Overly Opinionated: Racing, Praying, Politics

After Texas a lot of media are talking about Phil Robertson’s prayer and his son’s endorsement of a politician and his endorsement of a politician. These media members say it’s wrong and it’s not a neutral stance like other sports. They say maybe the prayer is outdated. They say NASCAR is showing its “Redneck” and intolerant roots.

Lets start with “Redneck” and intolerance. First, the media calling anyone a “Redneck” with a negative connotation is intolerant. As Charlie Daniels has said, “A redneck ain’t nothing more than the working man.” You know, I’m ok with that. I work and take care of my family and my bills and I am a simple man who likes simple things. I’m a redneck and I’m not afraid to admit it. It’s not as negative as the writers would have you believe.

As for intolerance, walk through the garage. Look around. You will see women and men. You will see multiple races, colors, ethnicities. You may not see it but there are multiple religions in the garage. NASCAR is not as intolerant as they’d have you believe. Could it be better? Who or what couldn’t be better? At least NASCAR is actively working to provide an environment of equality. These writers who are on the tour are only flashing click bait. Sensationalizing things for their own gain. Don’t buy it.

Then these writers say people “don’t watch racing because they don’t want religion forced down their throat” before the race. Show me the studies that say that. Prayer is one of our first basic freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of this great nation. You are free to practice and free to not practice. It is your choice. If you are so offended by a prayer that you cannot be exposed to it, you’re doing freedom wrong. You cannot oppress an individual or group’s right to prayer simply because you don’t believe in it. If you are atheist feel free to ignore the prayer, go get a hot dog, go grab a beer, or just sit there and watch the spectacle.

Theres an old Army saying we used, “There’s no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.” When you are in danger, no matter who you are, you’re praying for help. If you are an atheist and think, “I’d never say that.” Just remember, there will come a point when you cry out, “Someone help me!” even though there’s nobody there. Drivers know they are entering a dangerous situation. Drivers have always prayed together. There is nothing wrong with prayer. So why would anyone want to take away something that many see as positive? Because they feel it is negative? It is their choice to not practice, they do not have to.

When these same media then attack Phil & Willie Robertson for endorsing political candidates, I ask myself, “Why is this wrong?” The Robertson family chose to sponsor the race. Sponsors use NASCAR as a platform to sell their product and spread their message. That’s why they pay such hefty prices for sponsorships. We should thank them for sponsoring the event, not brow beating them. Sponsors are hard to come by. There aren’t many out there looking to drop a bunch of cash right now. This is their message, if you don’t like the message, ignore it. If you like it, thank them and buy their Duck Commander and Buck Commander calls.  You cannot suppress their right to free speech simply because you do not like it, especially after they paid the money for naming rights and the rights to get their name and message out there.

As for the part of, “We got here through the bible and guns” let’s be honest, we did. This country was founded upon these basic principles. They are in the first 2 amendments. There is nothing wrong with the bible or guns. It’s the people who wield either for their own gain that is the issue.

Finally, as for other sports being neutral in all of these arenas, that is just wrong. They have sponsors who tell them to act a certain way. That isn’t neutrality, that’s smart business. Most sponsors in NASCAR probably hold similar views to the sanctioning body and that’s just another reason they use it as a platform. That’s smart business.

NASCAR has long been about sponsors and their message. NASCAR has long held religion and prayer at the front of their belief system. NASCAR is a privately owned company. In the end, they don’t have to do all that they do, they don’t have to support programs that help people of all types. They do it because it is part of their beliefs, part of their heritage. NASCAR fans are a special breed, I like to think we can all make determinations on our own.

If a driver supports a candidate you don’t like, do cheer for them. If a driver is sponsored by a company or group of people you don’t like, don’t follow them, don’t buy their product. It’s why I refuse to purchase Anheuser-Busch products and memorabilia, I no longer like or support Kevin Harvick. If a driver prays and you don’t want to, don’t pray for them. It’s our choice. I hate that we have become a society that must oppress anyone who is different from us. We have gone backwards. We forgot along the way that we have a choice to just ignore what we don’t like.

Thats why media has made an issue out of Texas. They are working to separate us just so they can get clicks and advertisers. They are playing to their sponsors too. We too can choose to ignore their message and not buy their product. We don’t have to play into their created drama.

Thats my overly opinionated view.

-Jonathan A. Gruenke-

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