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Conservatives Rush To Defend Gay-Bashing 'Duck Dynasty' Star

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“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," said Palin.

"If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson," added Cruz.

Conservative blogger Erick Erickson on Wednesday defended Robertson's reference to scripture.

"He spoke openly of his Christian faith," Erickson wrote on his blog, "Red State." "Because he offended a secular left at war with orthodox Christianity, he must be punished."

Radio host Rush Limbaugh on Thursday similarly claimed Robertson was suspended because of his religious beliefs.

"Now, excuse me for just a second here, but who is being discriminated against here except Phil Robertson? Who just lost a job because of religious beliefs?" he asked. "Nothing happened to any gay people or homosexual people. Nothing happened to them."

Robertson's pastor, Mike Kellett, told CNN that the TV star was in church praying on Wednesday as controversy around his comments began to swirl.

"Phil led us in prayer," Kellet said. "He's very calm, and very confident that if he serves the Lord, God will take care of everything."

Multiple groups have begun campaigns calling for the return of the 'Duck Dynasty' star.

The conservative Faith & Freedom Coalition started a campaign to reinstate Roberston on his show, calling his suspension "anti-Christian bigotry."

An "I Stand With Phil" petition started by Faith Driven Consumer, a company that connects people with faith friendly businesses, calling for the A&E network to let Robertson return to "Duck Dynasty" had almost 30,000 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.

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