American football star Tim Tebow backs out of speech at anti-gay Dallas church

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New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has cancelled a speech he was due to make at a controversial anti-gay church in Dallas, because of “new information.”

On Monday, it was announced that the American football player had been invited to speak at the First Baptist Church, the pastor of which has denounced homosexuality.

However, on Thursday the sports star made an announcement via Twitter that he will no longer be speaking at the church.

He said: “While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my upcoming appearance. I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!”

Tebow often uses his celebrity status as an NFL player to share his religious beliefs and he was due to speak at First Baptist Church on 28 April.

The evangelical pastor of the church, Reverend Robert Jeffress has criticised homosexuality saying that “70 percent of the gay population has AIDS and that Islam, Judaism and Mormonism are religions that come from the pit of hell,” reports the New York Post.

In July, Mr Jeffress was also quoted as saying: “There are a disproportionate amount of assaults against children by homosexuals than by heterosexuals, you can’t deny that.”