Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day

Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day January 15, 2013

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

Today’s Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day: David & Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:2-5).

It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”

So David sent messengers to fetch her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”


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  • Ooooh, are we gonna talk about the part where god killed their kid as vengeance for what David did?  Pleaseohpleaseohplease!

  • aunursa

    The traditional Jewish understanding of this passage is quite different… Was King David guilty of murder and adultery?

  • Vermic

    I wonder if I went around telling people that our word “bath” derives from Bathsheba and this story, how many would believe me.

  • vsm

    How does that interpretation square with Nathan’s parable?

  • Still sounds a lot like rape to me.

  • hagsrus

    If she was divorced then why didn’t David marry her before sleeping with her?

  • Lunch Meat

    I wonder if I went around telling people that our word “bath” derives from Bathsheba and this story, how many would believe me.

    I know a preacher who would have it in his sermon outline before you could say “”

  • Carstonio

    This sounds like the plot outline of a historical romance novel. 

  • Deborah Moore

    Just out of curiosity, how do you choose the order of these Biblical families?

  • aunursa

    I don’t know how the traditional rabbinic understanding of this passage, or specifically the Talmud, handles Nathan’s parable.  I’m just pointing out that traditional Judaism understands King David’s sin differently from the prevalent view.

    Bathsheba: Midrash and Aggadah

  •  More to the point, what’s the intent of this series?

  • Lori

    The intent is pretty well stated. Chick-fil-A (and others like them) make hay off claiming to support Biblical families, conveniently ignoring all the families in the Bible that don’t fit their definition. Their definition being one man (no more, no less), one woman(no more, no less) and at least one child (or “as many children as God decides to give you”, depending on which branch of the nutter tree you’re on). 

  • The Guest Who Posts

    Your faith was strong, but you needed proof
    You saw her bathing on the roof
    Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you.
    She tied you to a kitchen chair
    She broke your throne, and she cut your hair,
    And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah.

  • David’s total lack of political skills is what’s always struck me as the weirdest part of this story. 

    “Hello there Uriah, you’re probably wondering why I called you here today.   Well first of all I just wanted to personally thank you for your service to the nation as well as congratulate you for being home for good now.  That’s right home for good, never mind that the war’s still going on because it’s someone else’s war now right?  I’m sure your lovely wife will be thrilled to see you, at least I heard she’s lovely and… Well, have a seat my good man no won’t you?  Now the reason I brought you here is to let you know that your wife, well, she’s pregnant you see, and, I’m, umm, sure you can guess how I know that without too much help.  Now now there’s no need for that, stay calm and listen carefully please.  The best thing that you can do right now, for both yourself and for Israel, is to go home, home to your wife and YOUR baby,  and live out the rest of your days happily and QUIETLY as a well-compensated hero of the realm.  Do we understand each other, General Uriah?”

    Then there’s the question of why an absolute monarch should worry about bad publicity at all. 

  • I should have been clearer. What is the expected end result of this ongoing series? Frankly, to me, at this point  it comes off as little more than preaching to the choir.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If the only people who read it are people who agree with Fred, then yeah, it is…but Fred’s quoted people calling him on being too progressive an evangelical, which means the people he wants to read this series are reading it. Whether they’re processing the information is anyone’s guess, but he’s being read by the people whose minds he wants to change by writing.

  • JustMe

    That’s because the Talmud doesn’t believe in grey areas for the bible’s  heroes and villains.  David sleeps with another man’s wife and then kills him so he can marry her?  He’s a good guy, so it must be totally justified.  Essau makes up with his brother when they bury their father?  He’s a bad guy, so he must have had an ulterior motive.  It’s pretty consistent that way.

  • JustMe

     Right, but the evangelicals that you mentioned already know this stuff’s in the bible, right?  Even if not everybody recalls that guy who married his daughter to his slave, they know the major stories, like Jacob and his two wives, and David and Bathsheeba.

