Phil Robertson has spoken out for the first time since the homophobia storm that has raged all week and refused to go back on his controversial comments, saying, ‘I will not give or back off from my path.’
The Duck Dynasty patriarch led a small Bible study group in his home town church in West Monroe, Louisiana on Sunday, granting MailOnline exclusive access.
And the deeply religious outdoorsman stood by his incendiary statements – which saw him call homosexuality a sin and led to his suspension from the hit reality show by network bosses at A&E.
During Sunday’s speech he defended himself, saying he was simply quoting from the Bible and even went so far as to say Jesus could save gay people.
‘I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity, not a hater,’ he added.
The 67-year-old has been slammed by gay rights groups since his interview in January’s edition of GQ magazine was made public last week.
He was quoted as saying: ‘It seems like, to me, a vagina – as a man – would be more desirable than a man’s anus.
‘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.’
But despite the criticism Robertson has faced, his family and local community have come to his defense and stood firmly behind him.
Just before Sunday’s Bible study class started, one church-goer actually thanked Robertson for his comments.
Robertson replied: ‘I didn’t think much of it at all, but it seems a lot of other people did’.
And at the end of the session he led a defiant prayer, which included the words, ‘I will not give or back off from my path because you conquered death father so we are not worried about all the repercussions.’
Earlier he stood in front of the small class, at White Ferry’s Road Church wearing his full camouflage suit and addressed the group for around 45 minutes.
He said: ‘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.
‘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.
‘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.