Over at Religion Dispatches, Sarah Posner reports that the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute’s annual banquet will be hosted by Phil and Alan Robertson of the enormously popular reality show Duck Dynasty. Phil, the family’s patriarch, is perhaps best known to those who don’t follow the A&E show about the Robertsons, a family of entrepreneurial duck hunters in Louisiana, for the homophobic remarks he made in a GQ interview earlier this year (he was briefly suspended from the show as a result). His eldest son Alan, who joined the show in its fourth season, is a preacher, and the Robertson family’s devout Christian faith is prominently featured on the show.
They’ll be talking the Messianic mantle from George W. Bush, who headlined the event last year. His participation rankled Jews, who objected to his involvement with an organization that, as Posner explained at the time, aims “to ‘restore’ Israel and the Jews and bring about about the second coming of Christ.”
According to the event’s website, the November 1 evening promises a “fun-filled evening” with the Robertson duo: “They’ll share heartwarming and hysterical stories about filming the show, what goes on behind the scenes, their lives, their faith, their family, and ducks. The event will be unscripted and unrehearsed, so who knows what tales of trials, tribulations and triumphs will be told!”
Seats at the Fort Worth, TX, event start at $100, with Duck Dynasty-themed tables going for as much as $10,000.
The Robertson’s involvement will likely stir less controversy than George W. Bush’s appearance did, as the former president’s well-documented interest in Judaism was particularly notable. For the Robertsons, who have expanded their duck call fortune with a seemingly endless supply of licensed merchandise, this is likely just another public appearance and opportunity to affirm their Christian faith.
Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.