Robertson made his remarks while being interviewed by Fox News’ Sean Hannity at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, La., on May 30. Hannity raised the topic of Robertson being suspended from Duck Dynasty by A&E Network officials, an action that sparked a nationwide debate over free speech and religious liberty.
The backlash over the suspension forced A&E to reverse it decision after 10 days in late December.
Hannity asked Robertson, “When the controversy arose were you surprised?”
Robertson said, “Surprised, not at all. Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you, when they insult you and reject your name as evil, Jesus said, because of the Son of Man. Leap for joy because great is your reward in Heaven. It goes with the territory, spiritual warfare. There is a Satan out there, an evil one, and if anyone that looks at our culture doesn't believe it, I would simply say, what, are you blind? It's pretty rough out there.”
Hannity then raised the issue of speaking about political or social issues in a spiritual way in the public square. “See, when you use these spiritual terms some people get, oh, you can't say that,” he said.
Robertson answered, “We took the Ten Commandments now, we’re removing them from the courthouses and we're getting them out of our psyche. We took God out of our schools.”
“Well, if you started with young people,” said Robertson, “and you taught them, you rebuked them, you corrected them, you trained them, you instructed them to obey their father and mother, honor their father and mother, don't murder, don't lie, don't steal from a young age -- is anyone trying to tell me that we wouldn't have a better society? I mean, it's nuts.”
Back in early December 2013, in an interview for the January 2014 edition of GQ magazine, Robertson had said, “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.”
Robertson was also asked in the interview, “What in your mind, is sinful?” and he said, “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 then paraphrased Corinthians (I,6:9-10), “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.”
When those comments surfaced in other media, gay activists complained to A&E, as did many liberal commentators, and the network suspended Robertson on Dec. 18. The suspension was ended on Dec. 27 after a national outcry in defense of Robertson. Duck Dynasty is the most popular reality-TV program in cable history with an average 12 million viewers per episode.
Robertson, who has admitted that he had a serious drinking problem in his 20s and had lived a sinful life as he saw it, turned himself around about 35 years ago. He is a member of the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ. Robertson frequently speaks about Christianity and he is a strong opponent of abortion.