Just in time for Duck Dynasty’s sixth-season debut, the media discovered a new sermon, delivered by Phil more than a month ago at his Whites Ferry Road Church, in which he says gays railed against him for “giving them the truth” about homosexuality in his GQ interview last December that earned him a brief but highly visible suspension by A&E Network. No lengthy investigative reporting was required — the church posted the video to YouTube (watch it below). The news breaks just a few days after a report that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal visited the Robertson family’s duck-call business — back in February — to present the family with his first ever (and, some cynics say, Created-For-TV) Governor’s Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, and that it was all caught on camera and will be used for the Duck Dynasty Season 6 debut June 11.
During this recent Easter sermon, Phil reminisced about his December interview in GQ magazine, in which he likened homosexuality to bestiality. “They were mad at me,” he told church-goers. “You say, ‘Why’d they get mad at you?’ Cause, instead of acknowledging their sin, like you had better do, they railed against me for giving them the truth about their sins. Don’t deceive yourselves.”
And, then he added, “The news media didn’t even know it was a verse!… They thought I was just mouthing off. ‘Is homosexual behavior a sin?’ the [GQ interview] guy asked me. I said, ‘Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived.’ “
Phil continued to reminisce about that conversation: “Neither the sexually immoral, nor the idolators, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God — I gave him the rest of the story,” he said of his paraphrase of Corinthians verse. “I gave him the bad news, and then I gave him the good news,” Phil told the church gathering.
Back in December, not long before the start of Season 5, Papa Robertson gave TV news networks some big ratings, and the print media some spikes in web traffic, when he told GQ magazine, among other things, “Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men… 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.” Also, this gem: “’It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus.”
And who can forget: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. 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?”
He also had some things to say about African Americans being better off in the Jim Crow South than they are today. The brouhaha did not help the show’s ratings. That Season 5 finished with an average of 6.5 million viewers for premiere telecasts of new episodes – compared to more than 9 million the previous season.
Initially, A&E suspended Robertson from the show over the GQ comments. But, about two weeks later, the network issued a statement saying that, after discussions with the Robertson family, and consulting with numerous advocacy groups, it has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty with the entire Robertson family. Willie Robertson, Phil’s son, also got an invitation to the State of the Union Address out of the fracas, as guest of Louisiana Rep. Vance McAllister. Phil did not attend.