Just as soon as "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson seems to have avoided having his goose (duck?) cooked in the boiling pot of public opinion and with the television network airing his popular show, an unearthed video from a few years back has the famous duck hunter's feet dangling right back over the cauldron. The Christian Science Monitor reported (via Yahoo News) Dec. 31 that said video, Phil Robertson, who is speaking before a 2009 Georgia gathering of the Sportsman's Ministry, tells the group that in order for a man to choose a good wife, she should be about 15 or 16 years old.
And if you're thinking that the much-castigated (by the left, by GLAAD, by the NAACP) and the much-supported (by the right, by the attention-hoarding uninformed, by conservative politicians, by hundreds of thousands of free speech-minded individuals protesting and signing petitions, and at least one liberal talk show host) was taken completely out of context, well... you'd be partially wrong. Robertson did say it. However, to be fair, the "Duck Dynasty" patriarch does seem to have a dry, tongue-in-cheek delivery that suggests he's only partially serious. It's all in the delivery, as it were.
But critics are claiming he was promoting pedophilia, which is far from the truth.
To explain: At the gathering he told the men in the audience about a time when he gave a young man advice on marrying. So he told the guy to make certain the woman he picks "can cook a meal" by sampling some of her cooking. "Make sure she carries her bible," he went on, as recounted by Access Hollywood (via Yahoo OMG), noting that that would avoid "a lot of trouble down the road." And he added that if a woman "picks your ducks, now, that's a woman." (For those not in the know, picking a duck involves de-feathering and/or cleaning. It's part of preparing the duck for cooking. That's Phil Robertson with an inside joke to the gathering of sportsmen.)
Robertson goes on to give even more advice: Marry them young.
"They got to where they getting hard to find, mainly because these boys are waiting 'til they get to be about 20 years old before they marry them," Robertson said in the video. "Look, you wait 'til they get to be 20 years old the only picking that's going to take place is your pocket. You got to marry these girls when they are about 15 or 16. They'll pick your ducks. You need to check with mom and dad about that, of course."
It is basically the same advice he gives in his No. 1 New York Times bestseller, "Happy, Happy, Happy," where he writes that a teen bride would “pluck your ducks” while a 20-year-old “would only pick your pockets.” To avoid confusion, Robertson adds in his book, "Now, that's a joke, and a lot of people seem to laugh at it, but there is a certain amount of truth in it."
And part of that truth can be found in Robertson's own life. He married Miss Kay when she was sixteen.
Part of that same truth can be found in current Louisiana state law, where the age of consent is 16 years of age, but marriage can only happen with the consent of the parents. There are special considerations for women under the age of 16 but, according to a marriage guide put together by Huffington Post in 2012, "permission is limited to a written order by a juvenile court judge."
Phil Robertson just weathered a controversy where his anti-gay remarks and seeming insensitive comments regarding blacks got him suspended by AETV from the filming of "Duck Dynasty." However, he was reinstated by the network after a massive popular backlash. And although the recently unearthed video advising marriage to 15- and16-year-old girls might be used to malign the Robertson family patriarch, it is doubtful that a second controversy surrounding the 2009 video will get as much traction as his earlier comments did. Nor should they...