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.”