Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson asked for 'a Jesus man in the White House' during the pre-race prayer for the Sprint Cup Series' race at Texas on Saturday night.
Robertson gave the prayer because the family company, Duck Commander, is the title sponsor of the race. Robertson started the prayer with a reference to the Bible and guns. Here's the prayer in full:
Alright Texas, we got here via Bibles and guns. I'm fixing to pray to the one who made that possible. Father thank you for founding our nation. I pray father that we don't forget who brought us. You. Our faith in the blood of Jesus and his resurrection. Help us father to get back to that. Help us dear God understand that the men and women on my right, the U.S. military. On my right and on my left. Our faith in you and the U.S. military is the reason we're still here. 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's right to love you more and to love each other. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Taking Robertson's words on the surface, the prayer is asking for either Republicans Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich to be elected. All three are professed Christians. Democrat Bernie Sanders is Jewish and Democrat Hillary Clinton, well she's not a man.
To go a step further, you could also believe that Robertson was praying for Cruz's chances. Robertson has endorsed Cruz for president and said he wanted people to "Keep your sex right there" when referring to heterosexual marriages at a Cruz rally in February. Robertson was previously suspended from "Duck Dynasty" regarding comments he made about homosexuality to GQ.
NASCAR is the only major sport that regularly has a pre-event prayer. And while Robertson's prayer became outwardly political, it's also not unusual for the pre-race prayers to be exclusive to Christianity like his was.
Yes, NASCAR audiences are predominantly Christian, but it wouldn't take much effort to have non-denominational prayers become the norm at races. It would fit nicely with NASCAR's diversity efforts; efforts that have been scrutinized with NASCAR CEO Brian France's presidential endorsement of Donald Trump.
And while Robertson has done the prayer at previous races his company has sponsored, you can also question NASCAR's oversight in letting a man known for his intolerant comments be a pre-race face of your sport.
Duck Commander took over in 2014 as the primary sponsor of the spring Texas race from the NRA. The race sponsorship from the NRA received extensive criticism and NASCAR responded with a statement that it would be reviewing race sponsorship agreements more closely.
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