Much as I love him...
During Lent, I outed myself as a big Fawlty Towers and John Cleese fan, and during the past week, many have brought this interview to my attention.
Christians who advocate that marriage is for one man and one woman are practising “a kind of Christianity that I don’t think would be recognised by Christ”, according to John Cleese.
The comedy actor made the comments during a BBC Radio Merseyside interview.
The 71-year-old actor, most celebrated for his role in Fawlty Towers, said: “Some of the fundamentalist Christians seem to be performing or practising a kind of Christianity that I don’t think would be recognised by Christ.”
On the subject of marriage, Cleese said; “I don’t think Christ said a lot about abortion or even about single sex marriage.”
“I don’t know where all these Christian doctrines came from but that had nothing to do with what Christ ever said in the Bible.”
During the interview Mr Cleese argued that the Life of Brian film, which was banned in some countries on the grounds of blasphemy, was anti-Christian. The divisive film tells the story of Brian Cohen, a Jew who is mistaken for being the Messiah. John Cleese said: “Life of Brian was never an attack on religion, which is what some people seem to pretend it was…It was an attack on how people hold religious beliefs, an attack on what I would call intolerance and narrow mindedness.”
My own comment: Cleese has been accused of making a ‘scathing attack’ on Christian values – but in fact – his comments aren't informed enough to be ‘scathing’. Cleese is openly uncertain about Christian beliefs, and is not knowledgeable enough about Christian beliefs for his opinions to be anything other than assumptions. If anything, his interview is representative of the apathy about Christian principles gripping Britain. This is not a defence of Cleese, but for sake of argument, were we take a sample of one hundred average people milling around Britain; would their interview responses be that different to Cleese’s? So much as I love him for the scripts he wrote for Fawlty Towers, I won’t be consulting him when I have a query about a letter to the Thessalonians.