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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. smokinhot

    that smokin' hot wife looks like she has been eating too much pulled pork lately.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • bluegrassmama

      beauty is in the eye of the beholder.... and he be holding her close to his heart.......

      July 28, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  2. Passing thought

    As a christian, and a fan of nascar, I believe that the lives of these race car drivers, and the pit crew are way more important to pray about. Can christians have fun? YES! But what if there was a death that day, did he say anything to make that driver think about God just for a second? That would have been so sad. I don't think that we should make mockery out of prayer,,,that part is serious, if you want to joke around, do it,,,but when lives are at stake, don't. These guys put their lives at risk, and before you yell at me,,so do a lot of other people. We all need the protection of our God, why in the world would you even think about joking about something like that. What if it was your husband or wife, son or daughter, on that track and you didn't know if by the end the race he/she would be alive? Before you write something, think about it just a little bit please. May God Bless each and everyone of you.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • Mark

      See everyone knows that for a proper prayer you start it out with the giggity giggity... putting the giggity giggity at the end is hurtful to so many people.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:03 am |
  3. JJ

    Great job! Maybe if the holier than thou Christian sect would allow for us to thank god in appreciation of what we enjoy in life and not make pleasure seem like a sin, they'd see better numbers in church on Sunday.....If you have a problem with the pastor read: 1 Cor. 7:2

    July 28, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  4. tsw10

    It's from a freaking NASCAR MOVIE!!!! Get real those of you offended people–because the all-seeing God has seen the movie and gets the joke.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Mark

      Christians get easily offended. Remember how they freaked out when Rozanne Barr did her joke national anthem? They lost their minds and just could not see the humor in it. Same thing happening here!!! God bleesss us baby jeezus and our smoking hot wives!!! giggigyt giggity giggity... freaking hillarious!!!

      July 28, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  5. Mark

    this is much like what Rozanne Barr did to make the national anthem fun and not the same old boring thing. Some people just take things like mocking prayers and anthems too seriously.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:56 am |
  6. Joe Christianson

    Ahh get a grip it was funny.. if its not for you ok but Christianity is NOT Islam.. we are free people with minds. To each his own now stop manufacturing a debate and go talk about something real like the economy.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • Mark

      You are so right. I remember vividly when Rozaane Barrr grabbed her crotch during the national anthem. So many people just couldn't see the humor in it. It's so sad to see all these people doing serious prayers and serious anthems. If we had more people like Rosanne Barr and this pastor the world would be a lot better place.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • Ms. A.

      I couldn't have said it better myself. I am a devout Christian too but people need to LIGHTEN UP, laugh and move on!!!!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  7. wow

    I'm okay with the wife reference, but the "plugs" for the companies may raise a few eyebrows. We're at a new low if we need to add sponsor opportunities to prayer, but heck, I'm a fundraiser, so if it works, YIPPEE!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • Will

      After viewing his wife, I'd rather have the company plugs..;o/

      July 28, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  8. Ken

    This pork chop needs to be de-throned. Typical narcisist that doesn't care about blaspheming the lords prayer. I saw the picture, his wife is far from "smokin' hot.!' Get a grip, and remove him from the church and boycot his collection plate~

    July 28, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • hs

      umm?

      July 28, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  9. dominski

    Perhaps his wife is inclined to smoking tobacco and has over active sweat glands, and so he prays for her well being. What's the big deal.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:54 am |
  10. Abwoon D'Bashmaya

    A Prayer for this Morning:

    Aboon Dbashmayo (Our Father who art in Heaven)
    Nethcadash shmokh (hallowed be thy name).
    teethe malkoothokh, (thy Kingdom come),
    nehwe sebyonokh, (thy will be done);
    aykano Dbashmayo off bar’o. (on earth as it is in heaven.)
    Hab lan lahmo dsoonconan yawmono, (Give us this day our daily bread).
    washbook lan howbain wahtohain (and forgive us our trespasses)
    aykano doff hnan shbakn il hayobain (as we forgive those who trespass against us)
    lo thaalan il nessyoono (and lead us not into temptation)
    elo fasson men beesho (but deliver us from evil)
    metool ddeelokhee malkootho, (for thine is the kingdom)
    ou haylo ou Teshbohto, (and the power, and the glory)
    loalam olmen Amin. (for ever and ever. Amen.)

