Chick-fil-A, the chicken-slinging fast food chain, has served up a plate of controversy by coming out against gay marriage.
In a recent radio interview Chick-fil-A president and chief operating officer Dan Cathy spoke proudly of his company’s commitment to Christian values. Then Cathy went a step further when he opined, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.'"
Cathy reiterated the company's position this week in an interview with the Baptist Press. Said Cathy, “We are very much supportive of the family – the Biblical definition of the family unit.”
Cathy's personal beliefs are of no interest to me, and he certainly has every right to his opinions and is free to express them, just as I am free to buy my chicken sandwiches somewhere else. Likewise, Chick-fil-A is a privately-owned business and, as long as they don't illegally discriminate against gay employees or customers, they have every right to trumpet their own causes. They can even stock their board as they have done with self-righteous homophobes who donate millions to anti-GLBT activists. And although alienating a fair segment of the lunchtime crowd might be a questionable business practice, with most of Chick-fil-A’s restaurants located deep within the Bible Belt, perhaps stirring this particular pot doesn't carry the same risk it might elsewhere.
But I know what you're thinking: What about this “Biblical definition of the family unit” Cathy and his chicken-hawkers believe in? Those who actually read the Bible – not to be confused with those who merely enjoy thumping it – will find that the Good Book never defines the family unit. Not in the Old Testament, not in the New. Nowhere. On what constitutes a family unit the Bible is curiously mum. So what kind of families does Dan Cathy believe are Chick-fil-A families?
The Bible is brimming with stories of faithful families from which we may draw our own conclusions. From Genesis to Revelations, the Bible abounds with instructive examples of the family unit. God-fearing, God-approved family units. Chick-fil-A-approved family units.
There's the family of Moses, for one. Moses had two wives. One was a Kushite, the other his cousin, Zipporah. Moses' relatives objected -- to the lady from Kush. Lamech, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob -- all those Biblical patriarchs had two wives. God was cool with that; how about you, Dan?
Abraham had solid family values. In fact, he valued family so much he married his half-sister, Sarah. This made Abraham and Sarah's children their nieces and nephews, too. Those kids were their own cousins. Confused? Somehow God managed to keep it all straight.
Abraham’s brother Nahor, was likewise a “family” man. Nahor married his niece Milcah; Milcah’s offspring were not just her children but her first cousins. Family reunions are a lot easier to put together when everyone is already living in the same tent.
The Bible tells us that mighty King David enjoyed a large family, complete with multiple wives and concubines. Yes, concubines. God apparently kept an open mind.
David's son Solomon went for sheer volume. The Bible tells us he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Family units like that can put away a lot of chicken sandwiches, huh, Mr. Cathy?
Then, of course, there was the Jewish carpenter who married an adolescent girl already pregnant with someone else’s child.
Family units all, each with God’s blessing.
Glad we've cleared that up.