Tuesday, April 12, 2016

COMMENTARY: Robertson's Texas Invocation Begs Long-Overdue Religeous Debate

Make no mistake about it, Phil Robertson is a controversy magnet. 

Family patriarch, self-made millionaire and star of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” reality TV program, Robertson is known for his outspoken religious and political views; views he is happy to share, regardless of venue. Saturday night, his venue was Texas Motor Speedway; site of the “Duck Commander 500” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, where Robertson – founder of the race sponsor – was called upon to deliver the pre-race invocation. 

With head bowed, Robertson began his pre-race prayer by declaring, "We got here via bibles and guns. I’m fixin’ to pray to the one who made that possible.” 

Que the nervous squirming on pit road. 

After briefly praising the United States military, he transitioned to the political arena, saying, “I pray, Father, that we put a Jesus-man in the White House. Help us do that and help us all to repent, to do what is right, to love you more and to love each other. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen." 

The Robertson family has traditionally been outspoken in its support of Republican candidates. This election season, Phil Robertson has endorsed Texas senator Ted Cruz. Son Willie, the CEO of Duck Commander, is backing Donald Trump. Just weeks after NASCAR Chairman Brian France, Hall Of Fame driver Bill Elliott and current stars Ryan Newman, David Ragan and Chase Elliott publically endorsed Trump, Robertson’s comments served to rekindle the still-smoldering debate over whether NASCAR – or any other professional sport – should espouse specific political and religious views. 

The breathless headlines quickly followed: 

“Bizarre Video: `Bibles & Guns!’ Phil Robertson Delivers Controversial Prayer at NASCAR Race.” 

“NASCAR Invocation Features Prayer To Elect Republican President.” 

“'Duck Dynasty' Star May Ruffle More Than A Few Feathers This Time.” 

This, despite the fact that nowhere in his invocation did Robertson use the words Republican, Democrat or Independent. 

Whether or not you agree with Robertson’s political and religious views, his comments Saturday reinforced long-held stereotypes of NASCAR as a staunchly conservative southern sport. They also raised important questions about the atmosphere of inclusion our sport endeavors to espouse. For in an era when NASCAR advocates inclusion, the sanctioning body continues to play favorites on the religious front. 

Before we go any further, a brief disclaimer is in order. 

I am not a deeply religious person. Much to the chagrin of my dearly departed grandmother – a devout, God-fearing woman who would have climbed from her death bed to attend Sunday morning services – my church attendance is strictly limited to weddings and funerals. My biblical knowledge begins and ends with generic, “do unto others” platitudes, and while I absolutely believe in a higher power, I’m not sure I can identify him (or her) by name. 

While admittedly not a “religion guy,” I do have some specific thoughts on the role of religion in our sport; thoughts that will almost certainly damn me to hell in the minds of some. I’m OK with that, since the decision on how and where I spend eternity is in hands of that aforementioned higher power, and not the readers of GodfatherMotorsports.com.  

NASCAR is one of the few major professional sports that allows pre-race prayers at events. That is an admirable stance, in my view; one that would be even more laudable if the “singing and praying” were inclusive, rather than exclusive. Currently, the sport’s weekly, pre-race invocations are conducted almost exclusively by Christian clergy, with a heavy emphasis on resurrection, the cross and – in Robertson’s words – “the name of Jesus.” Try to recall the last time a pre-race prayer was delivered by a rabbi, rather than a pastor. Try to recall the last time the prayer was non-denominational, instead of ecumenical. 

Odds are, you’ll be thinking for a while. 

One wonders how Jewish, Hindu, Islamic or Buddist fans feel in the midst of NASCAR’s weekly, Christian-based pre-race prayer, not to mention those who happen to be agnostic or atheist. How must they feel when their favorite sport hands the microphone – week after week – to a series of “Jesus-men,” at the exclusion of all others? 

Lots of words come to mind. “Welcome,” however, is not one of them. 

Prayer has a long history in NASCAR, pre-dating the foundation of the sanctioning body in 1949. In an era when religion has been banished from our schools and public forums, NASCAR stands with the NFL's Carolina Panthers and NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder as the only major sporting franchises willing to give thanks to a higher power before putting the ball in play.  

As a privately owned business, NASCAR is entitled to address its pre-race prayers to whatever deity it chooses. What’s legal, however, is not necessarily what’s right. Our nation’s courts ruled decades ago that prayer is only permissible at publically funded universities if it does not endorse a specific religion.  

Perhaps it is time for NASCAR to begin walking a similar path, taking a page from the Panthers, who require their pre-race invocations to be “ecumenical in nature,” embracing all beliefs while favoring none. By praying to a higher power without defining that deity by name, we enable fans to celebrate their religious beliefs together, without sending the message that one religion is better than others.  

