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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. lvslezak

    wait...god is make-believe, so why does any of this matter at all?

    July 28, 2011 at 6:51 am |
  2. Horsesrunwild

    Nothing wrong with what he said. My godfather is a priest and I never saw him without a cig in his mouth and a iced burbon in his hand. This guy is a true blue. I wish I would have had the nascar priest for a godfather.

    July 28, 2011 at 6:50 am |
  3. Mark

    Dear god, please provide me with a wonderful woman that is intelligent, kind, and considerate of others. Please provide her good health and happiness throughout our blissful eternal life together... hmmmm on second thought.... to heck with that... JUST MAKE HER SMOKIN HOT!!! Giggity Giggity!!!! – AMEN!

    July 28, 2011 at 6:50 am |
  4. David W

    1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you

    God thank you for my smokin hot wife, my Ford F150, my BMW X5 and my kids

    July 28, 2011 at 6:48 am |
    • gary

      Hick Hill Billy and his senseless mythical religion. God is pretend ... wake up, sheeple.

      July 28, 2011 at 6:52 am |
  5. Mark

    Dear God, please bless this Cheese It as it represents the body of our lord Jesus Christ. And as we drink of this 6 pack of Old Milwakee, we drink the blood of Chirst our lord. In Jesus name we giggity giggity giggity. Amen.

    July 28, 2011 at 6:46 am |
  6. Steve

    Not sure I approve of this at all, hell I go to be entertained by the racing not by the guy giving the prayer. In private company this might have been fine but for something as serious as praying for the safety of the drivers not sure I agree with it at all.

    July 28, 2011 at 6:44 am |
  7. azezel

    Typically I am not religious but very spiritual. I think go approves. Whoever object is probably very single and whoever is married probably chuckled. Now there will probably be those who don't like these remarks of a pastor because anything christian is against them (those folks shouldn't be in america to begin with(the ones that would target a persons faith or lack of)). Then there are those who because of the pda are grumpy because either they don't receive that praise or feel that they will be called to that standard.

    July 28, 2011 at 6:42 am |
    • drongo88

      You have obviously forgotten American history, the founders of the country were persecuted for thier beliefs in Europe and were welcomed here to practice thier religon in freedom, They were not all Christians nor were they bigots who tried to impose thier beliefs on others, non Chrisians have had a great part to play in this society, they have a place here just as you do.

      July 28, 2011 at 6:55 am |
  8. Mark

    Let us all bow our heads... Dear God, please watch over me while I diddle the smoking hot baby sitter tomorrow afternoon while the fat wife is out buying groceries. In your name we giggity giggity giggity... Amen!

    July 28, 2011 at 6:41 am |
  9. I'm a fun-loving Pastor too, but . . .

    I'm a fun-loving Pastor too, but . . . this strikes me as outside the bounds of what a prayer is designed to be. In Jesus teaching using the model Lord's Prayer, it seems clear that the attention needs to be placed on God and not be in any way self-absorbed; commercialized; or playing to the crowd/listener. – While I would never suggest that I know the heart of this pastor, it just misses the mark in my opinion. We can pray in our own voice and be real without crossing the line, and need to because we represent God in a world that already seems to unfortunately either see clergy as either stuffy and mean or as irrelevant buffoons.

    July 28, 2011 at 6:39 am |
    • Mark

      well said... and he did pretty much reduce her to a s3x object. He didn't thank god for her intelligence, her patience, her good health. He thanked God for her being a good plaything.

      July 28, 2011 at 6:43 am |
    • robbie

      @ "fun loving pastor" if you know the word the way you say you do...then it should be clear to you that this pastor did not mean any harm for thanking God Almighty for his smoking hot wife ....whats wrong with that??? And he said it to a bunch of rowdy NASCAR fans...it was the appropriate crowd and appropriate occasion. Jesus himself surrounded himself around sinners and publicans everytime he came and spoke wisdom to the people...and jesus was questioned why he hang around such people and his answer was...MATTHEW CHAPTER 9 VERSE 11-13..."and when the pharisees saw, they said to his disciples, why your master with publicans and sinners? But jesus heard that, and he said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician, but those that are sick. But go and learn what that mean".....with that being said....ths pastor said the right thing to the right crowd...ITS CALLED GETTING ON THEIR LEVEL...EVEN SINNERS NEED TO BE REACHED...and that pastor got on their level...so...dont stone him for that. You should preach that in your congregation sometimes.

