Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy: “We support biblical families.”

Today’s Chick-fil-A Biblical Family Rule of the Day: Unclean women (Leviticus 12:2-5).

If a woman conceives and bears a male child, she shall be ceremonially unclean for seven days; as at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Her time of blood purification shall be thirty-three days; she shall not touch any holy thing, or come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purification are completed. If she bears a female child, she shall be unclean for two weeks, as in her menstruation; her time of blood purification shall be sixty-six days.

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  • Darakou

    Well of course the purification period should be double, it’s her own fault for bringing another dirty, dirty female into the world! /sarcasm

  • Wednesday

    Like some of kosher law and of course the whole “menstruating women are unclean”, I think this is pretty clearly about how Blood Is Icky.

    And they say women are the squeamish ones who can’t handle the sight of blood.

  • Fusina

    On the other hand, I’d rather have a daughter under those rules. I get an 80 day reprieve from doing any chores and my only “job” is to take care of the child.

    Um, just saying. 

  • LoneWolf343

     Blood isn’t icky. Blood from THERE is icky.

    In all seriousness, though, this might have something to do with the idea that blood was the life of a creature…could also be that these laws were to protect the woman from being turned right into a baby factory immediately after childbirth. I imagine she would be pretty sore there, though I would have no idea.

  • GeniusLemur

    To be fair, this kind of thinking isn’t just the Hebrews. Dread of the menstrual flow is pretty universal across tribal societies.

  • I remember when an American Indian group came to visit Earlham College. They camped out in a grassy area, but three or four women had a tent by themselves, explaining they were “in moon”, that is, menstruating, so they stayed separate from the main group; somehow it affected their “soul mojo” (I’m not putting it right, this was 30 years ago) and the entire group’s. Next day the tribe and many of the students participated in a campus-wide Sun Dance, save for the moon ladies and myself, as I had started my own period the day before; I did not join out of respect for their beliefs (and I had really wanted to, *sigh*). I’m going to add I was (and still am) a Christian at the time.

  • JokersNuts

    You’ve never had a child have you

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    So what this really sais is, “Ew! Girl cooties!”

  • Fusina

     Two, actually. That’s how I know I would have liked it. And if I could have done nothing other than take care of the kid after giving birth, I’d have had it a hell of a lot easier.

  • A D

    Please, educate yourself on Jewish ‘Family Purity’ laws and rationale before ridiculing them.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Would you then argue that there is no sexism displayed in that excerpt, even though ex-pregnant people are clearly to be treated differently after bearing a baby with one set of genitals than after bearing a baby with the other set? Spare me how it’s not really sexist because it’s better for the woman to have a girl baby, I’ve heard it before. The point is the difference in treatment based on sex.

  • A D

    For one, you need to focus on the 7 and 14, not the 33 and 66. The 33 and 66 refer to a period of time where the blood does NOT make you impure. Which is to say, the bias is against the male child, not the female.On the flip side, immediately following birth, there is the period of 7/14 days impurity. The female birth leads to double, but also leads to a doubllength grace period in “compensation”.
    Also, in practice, the 7 days are never 7 days – they end up covering 12 days at a minimum, which brings the time differential to 2 days.
    And if you go further, practically, its counter-recommended to have sex immediately anyhow due to reasons listed above by other commenters, so the point is moot.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So there is no distinction made between male and female in the excerpt? Any other argument you can possibly make here comes out as sexist against somebody. Not necessarily women, but somebody.

  • Amaryllis

    The Chick-fil-A Poem of the Day:

    “Julia’s Churching, or Purification”

    Put on thy holy filletings, and so

        To th’ temple with the sober midwife go.

        Attended thus, in a most solemn wise,

        By those who serve the child-bed mysteries,

        Burn first thine incense; next, whenas thou see’st

        The candid stole thrown o’er the pious priest,

        With reverend curtsies come, and to him bring

        Thy free (and not decurted) offering.

        All rites well ended, with fair auspice come

        (As to the breaking of a bride-cake) home,

        Where ceremonious Hymen shall for thee

        Provide a second epithalamy.

        She who keeps chastely to her husband’s side

        Is not for one, but every night his bride;

        And stealing still with love and fear to bed,

        Brings him not one, but many a maidenhead.

    -Robert Herrick

    (“Churching” is a blessing given to women after childbirth, in honor of Mary presenting herself at the Temple, as directed by this passage, after the birth of Christ. In pre-Reformation Europe it was apparently a big social occasion, and the period leading up to it was “women’s time,” a time for the new mother and her midwives and her female friends to occupy center stage, at least within the home, while outside obligations were dispensed with.

    The more Puritan strains of the Church of England objected to the custom as female frivolity and Popish notions. Herrick’s poem is a defense of “churching” as he thought it should be: sober, serious, marking a woman’s return from the messy female territory of childbed to a proper subjugation to church and husband. Certainly not a celebration of childbirth itself: you note that his poem doesn’t even mention the baby, but manages to turn “mother” back into “bride.”)

  • Ursula L

    I wonder if some of the difference was to protect women who had given birth to a daughter, and to protect newborn girls?

    Given the strong preference for sons, I could see a woman being pressured to resume sex quickly after having a daughter, to conceive a son, and to neglect a newborn daughter, or to have others dismiss the needs of a newborn daughter, and pressure her to other work, leading to the daughter being neglected. 

    Extra time officially relieved of other work, and with the promise of official protection should she not be ready for sex, could be a helpful tool for a woman who was facing stigma for bearing a daughter.  

    And framing that protection as being “unclean” might make a man who wouldn’t leave a woman alone for her sake leave her along for the sake of his ritual cleanliness.  

  • Carstonio

    While my knowledge is lacking about that particular culture, your theory sounds like a good one. If true, the issue wouldn’t be the inequality of the rule itself, but the sexism of the society in valuing males more than females.

    Part of the problem with the Old Testament is that the cultural context often goes missing for many Christians and for many casual readers. It’s like reading Homer and assuming that Achilles and Patroclus were merely gay lovers, without a fuller understanding how ancient Greeks viewed sex and gender.