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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. Sam

    I was born and raised in georgia, and I can't say i've ever heard someone say 'boogity'.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • another comment

      In Tennessee, I've heard it used to indicate a movement of an object or person, like going down a stairway quickly ...several steps at a time

      July 28, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  2. Deep North

    I thank you Lord that I have a Pontiac and that one day it will be a classic because they don't make them anymore!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:20 am |
  3. Randy

    True Christians believe that Christ is in charge of everything provided to them. A good Christian wife does not have to come in an unattractive (in our male eyes) package. So, if he believed (beauty in eye of beholder) his wife to be beautiful and provided by Christ – then this was a way of saying thanks in terms that caught non-Christians attention.

    There wasn't anything blasphemous or derogatory, and if it brings someone to church now wondering what it's all about – so much the better.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • because

      Wow have you even read the bible before? I mean I don't even believe in that crap but I have at least read the bible. I am pretty sure you should at least read the book you claim to believe in first before commenting on it.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  4. Karen

    I think he's a sweetie-pie husband for saying that in the prayer! 🙂 I think God loves it when we're crazy-in-love with our spouses!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:20 am |
  5. Prayer

    P-Praise Him
    R-Reverence Him
    A-Adore him
    Y-You, Ask him to bless you, your family and country
    E-Exalt his name
    R-Respect Him

    July 28, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • because

      P- priests
      R- raping
      A- american
      Y- youth
      E- equals
      R- religion

      You aren't so witty now are you?

      July 28, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • essence of Prayer

      it is not so much in words and letters as it is in 'Adoration and Worship'

      July 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  6. Limbaugh is a liberal

    If it was some liberal pastor the Christian right would be all up in arms about the blasphemy committed. But since it was an otherwise right-wing preacher, they suddenly now claim that it is okay to include humor in prayers.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • Public Offender

      How did Rush come into the Pastor Nascar remark? Oh I get it you! Everything in your meaningless life is consumed with Rush & Republicans! Grow up and find something to do that's constructive!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  7. Fred

    All religion is dumb

    July 28, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • another comment

      not really, just that sometimes interpreting religion and it's various components, makes it a bit tedious to understand...

      July 28, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • Public Offender

      Just like your comment DUMB!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  8. Leigh

    I'm a Christian and I think it's sweet! It is not blasphemous or inappropriate! Some of you need to open your Bibles to the Song of Solomon if you think it's wrong!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  9. dugee

    Some people should be asking sweet baby jesus for a sense of humor.This phony self righteous indignation just makes christians look as goofy as those muslims who went pshcho about mohammed cartoons in Denmark. I have a smokin' hot wife and didn't even thank jesus. I thanked her parents.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  10. chang

    After all that praying no pics of the smokin hot wife? Like the light article but CNN fails without the photo to back up the prayer....meh

    July 28, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • another comment

      ...you been praying to see her photo?? ....hmmmm...

      July 28, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • Just wanna know

      It doesn't matter if anyone else thinks she is "smokin hot" it only matters if he does.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:23 am |
  11. LouAnnM

    I LOVE it. I'm pretty sure God has a sense of humor and probably appreciated a good laugh in these hard times.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  12. kelli

    ugh...disgusting. how embarrassing...one more Southern redneck preacher...

    July 28, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • Just wanna know

      Lighten up. I think religion needs more humor not less.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  13. Scott Pilgrim

    It's nice that things like this remind us, that no matter what religion we are (or none at all), we all tend to enjoy joking around and having a good time.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  14. It_flyer

    God's going to rip him to shreads. He's going to crush him and his family. Gods going eat his heart and defecate on his mother. God's going to... Oh, not God I was thinking of Tony Saprono.... Never mind

    July 28, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  15. Mark

    the prayer was funnier than all get out!!! bow your head to the baby jeesus... oh bless my cheetos as the body of our lord and savior and this six pack of coors as his blood. Can I get a giggity giggity!!! – Amen!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  16. another comment

    just hope nothing happens to his wife; pride goes before the fall.
    also, if Atheists DON'T believe in Sky Captain, why is it when they get P.O'd they say GD or Lord's sake or some other heavenly epithet ??? ....just sayin' ....

    July 28, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Sam

      Its a cultural thing. Using Lord or God or whatever as an exclamation is something that is very prominent in our culture and as children that sort of language and use becomes ingrained in people.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • because

      Well its simple we want to enrage the religious folk. I say GD all the time because it makes the religious people around me angry. I had been told as a child that saying GD would get me struck by lightning so as to prove nothing bad will happen I tell any religious person that is angered by me saying the imaginary man in the sky's name in vain that if he really existed he would strike me down where I stand. Well I am still waiting..... As for this guys Prayer I think its hilarious. I mean if you are that up tight that you have no sense of humor to see what it was he was trying to do then please stop breeding and walk off a cliff. I mean religious people should be happy here is a guy that is trying to use humor to attract more people into "The Fold". I mean hey the church needs more donations so they can hire more child molesters.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  17. HadEnoughReligion

    "All have sinned and come short of the glory of the Lord." So, stop casting stones!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  18. Thoth-Amon

    NASCAR & X-tianity: Fake sport and a fake religion. Go figure.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • cary

      How is this a Fake Sport??? And Fake religion??? Ummm...cant really fake 40+ vehicles traveling at speeds of 150 to 200 mph....and as far as Religion....there are many throughout the world...all cultures believe in something of greater power than themselves. Sounds to me you think only of YOURSELF!!!! So I can only assume you are either a Kardashian...a member on Jersey Shore....or Paris Hilton!!! whomever you are...step away from the mirror CLONE!!!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Thoth-Amon

      Still lolling to the Hilton-Kardashian-Jersey Shore connection. Now we know how you spend your lonely days...

      July 28, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  19. Jimmy D

    I'm an atheist and I thought it was funny, good on him. Christians who are nothing but fire and brimstone scare me just as much as the weirdo atheists who have nothing better to do but spend all day on the internet attacking said Christians. Plenty of both round these parts. Relax, folks.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  20. Bates

    II'm sure his wife isn't smokin' hot, so he lied.

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

      Yikes, I just saw a picture of her. She is a class 3 rumplefugly!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • another comment

      ... you haven't met his wife ....have you? Did not think so. She's HOT to him and that's all that should matter. Let it be.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Karen

      Do you also stutter when you talk, or just when you taype?

      July 28, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Geotigg

      Beauty, my firends, is in the eye of the beholder ...

      July 28, 2011 at 9:23 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.