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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. melissa in Socorro

    Jesus Christ taught: "And when you pray, don't be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the churches and at the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by others. Verily I say unto you, "they have their reward". But when you pray, "enter into your closet" and shut the door, pray to your Father which is in secret: and your Father which has seen you in secret will reward you openly. But when you pray do not pray in repetions as the heathen do: for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. Don't be like them; for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you pray."
    Matthew 6:5-8
    Enough said.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • GhotiStyx

      Oh Thank God – does that mean Christians will finally stop forcing public prayers down the rest of our throats all the time?

      July 28, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Bob

      @Ghoti, no, but at least they don't have to be serious about them, because they really are just for show.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  2. tyty

    I sometimes believe in god. When I do I like to think that he has a sense of humor and would find this prayer hilarious.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  3. Bayousara

    The question is: Is this pastor telling the truth? IS his wife "smokin' hot?" How would we know? Just to look at her, I would say no, but maybe there is something behind the scenes (or under the sheets) that has convinced him she is "smokin' hot." I don't think we will ever know for sure.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Jamie

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just because you may think otherwise doesn't mean she isn't smokin' hot in his eyes. Who cares what she looks like?

      July 28, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Bayousara

      Jamie, when you get older you will realize that my comment was in jest.......don't take life so seriously.....

      But I will always wonder just how "smokin' hot" this preacher's wife is....maybe he has her confused with his mistress.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  4. You

    Religion in the US is a social event.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  5. GhotiStyx

    Is anybody really having a problem with this? I haven't read any negative comments from reasonable people: most seem to take it in the good humor it's meant! (And I thank god for my smokin hot wife every day...)

    July 28, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  6. Leslie

    I dont see what the uproar is about. You go pastor Joe. I found your prayer very uplifting and appropriate for NASCAR. I think it was awsome and gave everyone something to make them laugh a little. Loosen up word this is 2011 !!! God is the only person who can judge you so who cares what the rest of the world thinks, Thank god for Pastors like Joe & his smoking hot wife who have a sence of humor.
    Question: Do you like to drive fast Pastor Joe?.... Remember if your not first your last

    July 28, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Lawrene

      It was not a proper prayer. This was a comedy and not a pray. Thanking God for weird stuff is not a proper prayer. I heard children make the same type of prayer. This was a pep rally not a prayer before the race. Blessing the tires, fuel, mighty machines, Dodgers, Toyotas, Fords, GM performance tech, Good year tires, and then smokin' hot wife and children. Don't forget the performance worthy of this race track. Where was the prayer thanking God for stupid people spending lots of money at the races. Here is a good prayer, "Dear Lord thank you for this day and lead people here to your word and have a nice safe race and put your arms of protection around the drivers, the crews, and even the spectators if there were to be an accident. Forgive us our sins if that way we will be more prepared to meet you in heaven. Amen."

      July 28, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Bayousara

      Leslie, Leslie, Leslie......PLEASE! It should read "Remember, if you're not first you're last." "You're means you are." Basic English. "Your" could be used as meaning "your car" or "your hot wife" or "your statment doesn't make any sense" etc. If you aren't sure, use the long form "you are" in your mind to see if it makes sense, then you can write "you're" instead of "your."

      July 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  7. capnmike

    What difference does it make? The "deity" he was praying to doesn't really exist anyway, so it's all a load of codswallop and hot air.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Sharon

      Exactly. Other people's imaginary friends are funny.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Lawrene

      If you don't believe in God then why did you read this article? What happens if there is a God, Hell, and Heaven, and you rejected Jesus as your savior and "There will be gnashing of teeth..." which will be you and others looking up from Hell and us in Heaven wishing you listened to us about Jesus.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Lawrene

      If you don't believe in God then why did you read this article? What happens if there is a God, Hell, and Heaven, and you rejected Jesus as your savior and "There will be gnashing of teeth..." which will be you and others looking up from Hell and us in Heaven wishing you listened to us about Jesus.
      --------
      Why does a person go to a circus? Why do you have faith in man and not a god?

      July 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  8. Jonathan

    Of all the current events – this is absolutely ridiculous! Who cares? He was having fun at a NASCAR race.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Patman

      Go God Go!

      July 28, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  9. Tom in ATL

    Outstanding! GOD will use this in ways we can't imagine. Look at the reaction it's getting all over the Internet. GOD is real and can use humor to communicate His message effectively.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Lawrene

      But pray for the safety of everyone involved.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  10. James Taylor

    From some of the Nascars and Jesus fans out there, why is NO OK to laugh and have fun to what this preacher said yet, as Christians, it was ok to agree with Bush and Cheney while he invade Iraq for no reason, no WMD, no OBL etc and in the process over 800,000 innocent Iraqis are dead and over 12,000 of our troops?
    We go after any dictator that has killed over 100 folks in their country yet we applaud Bush for all his war crimes against humanity. Where is What type of Christians we really are?

