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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. Tom

    Which god was he thanking, and why was he asked to speak at this event? Geez, havent these people heard of Darwin...too scary to go through life without your imaginary friend?

    August 3, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Keep in mind we are talking about the "South". There are people still using outhouses. Nascar is for slow/simple minded people.

      August 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  2. sjohn

    Come on – guys and gals – he is just another married guy hoping that by saying that his wife is 'smoking hot' – he would get LUCKY! :)-

    August 3, 2011 at 6:45 am |
  3. RealityBetraysUs

    To all the "Fuddy duddy people" out there that think Christianity should be Dull boring and lifeless; What does it say in Ephesians 3:20? "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, tp him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen," Modern Translation: for a man that thinks it is impossible for God to provide him with a wife who meets and surpasses your wildest and best expectations you must believe that GOD is capable of meeting and going beyond your wildest and best expectations even to the point of giving you a "hot wife". If you think that is what it would take for GOD to prove his miracle working power to you. It demonstrates more our lack of faith than it does GOD's abilities. How big and wonderful is your GOD and how big and wonderful will your faith allow HIM to be?

    August 2, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  4. Rhonda

    All of you who are offended by this really need to get a life!!!!!

    August 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  5. Rob

    Sporting events are not run by the Government. They can have prayer at any time during the event. They are not forcing it on you. You don't have to buy a ticket or watch. You can just show up late and miss it too!

    August 2, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  6. Al-Suq A'Kweer

    At least he didn't that the :awd-DUH for his smokin' hot boyfriend.

    August 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  7. jA

    I think its funny. None of the prayer was HOLY anyway. HOLY–look it up!

    August 2, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  8. wm smale

    HEY AMERICA, LIKE ALL CORPORATIONS, BE IT MACDONALDS, BURGER KING, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES, FOOTBALL TEAMS, BASEBALL TEAMS, FORD, AND EVERYTHING INBETWEEN, RELIGION, CHURCHES, THERE ALL IN IT FOR THE MONEY, 'SHOW ME THE MONEY". BELIEVING IN GOD AND GOING TO CHURCH TO PRAY IS THE SAME THING AS BUYING A FORD SO YOU CAN DRIVE AROUND, BUYING A TICKET TO WATCH THE GAME, BUYING A BURGER TO FILL YOUR STOMACH. BUYING A AIRLINE TICKET TO GO SEE AUNT SUE. NOTHING GETS DONE, NO ONE DOES ANYTHING WITHOUT MAKING A BUCK. JESUES IS BIG BUSINESS, AMEN

    August 2, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • BK

      You do realize nobody reads long comments all in caps, right?

      August 2, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  9. Sam Hernandez

    Look honey no beer goggles .one more time thank you lord.Ditto !

    August 2, 2011 at 1:54 am |
  10. Tinky

    What's the matter with you self righteous ppl , God accepts all prayers.

    August 2, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  11. MikeMazzla

    I love the continued rednecking of america

    August 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • GW

      I am an atheist and I am offended by this "preacher"

      August 1, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  12. JP

    The main issue here is why in the hell is there a prayer at all before NASCAR races, or any other sporting event? There's no way that can or should happen at NBA, MLB, NFL, NFL, or any sports league.

    August 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Geetha

      Yes, I agree why would there be a specific prayer of one faith, when there are people of all faiths and creeds participating in the event.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • Ok

      This nation was founded on God. You're ridiculous.

      August 2, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • RealityBetraysUs

      A perfectly reasonable response from someone who is spiritually dead. Modern man's problem is that he was created by God with a trinity composition Body (physical), Mind (personality), and Soul (spiritual component). The problem is most people without any spiritual influence recognize that man is only 2 parts Body and and Mind. It is only when they start seeking to answer questions like why do I feel a spiritual need in my life to know, find or seek God, why is life so frustrating trying to find meaning and purpose in life when if there is no spiritual part of man or need for GOD why do we spend so much of our lives seeking ":contentment and meaning or purpose" in a world where these things should not exist if we are truly only mind and body. If we are truly products or random chance and there is no "GOD" or supreme purpose or design why deep within us are we never satisfied with that answer? Because the bible tells us that GOD put that "innate conciseness and spiritual hunger within each human heart". It is not until we start seeking GOD and allowing him to come into our hearts and lives by the power of the holy spirit, that know and understand what it takes to satisfy this spiritual component that was created within each of us. You can try to deny it or say that it does not exist, but most of us cannot and will not accept that as the final answer. We all need that spiritual connection to "GOD" but he will not force himself upon us, because giving each of us a "free will" is also a sign of his love and compassion for us as his creation. The bible says that only when we seek God with an open heart and with all of our might and desire will we ultimately find HIM and know him. Then we will no longer be like the "walking dead" who neither know God nor choose to acknowledge him, yet do not realize their own spiritual "deadness".

      August 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  13. Monitor

    CNN hates the name "Baptists" because they are the few who speak the Truth to immoral Americans without compromise.

    August 1, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • Reality

      Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "angelic" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      August 1, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • C Reason

      LOLOLOL! Baptists...you wouldn't know the truth if it smacked you upside the head. The TRUTH is that your religion is a lie; Jesus never intended for you to screw up his message so badly that you're as vile and evil as those he sought to save us all from. You and all Christians should be ashamed of yourselves.

