Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the 'Duck Dynasty' clan, has released a statement in the wake of a controversial interview with GQ Magazine.
The article, which is already online, will be featured in magazine's January issue. When asked by GQ what he considered to be sinful, Robertson responded by saying "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."
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"Don't be deceived," he told GQ. "Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."
His opinions about sexual preference and the changing values of America earned Robertson a strong reaction from gay rights activists and groups, including a GLAAD, which released a statement that read "Phil's decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families," as reported by Yahoo TV.
Phil released his statement Wednesday, which read in part:
My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.
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The GQ article has received criticism for its depiction of the Robertsons' background, beliefs and lifestyle. While highlighting the commercial products available from the 'Duck Dynasty' brand, the article added at the end: "...and presumably some sort of camouflage home-pregnancy test."
Other controversial comments in found in the article include:
Phil looks like part of the clutter himself, as if he'd been wedged into that recliner a while back by some absentminded homeowner who didn't know where else to put him.
...he looks just off to the side of you, as if Jesus were standing nearby, holding a stack of cue cards.
The issue has taken to Reddit.com, where commenters have voiced opinions on the matter, such as this one from user /u/david1225:
"...So many people have lost sight of the value of free speech. Let him say what he wants, and let us watch what we want to watch. Frankly, I'd much rather he speak openly and honestly about the subject, even though I disagree with him."
Reddit user /u/Johnnyp6 added in:
"I worked production for this show for two seasons and let me just say the Robertsons are some of the nicest and kindest people you can meet. We have gay people on the crew and they are treated with just as much respect as everyone else. Phil may have an unpopular opinion but its his opinion and he is entitled to it whether you agree with it or not. Last I checked it wasn't a crime to disagree with someone's life choices or lifestyle as long as you don't treat them any differently because of it."
And Reddit user /u/Fjalur said:
You must understand gay people who feel offended when you say that their love for each other, them making love is on par with lying, cheating, stealing and a host of other actions... are you surprised that they and their allies will want speak out and protest such things... it's not as simple as that their beliefs, they have a 100% right to that belief but they don't have a right to not be criticized.
The media has quickly taken to this story, with many vilifying Phil for his opinion. To see what other outlets are reporting, click the links below:
In a world where Free Speech and tolerance issues arise seemingly every day, how do you feel about this story?