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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. RichP

    I have no problem with it other than adding an amen for god providing the great water used by Jack Daniels...

    July 28, 2011 at 8:39 am |
  2. Janedoe5263

    I saw it on TV, when they aired it and thought it was HILARIOUS. God bless him & his "smoking hot wife"! Plus, I loved the movie "Talledega Nights", back when Will Ferrell was funny.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:37 am |
  3. Karl

    Religion and Capitalism all at the same time....lame. Smokin hot wife? She's a complete dog.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:37 am |
  4. Matt

    I think there is nothing wrong with praying for what you are thankful for, but to include boogity, boogity, boogity shows a lack of reverence and respect for God. It would make me think that he wasn't serious about his prayer if he was prayer to get a kick from the audience rather than sincerely thanking his maker for his blessings.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  5. God

    Shake -N- Bake

    July 28, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  6. Spade

    Funny, I know he got it from Ricky Bobby!!!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • Peter

      When you are as fat & ugly as this guy you should be grateful for anything you get.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  7. Ron

    Awesome. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Pursuit of happiness. I love my country.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  8. Mark

    I think the funny part lost on the ignorant is he didn't thank God for her being intelligent, a good mother, or a wonderful human being. He thanked god that she was a piece of A$$$$$!!!!! Totally objectivied her in many ways.. but hey... what do I care. They both are probably dumb as boxes of rocks so why not go for the superficial.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  9. urmom

    Yea sure MARK, I'm sure you're a real super model yourself..

    July 28, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • Mark

      u want a pic urmom??? My wife is 10 times more smoking hot than his and I would be the first in public to point out her intelligence, creativity, and good heartedness. I'd never just objectivy her down to just being a piece of A$$$$$.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • Mark

      Put I guess those NASCAR types go for that lo brow humor during a prayer... but don't dare change a word of the national anthem or mock the American flag or they will thow a hissy like you would never believe!

      July 28, 2011 at 8:38 am |
  10. georgiapeach

    I thought it was hilarious! With all of the cheating spouses, divorces and other negative things you read and hear about marriage these days, it's refreshing to hear someone praise their spouse instead of a celebrity.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:33 am |
  11. Raj

    Shame on this man who has no fear of God and it is obvious he has never been in the presence of God – he needs to visit a church where Christians live in the fear of God to see the difference. Just goes to show the extent of compromise his denomination has stooped to that they have gotten far away from God.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • mARIO

      There is no fear in love (1 John 4:18)

      July 28, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • jenniegirl

      why do you think that people should live in fear of god and church? the last i checked we were supposed to be in awe and love and obide him not fear him! what religion are you, i don't want too join.. i am not wanting too fear someone i love dearly!

      July 28, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  12. Mark

    Who doesn't enjoy mocking prayer and baby jeeeezus?.the pastor is not alone in this!! Give the man a break!! We all know deep down nobody was really listening but a bunch of imbred Nascar fans!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  13. Stan

    ... and this is NASCAR. And yes NASCAR only makes left turns that is why we only need taxi drivers and truck drivers behind the wheel !

    July 28, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  14. Molly Mac

    That was funny! Hey better he thank God for a hot wife then be caught cheating. NASCAR is a day of fun and silliness; I appreciate that this Pastor brought humor, one of God's greatest gifts, to benediction.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  15. stfu

    God forbid he acts like a human being. Good for him, we all need a sense of humor...

    July 28, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  16. Mark

    I pledge alllegnc to the da ford corporation, of the united states of Amerika, and to the republicans for witch it stands, one nation under baby jeezus for smoking hot pole dancers for all. Seriously who doesn't find it fun to mock jeezus and prayer in public. This pastor sure is not alone! I'm having a blast!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:30 am |
  17. HadEnoughReligion

    GET OVER IT! Common sense should tell you that if God doesn't have a sense of humor he wouldn't given one to us.... duh! The preacher is chubby cute, well groomed, and obviously loves a good laugh. God bless him and his "smokin' hot wife".

    July 28, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  18. Jamie

    I was there and I thought it was hilarious! People are too serious these days and he feels he has a smokin' hot wife he should thank God for her! Preachers have a right to have fun too!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  19. JJ

    Par for the course for someone who thinks watching cars make left turns all day long is a sport. Ho-hum...

    July 28, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  20. don keller

    so where's the picture of the wife ?

    July 28, 2011 at 8:29 am |
    • Mark

      You can Google her.. Just make sure you have already had your breakfast...

      July 28, 2011 at 8:31 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.