Tim Tebow Dodges Controversy, Cancels Appearance at Dallas Mega-Church

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 21 2013 3:09 PM

Tim Tebow Dodges Controversy, Cancels Appearance at Dallas Mega-Church

Former Florida Gator and New York Jet Tim Tebow attends the Allstate Sugar Bowl between the Florida Gators and the Louisville Cardinals at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Famous evangelical Christians, like other public figures, have to choose their friends a bit more carefully than the rest of us plebs. In New York Jets' quarterback Tim Tebow's case, this apparently means bowing out of a speaking engagement at a controversial Dallas mega-church where the pastor has, among other things, stated that he believes homosexuality is  a "perverse ... degradation of a person’s mind." 

After the church's high-profile booking raised eyebrows and some media ire, Tebow called First Baptist Church pastor Robert Jeffress on last night to cancel the scheduled April appearance at the church, telling the pastor he "needed to avoid controversy right now for personal and professional reasons," according to Jefferss's interview with the Associated Press. Tebow also tweeted about his change of heart, noting that he'd canceled the appearance "due to new information that has been brought to my attention."


Tebow, arguably more famous at this point for his outspoken faithfulness than for his football prowess, isn't a stranger to the Christian right by any means, though he usually tries to avoid hot-button social issues when he talks about his beliefs. It doesn't look like he's trying to cut ties with other conservative, evangelical institutions that might want to hear him speak (like this sold-out "men's impact weekend" at Liberty University this March).

Notably, the athlete hasn't said whether he disagrees with Jeffress's theology or not. If Jeffress is to be believed, Tebow might not be looking to wash himself of an association with the pastor altogether — the reverend told the AP that Tebow would like to reschedule an appearance for a future date. On the other hand, the disappointed tweets fired back at Tebow's cancellation announcement from his Christian fanbase indicate that the quarterback needs to stay diplomatic about his retreat from Jeffress. In any case, Tebow is clearly getting the message that an appearance in Dallas right now wouldn't go under the radar.

Jeffress, who has said that Obama's presidency is “paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist,” previously made headlines in 2011 when he called Mormonism a "cult" at the Values Voter Summit. He later endorsed Romney for president.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.


The Slatest

Ben Bradlee Dead at 93

The legendary Washington Post editor presided over the paper’s Watergate coverage.

This Scene From All The President’s Men Captures Ben Bradlee’s Genius

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.