A ‘Duck Dynasty’ profile that actually gets religion

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The Tennessean had a story this weekend that made me “happy, happy, happy.”

In a March post titled “Duck, duck, goose: Media miss faith angle on ‘Duck Dynasty,’” I complained about the media’s failure to get religion in its coverage of the Duck Family Robertson. Ever shy about touting my own stories (not), I referred to the “Faith, family and ducks” piece I wrote for The Christian Chronicle.

Well, as a leading newspaper in the heart of the Bible Belt should do, the Nashville daily nailed the faith angle (and Godbeat pro Bob Smietana wasn’t even the one wrote the story). It’s also the lead story at this moment on Gannett flagship USA Today’s home page.

Let’s start right at the top:

It took only days for famed Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow to sell out a Nashville lecture at Lipscomb University in 2010.

“Duck Dynasty’s” Robertson family did the same thing this year. Only they did it three times over.

They’re so popular, Lipscomb has to have one of their appearances for the Don Meyer Evening of Excellence in the afternoon.

Friday night marked at least the third time since December a member of the popular A&E reality-show clan took a Nashville stage to spread hunting tips and their brand of “happy, happy, happy” Christianity, to steal a phrase family patriarch Phil Robertson made popular. He’ll speak again this afternoon and tonight with wife Kay and brother Si.

Their third-season finale Wednesday set an A&E series record with nearly 10 million viewers. More in the Nashville market watched “Duck Dynasty” than any other show that day, said Mark Binda, program and research director for WTVF-Channel 5.

I’ll acknowledge that I’m not entirely “happy, happy, happy” with the reference to “happy, happy, happy” Christianity because I think some readers could misconstrue it and link the Robertsons to prosperity gospel theology, which I don’t believe they preach.

But I like that The Tennessean explores the religion behind the Robertsons’ appeal:

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Duck, duck, ghost: Media miss faith angle on ‘Duck Dynasty’

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Do you speak duck?

Last Wednesday night, the Season 3 premiere of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” delivered 8.6 million viewers, beating Fox’s “American Idol” and ABC’s “Modern Family” in the important 18- to 49-year-olds demographic.

In a featured titled “Faith, family and ducks,” I profiled the Robertson family for The Christian Chronicle this past fall:

WEST MONROE, La. — Hollywood, meet the real Robertsons.

A&E’s hit reality series “Duck Dynasty” has made celebrities out of Duck Commander Phil Robertson, his wife Kay and their bearded, camo-clad sons Willie, Jase and Jeptha, not to mention “Uncle Si,” Phil’s younger brother.

As the network portrays it, the series — whose Season 1 finale drew 2.6 million viewers — follows a Louisiana bayou family living the American dream as they operate a thriving duck call and decoy business while staying true to their family values.

For the Robertsons, those values relate to the grace and salvation found in Jesus.

But for the show’s producers, the family’s strong Christian faith seems to be an uncomfortable storyline — one frequently chopped in the editing room.

“They pretty much cut out most of the spiritual things,” Phil Robertson, a one-time honky-tonk operator who gave up his heathen lifestyle in the 1970s, told The Christian Chronicle. “We say them, but they just don’t run them on the show.

“Hollywood has run upon the kingdom of God, and there’s a rub there,” said the Duck Commander, a tenacious personal evangelist who has brought hundreds of souls to new life in the Ouachita River. “Well, we have to be as harmless as a dove and as shrewd as a snake in the way we deal with them.”

The entire Robertson family is active with the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ, which meets just a few miles from the Duck Commander/Buck Commander warehouse in this northeast Louisiana town of 13,000.

In advance of last week’s season premiere, “Duck Dynasty” got some free publicity: Singer and animal rights activist Morrissey canceled an appearance on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” because the Robertsons were scheduled on the same night.

From The Associated Press:

Morrissey says he can’t perform on a show with what he called people who “amount to animal serial killers.”

Phil, Si, Willie and Jase Robertson appeared on Kimmel’s show as scheduled and joked about Morrissey’s absence. But Phil Robertson’s comments also reflected his faith.

“Whoever he is, we love him as our neighbor, hey!” Phil Robertson told Kimmel. The patriarch of the Robertson family also offered to have a Bible study with Morrissey (as you can see in the above video).

Surprisingly enough (or not), the Bible statement — unlike the animal rights issue — did not make it into the mainstream media reports that I read.

Back in October, The New York Times featured the Robertsons and hinted at their faith:

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