Tim Tebow, Pastor Robert Jeffress, and the Gay Thought Police’s Evil ‘Hate Church’ Smear

Homosexual protest boomerangs as targeted Texas pastor slams Political Correctness and winsomely proclaims the Gospel


New York Jets QB and public Christian Tim Tebow backed out of a scheduled speaking engagement at a Texas mega-church following “gay” protests that falsely and maliciously labeled that church and its pastor as motivated by “hate.” Tebow missed an opportunity to defend biblical truth.

By Peter LaBarbera, Special American For Truth Report

Many Christians and pro-family advocates were disappointed to learn that New York Jets QB Tim Tebow had backed out of a scheduled speaking engagement at the First Baptist Church in Dallas – following an online lobbying blitz by homosexual activists urging him to cancel because the church’s pastor is “anti-gay.”

Last Thursday, Tebow tweeted that he was pulling out of the April 28 appearance with First Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffress “due to new information that has been brought to my attention.” A conflicted Tebow reportedly told the Texas pastor that he would like to speak at the Dallas mega-church at some point in the future, but “he needed to avoid controversy right now for personal and professional reasons,” the liberal Daily Beast reported.

The Daily Beast article is gratuitously headlined: “Tim Tebow’s ‘Hate’ Pastor Responds to Quarterback’s Withdrawal.”

Turns out that Jeffress not only preaches that homosexual behavior is a sin — he also opposes Mormonism and some Catholic teachings. And, because he asserts that Jews (like everyone else) also need to have faith in Christ to go to heaven, Jeffress was also slandered as “anti-Semitic.” Translation: he is squarely within the long tradition of the Southern Baptist preaching, which holds that regenerative faith in Christ alone is required for salvation.

[Watch Pastor Jeffress’ powerful response to the Tebow controversy HERE, addressing his First Baptist Church of Dallas congregation last Sunday.]

Of course, Evangelicals, Catholics and Mormons have serious theological differences (although each teaches that homosexual behavior is wrong). But let’s be clear: the instigators of the controversy that culminated in Tebow’s unfortunate cave-in were the ‘Gay Thought Police’ – my name for the powerful and well-funded homosexual activist lobby that demonizes people who speak out against homosexuality as bigots, haters and “homophobes.”

Curiously, Tebow himself attends a Southern Baptist church in Jacksonville, Florida, First Baptist Church Jacksonville, which holds the same biblical beliefs as Jeffress’ church. With the Texas pastor ably refuting the absurd “gay” polemic that his is a “hate church,” even some secular liberals opined that Tebow had blown it with his First Baptist cancellation. In a remarkable interview with Jeffress, celebrity reporter (and Jewish homosexual) Harvey Levin, founder of the Hollywood-oriented TV show TMZ – hardly a right-wing sympathizer – concluded, “It sounds like Tebow wussed out on this one to me.”

Thus Tebow joins the list of other celebrities, conservatives, and Christians leaders who have succumbed to homosexual pressure campaigns. (Recently, Atlanta pastor Louie Giglio pulled out of the President Obama’s Inaugural ceremony, for which he had been invited to give the benediction, after pro-“gay” activists uncovered one of his sermons from the mid-90s critical of homosexual activism. Under attack from homosexual activists, Giglio opted not to defend Christian teaching on homosexuality — and took pains to assert that he hasn’t made the homosexual issue a priority in his ministry work and did not wish to be part of the national debate on the topic.)

This article was not easy for me to write. As a Tebow fan, I sincerely hope he reverses course and returns to speak at First Baptist. He is young and has a lot to learn — all the while being under the liberal media’s microscope. Nevertheless, I think Tebow also owes a public apology to Pastor Jeffress, who was put in a bad situation but handled it masterfully.

Is Christianity “hateful”?

Unfortunately for Tebow and his reputation as a boldly evangelical Christian, even if he does return to speak at First Baptist, the damage has already been done: by saying that he was pulling out to avoid controversy (or, in Giglio’s case, quell it), he actually created more by rewarding the homosexual activists who thrive on targeting and marginalizing their opponents as “anti-gay bigots.”

