April 10, 2014

‘Duck Dynasty’ star credits faith for show’s success

Jase Robertson spoke during a chapel service last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

Jase Robertson, one of the long-bearded cast members of the Duck Dynasty reality TV series, credits his family’s faith in God for the program’s success.

Speaking to an overflow crowd of race car drivers and NASCAR fans during a chapel service at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend, Robertson said he is amazed at the public’s response to Duck Dynasty.

“If you were to tell me that a bunch of bearded rednecks in Louisiana would have a little show basically showing the lighthearted side of our lives that would be watched by millions of people in 100 countries, I would say that’s impossible,” he said. “What seems impossible is possible with God.”

Robertson joked about his beard and told funny stories about his family as he urged people to place God in their everyday lives. Duck Dynasty has exceeded expectations, he said, “because our No. 1 goal is to use whatever notoriety or what blessings we have as a platform to say that Jesus Christ is real and is Lord.”

The service was sponsored by Motor Racing Outreach of Concord, N.C., founded in 1988. It assigns chaplains who pray with drivers and conduct chapel services at TMS and other NASCAR tracks throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“You’ll see a lot of drivers in chapel today,” Motor Racing Outreach chaplain Lonnie Clouse said. “This is the only sport I know that allows us to go from competitor to competitor and say a prayer. We pray for their families and ask God to protect them as they are out there racing at over 200 mph.”

The Duck Dynasty organization sponsored this year’s race, the Duck Commander 500, which was held Monday instead of Sunday because of wet conditions. Also canceled because of the rain was a Racing With Faith event Sunday where Robertson family members were to speak.

Family members prayed during the races, and Missy Robertson, Jase’s wife, sang the national anthem.

On the show, the Robertsons tote guns on duck hunts, wear camouflage and play jokes on one another. There are often references to faith, and the program ends with family members praying around a table.

“I know it’s hard to believe, because of the way we look,” Jase Robertson said. “But we do gather around the table and pray. That’s the way we survive. We forgive each other. We laugh at each other. Sometimes we cry. But in the end, we are forever linked by the relationship we have with Jesus Christ.”

Before the chapel service, race fans crowded into a white tent to photograph drivers, the entire Duck Dynasty family and celebrities such as Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.

The patriarch of the family, Phil Robertson, was present but did not speak. The A&E network briefly suspended him from the show in December for remarks he made about gays during an interview.

Many of the Robertsons speak out about their beliefs.

Phil Robertson’s son, Willie, and Willie’s wife, Korie, appear in the movie God’s Not Dead.

A&E began airing Duck Dynasty in 2008. The Religion News Service reported that it had 11.8 million viewers for its season premiere last year, a record for a cable reality show.

The Robertson family runs the Duck Commander hunting supply company in West Monroe, La. Popular products include a duck call invented by Phil Robertson.

Major stores, truck stops and restaurants sell clothing and other Duck Dynasty items, including Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander, a book by Phil Robertson and Mark Schlabach.

The Robertson family attends White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe, La. Its website says Phil Robertson, a church elder, will preach April 20.

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