Petition calls for Tim Tebow to cancel visit to First Baptist Church of Dallas

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Tim Tebow kisses former Denver Bronco teammate Demaryius Thomas after a game in 2011.

A gay University of Florida alumnus has launched a Change.org petition calling for NFL quarterback Tim Tebow to cancel his April appearance at First Baptist Church of Dallas.

Tebow is scheduled to speak at two morning services on April 28 as part of the church’s monthlong celebration of its downtown expansion. But the Rev. Robert Jeffress’ anti-gay sermons have prompted many to criticize Tebow for associating himself with the anti-gay church, which is “not the type of church a compassionate evangelical like Tim Tebow should be associated with.”

The petition started by Phillip Perry of Washington, D.C., is entitled “Tim Tebow: Cancel Speech at First Baptist Dallas.” As of Tuesday afternoon, only 96 people had signed it.

Perry writes that he has defended Tebow in the past because he is a role model for inclusion, not exclusion. Tebow has never voiced his opinion on gay issues, but Perry insists that “he doesn’t have the same hateful beliefs” as Jeffress and urges him to cancel the appearance to prove it.

“For so many, Tim Tebow is an inspiration on and off the field. He symbolizes compassion, humility and optimism – the type of person who leads a life of philanthropy and inspires us all to do better.,” Perry writes. “While I may not agree with him on every issue, I respect and admire that he has always followed a path of inclusion, not division. It’s because of this that many fellow Gator fans and I have proudly defended Tim Tebow over the years, even when others have attacked and questioned his motives.

“I know he doesn’t have the same hateful beliefs as Robert Jeffress, but he needs to reaffirm that to all of us who believe in him. That’s why I’m asking you to join me in urging Tim Tebow to promptly cancel his appearance at First Baptist Dallas.”

—  Anna Waugh

Jo Hudson invites Robert Jeffress to COH

The Rev. Jo Hudson, senior pastor at the Cathedral of Hope, has written a response to D magazine’s January cover story, How First Baptist’s Robert Jeffress Ordained Himself to Lead America. In the story, writer Michael Mooney claims he was prepared to hate Jeffress.

The Rev. Jo Hudson

“It would be easy to dislike him if he were a hypocrite or a bigot, if he were an insufferable megalomaniac or the kind of man who preaches out of hate and anger,” Mooney wrote. Funny he doesn’t see the bile Jeffress spews at the LGBT community as anything other than pure hatred.

In her response, Hudson points out that “the writer quotes the words of Dr. Jeffress from a sermon he delivered in 2008 called ‘Gay is not OK.’”

“Unlike your writer, I don’t want to hate Robert Jeffress,” Hudson writes. Her rebuttal is on target. I’ve heard her speak and read her writing a number of times, but she’s never been better than in this response.

Rather than spreading more hatred, Hudson compliments Jeffress. She says his arrival at First Baptist “ushered in a revival” and that “anyone who leads a church like that can’t be all bad.”

But she takes him to task for his disgusting description of the LGBT community: “What they (homosexuals) do is filthy. It is so degrading that it is beyond description,” Jeffress said in the “Gay is not OK” sermon.

And she ends brilliantly — she invites him to come and visit the Cathedral as her guest. And I have a funny feeling that what would surprise him most is just how warmly he’d be welcomed. He’d expect protests. He’d expect shouting and depravity. What he’d find are families and friends attending a church service.

A warm welcome — a true show of Christianity — would be the most disconcerting thing that could happen to him. I suspect Jeffress will never take Hudson up on her invitation. Why ruin his good myth with a few facts?

—  David Taffet