(Photo: Courtesy of A&E)
Taking hits from a series of controversies since mid-December, Alan Robertson says the "Duck Dynasty" family isn't going to back down from defending their biblical principles and, if anything, they plan to be even more bold than before.
With the barrage of media sound bites day after day, Robertson told The Christian Post late Thursday that, in this day and age, it's the way things go. "You get into the news cycles," he explained, "it's just the nature of the way things go once there's blood in the water, so to speak."
Last month, after A&E announced that Phil, the senior duck commander, was suspended indefinitely due to pressure from LGBT activist groups, such as GLAAD, for comments he made about homosexuality and sin, the family stood together and announced that they were unwilling to continue the mega hit reality TV show without the family's patriarch. Nine days later, the cable network announced that Phil was back on, with season five set to air on Jan. 15, and taping for the sixth season to get underway.
"We basically stood with dad, and I think he has the right to express his biblical views, as well as his opinions," Robertson told CP. "Obviously now, I think A&E is on board with that as well. They reinstated him, which is a good thing. I say now we just try to make a great television show and move forward. We're going to continue to talk about the Bible and try to help people, like we always have. That really never was in danger of not happening, and all this does is make us more bold to talk to people."
He continued: "Dad is a good, solid Bible man, and so are the rest of us. His views of sharing that haven't changed and ours haven't either. The biblical message is not always a popular message. There have been many people throughout history who've stood up for God and said what God needed them to say, and it didn't always mean they were popular because of it."
According to Robertson, when Christians experience difficulties or even face persecution, it doesn't change their mission, it just makes them realize that it's what Christianity is all about.
"It's not Pollyanna with us," he said. "We realize that, to be Christians, and to do what God has called us to do, it means you're going to rub up against people. And sometimes that's great when people see that and accept the Lord. Or, when they don't, it's not always so pleasant. So, there's no promise that standing up for Christ is going to be an easy experience."
In terms of sticking up for Phil, Robertson said that supporting each other is what his family has always done.
"But I'll tell you this: if someone in our family is wrong, we're going to tell them that too. It really comes down to one question: are we doing what's right, biblically?" he asked.
"With dad sticking up for the scriptures and saying the right thing, we're going to be the first people there. If he gets off track, we're going to be the first ones to tell him he's off track."
Two days after the initial controversy about Phil's comments on homosexuality and other sins was in full swing, CNN, the NAACP and even Jesse Jackson hurled accusations of racism against the Louisiana duck man for expressing his belief that the government's Great Society initiatives to combat poverty actually hurt families, opposed to helping them.
And this week, a video clip of Phil sharing his "faith, family and ducks" talk, which also includes an anecdote about marital advice he shared with a young couple during the 2009 sportsmen's ministry event in Georgia, has become the most recent "scandal."
Here's an excerpt from the video:
"I said, son, I'm gonna' give you some river rat counseling here. Make sure that she can cook a meal. You need to eat some meals that she cooks and check that out.
Make sure she carries her Bible. That will save you a lot of trouble down the road. And if she picks your ducks, now that's a woman.
They've gotten to where they're getting hard to find. Mainly because these boys are waiting until they get about 20 years old before they marry 'em.
Look, if you wait until they get to be about 20 years old, the only picking that's going to take place is your pocket.
You've got to marry these girls when they're about 15 or 16 to pick your ducks. You've got to check with mom and dad about that, of course."
For avid "Duck Dynasty" fans, Phil's comments aren't exactly shocking, because he's made a similar statement on the show. However, in her book, Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen, Miss Kay writes that she doesn't believe couples should marry young, like she did.
"I married Phil when I was 16, which was young to marry, even for the 1960s, when the average marrying age was around 20. Marrying that young is not something I would ever recommend, but I do know this: marriage isn't about finding the perfect person and then settling down for the perfect life. It's about living up to a commitment you made and learning to love the person you are committed to," Miss Kay said.
Alan Robertson's take on marrying young
For the Robertson men, the concept of getting married just before, during or after one goes to college doesn't matter, but they each chose to marry the woman they fell in love with early on, opposed to waiting for maturity to strike them later in life.
"Honestly, dad, as well as the rest of us, we really try early on in our kids' lives to teach them about the importance of finding the right person that you can grow spiritually with. So that may begin early, or it might not happen until you're older, but at the same time, most of us got married pretty young, in our teenage years," Robertson explained.
