'I was just telling the truth:' Atlanta pastor defends Aretha Franklin eulogy

Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr., delivers the eulogy during the funeral service for Aretha Franklin at Greater Grace Temple, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, in Detroit. Franklin died Aug. 16, 2018 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Days after people paid their respects to the "Queen of Soul," an Atlanta pastor is still in the spotlight.

Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr. has drawn both criticism and support for the themes he addressed in his eulogy for Aretha Franklin in Detroit on Friday.

In a release sent to Channel 2 Action News, the pastor at Salem Bible Church said that he was "just telling the truth."

Channel 2 Action News was at a news conference held later Sunday, where Williams explained why he stands behind his messages.

"I like to think there's no pushback about what I said. It could be that they did not understand what I was saying," the pastor said.

[PHOTOS: Aretha Franklin fans pay respects at viewings in Detroit]

Williams previously told Channel 2 Action News' investigative partners at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he knew his remarks would be controversial, which he again stated at the conference Sunday.

"I just wish somebody would understand my heart and understand what I'm trying to do. Instead of making mockery or creating difficulty, that hurt me more than anything else," he said.

The pastor believes that Franklin, whose father was also eulogized by him, would have been supportive.

"Because of the great contributor that she was to civil rights movement, I would think that if I'm doing something to turn black lives around that she would be pleased," he said.

The entire news conference can be watched on the Channel 2 Action News Facebook page.

Atlanta Pastor Defends Aretha Franklin Eulogy

The Atlanta pastor who made controversial remarks at Aretha Franklin's funeral is defending what he said. Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr. says he knew his message would upset some people. https://2wsb.tv/2LV4tQI

Posted by WSB-TV on Sunday, September 2, 2018

Information from our investigative partners at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was used in the report.