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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. Harry Hipppobottomus

    If God has a sense of humor as so many of you say, why is there utterly no mention of it in the Bible? There are numerous references to God's anger, but not his sense of humor.

    Can anyone provide biblical references to support this claim of God's sense of humor? Or Jesus's?

    July 28, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Thoth-Amon

      Judging from what Jesus said while dying on the cross, one would guess that he was actually in favor of capital punishment.

      July 28, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • George

      I can see that coming from a Stygian wizard.

      July 28, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Harry Hipppobottomus,
      You wouldn't be suggesting that there is something in existence that God did not create, would you?

      July 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  2. lynette

    embarrassng....What was he thinking? Pray for the poor, or the republicans to wake up, but praying for a hot woman, now that is a first.

    July 28, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Nonimus

      "a first"?
      Not even close. If you don't count Adam, you have to at least consider that Cain and Able prayed for hot women. In other words, men have always prayed for hot women, since men decided to pray.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  3. AL

    Very silly...why is this news? I AM curious as to whether his wife would make a similar prayer thanking God for her "smokin' hot husband"!

    At least he's got a sense of humor - not like Southern Baptists are know for that?

    July 28, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • lynette

      Or she is praying next time that he doesn't sound so ignorant. BOOGEDY???????? EEK. I thought the preacher said he was a Southern Baptist. He was trying to get his 10 minutes, well he got them.

      July 28, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  4. Cybermonk

    That was outstanding. Celebrate life, God understands.

    July 28, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  5. shelly

    I think it was wonderful! I've been married for 23 years and this was the first time my husband really HEARD a PRAYER:))

    July 28, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  6. Tom Lancaster

    The difference between the flesh and the Spirit. Lots of folks pray to the god of this world.

    July 28, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  7. tet1953

    Not a thing wrong with what he said. If I were a religious person I would want him as my pastor.

    July 28, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • shelly

      Absolutely!! We need him in my hometown..we'd get a huge turnout at Church!!

      July 28, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  8. kinjaro

    Who cares!!! I guess CNN does not have any good material to report on lately.... typical garbage news...

    July 28, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • shelly

      Actually..it's something refreshing to read:)

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

    AWESOME! Nothing wrong with thanking God for your spouse!

    July 28, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Arnold Ziffel

      Well let's see a photo of the smokin' hot wife!

      July 28, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  10. George

    Have some decorum, your a pastor, not some beer-drinking mullet headed trailer park trash loser.... or are you.
    In a casual, among friends setting, that is fine, but is he really looking for corporate sponsors?
    What a joke religion has become, up for the highest bid.
    Jesus would not be proud.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • tet1953

      You hit the nail on the head George. Religion is a joke. Actually no, it isn't cuz it is rarely funny like this guy. Too many cults out there. Yay pastor.

      July 28, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • shelly

      I disagree with you George, "beer drinkers" are Christians too:)

      July 28, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • tet1953

      LOL I believe there's a large mullet demographic out there too. And what's wrong with trailer parks anyway? We vote.

      July 28, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Jenni

      so George... He'd (Jesus) be proud of your stereotyping and judgemental post?? I think we all need to lighten up!

      July 28, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • George

      Yeah, I guess I'm being too harsh.... I mean Jesus did wear a Pontius Pilate headband and Judas brand cross trainers..

      July 28, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  11. No Name Needed

    I don't think there is anything wrong with this prayer. If God blessed him with a "Smokin' Hot Wife" there is no problem with him giving thanks for it. God has a sense of humor, or else he would not have given us the ability to laugh. Let's focus on what's really important instead of giving this preacher a hard time for his prayer. It is for God to judge alone...not us!!!

    July 28, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • KjenNu

      give thanks for "her".
      She's not a piece of meat and the emphasis on her looks rather than her character and spirit, placed it – his prayer – uncomfortably towards the relm of the secular.

      July 28, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  12. Steven Gaynor

    There is no evidence whatsoever that life is serious. We should treat each other well, and we might as well have a good time while we are on this earth. I say 'good for you Pastor', I think you get it: boogity, boogity, boogity, amen!
    In the words of those immortal philosphers, Theodore Logan, III and Bill S. Preston, Esq. "Be excellent to everyone, and party on, dudes!"

    July 28, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  13. Richdisk

    Who cares people! Shut up, get back to work and save our economy...

    July 28, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Marc

      The great evangelical leaderJohn R.W. Stott passesa away, and CNN completely ignores this to report on a schmuck redneck pastor. Schmendricks you all are!

      July 28, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  14. jackson

    get a grip folks....it's a light hearted (maybe off-color) remark made at a race. It ain't the Pope speaking to the throngs in the Vatican Square..

    July 28, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Jesus Loves Nascar!

      Actually, that WAS the Southern Baptist equivalent of the Pope speaking to the throngs at the Vatican!

      July 28, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  15. Get over it

    Prayers don't always have to be stale. I think it's good to show a sense of humor in a religious context. Life is too short not to laugh.

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

      i agree:))

      July 28, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  16. Jesus Loves Nascar!

    "And yea, verily, thou shalt roar around a circle again and again in thy holy attempt to become rich and famous in a Jesus-loving way as thousands of beer-smeared yokels who haveth not much upstairs hoot and yowl and thinketh this is something amazing as they give lots of their cash to rich people and hope to see a gnarly crash, for Jesus loveth a few good smash-ups. And it shall come to pass that there be a moron pastor to start off this holy show, one who looketh like Porky Pig but is not as smart, no, not by a long shot."

    "And remembereth to turn left, not right, or though shalt become the latest smear on God's road." The Gospel of Rubes, 12:34-45

    July 28, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Richdisk

      Now THAT is funny...

      July 28, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Mz. K

      *LOL* LOVE IT!!!!!

      July 28, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  17. Zachary

    Relax.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  18. Jan

    When I pray in public I ask the Lord to direct my prayers and make my words be what He wants them to be—maybe Pastor Joe did that too. And maybe God knew that there were people that were going to be reached with that prayer. People are talking about God, that’s for sure! I have to say I don’t know about the “boogity boogity boogity” thing but I don’t follow Nascar, don’t live in the south and I wouldn’t have known it was a movie quote. I understand the concerns—especially if this was for performance value but as a Christian myself I am going to think Pastor Joe probably gets up every morning and spends time with God—and prays daily to walk the path God wants for him. As for thanking God for his “smokin’ hot wife”—I hope there are a lot of guys out there who are willing to thank God for theirs!

    July 28, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  19. CN0

    Awe come on, it's just a bit of fun. Jesus loved a party.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  20. heyday

    Why is it that religous people are ALWAYS the most Judgemental people? This paster is great!

    July 28, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Richdisk

      Because they are all (despite their constant insistence that they're on the "glory train", or whatever) SCARED SILLY and don't want you to know. But I work in a nursing home and do know. The most devoted are the most terrified when they finally (truly) realize they're going to meet their maker. You'd think they would treat it like something of a party wouldn't you? But when they get to that actual moment of recognition (that we all will have) they realize they've lied to themselves their whole lives – and they're not a millionth as sure as they always thought they were. It's amazing how consistently that happens. The agnostics and atheists? They're typically calm and "ready for the next step" or something along those lines. The Christians? Like frightened little children...

      July 28, 2011 at 11:19 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.