"We've always had a mindset that, as Christians, we want to find someone else who's not only going to be a complement to us, and help us spiritually, but we want to be able to help them," he continued. "We were all boys, obviously, so dad always taught us that our role was to be a spiritual leader, and to help our spouses and ultimately our children make it to heaven. So that's always been our approach in terms of picking a spouse."
Robertson, who married his wife, Lisa, when he was 19 and she was 18, noted that now, the majority of Americans wait until their late 20s, or even older, before they get married. But he prefers the idea of growing with someone, opposed to waiting for someone.
"One of the things that I think is positive, at least from my perspective, is that sometimes you grow up together. My theory is that you can grow with somebody as much as you can to wait and then supposedly grow up and then meet somebody. At least that's been our (Alan and his brothers') experience."
He continued: "We all went to college while we were married and worked through our difficulties. I guess that's just open for debate. Biblically, there's nothing about that, it's just a preference. A lot of times people, I think, go and say, 'Well, I'm going to go and learn a lot of stuff, and learn how to be a mature person and then get married,' but it hardly ever works that way."
Love, marriage and a new book on the way
Using Miss Kay and Phil's marriage as an example, Robertson reiterated that his parents went through struggles of their own, especially during the first 10 years of marriage.
"Ultimately, dad became a Christian and matured, and I think mom was always very forgiving and loving, so that always helps a lot too."
Robertson also told CP that he and Lisa have gone through troubling times in their marriage, but with their commitment to each other and help from counselors, they overcame their struggles and are all the better for it.
"Of course, we've really worked hard to try to make sure that we stay married for our entire lives. Biblically that's what we try to adhere to: one man one woman for life. So, that's always been our goal," he added. "We've worked with a lot of people who've had divorce and a lot of difficult times, and we know it can't be perfect, and that's why we need Christ."
"When Lisa and I got married, we pretty much knew that we wanted to try to build a long life together. We just celebrated 29 years. It hasn't been easy. In fact, we're going to write a book about our marriage, as an encouragement to other marriages. It will probably be released later this year or early in 2015.
He continued: "That's going to be the theme of it, because we feel that a very important calling of ours is to help marriages – especially to help marriages through Christ in difficult situations; because you know, we were there, half-way through our marriage we had a real tough time and overcame it and stayed together. We learned a lot of stuff through that process and through counselors and other people who do a lot of hard work out there every day to help marriages become strong."
"Being married isn't easy. It's a difficult thing, and it takes hard work, and it takes patience and it takes forgiveness."
How old were the Robertson brothers when they married their wives?
Alan and Lisa (1984): "I was 19, and Lisa was 18. So we were young, and we had been together probably since we were about 16 and 17, so kind-of like everybody else in the family, we started dating when we were teenagers."
Jase and Missy (1990): "I think Jase had just turned 20 and Missy was 19."
Willie and Korie (1992): "I think Willie was 19, and Korie was 18. She had just finished her first semester in college when they got married."
Jep and Jessica (2001): "They were older, oddly enough, he's the youngest brother, but they were a little bit older, maybe 21 or 22. Still very young."
Bible verses that reflect attributes of a healthy marriage
The Bible verses that Robertson recommended to CP regarding marriage are Philippians 2:3-5, and 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
"I always think Philippians 2:3-5 is one of the best marriage verses in the Bible, even though it's not really about marriage, it's about our attitude," Robertson noted. "It's the one that says, if your attitude is like Christ, where you're totally looking out for the other person or some other person's interest, then you'll always be the person you need to be."
He continued: "When I do weddings that's the verse I always use. After that couple does their vows, I say, 'Look, I know what you're thinking now, when you're standing here in front of me it sounds easy, but trust me, when you live your life out there that vow becomes difficult to hold. The only way I know you'll do it is, if you (the husband), are looking out for your wife's best interest, and if you (the wife), are looking out for your husband's best interest.' Jesus said that's what he does. He's always looking out for our best interest."
"Of course, I like 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, as well, the great love passage. Again, ironically, it's written to the Church, and how we should treat one another, but if marriages could hold up to that – keep no record of wrongs, always being faithful, always being trustful, and all those things – then marriages would be a lot stronger, I think."