Phil stands his ground

Last night Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame was on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show.  You may recall that Phil got in hot water last January for comments he made in an interview with GQ Magazine.  I’m still trying to figure out how a guy who dresses in camouflage and has a waist-length beard got into GQ, but I digress.  (See Why Phil Robertson is the Most Dangerous Man in America.)

It’s no surprise that Phil hasn’t changed his views, especially after winning his war with A & E Network and Cracker Barrel.   It’s great to see a TV star stand on his Christian values and not be intimidated by big money.

Here’s an excerpt  of his Hannity appearance.

Why Phil Robertson is the Most Dangerous Man in America

philThe headline reads: “A&E declares war on ‘Duck Dynasty’s’ Christian values.”  It seems the patriarch of the Robertson family made some “offensive” comments in an interview with GQ Magazine.  Before we go any further, mull that over for a moment.  A camo-wearing, bearded, red-kneck duck hunter being interviewed in a magazine called “Gentlemen’s Quarterly”?  Is the world as we know it coming to an end.  I’d say it is, but I digress.

For the uninitiated, Duck Dynasty is the saga of the Robertson family of West Monroe, LA.  The patriarch of the family, Phil, invented a duck call that sounds very much like a real duck.  (Several ducks actually.)  This duck call has made the family and their company, Duck Commander, very successful.  Phil’s son Willy has parlayed the success of Duck Commander and the unique lifestyle of the family into quite an empire, including the hugely successful TV show.

In spite of their newfound wealth, the Robertson men continue to do the things that they’ve always done, primarily hunting and fishing and making duck calls. The hook is that these multimillionaires still look and dress like red necks (their words, not mine) and wear very long hair and beards..  It doesn’t hurt that each of the sons has married a beautiful “yuppy” woman.  There’s also the mom, Miss Kay, and Uncle Si, the family philosopher.  They are unabashedly Christian.  Phil is a reformed drunk and womanizer who found Jesus and doesn’t hesitate to talk and preach about it.  In fact, Phil and all of his sons are ordained ministers.  There’s the rub.

At the end of each show the family gathers around the dinner table and joins in prayer before the meal, something that must make the A & E executives cringe.  They’ve tried to get Phil and company to forego the end of the show prayer with no success.

So, here’s the deal.  Duck Dynasty is the most-watched cable reality show ever.  A & E (and the Robertsons) are making a ton of money.  Clearly the network is between a rock and a hard spot.  They love the money but they hate it that the family is so blatantly Christian.  Most of their attempts at censorship have failed.  They’ve gone so far as to “bleep” non-profane language just to give the impression that the family swears from time to time.  It just ain’t so and it’s a pretty cheesy trick to play on their biggest cash cow.  What to do?  What to do?

Now we’re back to the GQ interview.  The Interwebs have been going crazy today, both pro and con on Phil’s comments.  As usual, it’s obvious that the critics haven’t bothered to read the interview.  You should.

There are two basic things that have the anti-Christian crowd in an uproar.  First are his comments on homosexuality.  The writer asked him “What, in your mind, is sinful?”

“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 the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Notice carefully that he said “homosexual behavior”.  Phil is a fundamentalist Christian but his view is right in line with the Catholic position on the subject.  Hate the sin.  Love the sinner.  BTW, the quote is from 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10.  Look it up.  One interesting comment on another web site was that Phil doesn’t speak for all Christians.  Clearly he only speaks for those who believe the Bible.

He also said,

“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television.  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.”

Really, Phil?  How does he get away with such hateful comments?

Another group that has it’s panties in a knot is the NAACP.  They say Phil is racist.  Here’s what he said about growing up in pre-civil-rights-era Louisiana.

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Again, look at the words.  Where is he saying anything about being anti-black.  He’s reporting what he saw and what he lived.  I see no denial that there were racial problems in those days, just that they didn’t exist in his world.  I grew up in the 60s in an all-white suburb of Saint Louis.  The only African-Americans I ever came in contact with were bus drivers, cab drivers, an occasional waiter or a janitor.  Like Phil, the blacks that I knew were always extremely happy.  I’m sure they felt the effects of discrimination but I never saw it either.  In a letter to A & E, the NAACP wrote in part, “”As you may know, Phil attacked both African Americans and LGBT people in a recent GQ interview.  Sorry guys, nice try but it just isn’t true.  Just who is the “bigot” anyway?  Does the NAACP have a problem with white Christians?

So that’s the crux of the controversy.  A cable TV network that features such epic shows as Storage Wars , Storage Wars New York and Storage Wars Texas ( where people try to make money on the misfortune of others who can’t pay the rent on their storage lockers), Bonnie and Clyde (which glorifies ruthless bank robbers), Rodeo Girls (insert joke here), and several series on house flippers, gets in bed with a family of fundamentalist duck hunters and now they’re concerned about the message that the Robertsons are sending?  They should thank God (if they believed in Him) for sending them a show with some moral values.  But obviously these country bumpkins are too smart for them.  A & E can’t figure out why Americans love the Robertsons, they can’t make them go away because of their 17 MILLION viewers and the millions of dollars that they put in the till, and they can’t censor their show because we already know who they are.  That’s why 17 million of us watch.

I notice, too, that in spite of their issues with Phil, the A & E website still contains eight pages of Duck Dynasty merchandise including an $8,500 Duck Dynasty Segway and an $800.00 camo recliner chair.

So we get back to the original question:  Why is Phil Robertson the most dangerous man in America?  First of all, he’s a man of conviction.  He knows what he believes and he’s not afraid to say it.  This is a rare quality in America today and most sensible people will respect him for it even if they don’t agree with everything he says.

Second, he has God on his side.  His scripture quotes are accurate.  He and his family and company represent values that are fading away in our society.  Deep down I believe most of us wish we could return to the more simple life and that includes praise and worship of the One who gave us everything.  If God is for us, who can be against us?

Third, and most dangerous of all, he doesn’t care what you and I think.  He’s made his millions.  He and the family are set for life.  If the TV show goes away, he’ll just keep making duck calls, preaching the Gospel, and hunting his beloved acreage.  His devotion to God and family is real, born of a lifestyle that was full of sin.  He found Jesus and all he really wants is for us to find Him too.

And finally, at least for now, he has a big megaphone.  The TV show has given him a huge audience.  Thousands of people come to hear him and his sons preach the Gospel all over the country.  His church in West Monroe is full to overflowing every Sunday.  With or (hopefully) without the “Arts and Entertainment Network”, he will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.  The current controversy will just increase his fame and his influence.  A Facebook page, Bring Back Phil Robertson, started today, already has 638,000 “likes”.  The A & E page, which has been up for five years has 580,000 likes.  Imagine that!

What we need is more “dangerous” men and women like Phil Robertson in this world.

The Robertson Family Christmas Album

The Robertson Family Christmas Album