(Photo: REUTERS/Steve Marcus)
Evangelistic athlete Tim Tebow announced on Thursday that he has canceled his scheduled appearance to talk at First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, led by Pastor Robert Jeffress, whom some media are decrying as "anti-gay."
Although not being specific about his reasoning, the N.Y. Jets 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 were questioning 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 Friday, of the athlete's visit to the megachurch, which was planned for April 28.
Recently, Jeffress responded to criticism that he leads a "hate-spewing" ministry after the news broke that Tebow would be a guest at his church.
"We have been mischaracterized and misquoted as being a hate-spewing church," Jeffress told radio show 106.7 The Fan's Holden and Danny. "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."
Jeffress said that Tebow called him Wednesday night and said he needed to avoid controversy right now "for personal and professional reasons," The Associated Press reported Thursday.