Those who remember the huge uproar over San Francisco 49er cornerback Chris Culliver's homophobic comments made during the lead-up to Super Bowl XLVII might want to watch -- carefully -- an upcoming Tim Tebow appearance. On Sunday, it was reported that the New York Jets' third-string QB and devout Christian has been scheduled to appear on April 28 at a Dallas megachurch whose pastor, Robert Jeffress, is known for his past anti-gay, anti-Semitic comments.
Jeffress is known as an equal-opportunity critic of anything not precisely of his own faith. He has also made extremist comments about Roman Catholics and Mormons -- despite the fact that both faiths consider themselves Christians -- as well as Muslims and U.S. President Barack Obama.
For example, at the 2011 Value Voters summit, Robert Jeffress introduced and endorsed Rick Perry. While in that intro Jeffress only subtly contrasted the "born again Christian" Perry with eventual GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, he later that day stated an interview with Bryan Fischer that he believes that Romney, as a Mormon, is a member of a cult. To be clear, in 2008, Jeffress similarly attacked Romney and the Mormon faith.
In 2010, Jeffress went further, including other religions in his attacks. In an interview with the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Jeffress argued that Islam, as well as Mormonish, is "from the pit of Hell." He went on to add that along with Mormons, Muslims, Jews and gays are all destined for Hell.
Jeffress has not left out Roman Catholics, Buddists, or Hindus either. He has called them all cults, and maintains Catholicism represents "the genius of Satan,” and suggested that Catholics, too, will go to Hell. Tebow is, of course, a born again Christian, which is the faith professed to by members of Jeffress First Baptist Church. What exactly is Tebow going to speak about? At this point, the church is being coy, with its site only saying:
NFL Quarterback and Philanthropist Tim Tebow lives a life that consistently reflects his values, and he is dedicated to helping people and communities in need.
Tebow has fallen far from grace in NFL terms, with his 2011 exploits for the Denver Broncos long forgotten. The New York Jets, meanwhile, have dropped him to third-string, and it's unclear what they will do with him in the future.
His 2011 rise led to him receiving multi-year contracts with sponsors such as Nike, TiVo and Jockey, but his fall has to have them thinking -- as the Jets are -- what to do with him. In general, controversy doesn't sell products well.
What's interesting is that ESPN -- which normally would jump on a Tim Tebow story instantly -- has not comment, at the time of this writing.