Recently, in an attempt to become more welcoming to people of color, NASCAR parted with longstanding tradition by discouraging the use of Confederate flags on speedway property. That decision was justified on racial grounds, just as the elimination of specific, denominational prayers is justified on religious grounds. 

Tradition does not justify exclusion, and NASCAR can do better in this regard. In fact, it is high time for us to do so.  

Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage defended Robertson’s comments Saturday, saying the Duck Dynasty star “said what he felt and believed. There are a lot of people that agree with him and a lot that disagree with him. Nowadays, you cannot say what you think because of political correctness. So, I guess everyone has a right to free speech. Or nobody does. 

“What do you do?” asked Gossage. “We’re supposed to be tolerant of all.” 

Tolerance is indeed a worthy goal. It is achievable, however, only through the willingness to honor all points of view, not just those with which we agree.  

Robertson is absolutely entitled to his personal beliefs. One wonders why the former Louisiana Tech football star eschewed a heartfelt statement of thanks to a higher power in favor of a recruitment speech for Team Jesus, but that’s Robertson’s call, not mine.
 
Texas Motor Speedway officials stretched the boundaries of believability, however, by claiming to be surprised by Robertson’s words. When you book Phil Robertson to deliver a pre-race prayer, you know what you’re in for. 

Hellfire, brimstone, guns and bibles… with a side order of alienation. 

Urging people to “do what is right… and love each other” is admirable on all fronts. The balance of Robertson’s “bibles and guns” rhetoric, however, was clearly (and perhaps intentionally) alienating to those of conflicting faiths. To non-Christians, Saturday night’s invocation was akin to saying, “My God is the only acceptable God, and if you don’t believe as I do, you are not welcome here.” Those words are perfectly acceptable for a Sunday morning church service filled with like-minded believers. They were ill-suited, however, for a speedway filled with wildly diverse race fans, not to mention a worldwide television audience. 

It’s not about whether or not you agree with Phil Robertson. Plenty of people do, and plenty do not. It’s also not about whether you think we need a Jesus-man in the White House. It’s about welcoming everyone -- people of all races, genders, religions and political beliefs – to our sport. Disenfranchising large numbers of current and potential fans by praying publically to one (and only one) God makes as little sense as alienating others by flying the Confederate flag.  

It is short-sighted in the extreme, and its time is long passed. 

NASCAR has made important, meaningful strides toward inclusiveness in recent years. Robertson’s comments Saturday night did the sport a favor, by stimulating discussion on yet another critical issue. 

Let’s make the most of the opportunity.
 


 
 
 
 
 


101 comments:

  1. Well done, Dave!! Well done!!!!!

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  2. Even if he'd thrown a rug down, faced East and prayed to allah we're not going to suddenly see muslims flocking to Nascar. Someone once said "If you stand for everything then you stand for nothing". I applaud Phil for speaking what he believes and at an event he actually sponsored. I think everyone pretty much knew what was going to be said. In Phil's mind, (and the bible) there is only 1 true God and to say otherwise would be counter to what he believes.

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    1. Interesting how you assume that there aren't already Muslim NASCAR fans. How, exactly, would you know this?

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  3. In a sport that has its origins rooted in the deep south and in "the Bible belt," Christian beliefs and values still dominant the sport. Race fans through out U.S. have traditionally respected this by remaining respectful during the invocation. Fans go to a NASCAR event know that there will be an invocation. So...they have two choices, attend knowing this or stay home.

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    1. NASCAR was traditionally a white male sport, as well. Same origins and beliefs. Should our African American fans "remain respectful" to all those Confederate flags? Should female fans still spend their day in the parking lot, waiting for their man to finish up? And if not, would you suggest that their their best choice to stay home?

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  4. Dave.....at my local track New Egypt Speedway in New Jersey each Saturday night Rev. Dan does the invocation ending with Amen and Shalom. He also does the invocation at Dover and ends it the same way.

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  5. Could you have tried to any more PC and intolerant by basically saying screw anyone who disagrees with your blog, I think not. I have already cut my race attendance to TWO tickets, one for the Xfinity and one for Cup at the August Bristol race due to NASCAR's policies. In years past I attended as many as four races or more a year.

    By having the type of non-denomination prayer as you are suggesting they would do better not to have prayer at all. By attempting to please everyone they would please no one.

    I rarely listen to your show anymore and your blog and topic of discussion reminds me why; but I understand you must tote the NASCAR line and as someone with a show available to the general you must be PC to keep your job. However, we also have the freedom to chose, not to listen to your show and not to attend NASCAR events. The views of the people are shown by the lack of and declining attendance at races thus proving NASCAR's attempt to be PC and "tolerant" is proving to be believed as intolerant by many fans.

