The "Duck Dynasty" reality show star who offended many with his recent comments about homosexuality and civil rights can count congressional candidate Jim Tracy as being a supporter.
The Republican state senator from Shelbyville has a Facebook social media page for his congressional candidacy that includes a large photo of the Phil Robertson, the man who is the patriarch of the family on the popular Duck Dynasty reality TV show on the A&E network.
Tracy's Facebook page adds "I'm with Phil," in large white letters on the photo across the beard of the TV star despite Robertson igniting a national controversy by comments he made for a story for GQ magazine.
"Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong," he says in the GQ story. "Sin becomes fine."
When asked what he considers sin, Robertson 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."
Tracy said during a Monday phone interview that he supports what the "Duck Dynasty" star has to say about homosexuality.
"I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and I believe in the same values that Phil believes in, and that's my final comment," said Tracy, who is running in the 4th Congressional District to unseat a fellow Republican, U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais of South Pittsburg.
Phone and email messages were left with the congressman's staff seeking an interview with DesJarlais, but he was not available for comment for this story.
Although Tracy backs the "Duck Dynasty" star's comments pertaining to homosexuality, the state senator said Monday he didn't know anything about another controversial statement attributed to Robertson in the GQ article. In it, he describes race relations in pre-Civil Rights era Louisiana.
"I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once," the magazine quotes Robertson. "Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I'm with the blacks, because we're white trash. We're going across the field. ... They're singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, 'I tell you what: These doggone white people' — not a word! ... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues."
Tracy said he supports Robertson's First Amendment rights.
"It's about free speech," Tracy said. "He has the ability to speak his mind and what he believes in. And that's what I believe in. Look, I don't agree with what everybody says on different issues, but I think everybody has the right to say it."
Robertson's comments about homosexuality and Tracy's support offends Murfreesboro resident Darrell Bouldin, the first openly gay delegate to represent the 6th Congressional District in the 2012 Democratic Party National Convention.
"I am just disturbed that someone pursuing a federally elected position like congressman would say they are in support of Phil Robertson's comments, which I think represent a narrow fundamentalist view in Christianity that is not unlike the view expressed by fundamentalist Muslims," said Bouldin, who is the second vice chair of the Rutherford County Democratic Party.
"These comments concern me when people across the world are being killed for being LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) in countries like Russia, Iran and other nations that do not respect human rights in the same as I hope the United States does. I respect individual freedom of speech, but is it also A&E network's right as a private business to speak up for their views on LBGT rights."