    I think really that the whole “biblical families” and “biblical values” and all this is a code.  I’m not Christian, or evangelical Christian, (I was raised Catholic, and Catholics don’t talk like that), but what I think it is, when they say “biblical families” or “biblical values”, they’re really meaning the traditions and values that developed in Western Christianity starting in the middle ages and after.  And sometimes they talk about traditional values, and that’s what they mean there.  The thing is, they’re evangelical Protestants, and the whole “tradition” thing smacks of Catholicism.  One of the ideas behind the Protestant Reformation is that religious legitimacy only comes from the bible (the whole sola scriptura thing).  So if they’re trying to state a position on a religious topic, they need to find or interpret a biblical text to justify it, which can lead to what’s known as prooftexting (and which Fred calls using clobber verses).

    So when they talk about “biblical families”,  they’re not talking so much about actual families portrayed in the bible as they are of this monogamous, heterosexual ideal family that developed over time in the Christian west.

  • EllieMurasaki

    the evangelicals that you mentioned already know this stuff’s in the bible

    You haven’t looked at the stats for who knows it was Noah on the ark and who doesn’t, have you? Even among the people who really fucking ought to know that by virtue of belonging to a religion that has the Noah’s ark story in its holy text, a frighteningly high percentage don’t know the story.

    I am not at all confident that someone who does not know that it was Noah on the ark might be someone who does know that Jacob had two wives and two concubines.

  • Lori

    As Ellie pointed out, the commenters aren’t the only ones reading this blog and many of the readers are definitely not signing in Fred’s choir.

    I also think the series can provide benefit, even for the “choir”. The fact that someone agrees with Fred doesn’t mean that they necessarily have this stuff at their fingertips when some homophobic, misogynist, Chick-fil-A lovin’ family member or coworker starts in on the Biblical families stuff.

  • SisterCoyote

    I dunno, at least this one makes it pretty clear that David was in the wrong. I think he gets off damned light for it, but this relationship at least isn’t portrayed in an “Ah well, and he was righteous and hymnals and so on” sort of light.

  • Vermic

    I think really that the whole “biblical families” and “biblical values” and all this is a code.

    Dan Cathy and others say “biblical families” because they want the perceived authority that comes from citing the Bible, regardless of what the Bible actually has to say on the subject.  In a perfect world, everyone would know better and the Chik-fil-A Brigade would have to say what they mean, which is that they want to turn back the clock to an idealized version of their memories of a certain segment of the 1950’s and/or TV shows about same.

    Although it’s too much to hope that this perfect world can come to pass, Fred might at least demonstrate to a few of these people that the Bible doesn’t have their back on this issue.

  • Carstonio

     I think Vermic’s reading of the code is more accurate. Most arguments I’ve heard against homosexuality involve sexist notions of gender roles, only sometimes claiming a scriptural basis. I’m curious to know Cathy’s own beliefs about the roles of men and women.

  • Münchner Kindl

    If this is the official jewish explanation of the passage, I’m deeply disappointed. From what I heard, I expected much better and deeper reasoning then the two bad mistakes in this “argument”:

    First, starting with the circular argument that David is holy because we praise, so nothing he did can have been wrong. That’s not how you start with it, it’s what you need to prove.

    Second, inventing an insult of the king by arguing that the king is holy because he’s a representative of God. This is difficult to square with God’s reaction earlier when the people of Israel want a king because “all the other nations have them, too” and God tells them “I’m your king, you have judges and prophets to lead you in case of war, you don’t need to be like the others” and the Israelites go “But we wanna be like the others, please” and God goes “Okay, but don’t come complaining to me when kings, being human, mess up and do bad things”.

    Apart from that, Christian kings have used the argument of mirroring heavenly hierarchy and thus deserving complete loyalty and authority, for centuries to the detriment of humanity and human rights.

    I also don’t see anything in the text that supports the explanation – Batsheba being formally divorced, David’s problem being that he orchestrated the killing of Uriah by the enemy instead of through a proper court, and not that he ordered his killing at all. The whole thing seems to come from a different text source.