Giving in to immoral cultural bullies – like playground bullies — only produces more bullying. By voluntarily surrendering, in a sense, his right (and obligation) to speak at Jeffress’ church – after an incipient online “gay” protest – Tebow’s cave-in, at first glance, appeared to aid the Secular Left’s goal of discrediting Christians and historic biblical morality.

However, Pastor Jeffress’ bold and winsome defense of the Gospel spoiled this potential “gay” victory and offers a sterling contrast to the Tebow surrender on how Christians should defend biblical truth in the face of Secular Left intolerance.

Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas has used the media interest surrounding Tim Tebow's capitulation to lovingly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas has used the media interest surrounding Tim Tebow’s capitulation to lovingly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pastor Jeffress could have “gone underground” — like Giglio — after the Tebow story broke to “avoid controversy.” Had he done so, homosexual activists could have celebrated that another “Hate Pastor” was pushed to the margins of decent, “tolerant” society. But instead of shrinking away to the Christian closet like Giglio, Jeffress clearly and compassionately explained the Gospel — winning over skeptical journalists and allowing millions of Americans to hear the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. (John 3:16-21)

This article hopes to put in perspective the malicious labeling by homosexual activists and their liberal fellow travelers of First Baptist of Dallas as a “hate church,” and Jeffress as a “hate pastor.” As we have seen with the SPLC’s (Southern Poverty Law Center) insidious campaign labelling AFTAH, American Family Association and many other pro-family organizations as “hate groups,” the H-word (HATE) has become the Left’s reactionary term of choice to smear people and institutions that oppose homosexuality.

We’re all Fred Phelps to the Left

It’s no secret that lazy or biased journalists often regurgitate “gay” activist talking points and call it reporting. For example, writing for Daily Beast under the aforementioned “Hate Pastor” headline, Newsweek senior political correspondent David Freelander preposterously and strangely asserts, almost in passing:

 “Jeffress, whose congregation has been likened to the incendiary Westboro Baptist Church….”

Likened by whom, Mr. Freelander? Only radical homosexual ideologues and their allies on the Left fail to distinguish between a reviled “church” (the Westboro Baptist Church clan) that heartlessly protests at soldiers’ funerals with wacky messages like  “God Hates Fags” — and a respected Baptist church with thousands of members whose pastor faithfully teaches Scriptural truth, including that homosexual acts are sinful.

The Daily Beast’s cheap shot mimics a polemic used by homosexual activists against religous conservatives like myself: that there really isn’t much separating us and (Westboro founder) Fred Phelps — i.e., only “stylistic” differences. This despite the fact that every pro-family Christian ministry that I have worked with has repeatedly denounced the Westboro Church’s tactics and slogans.

(Moreover, a little-known fact is that Fred Phelps himself has denied the core Christian truth that men and women caught up in homosexuality, like all sinners, can be redeemed through Jesus Christ and leave that lifestyle. This is the essence of the Gospel message to sinners! (See 1 Corinthians 6 and 2 Corinthians 5:17.)

To translate the current “gay”/leftist strategy: since American Christians who oppose homosexuality are not really hateful, just start calling them hateful anyway and create, then build upon, that Big Lie in the culture. Essentially they are redefining Christianity as “hatred” regarding this particular sin — laying the basis for denying the right to oppose homosexuality in American law. (Hence the many legal battles pitting moral-minded Christians who oppose homosexuality and “same-sex marriage” — against “gay” activists and prosecuturs seeking to punish them under “sexual orientation nondiscrimination” laws.)

Now this “hate” formula is being applied directly to pastors and churches who dare teach the simple Bible truth that homosexual practice is always wrong. (See the New Testament Book of Romans, Chapter 1: 14-31) And the liberal media is their megaphone.

Remember Dr. Laura?

Tim Tebow is not the first and he won’t be the last VIP to capitulate to the Gay Thought Police (GTP).

Remember when homosexual militants targeted Dr. Laura Schlessinger for referring to homosexuality as a “biological error”? In 2000, homosexual activists launched an online boycott against “Dr. Laura,” but rather than tell her obnoxious LGBT critics to buzz off and aggressively defend her case against their loaded accusations — i.e., fight to win — she got scared and ultimately tried to appease them.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, once targeted by the "Gay" Lobby, ended up supporting a radical homosexual and "transgender" activist group, PFLAG.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, once targeted by the “Gay” Lobby, ended up supporting a radical homosexual and “transgender” activist group, PFLAG.

