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: The right of the firstborn (Deuteronomy 21:15-17).

If a man has two wives, one of them loved and the other disliked, and if both the loved and the disliked have borne him sons, the firstborn being the son of the one who is disliked, then on the day when he wills his possessions to his sons, he is not permitted to treat the son of the loved as the firstborn in preference to the son of the disliked, who is the firstborn. He must acknowledge as firstborn the son of the one who is disliked, giving him a double portion of all that he has; since he is the first issue of his virility, the right of the firstborn is his.

  • http://twitter.com/cjhubbs Chris Hubbs

    Fred, given the Shane Windmeyer piece over on HuffPo this past Monday, don’t think think maybe it’s time to give this series a rest? I love ya, but this is getting tired.

  • Grey Seer

    On the contrary, I’m still endlessly amused and horrified at the sheer number of, frankly, fucked-up families that one can find in the bible.

    Still, this one seems… comparatively mild. As I understand it, it’s basically ‘your firstborn son is your firstborn, and thus gets the inheritance due a firstborn, regardless of whether or not you liked his mother very much’. Which is fairly neutral, really.

    Of course, I’m still somewhat against an individual getting a larger slice of the inheritance just because he happened to be born first, but that’s a separate issue.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl
  • http://twitter.com/mumbly_joe Greg

    Honestly, I think that Windmeyer piece raised a lot more questions for a lot of people than it helped answer.  The only concrete claim was based on tax documents was arguably irrelevant, and it’s not as though Cathy himself or his company has made any public statement or discernable change in policy.

    Add to that the fact that Chick-fil-A has also *previously* “publicly backed off” from the anti-gay activism only to make a quiet reversal when the heat has been off, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to take a wait and see approach while maintaining pressure, contra Windmeyer.

  • Nicanthiel

    I wonder if this was a direct response to Jacob’s parcelling out his inheritance among his 12 sons, the favored ones being the two youngest (IIRC, the only other son who got a more-good-than-bad blessing was Judah, also not the firstborn)

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     Honestly, I think that Windmeyer piece raised a lot more questions for a
    lot of people than it helped answer.  The only concrete claim was based
    on tax documents was arguably irrelevant, and it’s not as though Cathy himself or his company has made any public statement or discernable change in policy.

    Agreed.  There were certain code words in the types of organizations Chick-fil-A is still donating to that were listed in the article Shane wrote that gave me pause.  Generally speaking, a Christian organization that’s dedicated to strengthening families or marriage isn’t dedicated to helping non-straight people get married and start families.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    What I find … err, amusing (?) … is the assumption the Biblical writer has that like or dislike of the wife will map neatly to like or dislike of the son.

    TRiG.

  • interleaper

     It is comparatively mild among the entries in this series, but I believe the point here is that, once again, a dude with multiple wives is taken as a matter of course, in contrast to the “one man + one woman” formula the Religious Right wants to push as “Biblical Marriage”.

  • Lunch Meat

    I think the target here is not just Dan Cathy but ANYONE who talks about “biblical marriage” as if it means “one man, one woman who didn’t sleep together before they were married and then don’t use birth control and the man works and the woman stays home and is submissive.”

  • Trixie_Belden

    On the contrary, for someone like me, who has always found reading the Old Testament  a hard slog, these posts are often fascinating – it’s just so freakin’ weird .  Also, it’s not like it’s only Dan Cathy that talks about the virtues of “biblical families”.

  • Amaryllis

     That, of course.

    But I also notice that casual mention of having a wife that one dislikes, as a common state of affairs. And when marriage was mostly an arrangement between families, without necessarily  considering the feelings of the couple involved, it probably was common. Heck, it’s been common throughout history wherever divorce wasn’t an option.
    (I married me a wife, she gave me trouble all my life…

    Oh, I wish I was a single girl again… )

    And it may have been better for a woman to live with a man who disliked her than to be divorced without support. It may have been better to sleep with a man who disliked her and bear his children than to be scorned as a barren woman. But still, it’s not a happy situation.

    Catholics, and some Protestants, object to marriage equality because marriage is supposed to be a mirror of the relationship between Christ the Bridegroom and his bride the Church. And now we see that it’s a perfectly Biblical option for the Bridegroom to be just not that into us.

  • Makabit

    It might not, of course, but the evidence from the Biblical text does seem to be that when there is tension between wives, their sons tend to form factions along those lines. Rachel’n’Leah’n’Bilhah’n’Zilpah’s boys certainly seem to, and the only time Isaac and Ishmael seem to connect as brothers is when they bury their father. Of course, Jacob and Esau are similarly isolated from one another, and they share a mother, so who knows?

    My suspicion is that if there is real alienation between a husband and wife, the son is likely to take his mother’s side in this society. Also, a man who strongly favors one wife may well favor her son as a way of pleasing her, or trying to provide her with a better ‘pension’. Think of the modern guy who stops paying his child support to his ex-wife, while taking the second wife’s kids to Disneyland and taking out insurance policies in their names.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    the assumption the Biblical writer has that like or dislike of the wife will map neatly to like or dislike of the son

    This is historically an extremely common pattern in all patriarchal societies in which men have more than one mother of their children, and have material and social control over both the women and the children. It wouldn’t be simply an assumption by the writer — it would be an everyday fact of life. 


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