Tackling Lies with Biblical Truths Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson on the Theft of America’s Soul
He’s never owned a cell phone, he’s never turned on a computer, but somehow Phil Robertson is able to dominate media sharing his values and beliefs, and a little hunting and fishing too. The former star of the reality show Duck Dynasty is now identifying lies and offering solutions to create positive change in the country. His book, The Theft of America’s Soul. Blowing the Lid Off the Lies That Are Destroying Our Country, breaks down what he feels is needed for lives to thrive. We caught up with the seventy-two-year-old father of four to talk more about how faith transformed his life, raising men to love the Lord, and his unwavering love for the simple life.
Interviewed for Risen Magazine
Risen Magazine: The topic of your new book is so needed right now. How did you settle on the ten lies the devil has used to destroy America’s soul?
Phil Robertson: I share a Jesus with thousands and I keep hearing these recurring statements about, “Well there is no God. I’m just down here. I’ve lost my house, my car, my wife, my job… I’m on foot, I’m in the rehab.” When you work with enough of ’em, you just begin to put together, the puzzle and say, “You know, we’ve tried this no God thing for about the last sixty years.” That started with my generation. First the beatniks, then the hippies, and the rest is history. My simple question to America is, “How is this no God thing working?” Just looking at our culture. It’s a sad sight, I never thought I would see it.
Basically, I just put those things together. Jesus said that the devil is the father of lies. Just step back and look at these empires, they rise and fall. Listen to this, “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control…” Think about the rehabs and all of those that died of opioids. “…brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous…” They slaughter their own children. “…rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” That’s just a little two-thousand-year-old writing on the way it’s going to be in the last days. What do you think? Was the apostle Paul onto something, or what?
RM: You don’t just share of the lies, but you also offer solutions. You give ten counter-truths to put God back into culture and turn the country around. How do these biblically-based principles make a difference?
PR: Well, it’s really ironic that you had Jesus, mistake-free God, in a human body. Mistake-free. And look at what they did to Him. Just think about it. One of the questions he asked the people who were trying to kill him in John, chapter 8, He said, “Can any one of you prove me guilty of sin?” Of course, they were speechless. Then He went on to tell them the reason they wanted to kill Him was because they belong to the evil one and they wanted to carry on his work.
By the way, not only did they hate Jesus without cause, He never made a mistake. Here I am, a fallible human being who has made a lot of mistakes, but I repented, turned to God, and I’m trying to point others toward Jesus saying, “Look, He’ll remove your sins and on top of that, guarantees you can be raised from the dead.” It wouldn’t do much good if He just removed our sin because physical death would be a factor and we wouldn’t be covered, but He made sure He covered both of them.
For the life of me, I do not see the downside of living a godly life in Christ Jesus, with the hope that we have. Somebody said to me one time, “You’re rich and famous. Boy, you must be on top of the world.” I reminded them that riches cannot remove my sin and no matter how much fame I ever get, it can’t raise me from the dead. Therefore, first thing’s first, I point people to Jesus. I take a cursing from time to time and a little brow beating, but amazingly, I love them anyway and say, “Just think about it.” And they’ll curse at me some more, I’ll smile and I move on and tell the next one.
RM: You went through a personal transformation when you became a Christian, will you share a little bit about how your life was changed?
PR: I have two degrees from Louisiana Tech University and it struck me one time, I thought, “You know, I’ve never heard any college professor say a word about the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. Not one kind word about God my entire college experience.” Remember, I’m a product of the ’60s, so I’ve been high, drunk, and laid with the worst of them as they say, but at twenty-eight years old, I said, “I’m kind of like a dog chasing his tail. I just wonder if there’s anything to this God-thing.”
So, I started to investigate Jesus Christ and amazingly, I thought, “Whoa, wait a minute, we’re talking immortality here.” The more I read, the more I investigated Him, the more I came to see there is a lot to Jesus Christ that I had missed. Big time. So, I said, “I’m in. I’m repenting and turning to you, God.” That was forty-four years ago and the rest is history. I’m just convinced He was exactly who He said He was; He did what He said He did. I can put it to you this way, if this is a lie, it took about forty writers to put this book, the Bible, together over about a five-thousand-year span. How in the world do you get forty people living hundreds of years apart, or maybe even thousands, to all tell the same story? It’s amazing, so therefore, I just try to share that with my neighbor.
RM: You’ve raised four boys, have more than twenty grandchildren and even a handful of great-grandkids; as a parent, what do you think was the most impactful in keeping your kids connected to Christ and making the Lord a priority?
PR: I made sure my four sons understood that I love their mother. That’s number one. I loved their mother and I wanted them to know that. Two, I wanted them to understand that we are living a life of restraint here, so there won’t be any mischief and cutting up and carrying on and belligerence, cursing, or whatever. There won’t be any of that around here. The rules were not that many. Do not disrespect your mother was rule number one. Two, no fighting in the house. If it comes to blows, three licks for everybody involved. And the third one was, if you tear up perfectly good equipment for no good reason, that’s three licks. That was the code and amazingly, I raised them all, and listen to this, not one time did any of my four sons – beginning with Alan, then Jase, and then Willy, and then Jep – not one of them at any time during their entire child-rearing ages, until they got to be teenagers and on to college or wherever they went, not one time did they ever disrespect me. Not once.
