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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. Robin Bray

    What's NASCAR?

    July 28, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • Bill

      One of those things you can be thankful for not knowing if you really don't.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  2. Bill

    It would probably be better to keep the thanks between himself and God. Comments like this can sew discord amongst people who are having marital problems in his church. The woman thinks, "why can't my husband be like this?" and say these things and the man thinks "I would say them if they were true." So what good does it do? - none.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • Bill

      This happened once when I was in church and a riot nearly erupted LOL

      July 28, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  3. MDS

    I believe that anytime we mention God or Jesus it should be with reverence and should not be as a joke.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • Bill

      I am a total wise guy and LOVE humor but you and I are on the same page with this one.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  4. flygirl1961

    Every prayer should be that heartfelt and motivational!! Boogity boogity boogity! Go Pastor Joe!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:00 am |
  5. Denise

    He delivered a light-hearted prayer at a sporting event - and event that's supposed to be, oh, I dunno, FUN. Granted, I wouldn't expect such a prayer to be delivered at a memorial service or some other more sombre event, but it's a flipping NASCAR race, for crying out loud! I'm a minister and found nothing offensive about it. Proverbs 17:22 says a cheerful heart is good medicine, so why is it we expect for humor to have no place in ministry? I think as people of faith (or no faith at all) we have much bigger fish to fry,

    And my husband thanks God quite often for his smokin' hot wife, if I do say so myself 😉

    July 28, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • xnysmokie

      AMEN 🙂

      July 28, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • Bill

      Would Jesus deliver that kind of a prayer imbibing lust, jealousy, discord etc? Did he ever do a funny one? I think humor and fun are GREAT but I find mixing the two poor form. IMO

      July 28, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  6. Silvestro Silvestori

    We ARE talking about a person who earns a living by others believing that he can close his eyes and instantly communicate with invisible beings.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • Bill

      Yes A.K.A. Freedom of religion. It's why the pilgrims came here.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:50 am |
  7. Mark

    Dear Baby Jeezus, i know my wife is dumb as a box of rocks and has little to offer society except for her value as a s3x object... but darn if she aint SMOKIN HOT!!!! – Yippie Yippe, humunga humnga God Bless Cheetos – AMEN!

    July 28, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • xnysmokie

      that last lightening bolt came pretty close to you Mark... you might want to back off a little bit

      July 28, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  8. Michael

    To be honest, I doubt anyone "heavenly" was listening anyway.....other than the aforementioned wife.

    July 28, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  9. Bob Martin

    I think it's a big deal over nothing. Seems like some of us get up every morning and look for something to b!tch about. Amen.

    .

    July 28, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  10. Mark

    Dear Heavenly Father, Please get my fat wife on a stair master so I don't have to be a lying about her bein smokin hot in front of all these dumb NASCAR rednecks... In Baby Jeeezes name we giggity giggity giggity – AMEN!

    July 28, 2011 at 7:56 am |
    • She's a pig

      Too late. She's already on the rotisserie. Yee hah! Smoked hog jowls tonight.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:02 am |
  11. citizenUSA

    Well if your gonna believe in some crazy story about religion you have to have a sense of humor. And after all, isn't humor a gift form god?

    July 28, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • Michael

      Seriously these magic believers get all angry and up in arms against their own. Most in the U.S. are one step away from acting like the Taliban does.

      July 28, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • Papagino

      God does have a sense of humor, look around you...

      July 28, 2011 at 8:02 am |
  12. deed549

    I'd have to see his wife. Maybe his wife just uses alot of tobacco, and it's been pretty hot out.

    July 28, 2011 at 7:55 am |
  13. Lisa

    What is the big deal? If you think God does not have a sense of humor, just look at yourself in the mirror!

    July 28, 2011 at 7:55 am |
  14. Shake-N-Bake

    Why is it that non of can say anything in this country without offending others? He obviously knows the good lord has a sense of humor which many of you apparently don't. Thank got for my smoking hot wife...Boogity. AMEN

    July 28, 2011 at 7:54 am |
    • Mark

      Exactly.. I remember when Rozanne Barr mocked the national anthem... dumb christians had no sense of humor.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:00 am |
  15. Mark

    Lord... bless my six pack of ol milwakee and my fun size bag of pork rinds! – giggity giggity -Amen!

    July 28, 2011 at 7:54 am |
  16. Lean6

    Well, if you didn't trust a preacher past as far as you could throw him the way that I see them, you wouldn't think anything of this at all. The problems come from folks who want so dearly to worship the ground that they walk on, and for THEM to save you.

    July 28, 2011 at 7:53 am |
  17. LF

    He was saying just what he thought at the time, and maybe The Lord took it into consideration also regardless of the language.
    The thoughts communicated to God, and I don't think God is going to condemn such a prayer when the heart and intentions are right of the one who prays.

    July 28, 2011 at 7:51 am |
  18. Mark

    Dear Baby Jesus, I dont mean to be critical. You are the baby jesus and all that... but I think you kinda must up and sent me a fatty!!! I specifically asked for SMOKING HOT!!! She can be dumb as a box of rocks. I dont care as long as she is HOT!!!! – no more giggity giggities until I get my REAL smoking hot wife. – Amen

    July 28, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • H

      Mark, you're an idiot. That is all. Carry on.

      July 28, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Bill

      Yeah, she only stuck with me through life's problems, loves me and helps me but others don't think she's smokin' so I got totally shafted here.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  19. DOORMAN

    What? Did everyone in the world lose their senses of humor? Why would God give us a sense of humor if he doesn't have one himself? Laugh a little bit, folks, things don't always have to offend they CAN BE FUNNY too!!

    July 28, 2011 at 7:48 am |
    • Mark

      They did the same thing to Rozanne bar when she sang the national anthem and mocked it a bit for fun. People have no sense of humor.

      July 28, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • Bill

      I did not think the Barr anthem was funny. I don't care if people make fun of the NA and really don't care for baseball and I absolutely DO have a sense of humor. Furthermore I bid her no ill will. It just flopped.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:40 am |
  20. rk

    Seriously, why is this news? I have heard plenty of preachers say light hearted prayers at event that are suppose to be fun and exciting. I wish CNN would stop attacking religion (christianity) and start reporting real news.

    I hope people realize Republicans aren't the only Chrisitans out there. There are still some Christian Democrats in the US.

    July 28, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • xnysmokie

      I never understand why everyone also makes these things Republicans and Democrats.... has nothing to do with the conversation at all. Of course there are Christians in all arenas of life. The only reason its news is because it is outside the norm of what we hear at these large evens. I thought it was funny and enjoyable. You go Pastor Joe, at least he got peoples' attention to prayer in a different way. That counts a lot

      July 28, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • Bill

      Yeah, in a way where you really don't have to believe in to whom you are praying. I believe the bible teaches you how to pray and I did not come away thinking it was to be like this. The Lord's prayer is our example (or can be used as is). I guess I don't see how prayers of this nature jibe with "lead us not into temptation." IMO

      July 28, 2011 at 9:44 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.