I am not a nascar fan. Nothing against the sport at all, I just have a hard time staying interested in a bunch of guys making all left turns. Today, I saw just the beginning of the a race up in New Hampshire. Just before the Star Spangled Banner was sung, they had a local pastor pray the invocation over the race. This is the second time I have seen this happen this year so I don’t know if it is a regular feature or not. Here’s what jumped out at me: the guy prayed and then concluded by saying, “in the name of Jesus, amen”. I couldn’t help it, I got a little excited to hear that. I guess that I am a little amazed that they, whoever ‘they” are still allow that to happen. It is nearly impossible to find a public event of that magnitude where people are allowed to pray openly, over the public address system, in the name of Jesus Christ. I say, “good for nascar!”
I am also wondering what bigger statements are being made here. Is it because nascar is more of a southern sport, the whole “Bible-belt” thing? It is because some, not all, nascar fans are good ole’ boys who still respect God and country? Is it because everyone realizes that one of these drivers could easily die at any point in the race? Are those who would normally decry such a blatant display of political incorrectness intimidated? Or do they just figure that this is nothing but a bunch of rednecks who don’t know any better and who aren’t intelligent enough to vote anyway?
I also wonder why the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL wouldn’t be caught dead doing such a thing. Recall after 9/11 that Major League Baseball did allow prayer before the first few games. God Bless America was sung at most stadiums the rest of the season. But Jesus was not the focal point that He is at these races. And now it seems that MLB isn’t nearly as interested in God as they used to be.
If nascar can do it, why can’t we do it at schools and civic events? Now, I am no activist, and I am not encouraging anyone to stir the pot. But I am wondering if we have just assumed that Jesus is off limits in most settings when maybe He isn’t.
Good for nascar. Gentlemen, start your engines!