The minister of “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson says the reality star suspended for anti-gay comments knows gay people — and has prayed alongside them.
Mike Kellett, senior pastor of White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe, La., told TheWrap he did not know if there were currently any gays in his congregation. But he said gays have attended his church in the past.
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“We’ve had people here before that struggle with that sin. He knows them. It’s not a negative thing,” said Kellett.
Asked what message his church gives gay members, Kellett replied: “We love you, we’re glad you’re here.”
TheWrap also asked him about the criticism that Robertson’s views are simply bigotry disguised as religion.
“They don’t know him,” Kellett replied. “People can think what they want. It’s a free country. … I don’t hate anyone just because they believe different.”
Kellett said Robertson (pictured) has tried to help “hundreds of people” struggling with sin, but he did not know if any of them were gay.
The church is a major part of Robertson’s life. He was praying with a member who has cancer last week when A&E announced that it would suspend him for remarks he made in a GQ interview. On Sunday, Robertson taught a Bible study class where he said he would not back down from his belief and emphasized that he is a lover, not a hater.
In the GQ interview, Robertson grouped homosexuals with “drunks” and “terrorists” and opined: “a vagina – as a man – would be more desirable than a man’s anus.”
Kellett said the support many have expressed for Robertson is “not just for Phil and the family, although they’re very supportive. I think there’s support for people to want to be able to speak what they believe and also reach out and help people.”
“While the gay thing happens to be highlighted, that’s just one of many things that people struggle with,” he said.
Then he apologized for not having time to talk with us sooner, and wished us a Merry Christmas.