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    1. NASCAR has held a Christian pre-race prayer, every week for decades. How is me calling for them to change this policy "toting the NASCAR line?" C'mon, WN, think before you write. And BTW, it's "toe," not "tote."

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  6. Anonymous5:37 PM

    First off, and you said this yourself, he did nothing wrong by praying as he saw fit and felt convicted; TMS was obviously fine with it. Secondly, you make some claims in your piece, to prove your point, that are not fully accurate. Lastly, you suggest that "tolerance" means everyone is accepted and everything is okay but apparently that isn't how you feel because you are bashing Robertson for praying as he saw fit. IF TOLERANCE IS THE RAGE OF THE AGE AND WHAT YOU AGREE WITH, WRITING THIS PIECE WAS IN VAIN. You have contradicted yourself. Apparently you are in the vocal minority (minority, yes, but sometimes seems the majority simply because they are so damn loud and obnoxious) who want tolerance to ONLY be allowed when what is presented is in total agreement with your/their own opinions.....thus the contradiction. Funny but I think it's safe to say that many who are complaining about his prayer were not, nor do they ever, watching the race on Sunday. So they should practice what they preach....be tolerant of Robertson and his (and our) views.

    You have your opinion and in the spirit of tolerance that's fine; I disagree and have made my points here but I don't post them in any attempt to sway your opinion. It's your blog; you have the freedom to post on it what you want and garner the reputation that you'll get for it....

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  7. Dave, You are by far my favorite Live announcer and Sirius show host. Having said that..... NASCAR is losing its character and bending to political correctness with silverspoon drivers that are too young to have a relatable story to hard working fans. PLEASE allow us with both testicles to enjoy one small unchanged part of NASCAR left.... Tolerance is different than Acceptance. Maybe the offended need to learn Tolerance!

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    1. Or maybe we all could? Just a thought...

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  8. In a world where you have to please everyone, and have to be politically correct about all the one thing that sets Nascar to me from all other sports is its family values and praying before every race. Phil Robertson did nothing wrong in his pray and tired of everyone saying the south is the Bible belt, this country was founded on that Bible. It is refreshing to still see one sport still believes in this. Go to another country and see if you could pray the way you want. You will get your head cut off! Nascar needs to leave it alone, and not be politically correct here! The stands are not full, and I fear they will lose alot more.....

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  9. Anonymous5:48 PM

    Good article Moody...I'm just a little surprised (and glad) that it came from you...Hope someone is listening....

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    1. You never know what's coming out of my pie hole next!

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  10. As an aforementioned atheist, I listen each week, without judgement, to the invocation, but Phil Robertson really crossed my religious and political tolerance line. Dave, you are spot on with your assessment. I very much respect that each of us has something or someone we lean on, and most often the opening prayer is rather inspiring, but "guns and bibles" just didn't do it for me!

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  11. my daughter and i made a game out of the prerace prayer... it's called jesus or no jesus. the object of the game is to guess whether the name jesus will be said in the prayer or not. that how these jews deal with it, make something fun out of it instead of getting offended by it. we still love nascar!

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    1. Glad to hear that, and thanks for reading.

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  12. Ron Knoblauch6:25 PM

    Why would you even entertain the idea of allowing a God hating muslim that hates everyting about the USA excepth our money to give the invocation? Every year God is becoming less welcome in our country by more people and look at what is happening. Wake up America and Moody

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    1. Thanks very much, Ron. You have illustrated the problem much better than I ever could, in a small fraction of the words.

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    2. ^^^ Moody for the win!

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  13. I'm reminded of a cliche' that says something about defecating where you eat. First the confederate flag, now Christianity. I am a liberal atheist, but fear that the actions of carpetbagger northerners are going to kill the sport I love.

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    1. Don't worry, Robert. You be safe and sound there in your cave.

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  14. Anonymous7:13 PM

    I've only got a few minutes, but I want to address some of your comments.
    Your argument that NASCAR can cast a wider net by doing away with prayer is misguided. There's just no proof that there are millions or even thousands of Muslims, Jews, Mormons, New Age etc waiting in the wings to attend races once prayers to Jesus Christ are stopped.

    To insist that a prayer is wrong, is not for non-religious types to determine. Prayer is not for people who don't believe in God. If anything, non-religious people shouldn't care what's said.

    Though NASCAR is privately owned, at the end of the day it belongs to the fans who pay the bills; the majority of which are Christian or identify with Christianity. They are voting with their dollar that the status quo is ok. The decision of whether to pray is not up for the media that covers the sport to make.

    Additionally, where you spend your eternity is not up to God, its up to you. Virtually no major religion says there's nothing you can do. Christianity however, puts it in your hands. By accepting Christ as your savior, you have a say in your eternal destiny.

