Libertarianism is founded on the belief that individuals have universal rights – specifically rights to life, liberty, and the possession of property. Despite fairly widespread recognition of these rights, their universal defense (that is, an explanation of why these rights apply at all times and in all places) can often be difficult to articulate. Three predominant sub-groups within libertarianism attempt such a defense, each with a unique approach.
C.S. Lewis had some wise words regarding marriage in Mere Christianity:
“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 [sic] 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.“
Although Lewis was speaking specifically about divorce, one can see the parallels to the gay marriage debate today. As I have repeatedly stated (see here and here), what we need to affirm in the church is that we are for freedom of association, for freedom of contract, and for the independence of the church. My guess is that Lewis would suggest the same path in our situation.
Will Vaus, author of Mere Theology: A Guide to the Thought of C.S. Lewis, also has an interesting post on his blog regarding Lewis’s perspective on homosexuality.
(HT Scott K. for the quote.)