"For Love of Neighbor" is a new documentary film offering a hopeful vision for Christian engagement in politics. Click here to learn more.

The Real Story Behind “Duck Dynasty”

“Duck Dynasty” has dominated cable television over the past couple years. Many find that the Robertson’s Christian values, positive messages, and wholesome humor provide a family oriented show that acts as a sharp alternative to pop culture, which has resulted in millions of viewers per episode.

Further, the Robertson family’s legacy is a perfect example of the American Dream. Patriarch, Phil, went from being lost in his ways as a drunk and abandoning his family during his younger years, to finding Christ, restoring his family, and founding their multi-million dollar family business, Duck Commander.

As most of you know, Phil—who is now 67—has unfortunately fallen prey to the ails of mainstream media, which has ignited controversy and resulted in his indefinite suspension from the show. The controversy stems from his recent interview with GQ, in which he speaks honestly about his beliefs, that much like the show, differ from pop culture and are not necessarily “politically correct”. Phil has received both backlash and support, but overall, the mainstream media has slapped him with the “anti-homosexual” label.

Is this accurate, or was Phil simply reiterating Christian standards that are outlined in the Bible?

After stating, “Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong…, sin becomes fine,” Phil was asked what he thought was sinful in his mind. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians:

Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit thekingdomofGod. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.

This quote is what sparked most of the outrage. The verse Phil paraphrased was 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and he recounted it almost verbatim. Whether or not individuals agree with biblical teachings, Phil was simply expressing his Christian values—straight from the Bible. Everyone knew the Robertson’s were a deeply religious family, so affirming a teaching in the Bible that homosexuality is a sin by one of the cast members should not come as a surprise.

Moreover, while those up in arms about his remarks call him anti-homosexual, they have neglected to mention another comment he made relative to homosexuals, which echoes the next verse in Corinthians:

We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying.

So even in the article, Phil responds to those declaring his so-called disdain for homosexuals. While Phil believes homosexuality is a sin, he also believes in not judging them (as it is up to God), loving them anyways, and sharing something (the Gospel) that has brought his family such happiness and meaning.

[pullquote]     Phil’s real message is love, but he also can’t compromise his Christian values.[/pullquote]

More so than Phil being intolerant, the mainstream media has been intolerant of Phil’s beliefs and therefore jumped on the opportunity to attack his character.

Phil’s real message is love, and while he wants to love all, he also can’t compromise his Christian values. It’s the old “hate the sin, love the sinner” approach. Perhaps if people read the original article more closely, and understood the Robertson’s intentions for doing the show in the first place, they would not be so offended by his comments.

‘We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television,’ he tells me. ‘You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.’

The Robertson’s have used the show as a platform to share God’s word and save individuals. Phil was not trying to pass judgment or spew hatred, but was simply staying true to his convictions and Christian beliefs, which shouldn’t warrant his suspension from the show.

A&E not only abandoned their best show’s patriarch, but they may have thrown themselves under the bus as well. Phil’s family is standing by him, as illustrated in a statement the family released on their Duck Commander website, which you can read here. Without Phil, A&E’s most successful show in the history of the network will not go on. One winner in this situation may just be another station smart and tolerant enough to pick up their show.