Will All the Ducks Fly Away?

“God, Family, Ducks…in that order.” So reads the Twitter profile of Jase Robertson, one of the stars of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” reality show. It looks like that saying is about to be tested. A&E has suspended Phil Robertson, father of Jase, Willie, and Jep Robertson and founder of Duck Commander, for his recent comments about homosexuality in an interview published in GQ.

A&E released the following statement:

We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.

Apart from the irony that Phil Robertson was doing an interview with GQ, the substance of his comments was not really surprising. In the interview Phil calls himself a “Bible-thumper,” and the author describes this commitment to the Bible by saying that Phil “thumps that Bible hard enough to ring the bell at a county-fair test of strength.”

The controversial statements that have led to his suspension from the blockbuster show revolve around the issue of homosexuality. The interviewer asked, “What, in your mind, is sinful?” Phil responded:

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. 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.

In a further discussion of homosexuality, Phil makes a somewhat crude biological case against homosexuality and concludes by saying, “But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

So now both sides have spoken. Phil spoke his mind on homosexuality and other issues, and A&E has spoken by indefinitely suspending Phil from future filming.

What should Phil and his family do now?

For the Robertson family, this will be a test of their family creed. From the beginning of the show, they have committed to “three no-compromises” of “faith, betrayal of family members, and duck season.” The first two are now on the line for the Robertsons. The patriarch of the family has essentially been fired from the show for expressing his religious views. The rest of the men, including Duck Commander president Willie Robertson (one of Phil’s sons), are about to have their allegiance to family tested. Do they go on without Phil or stand by him?

When asked about the sons’ views on morality, the youngest son, Jep Robertson, replied, “We’re not quite as outspoken as my dad, but I’m definitely in line. If somebody asks, I tell ’em what the Bible says.” It’s now time to see if the Robertson family sticks together through thick and thin.

What’s the right decision for the Robertsons? I think they only have one option—walk out on the show. Sure, the show could go on without Phil, but the family couldn’t. Either Phil is a part of the show or no one is on the show. That is the only option.

Perhaps Phil was being more prophetic than he realized when he told the interviewer that the show would not last forever. He said, “Let’s face it. Three, four, five years, we’re out of here. You know what I’m saying? It’s a TV show. This thing ain’t gonna last forever. No way.” This may be the end of “Duck Dynasty,” but it would solidify a family who is committed to no compromise on faith and betrayal of family.

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Drew Magary, “What the Duck?GQ, January 2014. (*Warning: This article contains profanity, not from Phil Robertson or any other members of the family but from the interviewer.)

A. J. Marechal, “‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Phil Robertson Fired Following Anti-Gay Remarks,” Variety, December 18, 2013.

5 comments

  1. I totally agree, and I will be praying for them. I myself am boycotting A&E, I have sent them an email stating why and that I totally agree with Phil Robertson because he stands on the Word of God.

  2. Oh, there is no doubt that the show will probably end soon. As much as I enjoy the Walking Dead, I won’t be returning to the network until they submit some kind of apology and bring Phil back.

    1. I’m pretty certain A&E won’t let him back on the show. They can’t walk this decision back with their stated position on LBGT. The real question is whether the Robertsons walk away. The family actually holds the power right now, believe it or not. If they walk away, A&E stands to lose millions of viewers and dollars. The DD guys can launch their own internet show and keep 8-10 million of their 14 million viewers.

  3. My question is why not keep filming? I don’t see it as abandoning family. Take the early church in Acts, for example. Some were obviously persecuted and fled from Jerusalem. Others, namely the apostles, remained in Jerusalem. Were they turning their back on each other.
    Why can’t the family keep the platform the show affords them going while Phil uses his time to flee and spread the Gospel in other places? What are your thoughts on this scenario?

    1. The comparison with the early church doesn’t work. Persecution caused the believers to flee. Phil was fired for speaking his mind. If the family keeps on going, they are making a statement about money over family. The strength of the show is that the family always sticks together.

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