      August 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  14. Reality

    "John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today

    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. " J. Somerville

    July 31, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Al

      Wow, I'm glad John Hick has religion covered. Now what about the truth?

      August 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      By reading the comments on this Blog it seems very obvious to us that people need to learn more about the gayness of Christ . The truth of Christ’s gayness is coming out more and more each day. For a better understanding of this scriptural verse we invite you to visit our website http://www.gaychristian101.com..

      August 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • C. Ickes

      Yes, I am a Christian because my parents were Christians. I'm a Lutheran because my parents were Lutheran. But that hasn't robbed me of the ability to critically appraise the belief systems of other denominations and other faiths, to learn about them, to read their holy books, and to come to my own conclusions about the truth. I am not a Christian because of birth, nor a Lutheran because of birth. I happen to adhere to both Christian and Lutheran teachings because I believe them to be right and proper interpretations and expressions of the faith God has blessed me with.

      August 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  15. RightTurnClyde

    I think it is great to say you have a "smoking hot wife" but that said .. I often wonder why churches have a propensity to hire nutty preachers ..who have problem with power, s#x and money. One after another .. Swaggart, Baker, Jones, Koresh .. the Camping nut, Crystal Cathedral ... just and endless string of crazies .. who were hired by the church and who wanted crazy until it backfires on them.

    July 31, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • RealityBetraysUs

      In reply to RightTurnClyde:" regarding churches hiring crazies"
      Jesus in response to someone who called him "good rabbi" said there is no one "good" except your father in heaven. The bible also states when God looks throughout the whole earth for a righteous man ; There are none that are righteous no not one. Also "our righteousness before God is as Filthy rags" Please keep in mind that by definition you will never find any preacher, pastor or leader who does not seem crazy in some aspect for even the bible states that as Christians "we are a peculiar people" Thank God though that even though he is still not done with us yet in this life, we are forgiven and on the right path of "sanctification" after we become a believer and are "saved". We look crazy to the rest of world but thank GOD he is not done with me and has promised me as a believer to continue molding and shaping me into the "image of Christ" until I die and then I have the promise of eternal life with Jesus in Heaven to look forward to after my death.( to live is to follow Christ, to die is to be with the Lord.) Yes it seems crazy but it is the best kind of crazy to Follow the Lord. The bible also describes the process of growth and maturity in the Church through fellowship " As Iron sharpens Iron" God is rounding off the rough edges, although I have heard pastors complain about certain women in their congregations that do this alot referred to as "sister sand-paper" I love it! God has such a good sense of humor!!

      August 2, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  16. ___.__

    I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours

    July 31, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
  17. midas20874

    God does not concern himself with human vanities. To Him, they are meaningless and irrelevant. By invoking the name of God and Jesus Christ in a vain atmosphere and using it in light of his "smoking hot" wife is debasing the name of God and that is sinful. "Do not use/take the name of the Lord in vain" – Exodus 20:7. Remember God will judge every careless word uttered and those who profess to be ministers of God will even be judged more severely. So if this pastor continues to get the adulation and commendation of the people of the world, he has already received his reward. Of course, there is always room for repentance. If this pastor confesses his sin and repents, God of mercy will forgive him.

    July 31, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Senor Sammystein

      Completely agree, thank you.

      July 31, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • RealityBetraysUs

      In reply to midas20874; you state: If this pastor confesses his sin and repents, God of mercy will forgive him.
      It is not a sin to thank and praise GOD for his blessings that he has bestowed upon us! Your problem is you confuse "piety" with ungodly behavior, do you not remember that King David danced and gave praise before God with all his might? This is true worship, that you can and will praise GOD with all your might even though the rest of the world criticizes you in the process. God never required that we live as religious "zombies".This is where man made religion confuses people, and too much of religion-history is marked by good God fearing people trying to make "tradition' or systems of legality or rules" superior to true worship. This is why Jesus rebuked the Pharisees as "white washed tombs that make their followers more fit for "HELL" than they themselves by forcing so many laws upon the people that were never meant by GOD or required to be "holy".

      August 2, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  18. TonyB

    way to go you lucky bugger!!!!

    July 31, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  19. Harold E Vincent

    From a very conservative Christian;
    Way to go Rev! Benjamin Franklin had something to say about a good looking wife and waking up next to her each morning in his advice to his son.
    Get over it fat folks! Lack of personal vanity in extremis is one thing, but the lack of essential vanity is not a virtue- it is a sin! If you want to be less attractive than you could normally be, go to it. However, do not be greatly surprised when the lady or gentleman that takes a little better care of their personal appearance gahters attention. My smokin' hot 60 yr old red-blond headed (yes naturally so!) uses very little makeup, and Hell Yes- I am thankful!!! (Now Lord- pls forgive the language- but not the sentiment)

    July 31, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  20. DH

    Pretty stupid article without a picture of the wife for us to judge if she is actually smokin.

    July 31, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • SI

      I agree

      July 31, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • smoking...not

      http://familybaptistchurchlebanon.com/default_files/Page581.htm

      August 1, 2011 at 2:10 am |
    • Another Lisa

      I think it's his opinion that counts....not ours. What a MAN to thank God for his wife....THAT is hot.
      🙂

      August 3, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
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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.