- (Photo: Reuters/Tim Shaffer)
N.Y. Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, who canceled his April 28 appearance at First Baptist Church of Dallas after Pastor Robert Jeffress was decried as "anti-gay" by critics, might still appear at two other events scheduled the same weekend, some media are speculating.
Tebow appears to be honoring his "other speaking commitments" scheduled the same weekend in North Texas, says The Dallas Morning News.
A note that advertises Tebow's appearance at a Trinity Christian Academy fundraiser hasn't been taken down from the website of the Addison school, the newspaper says. The evangelical athlete is scheduled to appear at the Hilton Anatole Dallas on April 27.
On the Involved for Life website, a note that advertises Tebow's appearance at the Dallas group's Spring Gala hasn't been taken down either, the newspaper adds, noting that the group supports the Downtown Pregnancy Center, Uptown Women's Center and Sonograms on Site.
Tebow is scheduled to appear at the Dallas Omni Hotel on April 26.
Tebow has not tweeted about canceling the two other Dallas events. He announced on Thursday that he has canceled his scheduled talk at First Baptist.
The quarterback posted on Facebook, "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!"
Prior to his cancellation, gay activist bloggers and even some mainstream media broadcasters and reporters questioned Tebow's decision to appear with Jeffress, whom some consider a "controversial evangelical Christian."
"Tebow's peace-and-love message could be tested by the megachurch's evangelical Christian pastor, the Rev. Robert Jeffress," a New York Daily News author wrote of the athlete's planned visit to the megachurch.
An NBC Sports writer also sought to ridicule Tebow, saying he has been making more speaking appearances in church than he has quarterback appearances in NFL games. Jeffress, the writer said, is "a controversial evangelical Christian who has made quite a name for himself by referring to other religions as 'heretical,' and that re-electing Obama would lead to the 'rise of the anti-Christ.'"
Jeffress said that Tebow canceled his speaking engagement because of personal and professional issues and said he needed to "lay low of controversy." Jeffress added that Tebow sent a text message later saying he was "prayerfully" reconsidering and would talk to him Thursday, when he announced the cancellation.
"There doesn't seem to be any daylight between what we believe," Jeffress said, and noted that Tebow is a member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. "He simply attributed it to needing to stay away from controversy."
Pastor Jeffress has also responded to criticism that he leads a "hate-spewing" ministry following.
"We have been mischaracterized and misquoted as being a hate-spewing church," Jeffress told radio show 106.7 The Fan's Holden and Danny on Wednesday. "For us to simply say that Jesus Christ offers salvation to anyone who believes in him, and that sex should be between a man and woman and marriage, that that should be considered hate speech, I don't understand that. It really shows you not that the Word of God has changed, but society has changed."
The outspoken evangelical athlete is known for "tebowing" on the field to give honor to God. In college in Florida, Tebow frequently wore biblical verses on his eye black. In the 2009 Bowl Championship Series, he wore "John 3:16" on his eye paint, reportedly causing 92 million people to search the verse on Google. Later, Tebow switched to "Proverbs 3:5-6," again causing 3.43 million searches of the verse together with "Tim Tebow."