    Your comments infer that Christianity is not inclusive or tolerant. This is contradictory to history. Christianity at its very nature is inclusive. Jesus Christ (where we get Christianity) died in large part because of His inclusiveness. The problem you and others have is that the need for Christianity is offensive. That’s the root of it.

    Your post also infers that there is a problem with prayers said at NASCAR races. I'm not aware of any other controversies before this, and most prayers that are said are bland and if anything too corporate.

    The essence of prayer is a prayer to single god. What you are suggesting as a replacement is essentially a show of unity, which already takes place via NASCAR's patriotic pre-race events. Any prayer that tries to include all religions is as hollow and meaningless as a sponsor mention.

    Finally, it seems your major beef is Jesus Christ Himself. That's ok. The Bible says that will happen, and it has for over 2,000 years. It will continue to happen, because Jesus Christ is offensive to those who want to run from Him. It’s in our very nature.

    The great thing about Jesus though is that when you’re ready to talk, He’s ready to listen. And speak back.

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    1. Anonymous7:34 AM

      AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well said!

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    2. I love that christians try to use the bible as proof of their arguments to atheists. Lord knows, most atheists think the bible is a collection of fun stories that a bunch dudes wrote.

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    3. Tom Meyers11:48 AM

      Awesome response! Couldn't have said it any better.

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  15. Good job Moody. The show was fun too.

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  16. Thanks, Dave. You are spot on. If Nascar is going to take this sport out of the hills of Wilkes County, they would do well to dump the snake biters and redneck filth.

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    1. Anonymous2:03 PM

      Well let's see. LA, ATL, Dallas, DC, Indy, Chicago, SF, PHX, Miami. All major American cities that NASCAR races in. Been out of Wilkes county for decades my friend.

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    2. And yet, the mindset of some of our fans appears still to be firmly entrenched in 1940s "hill country."

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    3. Anonymous11:32 PM

      It's sad that Moody continues to act like Christianity and prayer is a 1940s thing. He continues to prove he is NOT tolerant at all by EVERY reply he has made to this post...sad that he is stuck that way. I thought he'd be smarter...but again, this is an opinion blog that carries no weight...

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  17. Well said Dave. I often think, when it comes to religion, we are free to believe what we want, as long as we all belive the same. This just isn't possible. The words you wrote ring more true to me than you will ever know. I am the father of an LGBT son. Just try to find inclusiveness with that.

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  18. Well done, Dave. For those who don't understand how someone could be offended by the overtly Christian prayer, I thought Swedelson explained it best on your show. It's more of a gut feeling that the sport does not want my business because I don't fit that profile, being myself a non-religious feminist. I felt the same way when Brian France (and by inference the sport itself) endorsed Trump. Is it too much to ask to keep religion and politics out of sports?

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    1. Anonymous2:29 PM

      Any gut feeling that you are being excluded because something is taking place you don't necessarily agree with is not a feeling you are having, its a feeling planted on you by a movement to exclude religion from everything. They want everyone to feel offended all the time, because that's how they advance their agenda.

      My respectful challenge is to really ask yourself if you're feeling offended is because of what YOU believe or what others want you to feel offended about. This wasn't a problem as little as 20 years ago in this country.

      Finally, ask yourself if you feel offended when presented with other things you don't participate in. Do you drink? If not, are you offended when others do? Do you like cowboy hats? If not, are you offended or threatened when you see someone wearing them?

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    2. Thank you, Allison!

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    3. Anonymous11:35 PM

      Well said, Anonymous! I'm glad there are some out here who can see it clearly and not with the narrowminded sight that Moody (and others, like this comment) are showing...

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  19. Well said my friend, I just about had enough of Dave! I can only do one thing about that, turn him off!
    Dave jump on whatever bandwagon
    You want it won't offen me because I won't be tuned in. I only hope and pray that Jesus finds you before it's to late....

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    1. That's probably a good idea, Myron. Sirius XM Speedway is no place for guys like you, who can't handle opinions other than their own. And thanks for reading!

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    2. ^^^^ great hypocritical non tolerant answer! 😂

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    3. Anonymous11:36 PM

      Talking about Moody's, Dee Miller? I agree! He proves he is intolerant every time he replies here in the comments...

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  20. All I can think of to say to you, Mr. Moody, is, "Amen!" You are speaking my language. I absolutely agree that prayers should be ecumenical rather than religion specific. It's sad that NASCAR can't or won't see the bigger picture. In a time when NASCAR looks to increase it's fan base, it seems counterintuitive to exclude so many people based on their religious beliefs. And I hate the fact NASCAR responds with we must have tolerance. What about acceptance of all humanity regardless of race, religion, or any other exclusion criteria?

