Tim Tebow has announced that he has cancelled his planned April appearance at the First Baptist Church of Dallas, a scheduled visit that attracted national attention because of its pastor’s extremist views on other religions and homosexuality.
Tebow had been scheduled to deliver two sermons April 28 at the 10,000-member megachurch, whose leader — pastor Robert Jeffress — has gained notoriety in recent years for his virulently anti-gay and anti-Semitic statements.
Tebow, a quarterback for the New York Jets, made no specific references to Jeffress, but said his decision was based on “new information.”
“While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my upcoming appearance.” Tebow announced Thursday in a series of tweets on Twiiter.
“I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!”
In October 2011, in a speech endorsing Rick Perry for president, Jeffress claimed that Islam, Mormonism and Judaism are heretical religions “from the pit of hell.”
According to ThinkProgress, during the same speech, Jeffress told a crowd at the high-profile Values Voters Summit that gays should not be allowed in the military because “Seventy percent of the gay population” has AIDS.
Jeffres has also said that homosexuality “is perverse” and “represents a degradation of a person’s mind.”
UPDATE: Right Wing Watch reports that in an interview today with fellow anti-gay activist Tim Wildmon, the president of the American Family Association, Jeffress said that Tebow told him “he would like to come back to our church at a later date” once the current controversy blows over.