Beaten down by the GTP, Dr. Laura took out not one but two full-page ads in the Hollywood magazine Variety apologizing to homosexuals (when no apology was necessary). She ended up losing TV- and radio corporate sponsors due to the “Stop Dr. Laura” boycott. Her TV show floundered and was cancelled.

Years later, Schlessinger endorsed PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) — a radical pro-homosexual/pro-“transgender-youth” parents’ group — on her radio show. PFLAG is a leading GLBT voice undermining Judeo-Christian morality.

How tragic that Dr. Laura ended up embracing — at least in part — an immoral agenda with which she once passionately disagreed. And the confrontational moralist Schlessinger was supposed to be tough-minded and principled!

Look at how homosexual activist Michaelangelo Signorile describes the “StopDrLaura.com” campaign:

“Two months and 14 million–plus hits since its March 1 [2000] launch, StopDrLaura.com has become one of the most impressive weapons in the American lesbian and gay activism arsenal. Like a cyber machine gun, it has hit its targets with precision: the people and institutions involved in the creation and distribution of homophobic radio talk-show host Laura Schlessinger’s planned syndicated talk show for Paramount Television. The moment people’s names and numbers went up on the Web site, their phones began to ring incessantly, their fax machines began to churn, their e-mail accounts filled to capacity, and all were forced to realize that something was very, very wrong out there — something they each had a role in precipitating….” — Signorile, The Advocate

Since that was written, the Homosexual Lobby’s “cyber machine gun” has become much more powerful in taking out its “targets.”

The reality is, Dr. Laura, like Anita Bryant — the first celebrity to be aggressively targeted by homosexual militants — before her, was an early victim of escalating “gay” power. Public figures have a lot to lose if they become “LGBT” targets. I am not denying that the pressure on Dr. Laura was intense– as it is on anyone attacked by the ferocious “gay-media complex.” However, Truth must be defended — sometimes heroically — or it will be overcome by lies. (For the record, Bryant never capitulated or abandoned her Christian beliefs against homosexuality.)

Like the bully in the schoolyard, with each capitulation, homosexual power grows, leading to more victims.

At least Schlessinger initially gave voice to common sense on homosexuality, which is more than can be said for many conservative leaders these days. In the last two decades, hundreds of conservative opinion-makers have chosen to bury their voice on the homosexual issue – many out of fear of alienating LGBT activists who are so good at demonizing and maligning their critics.

Worse, many “conservatives” (e.g., Tucker Carlson) and Christians (e.g., Tony and Peggy Campolo) have cravenly embraced the lie of “civil rights” based on deviant and changeable sexual behavior – which God (remember Him?) calls an “abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)

Cowardice breeds more cowardice

Which takes us back to Tim Tebow: what precipitated his sudden cave-in? On February 17, the homosexual magazine The Advocate published an article headlined,, “The Church where Tim Tebow Will Speak is Very, Very Antigay.” How “anti-gay”? Why, the Hateful Homophobic Bigot-Pastor (or is that Pastor-Bigot?) Jeffress even preached that homosexuality was – I can barely say the word – a “perversion”!

[Miriam Webster online defines “perversion” as “an aberrant sexual practice or interest especially when habitual.”]

On Feb. 21, Phillip Perry, a homosexual activist and the former webmaster for Wayne Besen’s group, Truth Wins Out (or, as I call it, “Truthiness Wins Out”), created a petition on the liberal advocacy site, Change.org, targeting the Tim Tebow Foundation and urging Tebow to pull out of the First Baptist of Dallas Church speaking engagement.

Here is the text of Perry’s Tebow petition:

I was disappointed to hear about Tim Tebow’s upcoming speaking engagement at First Baptist Dallas on April 28, 2013. The controversial church’s senior pastor Robert Jeffress has made a litany of offensive and hate-filled remarks about the gay community, as well as Judaism, Islam and Mormonism. That’s not the type of church Tim should be associated with.

For so many, Tim 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. 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 by promptly cancelling the appearance at First Baptist Dallas.

