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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. HadEnoughReligion

    Dear Lord, please bring an end to this silly debate.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • chris

      Amen.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  2. Karl

    That fat cow is his "smokin' hot" wife? I'm convinced you Southern boys would poke anything with a slit.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:10 am |
  3. choochew

    As long as the liberals are cool with it, let's just let this whole prayer thing blow over...

    July 28, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • hearditallbefore

      You're wasting your time hoping this 'prayer' thing blows over; me and others like me will continue to pray, teach our kids to pray, put prayer everywhere you don't want it to be!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:20 am |
  4. 24dupont

    PeterD you are phony

    July 28, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  5. 24dupont

    Wish I had "SMOKIN HOT WIFE'

    July 28, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Mark

      Not if God is providing the same quality he provided to this pastor you dont!!! Better off wishing for the opposite I suppose!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:10 am |
  6. PeterD

    The History shows that Christians are PHONY People.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  7. HadEnoughReligion

    He didn't get struck by lightning, so I guess God was cool with it... or he was out of the office on Sunday because Christians believe (or used to) that you shouldn't work on Sundays. Hey, wait... don't preachers work on Sundays? Oh, I forget... organized religion has their own agenda which may or may not apply to all people.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • jerbob

      Pastors take their Sabbath day during the week, FWIW. Still a Sabbath, different day. It would be difficult to have a message preached without one, no?

      July 28, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Southern Boy

      Had Enough, This race was Saturday Night.. not on Sunday...

      July 28, 2011 at 9:18 am |
  8. ROCKWOOD

    Ehhhh.....get over it. I dunno what everyone is in a snit about. I think God has a sense of humour, He has to, since he created us in His image. So.....r e l a x and let the Pastor get his boogity boogity boogity on.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  9. Johnny Rocket

    Who cares? Why is this news?

    July 28, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  10. Nick

    Only in the US could this be news.
    Someone said something.
    Our lives will continue.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  11. Deep North

    Boy,
    Some folk just need to do a reach around and pull the plug out. I laughed out loud and thought, how many drivers have said during the last few laps, " Lord, let the gas last just enough!" or "Dear God, If I survive this crash, I'll never stray from my wife again!" This Pastor just brought it out up front and had some fun with it. A few people may have even thought, WOW, now that isn't so bad. I need to see what this is all about.

    Thanks Pastor for showing that Christians can be people also!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Mark

      Remember... Rosanne Barr faced the same flack from idiot chrisitans over her having a bit of fun with the national anthem. The prayer was freaking hillarious!!!! people take prayers, anthems, and pledges far too seriously!!!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Wendy

      I too laughed out loud! We also have to realize that God has heard it all.I also remember a pastor saying that God is not easily offended. People need to stop thinking for God – He can take care of himself!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  12. Lawrene

    Sounds like he is saying grace and not praying.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:06 am |
  13. george

    Saw the wife at the end of the video. I thought "Thou shalt not lie." was one of the ten commandments.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Ouch

      Err..No. You can exaggerate all you like. Or Joke.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  14. monica

    very funny – nice to know they're human too!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • D

      ...this doesn't exactly prove that they are.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  15. SCAtheist

    One of the many reasons I would never bother with the faux sport NASCAR

    July 28, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • george

      True. It is entertainment and not a sport. And I don't find it very entertaining.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  16. Doledart

    If God doesn't have a sense of humor and is so easily offended...I don't want anything to do with Him. Maybe a little more lightheartedness in religion would start bringing back so many that have become disenchanted?

    July 28, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • george

      So you are setting the rules for an acceptable supreme being? Interesting.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  17. Believe It

    That's the only reason I come on here. To get a good laugh to start my day. All these religious fanatics are so outdated. In 500 years, people are going to look back and think, 'How can mankind have been so ignorant for so long', especially in the exciting times we live in. With all the advances of science, its embarassing that SO many people still worship an imaginary sky fairy. Now THAT is hilarious. but still embarassing.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • Deep North

      With all the advances, man cannot make the one thing that keeps us alive....Blood! The Blood of Jesus can do all things!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Meep

      Can the blood of jesus make me a sandwich? didn't think so.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  18. Mark

    But lets also not get offended when someone makes a joke with the flag like using it as toliet paper or dumping a jesus crucifix into a tub of urine and calling it art. i mean after all....giggity giigty... the baby jeezus loves it when you have a bit of good ol fun!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • buggy123

      Yes the Lord God Almighty does have a sense of humor, but not at the expense of others. Being disrespectful is not humor. It is just being MEAN!!!
      When you disgrace our flag, our nation, or take religious symbols and "deface" them, no it is not humor!!!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  19. Asturiano

    Stupid Christian prayer.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:01 am |
  20. HadEnoughReligion

    He didn't get struck by lightning, so I guess God was cool with it.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:00 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.