    July 28, 2011 at 8:54 am |
  11. Mark

    Dear Baby Jeeezus, Please bless me with the ability to make a lot of serious coin off awesome joke prayers that can appeal the the mass consumer audience. – in your name... giggity giggity giggity... Amen!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:53 am |
  12. tsw10

    It's from a freaking NASCAR MOVIE!!!! Get real those of you offended people–because the all-seeing God has seen the movie and gets the joke.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  13. Janet

    I think that this was a great prayer. Atleast NASCAR still has prayer before their races. What about all these other sports out there, maybe if they would pray before their games they would not have all these labor problems. And maybe there was someone out there at the track or watching it on tv that may never hear a prayer but heard this one. Keep up the great work NASCAR.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • Will

      Why should a sport have a prayer? And who's to say that Christian prayers should be done before every sport? Let's try not to force your beliefs on everyone else.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Annoyed

      Yes, because God controls the labor unions of sports. He also picks a favorite team and decides who will win! People don't go to sporting events for a mini church ceremony, let's be serious.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • Annie Fisher

      You go girl.......well said!!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  14. Reality

    Dear Pastor Joe Nelms,

    For your next NASCAR "prayer meeting":

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

    I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    July 28, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • tsw10

      Thanks for the atheist prayer. Never read one before. As for me, I'll take the chance on believing.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Grown Up

      Haters gonna hate

      July 28, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Lawrence Thompson

      This implies that man created God and thereby has the right to re-create Him. Wrong on both accounts.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  15. Abwoon D'Bashmaya

    Aboon Dbashmayo (Our Father who art in Heaven)
    Nethcadash shmokh (hallowed be thy name).
    teethe malkoothokh, (thy Kingdom come),
    nehwe sebyonokh, (thy will be done);
    aykano Dbashmayo off bar’o. (on earth as it is in heaven.)
    Hab lan lahmo dsoonconan yawmono, (Give us this day our daily bread).
    washbook lan howbain wahtohain (and forgive us our trespasses)
    aykano doff hnan shbakn il hayobain (as we forgive those who trespass against us)
    lo thaalan il nessyoono (and lead us not into temptation)
    elo fasson men beesho (but deliver us from evil)
    metool ddeelokhee malkootho, (for thine is the kingdom)
    ou haylo ou Teshbohto, (and the power, and the glory)
    loalam olmen Amin. (for ever and ever. Amen.)

    July 28, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • tsw10

      He totally should have said it like that! Although he probably would have gotten BOOOOOOOOs!

      July 28, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • who

      @tsw, u r sooooo narcisstic if u thot prayer was meant to please u.

      July 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  16. Nicole

    PPL, you all need a "LIFE". if GOD ain't complaining, so who are you? God created a sense of HUMOR!!!!!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:50 am |
  17. Freddy

    I want to see this wife.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Will

      No you don't....she's not smoking or any other kind of hot.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Mark

      Will is right.. you don't want to see that. God have mercy on your soul if you do!!!! Best have already had your breakfast.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  18. GeorgeInFL

    That prayer brought a lot of attention to God. I think if Christianity or any religion plans on surviving, they need to wake up and smell the incense. Your language is old and out of date. The younger population needs to have an understanding. Jesus brought God to the people in a way they understood. Why can't this preacher do the same?

    July 28, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Mark

      Yeah I get it... like Rozanne Barr brought attention to the national anthem. That was totally hillarious. As funny as this or more!! As long as you are making fun of things it is all good! can i get a giggity giiggty Amen?

      Anything that gets christians all freaked out and their panties in a bunch is a good thing. Pastor is right on!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • Lawrence Thompson

      When I see a sign in front of a church that says, "Sign broken, message inside.", I don't think, "Isn't that cute". Instead, I think, "That's a lie!!". Another way to state what is happening when we give in to "cute" for a laugh is "showing off in the flesh". There is a place for it. Maybe it isn't before a race where men may die.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  19. Mary

    I love it! And this is what life is about... the movie Bruce Almighty showed that it is great to have humor in prayer with God. We need to lighten up if people get uptight about these things. There is so much tragedy in this world, that this reminded us of appreciating life in general.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:49 am |
  20. FromFlorida

    So ridiculous, it is not worth a comment.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • wow

      You just did...lol and I agree it is ridiculous

      July 28, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • uhh...

      Congratulations, you've proven your incompetence.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:05 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.