Military Support for a Christian NASCAR

Dear Mikey,

I am writing to lodge a complaint about the U.S. Military’s support of NASCAR, specifically their authorization of military flyovers at ever NASCAR race, and the sponsorship of teams by various branches of the military.

I have been a race fan for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a family where my father raced cars for many years and I have spent many afternoons and evenings at race tracks around the country. I also enjoy watching NASCAR races on TV, but I never attend them because of their partnership with specifically Christian religious groups (and, as you know, I am Jewish).

NASCAR has always engaged in exclusionary religious practices. While they not only allow Christian proselytizing groups, in some cases actually partner with them. Here is a link to just one example of a group that is being allowed by NASCAR to use their events and facilities to engage in aggressive Christian proselytizing: http://www.whowon.com/sResults.asp?SanctionID=230&StoryID=286686

Not only does NASCAR give access to Christian outreach groups, they begin every race with a Christian-specific prayer (always “in Jesus’ name”).  More than anything else, this is why I do not personally attend NASCAR events. And in fact, rather than watching them live on TV, I record the races and then just fast forward past this part of the program that is patently offensive to me. However, that means I also miss the military flyover. You see, NASCAR always begins races with a Christian prayer, immediately followed by the Star Spangled Banner being sung accompanied by a military flyover. For a casual observer this implies military support for the Christian prayer along with the Star Spangled Banner; and this is not an accident. NASCAR sees itself as a bulwark of the “America as a Christian Nation” crowd.

NASCAR has never allowed other faiths to have space on “vendor row” at any event to spread their “religious message”. Yet the U.S. government, in the form of the United States Military, supports NASCAR with flyovers, sponsors race teams and cars, and sometimes even provides color guards. As a Jewish American U.S. Navy Veteran who proudly served my Country honorably, this offends me.

I suppose, however, I have never been so angry as I was last year (I no longer recall the specific race) when the NASCAR Sprint Cup announcers on Fox Sports were talking about the annual NASCAR awards banquet being moved from New York City to Los Vegas. They repeatedly spoke derisively about the “New York crowd” and used other terms that have historically implied “Jews”. They spoke repeatedly about how the New York crowd wasn’t appropriate for NASCAR. They repeatedly made derisive comments using code words for “Jews”. As one might imagine, I wrote to both Fox Sports and NASCAR, but of course received no response.

How is it that our military can be supporting what is not only a patently Christian organization, but one that so openly disdains Jewish Americans? Isn’t there anything that can be done about this? Why should the tax dollars of Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Pagan, Atheist and other Non-Christian Americans be spent to support exclusion and the advancement of the Christian faith?

Respectfully,

Akiva David Miller

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13 Comments

  1. Fazsha

    Wait a minute. Our government gives money to Israel to buy our military weapons, and yet you complain about THIS? How ungrateful.

  2. John Joerg

    you have to be kidding, not just a little paranoid are you? codewords for Jews when talking about the new york crowd? I didnt know that all us yankees are jews! perhaps you should get a life and stop looking under every rock for an anti-seminite.

  3. Ben Scrood

    Who said you have to watch NASCAR?? If you don’t like it…don’t watch it. The vast majority of their fans seem to have no problem with this.

    What’s the code word for paranoid?

  4. Kelly

    Unbelievable!!!! If your issue is with NASCAR, then don’t watch it. They won’t care. It is run by private citizens who own the tracks. They can do what they want. Most of the drivers have Christian backgrounds and if they don’t you don’t see them complaining. If your issue is with the flyovers, then why not complain about all other events that have flyovers like football games, etc. Baseball games have someone singing “God Bless America” a lot of times. Keep it up NASCAR – one of the reasons I watch!!! By the way, most racing events start with prayer (NHRA, AMA, IRL, etc.) and 75% of the drivers have RFC (Racers for Christ) stickers on the race car. It’s the way it is – your freedom of choice is – don’t watch. I have a jewish friend who works for an engine development company that builds NASCAR engines – he likes his job!!!

  5. Susan Paul

    I totally agree with Akiva Miller’s letter. While it may come across to some as “paranoid”, from my own experience as a Jewish kid growing up in a vastly non-Jewish area of SoCal, a lot of these things are true. I lived for a number of years in NYC, and I can tell you, they are so much more respectful of one another’s faiths than they are in the many other places I’ve been in the US. And yes, even we Jews in NYC used to joke about it being “Hymie-town” as Jesse Jackson once said (in a big “oops” moment)in referring to what Rudy Giuliani called “the capital of the world”. I don’t remember any friends of mine, Jewish or gentile, in NYC as being NASCAR fans. Perhaps it’s because so many people in the City never drive cars? Possibly. But I don’t believe it’s because they are offended by the invocations at NASCAR events. Yeah, if I watched, I’d be a bit pissed-off at all the Jesus stuff. Why? Because I don’t think that Jesus cares who wins or loses such events. Any sporting event, for that matter! As for God? WAAAAAAY too busy to care about the Yankees, Dodgers,Giants (baseball and football)and even the Lakers! (I might get strung-up for that one!) BUT…The thing that really gets my goat about NASCAR is all the people and trucks with Confederate flags plastered on decals, belt buckles, kerchiefs, t-shirts and so forth! I cannot, and will not support any sport where so many people think the ol’ “stars and bars” is an appropriate decoration. And from some of the people I’ve met, they think the Confederacy won the war! Or some, who think the war should be fought all over again, especially since “them Yanks done gone an’ elected a Black person as their President!” What would Jesus say about all the discrimination (and even religious exclusionary talk)??? I think he’d shake his head, as a tear rolled down his cheek.
    As a patriotic American who happens to be Jewish, I just think that all the wearing of religion on the sleeves (and cars and whatnot) just makes the event seem like some kind of frivolity. It’s just hard to take it seriously, folks. And as for Akiva Miller, I think he could watch his NASCAR events if he wants, but just turn down the sound, or put the sound on “mute” during the invocation; then, turn the sound back on, just in time for the fly-over! CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? And that includes ALL faiths, ALL races, and ALL people whose sexual orientation might be different than our own! That’s the America I grew up in! And a lot of my elementary on up through high school teachers were veterans of WWII, and even my favorite teacher, who was a young, enthusiastic Marine veteran of the Korean war. And years later, I discovered he was gay—that was when he became principal of my elementary Alma Mater. But that’s beside the point…NASCAR would have more fans if it didn’t practice the exclusion of some people. Until then, I’ll continue to be a Dodger & Laker fan.

