NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The controversial pastor of a megachurch in Dallas spoke to his congregation on Sunday about “a wild week,” which centered around a scheduled appearance by Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow.
Tebow canceled his April 28 visit to First Baptist Dallas on Thursday amid a firestorm, sparked by past comments from the church’s head, Dr. Robert Jeffress, who has made headlines for his comments on gays and religions other than Christianity.
On Twitter, Tebow cited “new information” as the reason he scratched the date off his calendar.
Jeffress thanked his supporters during services at First Baptist Dallas, and then appeared to take a swipe at Tebow without using the quarterback’s name.
“I am grateful for men of God like these who are willing to stand up and act like men rather than wimping out when it gets a little controversial and an inconvenient thing to stand for the truth,” Jeffress said on Sunday. “God bless men like that.”
The news of Tebow’s cancellation broke last week while Jeffress was appearing on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.
Jeffress was unfazed during the interview, saying Tebow gave him the heads up: “Tim, what he said to me was, ‘Because of personal reasons and professional reasons, I need to steer clear of controversy right now, but I would love to come back to your church at some time in the future.’ ”
Jeffress added that Tebow was “under incredible pressure” and his church “would never condemn” the Jets quarterback.
Controversial remarks attributed to the pastor made the rounds once Tebow was announced as his guest. Jeffress has been quoted saying gays shouldn’t be allowed in the military because “70 percent” have AIDS; Islam, Mormonism and Judaism came “from the pit of hell”; Obama’s reelection “would lead to a rise of the Antichrist”; and gay activists have been attempting to conceal “the link between homosexuality and pedophilia.”
Tebow was criticized heavily by some for agreeing to appear at Jeffress’ church.
“I never realized what an awful person I was until I started reading these articles about myself,” Jeffress told his congregation.
The pastor’s 11-minute message was uploaded to YouTube by First Baptist Dallas.
“I had a little revival and recommitment in my life this week,” Jeffress said. “I recommitted to God and to this congregation that as long as I’m the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, we are not going to kneel before the altar of political correctness and convenience.”
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