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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. uh1n1flyer

    That was awesome and I have know many pastors who have a funny side. It was a good and funny way to make a statement...Good on him

    July 28, 2011 at 6:17 am |
  2. Patty

    As a Christian woman and devoted church goer, I LOVED his prayer and completely agree with him. Non-church going Christians who think church is boring and not for them? Wake up! We can still receive God's message and have fun while doing it!

    July 28, 2011 at 6:17 am |
    • Mark

      Its just like the idiots getting offended over Rossanee Barr having a little fun with the national anthem by grabbing her crotch. All in good fun.

      July 28, 2011 at 6:18 am |
  3. heyhey

    I am sure God is interested in NASCAR, LOL NOT! Nothing like a V-8 to pollute the earth up. Sure God would be all for it hahaha. They are just looking for money.

    July 28, 2011 at 6:17 am |
  4. bodore

    I'm often frustrated by religion, but what exactly is the issue here? The guy was having fun and definitely piqued the interest of the fans at the race. I see absolutely no issue with his prayer. Pretty funny actually.

    July 28, 2011 at 6:14 am |
    • Mark

      It is the same reaction people gave when Rosanne Barr mocked the national anthem and grabbed her crotch. Some people found it totally funny. It offended others. When you are praying to God, some people take it serious... like the flag wavers take the national anthem serious. Now Roasanne is a comedian so you have to give her a bit of slack for trying to inject some fun into the national anthem. A pastor is probably going to be expected to play the straight man during a prayer.

      July 28, 2011 at 6:17 am |
  5. Merlin

    Yes, I'm sure God was amused by his blasphemous prayer. A lightning bolt at the end of it might have served a fitting purpose...
    (well, for me, anyway).

    July 28, 2011 at 6:11 am |
    • robbie

      @ Merlin...if he thinks his wife is hot and he thanks God for it...How in "heck" do you think that's blasphemy hmmm??? Im a christian too, and I know for a fact that God did not frown upon this preacher for thanking HIM. Sounds like you need to be a "born again christian" before you react to SOMEONE THANKING GOD FOR HIS HOT WIFE" because there is nothing wrong with being thanful and giving God the praise and recognition for your wife. GEEZ LOUWEEZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      July 28, 2011 at 6:31 am |
  6. amy

    here is a link to wife...enough said. It's a quote from Ricky Bobby.

    http://www.bobsblitz.com/2011/07/pastor-joe-nelms-give-thanks-for-his.html

    July 28, 2011 at 6:08 am |
    • Mark

      May we pray... dear lord, please cure this poor ignorant pastor of his blindness and wreched denial... In Jesus name... giggity giggity... Amen!

      July 28, 2011 at 6:14 am |
  7. Mark

    These Cheese Its(tm) represent the body of the lord jesus christ. this six pack of Stag his blood. Bottoms Up!

    July 28, 2011 at 6:06 am |
  8. T Bo

    He was quoting a movie you bunch of idiots

    July 28, 2011 at 6:06 am |
  9. Mark

    Its all good. this was after all Nascar fans!

    July 28, 2011 at 6:04 am |
  10. JOHN

    John

    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 5:52 am |
    • Enough

      We get it....you don't approve. Now please stop posting the same thing over and over. Oh, and paragraphs – embrace them.

      July 28, 2011 at 6:01 am |
    • T Bo

      I feel sorry for your son and his oppressed life he is having to lead. Bet he can't wait till he's 18 to run from the coop

      July 28, 2011 at 6:09 am |
    • Soulcrusher

      i am a huge Nascar fan, i also believe in god though i am against organized religion. You complain about the way he delivered the speech at least he's not out touching little boys like so many of them seem to be doing.

      July 28, 2011 at 6:21 am |
  11. Dannon

    Like most religious articles, this one is based on stupid people saying stupid things... I could care-a-less.... and to be honest, so should you.

    July 28, 2011 at 5:50 am |
  12. !hype 2011

    It's nice when a pastor can make you smile and fill you with some spirit. Right on!! : )

    July 28, 2011 at 5:48 am |
  13. Equality for ALL

    I have a friend who grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina in the 70's & 80's and he told me the worst time of year, the time he dreaded most of all, was when a NASCAR race came to town. See, he's black and when he was a kid, he was actually chased one time by a pickup truck full of rednecks during a race weekend. He said it was the scariest thing that's ever happened to him. NASCAR has changed somewhat since then but you're an idiot if you don't think that some in the black community still dreads it when NASCAR comes to town.

    July 28, 2011 at 5:46 am |
  14. Mark

    In all seriousness. We can see a picture of the man at the top of the page. If she really is smoking hot it is not Gods work. He has sold his soul to the DEVIL if she is an ounce under 250lbs!

    July 28, 2011 at 5:43 am |
  15. greenaxe

    Only in NASCAR, and only by a redneck pastor. Can you say "stereotype"?

    July 28, 2011 at 5:32 am |
  16. Mark

    And Im sure his wifes prayer is: Please lord... hide the viagra from my ugly lilly white fat porpose of a husband... in large overflowing collection plates we pray. amen

    July 28, 2011 at 5:21 am |
    • Joleen

      You know for a fact that wimmen just hate Viagra... all those big fat and nasty old men after ya.... gives me the shivers... and not the good kind.

      July 28, 2011 at 5:43 am |
  17. John

    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 5:20 am |
  18. 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 5:18 am |
  19. Mark

    NOR FILTHINESS, NOR FOOLISH TALKING, OR JESTING, WHICH ARE NOT BEFITTING: BUT RATHER GIVING OF THANKS. EPHESIANS 5:4

    We all know that pastor doesnt go in for nun of dat fanci buk learnin!

    Perhaps for his communion he can pass out Cheese its and beer instead of bread and wine? Then bring a few exotic dancers to do a few lap dances for the men in the congregation! Now that is a REAL church!

    July 28, 2011 at 5:17 am |
    • Yura

      wow

      July 28, 2011 at 5:26 am |
  20. Human from SF

    I would like to thank God for my future smokin' hot wife. Amen!

    July 28, 2011 at 5:03 am |
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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.