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July 27th, 2011
12:40 PM ET

Reaction to pastor giving thanks for 'smokin' hot wife'

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

A Baptist preacher giving thanks to God for a "smokin' hot wife" in a prayer that opened a NASCAR race last weekend has generated reams of online commentary, with one religion blogger summing up some Christian reaction: "Shocking, I tell you, that a pastor might have a little fun."

The prayer came from Tennessee Pastor Joe Nelms, who told CNN he was taking a line from the Will Ferrell movie "Talladega Nights." In addition to the way it gave thanks for his spouse, Nelms' prayer was noteworthy for invoking NASCAR sponsors:

Thank you for the Dodges and the Toyotas. Thank you for the Fords. Thank you for Sunoco racing fuels and Goodyear tires.

Nelms told CNN that the prayer wasn't officially sponsored. "There were no endorsement deals," he said. "But I’m not against them."

The pastor ended his prayer by quoting NASCAR Hall of Famer and Tennessean Darrell Waltrip: "In Jesus’ name, boogity, boogity, boogity, amen."

"It means 'Go get after it, boys," Nelms told CNN. "It's Southern for 'Get to it.'"

Reaction to the prayer has been mixed. From the twitterverse:

@ChrisElrod: I don't (get) what the rub is with this ...I thank God for MY smokin' hot wife every day.

@brandonreagor: Pretty sure this is not how you approach the God of the Universe: NASCAR Pastor's Head-Turning Prayer

@MorgannSpicer: Okay, so that was a powerful prayer. Wow. Never heard a man say a thank you for his "smokin' hot wife" LMAO

"We should definitely pray for the safety of our soldiers and public officials,” Nelms told The Christian Post, explaining his prayer. “But nobody seems very interested in it. We wanted to do something to get their attention.”

What do you think? Hilarious/innovative or blasphemous/offensive?

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Prayer • Sports

soundoff (1,644 Responses)
  1. Larry

    Thank God I'm a pagan!

    July 28, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  2. lyd

    How does some ugly nasty dude like him get a smoking hot woman? Maybe she's hot and smoking form the 300 lbs on her a$$?

    July 28, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • Yura

      John

      This pastor is obviously grateful for his wife, which really is a good thing, but I can’t help but question his choice of words, and the platform he used to express them. For a pastor to refer to his wife as “smokin’ hot” in prayer on a public stage is certainly going to appeal to the masses, especially in a society that largely celebrates things lustful. So naturally it’s time for celebration and to revel in having a “holy man” in the membership. Congratulations, and here’s to the hundreds of pats on the back you got for that one pastor. The only thing missing from that scene was the masses cheerfully singing “For he’s a jolly good fellow..” What am I missing here folks? Isn’t one of the most basic themes reiterated throughout the bible, God’s calling for his people to do away with their old nature and fleshly desires? Pastor, do you realize that if I were to look at your wife and agree with you that she IS smoking hot, then according the One you represent, you could have caused me to commit adultery, let alone the millions of others?! Matthew 5:27-28 27 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Jesus didn’t speak these words if he didn’t mean them. I am just a man like you pastor with my own struggles and make my share of mistakes as I believe you did here, but I look to people like you to help guide me in my battle against the temptations of the flesh, not condone them. Perhaps the most upsetting thing here is the fact that so many young men heard this pastor refer to a woman as “smokin’ hot”. As a father of a 17-year-old son, how in the world am I supposed to guide my boy to look upon young ladies with utmost honor and respect and to remain pure until marriage when a Pastor is being lauded for calling a woman “smokin’ hot”, even if it is his wife.

      July 28, 2011 at 5:17 am |
  3. zip

    The problem was the fact that his wife is a pig

    July 28, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • Guest

      No, Zip. That's not his wife in the picture. That's the pastor!

      July 28, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Jacob

      So very true.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  4. chris

    Of course Christians are going to defend this type of prayer. NASCAR is number two on their list of things they worship. Combing God and NASCAR and you have basically inspired 85% of the south to raise their arms to heaven.

    July 28, 2011 at 12:33 am |
  5. Kerri

    Being a preachers kid myself I thought his prayer was awesome. My dad was the best preacher ever and people loved him and respected him and he led a lot of people to the Lord and I know my dad would have loved this prayer. God likes for us to laugh and have fun and I don't think he meant the prayer to be a mockery in which case it would have been bad so more power to your Pastor! Good job!

    July 28, 2011 at 12:29 am |
  6. john

    I live in gladeville, tn....and attend this pastors church. he is a great man with a lot of character and everyone respects him dearly. since you do not know the full story, the pastor was trying to energize a prayer and bring attention to it. ppl these days at races just overlook the prayer because its the same every time. all he wanted to do was put a twist on it that would make you think about god, and listen to the prayer. ppl need to lighten up. Jesus probably is laughing too btw! it was super funny

    July 28, 2011 at 12:24 am |
  7. Angel Arnold

    WHY would you be negative on this prayer???? God knows and listens to his heart HIGH FIVE to the pastor!

    July 28, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • lyd

      his heart is full of mockery and contempt. God does not receive a mocker's prayer.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • Really

      You got to be kidding me. This guy should: 1)Get his eyes checked. 2) Get on his knees and ask for forgiveness before he dies and has to answer to God for such foolishness. 3)Tell all of you idiots, who think this is funny, that to remember one thing that God wants us to come to him in all sincerity and at all times. NO EXCEPTIONS

      July 28, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  8. Dorie

    I thought this was hilarious and is what Tennessee is all about. Religion trumps everything. Literally. I just moved here and haven't found a liberal yet!!

    July 28, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • ccw

      you have now...from outside n'ville....

