NFL quarterback Tim Tebow has reversed an earlier announcement that he would speak at the First Baptist Church of Dallas, a church known for its virulent anti-LGBT positions.
Many had accused the embattled quarterback, known for his faith, that he was endorsing the church’s often violent rhetoric.
“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,” he wrote on his personal Twitter page.
“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!” he added.
The Dallas church is home to virulent anti-LGBT Pastor Robert Jeffress, who has lashed out against President Barack Obama, referring to him as the “Antichrist.”
Tebow is no stranger to speaking openly about his beliefs across the country. Last year, he spoke in both Texas and Arizona to churchgoers.
But with Jeffress and the Dallas church, it appeared that Tebow was joining the anti-gay movement in full force.
Jeffress himself has been outspoken on his anti-gay beliefs, saying “70 percent of the gay population” has AIDS, he said, and declared in 2012 that “There are a disproportionate amount of assaults against children by homosexuals than by heterosexuals, you can’t deny that.”
This is counter to studies published on the topic, including a report from the University of California at Davis, which looked at 175 men incarcerated for child molestation in Massachusetts.
“None of the men had an exclusively homosexual adult sexual orientation. 83 (47 percent) were classified as “fixated;” 70 others (40 percent) were classified as regressed adult heterosexuals; the remaining 22 (13 percent) were classified as regressed adult bisexuals. Of the last group, Groth and Birnbaum observed that “in their adult relationships they engaged in sex on occasion with men as well as with women. However, in no case did this attraction to men exceed their preference for women….There were no men who were primarily sexually attracted to other adult males…” it stated.
But Jeffress disregarded the study, saying “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.”