In defending Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, social conservatives have compared him to Pope Francis, Martin Luther King, Jr. and even Jesus Christ.

Anti-gay remarks Robertson made in an interview with men's fashion glossy GQ created a firestorm of controversy and led to his indefinite suspension from A&E, the network which airs the reality show.

“It seems like, to me, a vagina – as a man – would be more desirable than a man's anus,” the 67-year-old Robertson told the magazine. “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.”

He later added: “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. 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.”

During an appearance on Fox News, radio host Mike Slater stated: “In 1958, a young boy wrote a preacher a letter. Saying that he was struggling with homosexuality. And this preacher wrote back, 'Son, won't worry, there's a solution to your problem.' That preacher was Martin Luther King, Jr. I guarantee you that Martin Luther King, Jr. loves that boy just like Robertson. The point is, the Robertson family loves everyone, that's the point here.”

Newt Gingrich also praised Robertson during an appearance on CNN's Crossfire: “Ironically, if you read the whole interview, not just take one section, he talks very specifically about loving everybody. He talks very specifically about not being judgmental toward anybody, that's God's decision, not his. I mean it is remarkable. There are sections there where he sounds like Pope Francis.”

And in a blog post in which he claimed that Robertson was being bullied by gay rights activists, NOM President Brian Brown evoked the name of Jesus Christ.

“What Phil Robertson has done is express the traditional Christian view of homosexuality – decry the sin but love the sinner. It's what every major Christian leader including Jesus Christ himself has taught us,” Brown said.