“We Are All Bastards, But God Loves Us Anyway”

Reviewing Happy, Happy, Happy, the memoir by Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame, Win Bassett highlights the TV reality star’s easy-going evangelical faith:

[W]hile he sets aside an entire chapter for his advice to “Share God’s Word,” Robertson isn’t your typical evangelist; or rather, he’s a square peg unfit for the Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell round hole in which unfamiliar viewers would likely try to shove him. He’s a keen student of the Bible, often discussing the text’s application to his life and prescribing a calm faith of love and inclusion fundamentally opposed to dogma of difference and damnation. “[N]o matter how sorry and low-down something might be, everybody’s worth something. But you’re never going to turn them if you’re as evil as they are,” writes Robertson.

Perhaps a better analogy for his theology is that of Will Campbell, who died last month after famously counseling both the Ku Klux Klan and Dr. Martin Luther King.

Campbell was known for his tagline, “We are all bastards, but God loves us anyway,” and like Robertson, he frequently called himself a redneck and disliked the title of “preacher.” One of Robertson’s tales, in fact, sounds like it could come from a page in Campbell’s award-winning book Brother to a Dragonfly:

“I’m standing here under a sign that says, ‘Budweiser is the king of beers,’ and everybody’s got their beers here today,” I told them. “But I’m here to talk about the King of Kings. I know I might look like a preacher, but I’m not. Here’s how you can tell whether someone’s a preacher or not: if he gets up and says some words and passes a hat for you to put money in, that’s a preacher. This is free. This is free of charge, which proves I’m not a preacher.”