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    1. Anonymous2:05 PM

      Are you seeing people turned away from the gates of racetracks because of their race, religion, sexual preference, nationality or anything else? Your post suggests that you are. Please report it to the federal government, because that's illegal. Prayer on the other hand (for now) is not.

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  21. Moody,
    I don't usually agree with the positions you take, but I agree with you 100% on this one. NASCAR must become neutral when it comes to politics and religion. When you have declining numbers as NASCAR does, you must be inclusive to all. I personally stopped attending the Texas Motor Speedway when they had the NRA as title sponsor shortly after Sandy Hook. The timing of the race sponsorship was extreme poor in taste. I have loved NASCAR racing for 25 years. Do you know how hard it is to explain to friends how NASCAR isn't just a bunch of bigoted, racist, hillbillies? I bring up Dale Jr's stance against the confederate flag. Real progressive. And then Brian France, Eddie Gossage, etc destroy my entire pitch to potential fans. This is entirely poor judgement on the sport's leadership.

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    1. Thanks, Jason. I appreciate your thoughts.

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  22. Anonymous1:27 AM

    Moody your thoughts on our creator makes you just perfect to hear what was prayed. Glad you listened so closely. Take time to really think about the life of your grandmother and how open to all people the pray was for.Thanks

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    1. What thoughts did I express on our creator? I must have missed that part.

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  23. I'd have to agree with the above anonymous 'Any prayer that tries to include all religions is as hollow and meaningless as a sponsor mention.' Dead on. The only way that idea works is if you invite all denominations to give their own invocation, by not including anyone you basically exclude everyone. You used the flag issue in attempt to make your point to a caller tuesday, I'd have to agree with the caller on that because it's not the same thing, you continually attempt to steer callers to stay on topic, but if it had been the caller raising the flag issue to make a point, you would have shut them down so you yourself don't seem to be able to adhere to your own rules regarding topics and callers. But I digress, a lot of your fan base sees this as nothing more than a further erosion of society by people who, while well intentioned,are misguided in their belief that something needs fixing when in fact it isn't broken. this has very little to do with decency and more to do with the current social climate of this country, a lot of which seems to be influenced by social media,in short, it goes something like this, If you say something on social media and several thousand people on social media agree, you must be right. This gives people a somewhat inflated opinion of themselves, or that their feelings actually mean something. The point is, just because you say something and a million people can hear you say it doesn't make it the right thing to do.

    @burfreprs24

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    1. Anonymous11:38 PM

      Amen! Another wise post from someone who has stepped back to survey the entire situation!

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  24. Anonymous5:59 AM

    This article is full of hypocritical bull. Slippery slope that most are not aware of. I am scared for this country. We are forced to think the current trend of gender changing is normal or LBGT whatever the heck it is etc, is NORMAL. Men dressing as women wanting to go into the womens restrooms, with our children there! ETC.. And the invocation by Phil is what is upsetting the masses? Oh hell no..we are screwed!. Mr. Moody however will not print this! But he knows I am right, and I know it!

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    1. What an awesome response! You took a discussion about public prayer and turned it into LGBT and women's restrooms! I guess we all know where YOUR phobias lie, don't we? LOL

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  25. Great article Dave.

    As a kid my dad used to always tell me you can avoid a lot of trouble just by generally keeping your politics, religion, and how much money you make to yourself unless necessary.

    The mainstream headlines NASCAR have been getting this year have been something else, hehe! Personally I wish NASCAR would just let the racing speak for itself and leave out all the lightning rod opinionated stuff, because I have been thoroughly impressed with that this year.

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  26. Poppycock. Nascar could build mosques in the middle of the speedways, and we wouldn't see many Muslims. No one like Mr.Moody wants to say it, but the biggest reason Nascar has been on the decline is that they have spent too much effort pandering to "millennials" and chasing the elusive "new fan" and forgot the core base of folks that built these joints.

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    1. How many Muslims, Jews, Hindus do we have now, Joe? Do you know? Maybe they're already here! Scary, huh?

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  27. The thing is this; A vast majority of drivers,crew,mechanics and fans are Christian.Take the highly respected Coach Gibbs.I wonder how he would respond to no prayer in racing....My family loves it.My young daughters think its awesome that NASCAR still allows it.As a Christian its our duty to "spread the word",if you will.I do however believe in accepting others who don't believe,but when the majority have no problem with it,then I see no problem....I would like to see this topic discussed with the likes of Mr.Petty,Mr.Hendrick,Mr.Gibbs,Mr.Waltrip[Darrell]or,perhaps Jr...Regardless of your beliefs,I enjoy your opinion and show.

