mahommedans 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


I found the quote here: C.S. Lewis on marriage governed by the State and marriage governed by the Church.

This raises the question: to what extent should the laws of the state emulate Christian values? What is the state’s interest in marriage? The Church’s interest is clear to me: discipleship. The Church is teaching and supporting the Christian way of life, discovered through interaction with it’s Scriptures. Do what extent to the interests of church and state overlap? I ask because I really don’t know.

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