I took the Scriptures and it says they’re useful. “All scriptures God-breathed and they’re useful…” it says, “…for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, and for training the man of righteousness,” so that’s exactly what I did. I used the Scriptures and I taught them, I rebuked them, I corrected them, trained them with the Scriptures, and I made sure they understood where it was coming from and it turned out wonderfully. They all have kids now and they all got a hold of me through the years and they said, “Dad, thank you for raising us the way you did because now that we have children, and our sons and daughters, we understand why you set the agendum to code.”
The left-wingers can say what they want to about the patriarchal system, they’re nothing but tyrants, guys like me, but it’s the opposite. I just made sure they understood that I loved their mother, I loved the God of Heaven, and I loved His son, Jesus. There is an eternity out there and they can all be in on it. By the way, they’re all [my sons] faithful Christians, they’re all married to the same women, and everything is just rocking along. Most of them are millionaires now along with me, so we were mightily blessed by God. That’s for sure. When we all get together now, there’s quite the group. But they did thank me for raising them the way we did, Miss Kay and I.
RM: You’d mentioned having a couple degrees. Some may not know that you have a Master’s in Education and spent several years teaching before you founded Duck Commander. What was it about nature, hunting and wildlife that had such a pull on you to make that switch?
PR: It was the text from the apostle Paul, what he said to the Thessalonians. He said, “Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, to work hard with your hands, doing something good, so that your daily life will win the respect of outsiders so that…,” and here’s the key, “…you won’t have to be dependent on anybody.”
Once I saw that, I said, “That would be a good way to roll. I think what I’m going to do is find me a place, with Miss. Kay, down the river, and I’m gonna fish for a living and sell the fish and we’re going to not have a whole lot of money, but we’ll survive when I catch the fish.” And I said [to my wife], “You see this duck call?” I had one that I had built for myself. I said, “I’ll get this on the market. You’ll have some of that long green in your britches, honey.”
I told her [when looking for a place to live], “It has to be on a river, now, so get on a river.” She finds a place and we’re still living here today. We didn’t build big houses and all that when we got Duck Dynasty money and the fame came and went. We just stayed in our same little house like we’ve always done. We’re still here living the simple life. You’ve got to remember I’m a guy who’s seventy-two years old and stayed in the woods most of his life, or on the water. I’ve never purchased a cell phone. I’ve never owned one. And I’ve never turned on a computer in my life. The irony is, I’m on the Internet and I’ve never turned on the Internet. Which is pretty unusual. People have said to me, “Well how in the world do you function, Robertson, without a cell phone or a computer?” My answer is always the same, “Very peacefully, thank you.”
I say, “What am I missing by never having a cell phone or a computer?” And they always look at me with this funny look and they say, “You know, in the grand scheme of things, Mr. Robertson, you’re probably not missing that much.” I said, “What else could I achieve if I’d had them? What do you want me to be, rich and famous?” I say, “I did that without a cell phone or computer!” [Laughter] Therefore, I prefer the quiet life, the minding your own business and working hard. I trusted God as I went for it. I trusted capitalism and I worked hard, and I stayed down here and I minded my own business.
RM: With that being said, it begs the question, that with your reality show Duck Dynasty, how did that ever become an option? Were you hesitant about ever being involved or did you immediately think it would be a tool to the reach masses with your faith?
PR: Here’s exactly my logic. When they pitched it to us, the big wheels of New York came down, A&E, and they sat here pitching the idea of us doing the reality show. They pitched their idea, I was silent, I was just listening. When they left, my four sons looked at me, with their wives, and they said, “Dad, what about it?” I said, “Well, I don’t know why in the world anyone would want to see a bunch of rednecks hunting ducks.” I said, “However, if the Almighty is behind this, He may be providing a way of reaching a lot of people. So, if He’s behind it, it will go ballistic. You can’t stop it, it will be a juggernaut.” I said, “Therefore, I’m for whatever y’all want to do. But if God’s behind it, maybe that’s what all this is about.”
As it turned out, the fans from Duck Dynasty are still coming down here. I now have a locked gate and video surveillance because for some reason, I get a few death threats from time to time. People come up here at the gate and we’ve met them and we’ll bring them down, but you would not believe the ones we’ve converted to Christ since Duck Dynasty started and even to this day.
Yesterday I was driving in and I looked at my rearview mirror. There was a van coming fast right behind me and I’m getting to my gate to unlock the code and I said, “Hmm…” I always carry a w
eapon with me, so I thought, “If this bunch is trying to assassinate me, they’re in for a shock.” But no, it was some people who had been at a religious retreat and they had tracked me down, probably
Google Earth, and found out where I live, and they had their wives with them. We stood out in the middle of the little dim road that comes into my house downhill the river and they wanted me to pray for them. I prayed for them and we just stood in a circle in the road. I prayed for them that God would protect them, and protect them from the evil one, and bless their labor. I’d never seen them before in my life. I asked them where they were from and they said, “Ohio.” They come all the way from the great state of Ohio.
The Theft of America’s Soul. Blowing the Lid Off the Lies That Are Destroying Our Country is available on Tuesday, February 5.