    July 28, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Doug

      "war crimes against humanity", just beyond sick, just go to an ultra blue Democrat area, drive on the roads and see how those Democrats act and how much they care about the lives of their fellow Americans. Go to the ultra blue town or city and walk down the street at 1am and see if you are still breathing the next day.

      As always the hate filled words spewed by the Obama-bot apply to that bot, not the great American conservative that are trying to attack.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  11. linssue55

    Come on people. GOD has a GREAT sense of humor. I am sure GOD HIMSELF was laughing HIS head off.

    ALSO, in prayers, WE can ask for ANYTHING!!!!

    GOD is NOT a democrat, HE has a sense of humor.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • James Taylor

      Actually I grow up in a Rep family and I must say that the Dem due have more fun. We love to start wars in invade other nations instead of having peace in the world. Why is that?

      July 28, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Doug

      Well Jesus sure isn't a Democrat or liberal, he isn't evil. Could you imagine if Jesus were a liberal Democrat, believing that two people saying the exact same words like "Iraq has WMDs", makes GWB a liar war criminal who should be killed, but Bill Clinton or John Kerry when they said the exact same words as Bush were being honest and telling the truth.

      THere is no point in debating a Democrat, all they do is lie, distort, support double standards based upon agreement with their hate filled national socalist ideology and then attack you. Besides looking directly into the eyes of Satin cannot be good for your retina.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  12. KnightofYouKnowWho

    What, are we all extremists now? Give me a break. Judge and you will be judged.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  13. Norberto

    Crucify the pastor for having a little fun. God has a sense of humor; He made us, didn't She? People need to lighten up and not take their religions so seriously. This leads to intolerance and rancor. Smile and chuckle once in a while. Jesus went to a lot of weddings and banquets; that's some serious partying.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  14. Dave

    It's not exactly the most graceful prayer; but I think a prayer should be mostly judged by it's intention, not it's content. Somebody could flub over a bunch of words in a prayer, but if they mean well then I don't see a problem.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • KnightofYouKnowWho

      Luke 6:37
      Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

      July 28, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  15. Bob

    Jesus said public prayer was all for show, anyhow, so I see nothing wrong with being a little humorous. If his private prayers are like this, he has some serious issues.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • melissa in Socorro

      hit the nail on the head, except I don't think he should had said "in Jesus name" at the end. That made the sincerity part of it all.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  16. Thompson

    I'm sure the Nascar fans at the race really care about praying to God anyway. They are more interested in guns, beer and booooooobbbbsss than God! Of course, most of them can't understand what the difference is between all these things.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • Recon16

      Please! You are a simple minded idiot. Of course if you like guns, beer and boobs then there is absolutley no way that someone can believe in god and because you watch NASCAR then there is no way that you could actually be educated. Your comment is just ignorant.....

      July 28, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Jamie

      Really? You are a moron.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  17. boogity boogity

    PLEASE Tell me that atleast one person realized this was a spoof from the movie talledaga nights ! somebody has to rememeber that !

    July 28, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • James Taylor

      Google how many folks saw the movie? The USA has more than 300 million folks. I didnt see that flick and for sure I didnt get it. IT was wrong even if he meant it as a joke. Maybe next time he will be joking re his "hot" brand new Mercedes.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  18. maxi

    I guess that if you are at an event of red necks and whitetrash, you need to talk like them in order to be understood...

    July 28, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • wanda

      Maxi, it's people like you that create the hateful world we live in.....

      July 28, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  19. sara

    Truly funny.!

    July 28, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  20. Mark

    So much like Rosanne Barr's handling of the national anthem about a decade ago. Some people got all bent out of shape when all she was doing was just trying ot be funny. Both of them in some ways do lack a bit of class... but this was a NASCAR race, not a prayer at the Queens Castle. When Rosanne did what she did it was like a big spolight brought to how she 'shamed' the national anthem. The pastor is having to endure the same thing because some people are ultra ultra soical conservative to the point that any change in the 'norm' freaks them out. 90% of people as you can see have no trouble with it. I like to make fun of it... but like Rosanne and the NA, it is all just in good fun.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • James Taylor

      Talking to Jesus and representing him is not the same as Rosanne at all. Bible says,"were two or more are gather in my name that is my church." THis preacher represents God. That comment re wife should be kept private. Even if it was from a movie, most folks had no clue. In fact I never saw that film.
      Imagine him thanking God for his brand new "hot" Jaguar or Mustang.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:18 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.