|Phil Robertson Leaving Church on 12/22/13|
Suspended Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson led a small Bible study group in his home town church in West Monroe, Louisiana on Sunday, and spoke out for the first time since his comments in a GQ interview went public and refused to go back on his controversial remarks, saying: ‘I will not give or back off from my path.’
And the deeply religious outdoorsman stood by incendiary statements – which saw him call homosexuality a sin and implied that African-Americans were happier before the civil rights movement, which led to his suspension from the by network bosses at A&E.
During Sunday’s speech, he defended himself, saying he was simply quoting from the Bible and even went so far as to say Jesus could save gay people.
‘I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity, not a hater,’ he added.
But despite the criticism Robertson has faced, his family and local community have come to his defense and stood firmly behind him.
Just before Sunday’s Bible study class started, one church-goer actually thanked Robertson for his comments.
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Robertson replied: ‘I didn’t think much of it at all, but it seems a lot of other people did’.
And at the end of the session he led a defiant prayer, which included the words, ‘I will not give or back off from my path because you conquered death, Father, so we are not worried about all the repercussions.’
Earlier he stood in front of the small class, at White’s Ferry Road Church wearing his full camouflage suit and addressed the group for around 45 minutes.
He said: ‘I have been immoral, drunk, high. I ran with the wicked people for 28 years and I have run with the Jesus people since and the contrast is astounding.
‘I tell people, “You are a sinner, we all are. Do you want to hear my story before I give you the bottom line on your story?”
‘We murder each other and we steal from one another, sex and immorality goes ballistic. All the diseases that just so happen to follow sexual mischief… boy there are some microbes running around now.
‘Sexual sins are numerous and many, I have a few myself. So what is your safest course of action? If you’re a man, find yourself a woman, marry them and keep your sex right there.
‘You can have fun, but one thing is for sure, as long as you are both healthy in the first place, you are not going to catch some debilitating illness, there is safety there.
‘Commonsense says we are not going to procreate the human race unless we have a man and a woman. From the beginning Jesus said, “It is a man and a woman.” Adam was made and Eve was made for this reason. They left their fathers and mothers and be united to become one flesh, that’s what marriage is all about.
‘But we looked at it and said it was an outdated stereotype. When you look back at the human race, the sins have always been the same: We get high, we get drunk, we get laid, we steal and kill.
‘Has this changed at all from the time God burnt up whole cities because their every thought was evil?’
This entire controversy is a bit silly, but it has nothing to do with freedom of speech. Robertson has every right to say what is on his mind but A&E has every right to suspend him. The LGBT community has every right to be angry about Phil’s comments. Not necessarily for what he said, but how he said it.
On the other hand A&E knew exactly what they were getting when they began to broadcast Duck Dynasty. He didn’t wait to be signed by the network to embrace his faith. So A&E’s suspension was simply idiotic. They should leave it up to the marketplace, if the comments make the ratings fall then take it off the air, but until then they should have asked Phil to apologize for the tone of his comments and made the usual network disassociation comments.
The Robertson family said they would not go on with the show without Phil, they are justified. Phil is part of the glue that keeps the Robertsons together and Duck Dynasty is a show about a family.
After his Bible study group, Robertson and his class went downstairs and joined the rest of the thousand-strong congregation for a church service. Robertson’s eldest son, Pastor Alan led the middle part of the proceedings and he made reference to the nationwide attention the family has been under.
‘Well we’ve had a quite a quiet week, shot some ducks, done some shopping, ignited a national controversy,’ he said.
UPDATE: Entertainment Weekly reports that A&E might be beginning to back down:
A source close to the situation confirmed that when the network resumes airing new episodes of Duck Dynasty starting Jan. 15, footage featuring the Robertson patriarch will indeed remain intact. The network also hopes the media and fan furor will cool down over the holidays and that tensions over shooting future episodes can then be resolved.
“There’s no negotiation to have; we’re doing the show,” said an insider close to the situation. “We’ll figure out a solution. It’s just not going to happen overnight. Everybody will take a break for the holidays and regroup afterward. That’s probably the smartest thing for everyone to do. Time heals a lot of wounds.”