Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal jumped to the defense of Phil Robertson, the star of the A&E megahit “Duck Dynasty” who was indefinitely suspended from the program Wednesday after making graphic statements about homosexuality.
In a statement, Jindal praised Robertson and his family as “great citizens” of his home state, where the lucrative show is filmed, and he slammed the “politically correct crowd” for criticizing his comments.
“I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive,” Jindal said. “But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”
At first glance, the Indian-American convert to Roman Catholicism with a national political profile and the crossbow-wielding, bearded patriarch of a television show about a duck-hunting call business wouldn’t seem to be completely natural allies.
But some conservative Christians are arguing that Robertson, a self-described “Bible-thumper,” was singled out for expressing a religious belief that homosexuality is wrong.
Asked in an interview with GQ what he believes in sinful, Robertson replied “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 also described the mechanics of homosexuality in explicit terms, saying that a woman’s anatomy is “more desirable” than a man’s.
“I'm just thinking: There's more there!” the reality star said. “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."
In a statement, Robertson said he is committed to speaking about the teachings of the Bible.
"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," he said. "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."
A&E Networks said that Robertson’s “personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.”
GLAAD, a top advocacy organization for the LGBT community, called the comments “vile and extreme” and said Robertson’s statements are “ littered with outdated stereotypes and blatant misinformation.”
Jindal was not the only prominent GOP political figure to weigh in on the controversy.
Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin expressed her support for Robertson in a Facebook post.
“Free speech is an endangered species. Those “intolerants” hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us,” she said.
And Texas Sen. Ted Cruz posted on his Facebook page that Americans should be "deeply dismayed" about Robertson's treatment.
"Phil expressed his personal views and his own religious faith; for that, he was suspended from his job," he said. "In a free society, anyone is free to disagree with him--but the mainstream media should not behave as the thought police censoring the views with which they disagree."
First published December 19 2013, 8:42 AM