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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. Jim

    Geeze.... Relax and enjoy life a little bit. Where is it said that when it comes to prayer or religion, a person has to lose their sense of humor. With all the tension going on in the world, it was nice to see a litte light heartedness during a situation where everyone thought it was going to be the "same old thing." It certainly had the desired impact. We are all sitting here talking about it. If it was the same old boring prayer, it would have been forgatten right after it was over. Message delivered and appreciated Pastor. Awesome job.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  2. Chris

    Fun prayer. Nothing to get offended about.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  3. Danielle C

    It is absolutely AMAZING to me that so many people didn't recognize the pastor's use of Will Farrel's prayer (blessing) from Talladaga Nights. Wake up people! Life doesn't have to always be dull. Thank God for another Christian with a sense of humor. His congregation should be thankful he was sent their way. Boogy on, Pastor!!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  4. Qev

    Perhaps the man was merely trying to bring some attention to the current obesity epidemic that has taken hold of our nation.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  5. ILoveCNNCommentsInTheAM

    No matter the religion you believe in, God created everything right? Then that must mean he created everything that was pictured in Talladega Nights, therefore he understands the reference to the movie the pastor was using and finds it hilarious because the race went off without a hitch, noone died everyone had a great time.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  6. Mark

    I can seriously remember the same reaction to Rosanne Barr when she had a bit of fun with the national anthem. There all these up tight folk SOOOOO offended that she had broken rules and that the national anthem HAD to be serious or it was disrespectful. Nonsense... she was being funny!!! Just like the pastor. People take things WAYYYYY to seriously. Prayers and the national anthem are BORING and DRY most of the time. We need people like Rosanne and this pastor to mix it up.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  7. JiminTX

    Evolution not your Invisible Sky Friend explains attractiveness.

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

    WOW, what pusses are complaining....oh, it is the ugly wife's complaining. Get off the couch, and stop downing donuts like they are good for you. I WOULD TAKE GOD TOO< IF MY WIFE STAYED HOT. Pussification of America

    July 28, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  9. Doba

    If all prayers everywhere are like this, it will be bad. But if one prayer somewhere is like this, it is good : )

    July 28, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  10. RTfromIL

    I cannot stop smiling; best public prayer I have ever heard.

    God bless you, Pastor Nelms.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  11. Mark

    This pastor did for prayer what Rosanne Barr did for the national anthem about a decade ago. Make it fun, light hearted and having people laugh. Some people got offended but they were just up tight folk.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  12. Barry

    Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

    Proverbs 31:30

    July 28, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Doba

      ....says the man who doesn't have a "smoking hot wife?" : )

      July 28, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Ann

      I fear no fake lord, nor do I fear you and your c r a p spewing forth from your brainwashed food trap.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • sic

      @doba-so what has your smokin hot wifey done for you lately?

      July 28, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • Evelyn

      that defends If his wife has the same age as the pastor, that could be funny, and his wife should be proud of her pastor husband, but if he had a young wife, thats how the old man pastor prays – well I dont know if thats funny but absolutely absurd prayer of a pathetic poor old man.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  13. NASCARNot

    I am not a NASCAR fan... never have been. But I give a great big AMEN and HALLELUJAH to this Pastor. Too many people take too many things too seriously and too personally these days. I am pretty sure God didn't mind it; I am sure he has heard worse.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  14. Pushback

    Love it. Women are beautiful and he said it. Really people? What is your problem with some of you that cannot take a complement or have fun anymore.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  15. Ron Tach

    I liked the prayer. It is funny but it is okay. Joe Nelms has a good sense of humor.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  16. Zenichi-Maro

    i'm a buddhist and, therefore, think this is just kinda silly...but i'm glad pastor joe's a Will Ferrell fan.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  17. HadEnoughReligion

    The prayer isn't nearly as funny as this blog!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  18. The Truth

    I actually like seeing this type of thing because I think as a culture we are finally starting to see christianity (and all religion)for the farce that it is. This is the only way our people will ever move forward.
    It is time for everyone to stop getting so butt-hurt over fairy tales and come back to reality. So I wish to say thanks to this pastor.
    It is 2011 my people! Let us evolve!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Val

      So.....having a sense of humor makes him a farce? What?

      July 28, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • The Truth without spin

      Hmm....this fanatical anti-faith rant you go about sounds just like a sermon the only difference is its specific against Christianity. If you sir have no faith then its just that, you have no faith. Don't mock those that don't think or feel as you do. You want to talk about evolving? Let evolve into a humanity with respect towards each other regardless if we don't all think and feel they way you think we should.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  19. mper

    Has a smokin hot sister too... Oh wait, that was his wife 🙂

    July 28, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • R

      He must have lots of $$ – fat ugly little man!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  20. Mark

    Dear baby jeezus, thank you for my cheetos contract and my smokin hot daughter. giggity giggity!!! AMEN!!!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Linda

      but Jesus isn't a baby! he has a beard! lol..

      July 28, 2011 at 9:30 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.