Ellen DeGeneres, John McCain, and C.S. Lewis on Gay Marriage
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...
THE CULTURE WARS SOMETIMES SEEM to be more about politics than issues.
Jake Tapper, over at abc News, posted today about John McCain's appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Ellen, who is planning to marry her partner, Portia de Rossi, broached the topic with McCain, who has come out against same sex marriage.
...people should be able to enter into legal agreements, and I think that that is something that we should encourage, particularly in the case of insurance and other areas, decisions that have to be made. I just believe in the unique status of marriage between man and woman. And I know that we have a respectful disagreement on that issue.
So his concern is not whether gay couples should have all the legal rights and privileges that other married people have, but whether they should get to call their relationship "marriage".
For some reason, Ellen didn't think his stance felt inclusive.
McCain's position is, of course, a bow to the religious right—the same people who are making the Narnia movies a box-office success.
Which is curious, if you think about it, because C.S. Lewis, the Christian apologist and author of the Narnia books, also wrote about the distinction that McCain makes above, but with a different slant, in Mere Christianity.
Here's what Lewis had to say:
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...
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.
And Lewis was British. England does not even have the same tradition of separation of church and state that America does.
Under Lewis' plan, Ellen could be legally married, with all of the rights and privileges pertaining, just like any other citizen.
The religious right could still hold that it wasn't a "Christian" marriage—though there would be plenty of other Christians who would disagree.
Ellen would probably be happy with that.
I wonder how long it will be before a candidate recognizes the wisdom of this approach to the issue.
But of course, it's not about the issue—it's more a matter of politics.