New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has decided to cancel his appearance at a Dallas church that is led by a pastor, Robert Jeffress, who has been criticized for his remarks about gays and other faiths.
Tebow sent out a series of tweets Thursday announcing his decision:
"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. 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!"
Jeffress told the Associated Press that Tebow told him he would like to speak at First Baptist at some point, but “he needed to avoid controversy right now for personal and professional reasons.”
Jeffress said Thursday that First Baptist was being mischaracterized as a “hate church,” and that the church's teachings were consistent with historic Christian beliefs.
Tebow wasn't going to speak about anything controversial in his appearance on April 28, Jeffress said.
“We had planned for him to speak very positively about the difference Jesus Christ had made in his life,” Jeffress said.
Jeffress has been criticized for recent interviews he has given regarding gays and other religions.
"There are a disproportionate amount of assaults against children by homosexuals than by heterosexuals, you can’t deny that," Jeffress said in July. "And the reason is very clear: Homosexuality is perverse, it represents a degradation of a person’s mind and if a person will sink that low and there are no restraints from God’s law, then there is no telling to whatever sins he will commit as well."
In a 2011 interview, Jeffress said that Islam and Mormonism were religions that are "heresy from the pit of hell," and criticized the Roman Catholic Church as "the genius of Satan" and "corrupted" by cults.