from Todd Starnes of Fox News Radio:
Gay rights activists are demanding Tim Tebow back out of a speaking
engagement at Liberty University just two weeks after pressuring the New
York Jets quarterback to cancel a speaking engagement at the First
Baptist Church of Dallas.
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Tebow is expected to speak this weekend at Wildfire – a men’s conference hosted by the conservative Christian university. His remarks will be closed to the general public.
The professional football player is well-known for sharing his faith
in Christ – but in recent weeks he’s come under fire from the national
media and gay rights activists for speaking in churches that follow
Huffington Post called Liberty a “notoriously conservative private
college with an anti-gay reputation.” And more than 10,000 people have
signed a petition launched by Faithful America calling on the
quarterback to cancel his speech.
“Liberty University isn’t just another conservative Christian
college,” the group stated. “It’s ground-zero for a global assault on
the legal rights of gays and lesbians – and a symbol of everything
that’s wrong with the religious right.
A Liberty University spokesman refused to comment.
Faithful America said Tebow would give his “Christian faith a bad
name” by speaking at the university founded by the late Jerry Falwell.
Several weeks ago Tebow canceled a speaking engagement at the First
Baptist Church of Dallas – citing “new information” he had received.
He never elaborated on his comment – but sources close to the church
told Fox News he backed out in part over the uproar surrounding the
church’s position on traditional marriage – and salvation.
Pastor Robert Jeffress has been an outspoken leader in the nation’s
culture wars – affirming from the pulpit traditional marriage and
salvation through Jesus Christ.
The national media labeled the pastor as anti-gay and anti-Semitic –
charges that were vehemently denied by the church and the many national
“To me, the real issue here is the controversy this has generated,”
Jeffress said at the time. “It’s amazing that a church that believes
faith alone in Christ is what saves a person and that sex should be
between a man and a woman in a marriage relationship – that somehow
those beliefs are considered hate speech? That is historic Christian
doctrine for the past 2,000 years.”
Right Wing Watch, a
publication of People for the American Way, suggested Liberty
University was actually more extreme than FBC Dallas and listed a litany
of alleged offenses.
They claimed Liberty University bans gay students and shut down its
College Democrats chapter over the party’s views on gay rights. They
also alleged the university hosted anti-gay conferences and that
professors have made anti-gay comments.
Again, the university declined to address the controversy.
“If Jeffress’ anti-gay remarks were too extreme for Tebow, they pale
in comparison to the things regularly said by representatives of Liberty
University,” Right Wing Watch stated. “Perhaps it is time for Tebow to
take another look at some of this ‘new information’ about Liberty.”
Huffington Post wondered if Tebow was giving hints about his position on homosexuality by making an appearance at Liberty.
“Due to Liberty University’s reputation for intolerance toward the
LGBT community, some might interpret the athlete’s appearance as a tacit
acknowledgement of similar values,” they opined.
Peter LaBarbera, of Americans for Truth About Homsexuality, is urging
Liberty University and Tebow to stand firm – and warned that homosexual
activists cannot be appeased.
“Their goal is to marginalize and to discredit Christians,” he told
American Family News. “If he cancels this appearance at Liberty
University under pressure from the gay lobby, I think his credibility is
going to suffer a ton.”
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