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  28. I listened to you yesterday afternoon and was totally taken aback by your thoughts and it's my opinion you're completely wrong in your assessment. First of all, NASCAR is not a public entity it is a privately owned company so it is not yours, mine and ours. The France family owns it and has the right to perform what ever religious ceremony it desires. That's called freedom of religion. Secondly, a nondenominational prayer would still exclude many religions that just don't pray like Christians. You cannot appease them all, or even most of them. Your grandstanding will have only one result if it takes hold and that is the end of prayer at NASCAR events. I'm looking for the appropriate word but can't find it so I'll just say you're wet behind the ears. This is the most Mamby-Pamby politically correct nonsense I NEVER thought I'd hear.

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    1. Re-read the story, Dave. I specifically said (and repeated multiple times on the radio) that NASCAR is privately owned, and can do what they want. I also said that just because something's legal, doesn't make it right.

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    2. You may have said that at some point, or put it in this blog, but not on sirius while I was listening. And of course just because something's legal doesn't make it right, but freedom of religion and a private entity's right to do as they wish is right, or are you saying it's not? In my opinion you have done NASCAR and it's fans a great disservice, THANK GOD it seems that the vast majority see the illogic of your thoughts and it's dying as quick as it was perceived. And I'm sure that in your conceit you will care less, but you have lost another listener. Ands before you write it, I only came here to dispute you.

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  29. Also, looking at statistics it appears that we have 70% Christian, 5.9% non Christian, 22.8% non believers and a couple % other faiths. Christian Prayer is the best logical path to appease the most.

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    1. I would love to see those statistics. What study of NASCAR's fan base are you citing? Provide the link, please. (Unless you're just making it up.)

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  30. I find it sad that so many people fear the mention of the name Jesus...

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  31. Anonymous10:12 AM

    I don't see what all the fuss is about. Much ado about nothing, IMO. I'm like you Dave, not religious, but I view attending a NASCAR race like visiting a friend's house for dinner. You know they're Christian, and you know The Lord's Prayer will be said before eating. So what do you do? You go, sit there quietly during the prayer to be respectful of your friends and enjoy the meal. No harm done - I usually make it through without bursting into flames, even when I join in and say "Amen" with them at the end. To be honest, I'll be glad when it stops being fashionable to be offended.

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    1. well said. By and large, its not as big a deal as hes trying to make it.

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    2. Perhaps it's only a "big deal" to the non-Christians who feel excluded every week. Possible?

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    3. Anonymous5:44 PM

      I appreciate that you take time to respond to your comments section! Even to those who disagree with you.

      It's 30 seconds of the program at a time when everyone is still getting their beer/snacks and settling in for the race. It's only an issue if someone is looking to make it one. It's not like they're telling NASCAR fans to look around and convert any non-believers before the race starts.

      While we're on the subject, should I be offended every time the camera shows the JGR organization in a group prayer when their car wins? FOX is clearly pandering to the conservative Christians (you know, Republicans!) by showing this. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!! lol :-P First world problems, man, first world problems.

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  32. Anonymous10:13 AM

    atta boy dave

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  33. Geosez10:18 AM

    At least he didn't give thanks for his "hot smokin' wife."
    I'm not going to get into the theological/political side of this. But I do wish NASCAR would take more care in selecting those who represent them on national TV. Especially with reference to the national anthem.

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  34. Anonymous10:51 AM

    It is people like you that is changing this country if you are not that religious keep your comments to yourself this country was built on Christian beliefs and needs to stay that way if people coming to America don't like it let them stay where their beliefs are we are not allowed to try and change their way in their homeland so why should USA change they know when they come how it is here. let anyone come here that wants to welcome them but accept
    our ways

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    1. It's my website, pal. I'll say what I like. And if you don't like it... you're still allowed to comment. That's the difference between us.

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    2. We call that a run on sentence... Holy smokes! That was a tough read anonymous.

      Anyhwho, your attitude toward reading something contrary to your beliefs, is exactly what Dave was writing about. I don't have to like you, or agree with your religious beliefs, in order to sit next to you and enjoy a race.

      I don't need to know what they are either...

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  35. Jimmy G11:14 AM

    Anonymous hit the nail on the head. Christianity is the most inclusive of all religions. I'm not saying that Baptists, or Methodists, or Catholics are always inclusive. Unfortunately, we are not. I'm saying the teachings of Christ always are.

    My experience is that those who find Christianity offensive are those who NEED for it to be offensive in order to justify their beliefs, or lack of belief.

    Those of us in attendance seemed to approve of Phil's message, at least judging by the applause after his prayer.

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    1. To summarize: Christians are tolerant, it's just the Baptists, Methodists and Catholics that aren't? That makes TOTAL sense!

