Tim Tebow to Speak at Controversial First Baptist Church of Dallas

Tim KeeneyContributor IFebruary 18, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Former Florida Gator and New York Jet Tim Tebow attends the Allstate Sugar Bowl between the Florida Gators and the Louisville Cardinals at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The most polarizing figure in the NFL is about to get even more controversial. 

According to CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow will speak at a highly contentious church in April:

On Sunday, April 28, Tim Tebow will be speaking at a Dallas Baptist megachurch headed by evangelical reverend Robert Jeffress, who has spoken out in the past against Muslims, Jews, Mormons and homosexuals.

The 11,000-member church will host Tebow weeks after the congregation inaugurates a new $130 million campus. And while the Jets quarterback often talks about God's role in his life, Jeffress' controversial background doesn't mesh with Tebow's squeaky-clean public persona.

"Controversial background" only begins to describe the Rev. Robert Jeffress. 

According to Wilson's report, Jeffress has claimed that Islam "promoted pedophilia" (via Jillian Rayfield at TalkingPointsMemo.com) and has reduced "Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists and virtually everyone else" to members of cults (via Peggy Fletcher Stack at The Salt Lake Tribune).

Tebow's willingness to speak at a church headed by such a controversial figure is sure to be met with criticism and debate, but it won't be the first time for the young quarterback, who is often the center of media attention.

The former Florida Gators signal-caller has never been shy about how integral religion is to his life. The famous "Tebowing" pose is one of him getting down on his knee and saying a prayer, and he mentions how God has played a significant role in his life during many of his interviews.

Tebow also took a controversial stand back in 2010 when he and his mother did an anti-abortion ad during the Super Bowl.

While his outspoken faith has earned him a large fanbase, it has also rubbed plenty of other fans the wrong way. With Tebow, people are on extreme opposites of the spectrum: They either love him or hate him.

With this most recent news, that polarization is only going to get even stronger.

Tebow has a clean image, and Jeffress doesn't exactly come off as a well-liked person. It will be intriguing to see how everyone reacts to such a striking contrast.