Tim Tebow is used to dealing with detractors, which is good for him because he is about to pick up many more.
As Michael E. Young and Michael Florek of The Dallas Morning News report, Tebow, on April 28, is scheduled to speak at the First Baptist Church of Dallas to share his faith.
That information does not touch on the problem. Tebow has made similar speaking engagements and he has never been shy about sharing his religious views. This is undoubtedly part of the reason why he is already a polarizing figure.
However, there is more to this engagement. The First Baptist Church of Dallas is led by Dr. Robert Jeffress, and Jeffress is a highly controversial figure.
As Young and Florek report, Jeffress carries "strict-constructionist views on salvation and Christianity."
Among other things, this has entailed Jeffress speaking out against homosexuality and as Young and Florek report, he has said that Islam and Mormonism are “heresy from the pit of hell.”
Young and Florek go on to report that this speaking engagement has already earned some negative press, and they passed along this response from the church:
[The negative reports] have grossly misrepresented past comments made by First Baptist’s pastor … specifically related to issues of homosexuality and AIDS as well as Judaism.
Whether these reports are a misrepresentation or not, it doesn't change the fact that the perception exists, and now Tebow, willingly or not, has attached himself to that perception.
When I initially saw this story, my first thought was that Tebow is really going to regret this. However, I had to amend that thinking. I have no idea if he will regret this. I don't know Tebow well enough to make that call.
What I do know, is that this is going to push more people to the detractor side of the Tebow debate.
In fact, it already has. Case in point is CBS Sports' Gregg Doyel. In a well-written opinion piece about this speaking engagement and connection to Jeffress, Doyel comes to this conclusion:
I've counted myself as a Tim Tebow fan. Many folks have recognized that, giving me a hard time in emails and on Twitter about my affection for Tebow. That was fine. I wasn't ashamed to like Tim Tebow.
I'm ashamed to like Tim Tebow now.
Doyel will not be alone in this opinion.
This way of thinking is going to spread through the masses. As a society, we have grown increasingly intolerant of the intolerant.
As a result of this connection to these controversial opinions, Tebow is going to become even more polarizing.
Of those who have remained somewhere in the neutral area in their opinion of Tebow, many are going to be pushed to the detractor side because of this connection.