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    2. Anonymous2:38 PM

      What he said was the Christ taught tolerance. But it's us Christians who don't always remember that.

      We realize we're not perfect, though most of the time, people don't give us the benefit of the doubt on that one! They would rather shout hypocrite instead. A mature Christian will tell you where they struggle and that they need help everyday.

      Delete
  36. Anonymous11:53 AM

    I always find it interesting how intolerant people are who are calling for tolerance. How about a little tolerance for Mr Robertson?

    Nobody seems to care when I am offended by people who get offended too easily. So here ya go, I AM offended that you are offended.

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  37. Anonymous12:09 PM

    Most races they end a prayer with Amen and Shalom.

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    1. Not since Rev. Hal Marchman died in 2009, you haven't. Very rarely.

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  38. Anonymous1:50 PM

    Lot of hate out in the world. Good article in my humble opinion. Not sure what's the best solution

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    1. Anonymous2:23 PM

      I have to ask, where are you seeing hate at NASCAR races?

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  39. Anonymous2:59 PM

    As a God fearing man I have to say I generally agree with you Dave. I would think non denominational pray would be a better answer. That said my God always taught me to be kind,accepting,forgiving to all. I think Nascar has worked many years to reduce the "red neck" stigma, Saturdays action completely erase those efforts & send the message to the mass'es that Nascar is still just a backwards redneck sport. Brians previous political activity was another slap in the face & then to come out with the excuse that is was just him personally & not Nascar or the drivers would lead one to think either he isn't to bright or he thinks we aren't.(probably column A&B). On another note was the tradition of the prayer before racing started as a hope & goodwill of the drivers safety? (as death & serious injury were fat more common back then)..I don't always agree with you Dave but do appreciate your outlook on an issue & I think you've done well here to address this. ..Earner

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    1. Anonymous3:03 PM

      Dave did not suggest a non-denominational prayer. He suggested a multi-religious prayer. Basically a hollow poem that wouldn't say anything, therefore it wouldn't offend.

      Delete
  40. As a 20+ year fan of Nascar, a flaming Liberal, agnostic, and woman, I have "tolerated" the prayer for years. Because it was a prayer of protection for the drivers, crew, track workers, etc. It wasn't a prayer for politics, exclusion, and my way or you don't belong. It was a genuine hope for everyone to be safe and have a great day and for everyone to make it home in one piece with a great memory. Now it's a political platform and preaching out against others using the prayer "givers" personal political views. I can't get behind that and I don't believe that is what prayer is for.

    If you want to play the "it's our history" card, then let the prayer go back to what it traditionally was, a prayer of protection over everyone at the track. Leave your personal views out of it, leave politics out of it, and stop using it to tell everyone else how bad they are and how they don't belong in "your world".

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    1. Anonymous10:36 PM

      In a word, perfect. Your view is truly a widely held view. I remember when I was sent to church as a kid, we were taught in Sunday school to pray so only God heard us. Our prayers were for His ears and not anyone else's. My how the world has twisted that around . These 'invocation's are a farce. Praising sponsors and political figures isn't what prayer is all about. But some think it is. Maybe they're the ones who need prayer.

      Delete
  41. Amen Dave, After hearing that prayer, I was once again reminded of just how intolerant and ignorant NASCAR can be when it comes to it's fans. I'm sorry, not every single fan out there is a gun toting, bible thumping, Christian Republican who wants a "Jesus-MAN" in the White House. Believe it or not, there are plenty of us out here who don't follow the official party line (which party is that anyhow, NASCAR, Christianity, Duck Commander, Republican, Males in the White House only?)and have different beliefs. Does that mean we can't be NASCAR fans anymore? If I'm a Democrat who voted for Hillary and maybe doesn't share the same view of God as the Duck Commander, does that make me a bad person, or does that mean I can't be a NASCAR fan? Are we seriously so intolerant and ignorant as to believe that if they don't share the collective's beliefs (which I dare say is quite a few more than most of you would be willing to admit), they aren't fit to be fans of YOUR sport? Is NASCAR still a "southern" sport, or have you finally realized that it encompasses many cities and fans outside of the south? Look, I could care less if you pray a certain way, have a certain religious or political leaning, and welcome you to it. I think we ALL should be free to have our own thoughts on things. But when you line up the NASCAR powers that be behind Donald Trump and make it look like NASCAR endorses that horses ass and all of his bigotry, then you continue allow certain sponsors (always seems to be Texas where it happens)who are sure to divide your fans to one degree or another to say the crazy stuff he did on Saturday, you are chasing away fans. For those of you who continue to subscribe to the thoughts that we shouldn't be fans in the first place if we don't share your God, Guns, Confederate Flag, and bigotry, I hate to tell you this, but you are already outnumbered. I continue to meet more and more people who are tolerant and open, friendly and inclusive, and people I love to cheer beside at the races I go to. So maybe YOU are the minority? I'd like to think that in the 21st Century, we can overcome the divisions that continue to plague this Great Country and GREAT SPORT!

