The Washington Post

Here’s how ‘Duck Dynasty’s’ Phil Robertson would fight the Islamic State: ‘Convert them or kill them’


Sarah Palin greets “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson after helping to introduce him at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, La., in May. (Bill Haber/Associated Press)

With his favorite book sitting on Sean Hannity’s desk (“I never leave home without my Bible and my woman,” he said), “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson offered his thoughts on the Islamic State on Tuesday night. And just how would Robertson fight the insurgent extremist group? “Either convert them or kill them,” the duck-call magnate declared.

“There goes Phil Robertson again,” a delighted Hannity said on behalf of “the media,” which, the Fox News host predicted, would make a big deal out of Robertson’s idea for some reason.

Hannity, who invited Robertson on his show to weigh in on “the rise of radical Islam” and to plug his new book “unPHILtered: The Way I See It,” went on to say that he doesn’t think Robertson is controversial at all, adding, “I kinda see you as a minister.” Some of Hannity’s fellow media members seem to disagree.

So, there goes the media, taking Robertson out of context again, as it did when in quoting Robertson’s controversial remarks on homosexuality and race at length.

But wait: Is there context for his latest remark? Of course there is!

Roberston quoted several Bible passages to support his strategy. “Worldwide, planet-wide, Biblically speaking, [there are] two groups of people – the children of God and the whole world is under the control of the evil one,” he said. “That’s 1 John 5:19. Ephesians 2 says: The evil one works in those who are disobedient. Galatians 3: They are prisoners of sin. Second Timothy 2: The Bible says they’ve been taken captive by Satan to do his will.”

Quoting Proverbs 8:36, Robertson stated on behalf of God that “those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.”

Then, Robertson arrived at the most controversial part of the interview, saying of the Islamic State: “You either have to convert them, which I think will be next to impossible. I’m not giving up on them but I’m just saying, either convert them or kill them.”

The reality star added that he’d “much rather have a Bible study with all of them” but was also prepared for a “gun fight alone,” if that is how the Islamic State would prefer to fight Phil Robertson.

Robertson also compared the Islamic State — which killed thousands of civilians in the first half of the year and in recent weeks beheaded two western journalists — to “street gangs, street thugs on steroids.”

There is another little bit of context worth mentioning for Robertson’s remarks: his idea, to “either convert them or kill them,” is exactly the thing that the Islamic State is doing to the persecuted religious minorities fleeing the territory the brutal extremist group now controls.

Reminder: For more of Robertson’s ideas, “UnPHILtered” is in stores now.

[Note: a previous version of this post incorrectly made a single reference to Pat Robertson. This has been fixed, and the post updated.]  

Abby Ohlheiser is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.
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