'Duck Dynasty's' Phil Robertson Speaks for First Time Since Firing: "I Am a Lover of Humanity, Not a Hater"
While preaching at White's Ferry Road Church in his hometown of West Monroe, Louisiana, the Duck Dynasty patriarch showed no regrets for what he said in a recent GQ interview that led to his “indefinite” hiatus handed down by A&E.
‘I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity, not a hater,’ he said to the audience of 1,000 parishioners.
But, he added, ‘I will not give or back off from my path.’
The 67-year-old Duck Commander came under heavy media fire last week when the magazine article hit newsstands in which Robertson said homosexuality is not "logical."
"It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus, that's just me," he said. "I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical.
"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there… bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men," added Robertson, who's garnered support from conservatives amid the controversy, including from Sarah Palin.
However, the comments he gave the interviewer didn't phase him, even days after igniting a national controversy: "I didn’t think much of it at all, but it seems a lot of other people did,” he told the congregation, granting the Daily Mail exclusive access to the Bible study group.
Despite his words against same-sex relationships he calls a “sin,” Robertson admits he too is a sinner.
“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,” he said. “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," Robertson continued for 45 minutes.
"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.
"Jesus will take sins away, if you’re a homosexual he’ll take it away, if you’re an adulterer, if you’re a liar, what’s the difference? If you break one sin you may as well break them all," he said.
Robertson, who made his fortune developing and selling duck calls and hunting equipment, even defended his "redneck" stereotyped status and acknowledged that this isn't the first time he's faced backlash for his inflammatory preachings.
‘We are a bunch of rednecks from Louisiana, but I am not uneducated, I have a degree from Louisiana Tech," he told the church-goers. "But this week I have been called an ignoramus. This week I have been asked, 'Is this the first time you have brought up sin?' I said, 'Are you kidding? I have been traveling to and fro spreading this message.' I have made hundreds and hundreds of speeches and you can pick them apart and the center has always been Jesus Christ. Do many people get up and walk out? Yeah, all the time, do I hold it against them? No. Anybody can get up and stop listening."
The Robertson family also issued a statement last Thursday since the network announced their star wouldn't be returning, leaving the future of the ratings record-breaking show in limbo.
"Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Phil would never incite or encourage hate. We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right," read the statement.
"We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty."
Main photo: Willie Robertson, Phil Robertson and Si Robertson of Duck Dynasty/FameFlyNet.com