Change.org showed 889 supporters of the petition as the time of this article. In his triumphant update posted after Tebow bowed out of his First Baptist Dallas engagement, Perry vowed to re-launch the petition if necessary (emphasis added):

This morning Pastor Robert Jeffress said that Tebow was merely going to “reschedule” to let the negative attention “die down”. I’m hopeful that’s not true — I think Jeffress is probably trying to save face now that the world knows how hateful his version of Christianity is. But, if Tim Tebow did reschedule, I won’t hesitate to open this petition back up and pick up the fight right where we left off.

Jeffress’ historic Christian beliefs

Anyone who watches Pastor Robert Jeffress in action can see that he is not “hateful” — so what Perry and his “gay” comrades are doing is positing an ideological — rather than objective —  definition of “hate.” (Under this tendentious definition, God Himself is a hatemonger.)

Jeffress, like countless biblically faithful pastors, accurately throws homosexual behavior in with other sexual sins like adultery, pornography, and fornication. (For you kiddos, that last one is an old-fashioned word for sex outside of marriage.) And even the liberal Huffington Post’s senior religion editor, Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, agrees with Jeffress that First Baptist Dallas’ theological doctrine “isn’t unusual.”

Of course, the peculiar politics of homosexuality come into play. Tebow and Jeffress were not targeted by the “Adultery Lobby” — there is no Cheaters’ Rights Campaign — or the Proud Porn-Users Task Force. (Isn’t it telling that there are no annual “pride parades” – or presidential proclamations – celebrating these sexual sins?)

Nope, Tebow was intimidated into cancelation by the most successful sin-marketing campaign to come along since aborting babies was declared a mere “reproductive choice”: the “gay rights” lobby. Today, that lobby works hand-in-hand with its media cheerleaders to homosexualize marriage under the euphemism “marriage equality”; teaches kids that it’s wonderful to be “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered”; and is laboring to turn the Pentagon into the world’s largest homosexual-affirming bureaucracy.

Big Gay Inc. is also in the vanguard of pushing Christians and moral-minded people out of the Public Square. Central to its ability to transform society’s mores is its drive to silence and discredit opposing views. That’s where the Gay Thought Police come in, by:

  • Shutting down foes by redefining Christians and moral opponents as “haters” on a par with racist fringe groups – all in the name of “diversity and inclusion” — e.g., the SPLC’s spurious “hate group” listings;
  • Lobbying journalists to deny including pro-family experts opposed to homosexuality in the stories. GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has a whole project aimed at knocking “extremist” (read: conservative Christian) critics like me off the airwaves;
  • Championing pro-homosexual religious groups and liberal churches as the truly compassionate “Christians,” as opposed to “hateful, homophobic bigots” like Pastor Jeffress. For example, see the new pro-homosexual, Religious Left group, “Faith in America.”

Their Orwellian strategy is working. The collapse of America’s Judeo-Christian moral consensus has been as swift as it is stunning. Consider this: Just six decades and a few years ago, homosexuality was such a taboo that Harry Hay, an early “gay” activist who conceived of the idea of homosexuals as a “minority” (like racial minorities), could hardly find enough open homosexuals in the nation to join him in forming a “homophile” rights group (Source: “The Trouble with Harry Hay,” by Stuart Timmons).

Fast forward to today: fanatical homosexual activists like Wayne Besen of “Truth Wins Out,” which pressured Tebow to cancel the appearance at Jeffress’ “hate church” (Besen’s smear term; he also called it a “bigot church), and then applauded him for doing so – now fight to make opposition to homosexuality taboo. The homosexual lobby is working to ban pro-heterosexual change therapy, and “gay” militants and lawyers insist that their newfangled “LGBT rights” trump even religious freedom when the two collide, as they invariably do.

‘Gay’ activist hate is real hate

Besen and his ilk hold themselves out as the arbiters of tolerance and civil discourse, but they are actually quite mean and vicious. Trust me when I tell you that I cannot imagine any of the many pro-family advocates I work with across the United States rising to the hateful rhetoric and antics of some vocal homosexual activists.

Example: Besen regularly de-humanizes and mocks EX-homosexuals, denying that they exist. I call his method “Focus on the Failures” because he highlights a few failed “ex-gays” as “proof” that homosexuality is unchangeable. (Of course, Besen ignores successful former homosexuals like my friend Linda Jernigan, who abandoned lesbianism 13 years ago.)

