A “Duck Dynasty” star delivered an unusual invocation before a NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway over the weekend, praying that “we put a Jesus man in the White House.”
Phil Robertson, who stars in the reality TV show along with other members of his family, has endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination for president while his son, Willie, has spoken out in support of Donald Trump.
“All right, Texas, we got here via Bibles and guns, I’m fixin’ to pray to the one who made that possible,” the Duck Commander prayed before the Duck Commander 500. “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, to understand that the men and women on my right are the U.S. military. On my right and on my left. Our faith in the U.S. military is the reason we are 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 is right, to love you more and to love each other. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.”
The prayer drew a mixed reaction online. While some praised his openness, others said it was inappropriate to mix politics, religion and sports. But this is, after all, the Texas Motor Speedway, which had a sponsorship arrangement with the National Rifle Association for a 2013 race. That relationship ended, though, and the Duck Commander stepped in.
Like Robertson, the Texas Motor Speedway knows its audience. Winners almost always pose with unloaded guns and cowboy hats and, three years ago, Bruton Smith, whose Speedway Motorsports Inc. owns TMS, told ESPN Dallas that he has no concerns about partnering with the NRA.“It’s not a touchy issue at all,” Smith said then. “We’re at Texas. I guess if you want to find any state in the United States that is pro guns, Texas would be it. You have more hunters per capita in Texas than any place I know. The sponsor is a great sponsor. We’d welcome them if they wanted to sponsor another event.”
TMS President Eddie Gossage defended Robertson on Saturday, pointing out that Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert in North Carolina to protest the state’s new law banning anti-discrimination ordinances. “He said what he felt and believed and there are a lot of people that agree with him and a lot that disagree with him,” Gossage said (via Star-Telegram.com). “Nowadays, you cannot say what you think because of political correctness. So I guess everyone has a right to free speech or nobody does.
“Bruce Springsteen cancels his show in North Carolina on his viewpoints and a lot of people agreed with him and a lot of people disagree with him. I defend Bruce Springsteen’s rights to take his position and, if you do that, then you’ve got to defend everybody else’s, too.”