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Phil and Kay Robertson, with Phil's brother Si in the background.
Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for A&E Networks
Phil and Kay Robertson, with Phil's brother Si in the background.

An interview with Phil and Kay Robertson

Television | Before being fired for his biblical beliefs on homosexuality, the Duck Dynasty star and his wife told WORLD what makes their life in Christ so happy, happy, happy

Yesterday, Phil Robertson of the Duck Dynasty clan became the latest media figure shot down over his stance against homosexuality. Duck Dynasty—which chronicles the life of the Robertsons, a Louisiana family who has made it big selling duck calls—recently finished its fourth season on A&E with record-setting audience numbers. More than 11.8 million viewers tuned in to the season opener alone, the highest ratings ever for a cable nonfiction show.

Yet Robertson’s popularity so far has been no protection against the hounds of political correctness. After he criticized homosexuality in a just-released interview with GQ, A&E’s producers put Robertson on “indefinite hiatus,” effectively firing him from the show.

It’s a familiar story. Just this fall, a devoted fan base could not protect Orson Scott Card, the award-winning author of Ender’s Game, who was targeted by pro-homosexual groups like Geeks OUT for his views on gay marriage and effectively made to cower in the shadows during the release of the film version of his popular science-fiction book.

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Robertson’s colorfully blunt but biblical condemnation of homosexuality is now being repeated all across the fruited plain. And while his anatomy lesson on sex was more graphic than it needed be, Robertson’s clear testimony that homosexuality is sin (taken from 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) represents his real offense.

Many who watch the program won’t be too surprised. Robertson is characteristically matter-of-fact about a lot of things our culture prefers to ignore, and his stance against homosexuality is no mere personal prejudice. Instead, it represents a life submitted to the teaching of the Bible.

At the end of each Duck Dynasty episode, the family sits down at the table together. Robertson, the paterfamilias, asks them all to bow their heads—sons, daughters-in-law, brothers, grandchildren—and together they thank Jesus for their food, their family, and their many blessings. It’s a rare sight on any TV show, and one that represents the heart of the Robertson clan: faith, family and food.

As Duck Dynasty fans consider what it will mean for the show they love if Robertson is removed from that place at the head of the table, WORLD offers an exclusive interview with Phil and his wife, Kay, conducted via email on Nov. 21, where they talk about what Christ has meant to their relationship, as well as what makes their table scene so attractive.

Phil, your bestseller last spring, Happy, Happy, Happy, as well as Miss Kay’s new cookbook, reveal your life together hasn’t always been easy, considering Phil’s rowdy lifestyle before coming to Christ. What does it mean to you to be able to sit down with your family and pray and eat together? How does that represent your values as Christians?

PHIL: Two of the central ingredients to our family are food and faith, so sitting down together and thanking God for the food He’s provided means everything to us. Prayer is a natural part of our lives—not only around the dinner table but all day long.

Unlike many of us who sit down to a meal made with ingredients purchased solely at a grocery store, you often literally bring home the bacon, squirrel, or crayfish. What is your favorite animal to hunt/catch and eat? And do you ever taste the buckshot?

PHIL: I enjoy almost all of the game we kill. I only like to eat game that I have cleaned. I guess duck and dressing are still one of my favorites. We prefer fat green-winged teal or wood ducks for our dressing. I have bitten down or swallowed a few pellets through the years. My uncle had his appendix removed and there were over 100 lead pellets in it. He might have died of lead poisoning. Now that is eating a lot of game!

Kay, your kitchen and recipes remind me a lot of my grandmother’s—except for the frog legs! You’ve written that your taste in cooking as well as your faith came largely from your grandmother. How did she influence your cooking and your life early on? How did you come to own her faith for yourself?

KAY: I guess the main thing my grandmother did for me was spend time with me. Sometimes we’d just sit on the swing out front and talk—mostly not about anything important. But when you spend a lot of time together, the important things have a way of weaving themselves into your conversation. Nannie taught me all kinds of things about nature, and she taught me to love animals, especially dogs. My Nannie always seemed to be cooking in the kitchen. If someone was sick or had a death in the family, Nannie was the first one to take a comforting dish of food to them. Now as I pass my love of cooking down to my grandchildren, I make sure to wrap our cooking in my unconditional love for them.

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