Besen also excels at nasty slanders. He proudly coined the nickname “Porno Pete” for yours truly, implying that I actually have some prurient interest in perversion because occasionally my group, Americans For Truth, exposes uber-perverse homosexual events like San Francisco’s annual, nudity-filled, S&M-celebrating “Folsom Street Fair.”

How evil, yet it’s the sort of nastiness one would expect from a Sin Movement that tries to defend the indefensible.

Savage hate, no consequences

But when it comes to lies and cruel smears, Besen is a Little Leaguer compared to celebrated “gay” activist and raunchy sex columnist Dan Savage. It was Savage, you might recall, who created a vile website (still operating today) to “redefine” Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s last name as follows:

“santorum, n, the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that sometimes is the by-product of anal sex.”

How’s that for objectively hateful and despicable behavior? Can you imagine if a conservative activist created “Pelosi.com” and “redefined” the Democratic former House Speaker’s last name as something as disgusting as rectal sodomy? Would that person be rewarded with their own MTV show, like Savage was? Or would he instead be ostracized — including by fellow Christians — and shunned by the media?

The same Savage travels widely to speak at college campuses, where he spouts — among other bits of misinformation — the sinister lie that pro-family leader Tony Perkins of Family Research Council somehow wants “gay” teenagers to commit suicide so he can score rhetorical points against the Gay Lobby. “Every dead gay kid is a victory for the Family Research Council,” Savage told students at both Elmhurst College and Winona State University. Yet he has yet to be called on the carpet in any serious way by the media for such outrageous and cynical falsehoods.

Truth is, the media’s gargantuan double-standard on homosexuality plays a pivotal role in capitulations like Tebow’s. By rarely holding homosexual activists accountable, and by ignoring critical information about the homosexual lifestyle (e.g., its disproportionate health risks), the liberal media make it easy for the Gay Thought Police to discredit faithful Christians, Jews and anyone who stand up publicly for biblical sexual morality. Entrenched media bias also helps homosexual activists malign noble organizations like the Boy Scouts of America and achieve goals like legalized “same-sex marriage.”

Tebow’s missed opportunity

By kicking First Baptist Church of Dallas to the curb within days of homosexual activits launching a pressure campaign targeting him, Tim Tebow has earned new respect on the Left. But what young Tebow and all Christians need to understand is that the Homosexual Lobby is winning because it is ALWAYS ON OFFENSE, while those on the side of healthy, godly morality seem to always be playing defense.

Sadly, millions upon millions of Christians are ambivalent about and disengaged from the “Culture War” for their nation’s soul — burdened with false guilt and intimidated into remaining silent rather than boldly and aggressively standing up for what’s right. Why are we as Christians less committed to defending God’s Truth than homosexual activists are to defending their lies?

We must get back on offense. Our very freedoms are on the line: aggressive homosexual activism is the leading threat to steal away Americans’ First Amendment liberties to follow God according to our own biblically-informed conscience.

Tebow missed — and Pastor Jeffress seized — a perfect opportunity to teach a lesson on true tolerance and diversity (of ideas) to a culture that is being suffocated by politically-correct groupthink. Tebow could and should have rallied to Pastor Jeffress’ defense when the LGBT Lobby targeted him. Heck, he even could have used his unique celebrity platform to shine a light on one of the most heart-warming, underreported Gospel stories of our age: that many men and women have overcome homosexuality through faith in the same Jesus Christ that Tebow so famously (and, I thought, fearlessly) declares.

Sure, doing that would have made Tebow hated even more by the secular media types who already sneer at him for his public displays of Christianity. But that’s far preferable to winning plaudits from the likes of homosexual activist hatemonger Wayne Besen and the left-wing Huffington Post — for caving in to a powerful lobby that, through clever marketing and media manipulation, turned a sexual sin into a “civil right.”


Peter LaBarbera is founder a president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (www.afah.org), based outside Chicago. E-mail: americansfortruth@gmail.com. Twitter: @PeterLaBarbera. Facebook: “Americans For Truth About Homosexuality.” LaBarbera is available to speak at your church or organization on various facets of the aggressive homosexual-bisexual-transgender agenda.

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