The stars of "Duck Dynasty" might be America's most popular TV family, but that could change very soon — because Phil Robertson has made some seriously divisive anti-gay remarks that have sparked instant backlash.
Speaking with GQ, Robertson lamented that when "everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong ... sin becomes fine." So just what qualifies as sinful in his book?
"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," he declared.
[Related: How 'Duck Dynasty' Became Such a Huge Hit]
Phil probably should have cut himself off at this point (considering he's a national TV star), but instead he paraphrased Corinthians. "Don't be deceived. 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," he warned. "Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."
What's more, according to him, it's basically incomprehensible. "It seems to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man's anus," he explained. "That's just me. 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."
Within minutes of GQ revealing Robertson's quotes (which will appear in the January issue), GLAAD issued a fiery response — and the gay-rights organization is none too pleased.
"Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe," said GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz. "He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans — and Americans — who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. 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."
Cruz, who cited an August Public Policy Polling survey showing 56 percent of Louisiana residents supported same-sex marriage, stopped short of calling for an all-out boycott of "Duck Dynasty."
Despite Phil's strong words, however, he insists he's a Christian who doesn't condemn others — even if they are "sinners" in his mind.
"We never, ever judge someone on who's going to heaven, hell. That's the Almighty's job," he told the magazine. "We just love 'em, give 'em the good news about Jesus — whether they're homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort 'em out later, you see what I'm saying?"
Still, Robertson insisted that his family "really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and… everything will turn around."
And it seems that the tide is already turning, considering the fact that once GLAAD issued its statement, Phil was quick to clarify — and soften— his previous remarks.
"I myself am a product of the '60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior," the TV star said in a statement released by A&E (which itself has so far declined to address the burgeoning contoversy). "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."
And there you have it — at least for now. While Phil is standing by his opinions, he might be feeling a bit repentant about the way he originally stated them.