Bryan Fischer, spokesman for the conservative anti-gay American Family Association, has criticised New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow for cancelling a planned speech at a church which has denounced homosexuality.

On Thursday, the American footballer said he would not be visiting the First Baptist Church in Dallas because he had learnt of “new information”.

In responce, Bryan Fischer took to the Facebook page of his Focal Point radio show to question Mr Tebow’s motives for cancelling the speech, a move which he called “weak-kneed and even cowardly”

He went as far as to warn that Tebow’s livelihood could be in jeopardy over the cancellation, arguing that it damaged his “street cred” with his Christian fanbase.

“Tebow has established his street cred with the evangelical community by being unapologetic and unwavering in his faith. If his NFL career washes out, this street cred with the Christian community is all he has left,” said Fischer.

He asked whether the footballer disagreed with Robert Jeffress, the pastor of the First Baptist Church, who has preached against a number of minority groups, including gay people.

“Does [Tim Tebow] disagree with [Robert Jeffress] when he says that homosexuality is a sin? Does he disagree with him when he says that Islam is a false religion?” he asked.

“If Tebow does not in fact disagree with Jeffress on any of these points, then his decision looks like nothing more than craven capitulation to the nattering nabobs of negativism and intolerance.”

Pastor Jeffress himself voiced his disappointment over the cancellation, saying it had caused controversy over what he believed was “historic Christian doctrine”.

He said: “To me, the real issue here is the controversy this has generated. 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.”

However, yesterday Tebow said: “While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my upcoming appearance.

“I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!”

Bryan Fischer recently said the Boy Scouts of America’s announcement that it might lift its ban on gay scouts could open its doors to paedophiles.

In January, he claimed that allowing gay people to serve openly in the military would have a devastating knock-on effect, bringing an end to voluntary enlistment and forcing the US to draft its soldiers.