  6. Tim

    The reference to the “New York crowd” was in no way a reference to Jews. It’s more the way that “fly over country” thinks of New York and LA – a bunch of whining babies that have the rejection of traditional values as their goal. Thank you, David Miller, for fulfilling the New York stereotype.

  7. Elliott

    Wow.
    First, I have to say I think Mikey Weinstein is an idiot. ALL faiths Join the military. We all come from diverse backgrounds and the constitution gives us freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.
    For what ever reason we choose to serve, we do so because of our own personal beliefs.
    As for the people that don’t want ANY religion in the military,YOU have the right to freedom FROM religion. No one is forcing you to go to church on any particular holy day.
    YOUR right to tell ME how to live and what to believe stops where my beliefs begin..

  8. DJ

    Funny…this guy works for Mikey. LOL

  9. Ed Berliner

    I am an attorney in Austin Texas and I have had this as my pet peave since I first went to Ft. Worth to watch the races. Not only does the military supply the color guards and the flyover and sponsor teams, but also the local police and State Troopers all provide security and traffic control for all races. Additionally, I think at the track in Texas the State of Texas and the municipality of Ft. Worth provided financing and tax incentives for the track to be built. Why should they be allowed to pray in Jesus name? I’m offended.

  10. NASCAR Fan

    Dearest Susan; “Jewish or gentile”, like in your are either Jewish or you are “everybody else”. Sounds rather elitist to me, which is exactly what is meant by the “New York crowd” that disturbs Mr. Miller so much. As you state “…in NYC, and I can tell you, they are so much more respectful of one another’s faiths…” however you, as a NYC resident say “Yeah, if I watched, I’d be a bit pissed-off at all the Jesus stuff.”, yes, oh so respectful. I do agree with you on one point, “As for God”, if there is one, is indeed WAAAAAAY too busy to bother with the outcome of a sporting event. If you listen carefully I think you will find that the pre-race invocation thanks God for the “beautiful day” and to “protect” the fans, drivers, crews, etc. “The thing that really gets my goat about NASCAR is all the people and trucks with Confederate flags plastered on decals, belt buckles, kerchiefs, t-shirts and so forth!”. Again, rather intolerant isn’t it. Some people are proud of their heritage and ware items they identify with, kinda like someone wearing a Star of David. I am a NASCAR fan, not a Confederate (was born in Virginia and lived there for the first two of my fifty six years), grew up in California and New Mexico (not a bastion of Confederate support) and am Theo Agnostic (ie, there might be a god) but do not believe in ANY organized religion. I’m not a fan of our current President, but it has nothing to do with his race, I simply disagree with his policies.

  11. wesker

    Wow!!…better not have any flyovers at football games because there aren’t a whole lot of Jewish football players. I’m orignally from New York..yet I’m not Jewish so I guess I’m not part of the New York crowd. How insane is this rabid anti Christian group. I’ll go back to MRFF Regional Director Mr. Baker and his description of evangelical Christians as “vile and inhumane”…a hateful, judgemental statement that shows no tolerance for views he opposes. He has made other similarly hateful ststements which he will not apologize for. MRFF is full of hypocrites and unless Mr. Baker rescinds his hateful statements one is only left with the obvious..MRFF is an anti Evamgelical hate group.

  12. Beverly Allen

    Well, this takes the cake and eats it, too!
    Let’s just kick Franklin Graham out of the USA, and let’s kick Nascar out, too.
    I sure wouldn’t want anything left here that looks anything remotely like a “Christian Nation”
    Our Constitution does give us our right of free speech. Obviously, the MRFF has used that privilege.
    We have abused our freedoms – and our enemy has taken full advantage of our weakness.
    If you are offended or “put out” by a prayer – then you probably need some prayer.
    It seems to me that the Jewish, Muslims, Hindu, Pagan, Atheist and whatever else there is, have done very well in this country – and now you are going to complain about a prayer ***(only in America)***
    And, oh yeah, are we at war with the Taliban or the Al Quida??
    Are these terrorists or some kind of Religious Zealots? And are they Muslims or not?
    Our country needs prayer and our military needs our prayers–and it does not matter what kind of religion or non-religion that they profess.
    I pray to God in Jesus’ name. You can do whatever you want to do.

  13. When I read these comments I am not surprised in the least. The most accurate prophetic book in history says that we will be hated because of him. The opinions that are posted under the guise of “tolerent” are just encripted statements of hate for God, not disbelief as stated. Talking to people as I enjoy to do about “religion” I get honest discussion from the hearts of individuals; as most can relate to, instead of being behind the unaccountable, faceless sheild of an internet connected keyboard. Most are angy and rebellious at God because of certain issues, instead of simply being “unbelievers” they are disgruntled believers with hurt. I consider my persecution Pure Joy because Jesus is returning.

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