Thank God for Duck Dynasty’s Robertsons
By Scott Buttram
I recall the first time I stumbled across an episode of “Duck Dynasty” and the first thought that crossed my mind: Here we go again.
From the reality television genre that brought us “Honey Boo Boo,” another embarrassment from the South. These ZZ Top wannabes would really be the icing on the cake of Southern humiliation. But like anyone else who comes across a train wreck, I paused and watched for a few minutes. I was hooked.
This was different. Very, very different. It was anything but a train wreck.
For starters, these people were funny. Not in a laughing-at-them, but in a laughing-with-them kind of way. Quick wits and sharp minds are a good beginning description.
But there was more that appealed to me. There was no dirty language or barrages of bleeps that are a staple in most reality shows. Clearly, morals matter to these people and the family gathered around the kitchen table to give thanks through prayer is a very familiar scene. Sort of a comfort food for the eyes and ears, if you will.
The Robertson family of “Duck Dynasty” is a family of Southerners — finally — that we don’t have to apologize for. That’s what I thought. That’s what I still think. The last 48 hours have not deterred that for me.
In the interest of full disclosure, the Robertsons are members of the church of Christ and so am I. But before I knew that, I already felt a kindred spirit because so much of what I saw looked so familiar. They represented the South that I grew up knowing and that I still love. A South where God comes first and all things revolve around that axis.
When the first story popped up about Phil Robertson’s interview with GQ and the headline screamed that gay rights groups were angry, I really didn’t give it much thought. That a Bible believing Christian views homosexuality as a sin isn’t really news to me. That a gay rights group didn’t like that message wasn’t really news, either, so I didn’t bother to read the story.
This morning I awoke to news that the network that airs “Duck Dynasty,” A&E, had suspended Phil for his comments and that did grab my attention. This story was bigger than I realized and I immediately searched the web to find the GQ story that ignited this firestorm of controversy. Not only did I read the GQ story, but several others from several sources reporting on the fallout.
The story by Drew Magary of GQ proved to be quite educational. For starters, I was slammed between the eyes with a “god*****” in the first paragraph and peppered with F-bombs and a host of other words throughout the story that would have resulted in soap in the mouth in the home where I was raised.
Evidently, it is perfectly acceptable for a major magazine to take the Lord’s name in vain, but unacceptable to share one’s faith in that same Lord. I haven’t read one mainstream news article questioning or so much as raising an eyebrow in regard to the writer’s language. To my knowledge, he hasn’t been reprimanded or suspended. But Phil Robertson’s expression of his faith in a country in which that expression is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution results in condemnation.
How does that make sense?
One quote by Robertson jumped out at me. I had not seen it reported in other stories and I realized there was a reason for that. This quote didn’t fit into the picture that the mainstream media wanted to paint of a homophobic, Southern Christian, so why bring it to the table? Best to leave it out of the stories, especially if the goal is to portray a Christian in the worst possible light.
“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell,” Robertson told GQ. “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?”