WEST MONROE, La. (CBS Houston) — “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson was praying at church Wednesday night for a girl battling cancer as he was being suspended from the show indefinitely following his comments about homosexuality in a GQ interview.
In an interview with CNN, Mike Kellett, senior pastor of White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ, said the patriarch of the Robertson family was leading church members in prayer Wednesday night.
“Phil led us in prayer. There were greater things on our minds than the firestorm of controversy about this article,” Kellett told CNN.
Kellett added that the 67-year-old Robertson appeared calm despite the controversy that was surrounding him.
“He’s very calm, and very confident that if he serves the Lord, God will take care of everything,” Kellett told CNN.
A&E announced they were suspending Robertson indefinitely from the popular reality show after gay rights groups bashed him for comments he made in the interview.
“It seems like, to me, a vagina – as a man – would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me,” Robertson stated. “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.”
A&E released a statement Wednesday saying: “We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series ‘Duck Dynasty.’ His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
The Robertson family said in a statement Thursday that they cannot do the show without Phil Robertson.
“We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right,” the statement read. “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.’”
The statement also noted that they are a family that is “rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word” and that Robertson is a “Godly man.”
“While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible,” the statement read. “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.”
Robertson described in the GQ interview how sin is becoming acceptable in America and that the country needs to turn back to its Christian values.
“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,” Robertson told GQ. “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. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
Despite his beliefs, the Duck Commander founder says he doesn’t judge others.
“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job,” Robertson told GQ. “We just love ‘em, give ‘em the good news about Jesus – whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ‘em out later.”
GLAAD slammed Robertson’s comments, calling them “vile.”
“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,” GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz said in a statement. “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.”
“Duck Dynasty” has been a ratings juggernaut for A&E, averaging 14 million viewers an episode. The latest “Duck Dynasty” season begins Jan. 15. A representative for A&E stated that Robertson would be appearing in some episodes of the upcoming fifth season that have already been completed at the time of his suspension.