DALLAS (February 22, 2013)--New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has backed out of an appearance at First Baptist Church in Dallas, whose pastor has sparked controversy with his remarks about gays and other faiths.
Tebow was to have spoken in April as part of a celebration of opening the church’s new $130 million campus in downtown Dallas, but he tweeted Thursday that he canceled the April 28 appearance because of "new information" brought to his attention.
The Rev. Robert Jeffress, First Baptist's pastor, confirmed in a phone interview that Tebow called him Wednesday night to cancel.
Jeffress has preached that gay sex is sinful, Mormonism is a cult and Islam promotes violence and pedophilia.
He said First Baptist was being mischaracterized as a "hate church," and that the church's teachings were consistent with historic Christian beliefs.
Tebow said he will continue to use the platform God has blessed him with to bring faith, hope and love "to all those needing a brighter day."
Jeffress told a Dallas radio station Friday that Tebow said he needed to avoid controversy right now "for personal and professional reasons."