      July 28, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Yura

      John

      This pastor is obviously grateful for his wife, which really is a good thing, but I can’t help but question his choice of words, and the platform he used to express them. For a pastor to refer to his wife as “smokin’ hot” in prayer on a public stage is certainly going to appeal to the masses, especially in a society that largely celebrates things lustful. So naturally it’s time for celebration and to revel in having a “holy man” in the membership. Congratulations, and here’s to the hundreds of pats on the back you got for that one pastor. The only thing missing from that scene was the masses cheerfully singing “For he’s a jolly good fellow..” What am I missing here folks? Isn’t one of the most basic themes reiterated throughout the bible, God’s calling for his people to do away with their old nature and fleshly desires? Pastor, do you realize that if I were to look at your wife and agree with you that she IS smoking hot, then according the One you represent, you could have caused me to commit adultery, let alone the millions of others?! Matthew 5:27-28 27 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Jesus didn’t speak these words if he didn’t mean them. I am just a man like you pastor with my own struggles and make my share of mistakes as I believe you did here, but I look to people like you to help guide me in my battle against the temptations of the flesh, not condone them. Perhaps the most upsetting thing here is the fact that so many young men heard this pastor refer to a woman as “smokin’ hot”. As a father of a 17-year-old son, how in the world am I supposed to guide my boy to look upon young ladies with utmost honor and respect and to remain pure until marriage when a Pastor is being lauded for calling a woman “smokin’ hot”, even if it is his wife. Thanks, but no thanks.

      July 28, 2011 at 5:17 am |
  9. BO

    Hey yo giys! If'n yo don'nt hav'a HOT SMOK'EN WOM'N, its'a cuz yo ain't so hot yer selvs!

    July 28, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • pacsman1972

      Please wait while I break out my translator... wait, what language is this?

      July 28, 2011 at 12:30 am |
  10. casey

    I am a pastor and i think is great that this pastor thank God for his wife, maybe if some others would so happiness in there marriage,there flocks wouldnt divorce. Now some of the prayer seems a little to far but his wife being smoking hot needs to be said by alot in our churches so our kids will know there is happiness and that we are proud to be married

    July 28, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Your Daddy

      And you thank god for the money you steal from mindless people as well?

      July 28, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • casey

      See this is called stereotyping. I pay to preach sir its a small church and i pay most of the bills. Guess what most pastors start out that way. A few on tv get money and all of a sudden we are all thieves i preach because i love God and I love people.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:27 am |
  11. So sad

    God in heaven has more important things going on in the world than this nonsense of a "prayer" this preacher brought attention to himself not God. That is not his job as a preacher. He needs to be getting his priorities straight.

    July 28, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • puhhhlease

      Obviously God does have more important things going on – isnt he the campaign mamager for sarah palin? or perhaps he is telling the GOP how to handle the debt ceiling?

      July 28, 2011 at 12:15 am |
  12. seth

    Know ye not that the Saints shall judge the world, ERIC???????

    July 28, 2011 at 12:12 am |
  13. puhhhlease

    Funny thing is, this dude will get hsi 15 misn of fame, maybe get flown out and bedded by a few talk shows, perhaps saturday night live, get paid a bundle of cash, and laugh himself all the way to the bank on this, simply because we give it our attention...

    July 28, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • Mark

      He appreciates the time you took to read this article and comment on it. Thank you for helping Christian pastors make more money. We're very thankful for you.

      July 28, 2011 at 3:58 am |
  14. Your Daddy

    The idiots are the ones that keep money in his fat pockets

    July 28, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  15. puhhhlease

    Its not anything. Why have prayers at sporting event anyway?

    July 28, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • eric

      i agree. if there is a god does anyone honestly think he cares about nascar? give me a break

      July 28, 2011 at 12:05 am |
  16. New Yorker

    Nothing personal Rev, but I didn't see anything smoking or hot. I guess in the NASCAR circuit anything less than 500 lbs. counts as a smoking hot POA. Sad, actually.

    July 28, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • puhhhlease

      To him she is hot. Thats all that counts.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  17. Chris

    looks like he is more grateful to smoking hot cheeseburgers...

    July 28, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • puhhhlease

      ok THAT is funny lol

      July 28, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • nodummyheads

      +1

      July 28, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  18. Jesse

    How are they gonna put this up and not even post a picture of the wife??

    July 28, 2011 at 12:02 am |
  19. eric

    obviously the guy is an idiot. he is a christian. christians cannot think logically or rationally, they only believe what the bible says, everything else is satan tempting them

    July 28, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Veritas

      Christians are people that refuse to grow up. They still believe in silly old fairy tales that didn't even make sense to the thinkers during the Enlightenment 300 years ago, and even less so in our time with education and science available to most people, at least in developed nations.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:07 am |
    • Smurfeater

      Discussing logic within a post that is a logical fallacy, interesting lol.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • casey

      You do realize that that bible you call a fairy tale states the earth was round and the it revolves around the sun thousands of years before it was discovered. Also you do realize that science still has no facts supporting any existence other than creation. To me fairy tale is believing something natural came out of nothing. Its also funy to me how many atheist believe in ghost thats rediculous.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • Magic

      casey: [the Bible] "states the earth was round and the it revolves around the sun"

      It states nothing of the sort. It says that the earth is a 'circle' (they had a word for 'sphere', but did not use it), then there's the one about being able to see *all* the Earth from a mountaintop,... and that the sun 'stood still', which it could do only if it was revolving around the Earth.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:56 am |
    • eric

      the bible also says a virgin had a baby and that noah rounded up 2 and 7 of every kind of animal and put them on this huge boat that he built. i guess we are all just supposed to believe that all those animals got a long and polar bears didn't die off because of the climate change. or did he deliver them home afterwords?

      July 28, 2011 at 2:03 am |
  20. Compassion

    younger: i like this pastor: its rock up!

    July 27, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.