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    1. Anonymous3:05 PM

      I'm having a real hard time understanding how Phil's prayer was in tolerant. Did he say "all those Muslims need to get out of America?" No. He didn't. Did he say "I hate Jews?" No. He didn't. Did he say "If you hate guns you can kiss my butt?" Nope. He just said he wanted a "Jesus man in the White House." How is that intolerant, hateful or dismissive of anyone?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous7:43 AM

      I guess you don't understand the term 'dog whistle' then. It had NO place in a public forum by a sport that claims inclusiveness.

      Delete
  42. Spot on Dave, and it took a pair of brass ones to write it too.

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  43. Funny how NASCAR has tried to move throughout the country, sanctioning tracks all over the place, but the values of the southeast continue to rule. I remember when Big Bill was a big supporter of racist George Wallace. It's in their DNA. They can't help it, but if you want to appeal to all of America, you must be more diverse. Guys like Eddie Gossage will never understand. That's sad.

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  44. Wendy1:07 AM

    Texas was the first race this season, that I could tune in from the beginning. Also, being a Duck Dynasty fan, made it all the better.
    I was very surprised that Phil had been chosen to give the invocation.
    Anyone that watches the show knows how Phil thinks. He speaks his mind. I was not shocked by what he said. But, when he was done, I knew the press would be all over it.
    Phil did his job. He did the invocation.

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  45. Great article and I agree. There's a typo in the headline. :-)

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  46. Anonymous7:47 PM

    When you open a door and only invite in those of your same beliefs, maybe it's time to close the door and not make your spectacle public. NASCAR may think they can exclude those of non-Christian faith, but as the next generation moves further away from the automobile culture and the Sunday go to meeting culture, they will wonder where their fans went and won't be able to figure it out because only they are right.

    You want a jesus man in the White House, you're going to need to build your own White House.

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  47. Being an atheist I'm so use to Christians wasting time on their stupid superstitions I barely notice when it's happening. Oh duck guy is wasting time muttering some rot about Bibles and guns hmm . Oh shhh my neighbors down sendrom child is saying something let's pretend to listen .

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    1. Anonymous1:23 PM

      What happened to keeping name-calling out of posts?

      Delete
  48. The irony is that the stance you've taken is brave specifically because you're going to get slammed from both sides - those who feel you're not going far enough since you didn't go out of your way to advocate his position, and those who feel that by giving him legitimacy you're advocating by default.

    I wish it hadn't come to this, but I'm afraid it has - there's no middle ground anymore where we can all get along. I'm afraid I won't be around to see when it gets better on the other side.

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  49. There is no reason we can't say thank you for the race day , pay for safety of everyone ect. Non denominational is the way to go . Boy Scouts of Canada changed in the 80's by dropping the "boys" to Scouts Canada to encourage more membership, boys and girls and by asking that our religious ceremonies by nondenominational to include everyone. Awesome show and articles hope Nascar listens

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  50. Nondenominational is the way to go, you can still pray and give thanks without the names. Insert name in your own mind no one gets affected. Boy Scouts of Canada , to encourage more membership dropped the "Boy" in the 80's to include females and asked that our religious ceremonies be nondenominational. Hope Nascar and the tracks were listening, hurts no one and includes everyone. Great article and show thanks Dave

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  51. There is no reason we can't say thank you for the race day , pay for safety of everyone ect. Non denominational is the way to go . Boy Scouts of Canada changed in the 80's by dropping the "boys" to Scouts Canada to encourage more membership, boys and girls and by asking that our religious ceremonies by nondenominational to include everyone. Awesome show and articles hope Nascar listens

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  52. I'm an Atheist. And I was one of the biggest NASCAR fans going for many years. I have about a hundred reasons why I am no longer a NASCAR fan. The prayer before the race doesn't even make the list. But I will say that looking at the stands on the occasions that I bother to watch a race anymore, NASCAR can't afford to alienate ANY fans. But there is no way to do any sort of religious observance in a public setting anywhere without angering someone. If NASCAR is happy with the status quo, it's a privately held company and they can do what they want. Or spend several hours prior to every race doing something like four thousand prayers to represent every religion and sect in the world. My way of looking at it is is: If a privately held entity wishes to exclude potential customers based on any reason, that should be its right. And let the public vote with its dollars. It will all work out on its own.

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  53. Anonymous10:24 PM

    Must have been that invocation that kept the attendance at Bristol so low...LOL. Sure, that's the issue - right-y-o.

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