Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson led a pre-race prayer at NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 today. Dobson, who is the nation’s “most influential Evangelical leader” according to Time Magazine, is a controversial, and some say hypocritical, choice to lead the prayer for the race.
This isn’t the first time that Focus on the Family has been the focus of a sporting-related controversy. During this year’s Super Bowl, Tim Tebow and his mom starred in a Focus on the Family ad that highlighted her decision to carry her pregnancy to term, despite health risks.
Focus on the Family is an organization that “nurtures and defends the God-ordained institution of the family and promotes biblical truths worldwide,” according to their website. But the organization is also one of the leading anti-gay-rights voices in the country.
The Daly Planet, a NASCAR media blog, points out the fact that tapping Dobson to do the pre-race prayer creates consistency issues for NASCAR and one of their TV partners, Showtime:
Asking fans to sign-up for Showtime just to see Inside NASCAR avoids the entire issue of adult-oriented programs, including those based on homosexual themes, being on the very same channel. You can’t order Inside NASCAR without Family Business being delivered as well.
But, as Mike Chambers of the Denver Post points out, this probably won’t be the last time NASCAR sends mixed messages (a future where race cars are sponsored by “medical marijuana companies” is a bright future indeed).