      July 28, 2011 at 7:40 am |
    • robbie

      Whats wrong with thankng GOD for your smoking hot wife??? AND he said it to a bunch of rowdy NASCAR fans...it was the appropriate crowd and the appropriate occasion. Jesus himself surrounded himself around sinners and publicans everytime he came and spoke wisdom to the people...and jesus was questioned why he hang around such people and his answer was...MATTHEW CHAPTER 9 VERSE 11-13..."and when the pharisees saw, they said to his disciples, why your master with publicans and sinners? But jesus heard that, and he said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician, but those that are sick. But go and learn what that mean".....with that being said....ths pastor said the right thing to the right crowd...ITS CALLED GETTING ON THEIR LEVEL...EVEN SINNERS NEED TO BE REACHED...and that pastor got on their level...SO...dont stone him for that. JUDGE NOT, THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED(Matthew 7:1)

      July 28, 2011 at 7:53 am |
  10. Culture Bearer

    His wife may be smokin' hot, but he's a sweaty blubber ball.

    July 28, 2011 at 6:39 am |
  11. max

    If your god has no sense of humor, I'll worship one that does.

    July 28, 2011 at 6:38 am |
    • Culture Bearer

      This fat man's comedy act is hardly evidence of a good humored god. Evil people can be quite funny.

      July 28, 2011 at 6:40 am |
    • gary

      god is pretend ...just myth

      July 28, 2011 at 6:53 am |
  12. Mark

    Dear heavenly father, thank you for letting me bang the liven heavens out of my bosses smoking hot wife! A big giggity giggity out to you my man!! Amen!

    July 28, 2011 at 6:37 am |
  13. lilcoco

    sounds like something out of talledega nights 😉

    July 28, 2011 at 6:33 am |
    • Culture Bearer

      Duh. Read the article.

      July 28, 2011 at 6:41 am |
  14. Mark

    Same people who had a problem with something like this are the uptight people who got upset when Rozanne Barr had a little fun with the national anthem. People take things too seriously.

    July 28, 2011 at 6:31 am |
  15. LordXerxses

    Nothing wrong with his prayer. The man is a man.

    July 28, 2011 at 6:31 am |
  16. Cal Naughton Jr.

    I like to picture Jesus as a figure skater. He wears like a white outfit, and He does interpretive ice dances of my life's journey.

    Abracadabra homes

    July 28, 2011 at 6:27 am |
  17. Amy Kitchen

    How many people have you spoken to about Christ? How many people have you moved to visit or join your congregation? Now, how many people do you think this one funny little prayer might have moved them to think about going to church on Sunday because it isn't such a stuffy uncomfortable place anymore. If he motivated just one person to even think about making a change in their lives then he's done what God has been begging us to do. I'm all for that!

    July 28, 2011 at 6:27 am |
    • Mark

      Yeah, I hear they are providing lap dances and show girls starting March, 2012!

      July 28, 2011 at 6:29 am |
    • Culture Bearer

      "Thinking about it" is a far cry from doing it. He gave no reason at all to go to church, turn to Christ, or anything else. It was just entertaining because it was unexpected. That is all.

      July 28, 2011 at 6:35 am |
    • gary

      god is pretend, Jesus is still dead (always will be) ... it's all just myth

      July 28, 2011 at 6:54 am |
    • Steve Chugg

      You know what? I haven't thought about going to church in years! But serioulsy!? This guy really made me think about it...especially his church..hey, if this is what the Christian Church is all about...count me in! A great sense of humor is a gift from God!

      July 28, 2011 at 7:11 am |
  18. Normal Man

    AMEN! I LOVE MY SMOKING HOT WIFE TOO! I thank God everydAY FOR MY BEAUTIFUL AWESOME LOVING WIFE. I say if you are thankful for something, shout it from the rooftops!

    July 28, 2011 at 6:27 am |
    • robbie

      AGREED!!!! NEED MORE PEOPLE LIKE US IN THE WORLD!!!!SHOUT OUT LOUD IF YOU GOT A BEAUTIFUL WIFE OR HUBBY!!!WOO-HOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

      July 28, 2011 at 8:02 am |
  19. Tammy

    God has a sense of humor too. I mean have you seen some of the people walking around?

    July 28, 2011 at 6:26 am |
    • Grumpster

      Yep...God has a sense of humor...remember the crusades?

      July 28, 2011 at 6:44 am |
  20. Mark

    Lets all bow our heads... heavenly father, please provide all the Christian men on this forum a bevy of smoking hot vixins to use for our manly pleasures. Make sure the all boast at least a C cup! In jesuses name... giggity giggity.... Amen!

    July 28, 2011 at 6:24 am |
    • Soulcrusher

      If they all had smoking hot wives they would at least leave the little boys alone. Amen

      July 28, 2011 at 6:28 am |
    • Culture Bearer

      Good point, SoulCrusher.

      July 28, 2011 at 6:36 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.