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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. Daveid Johnson

    I can hear the banjo music . . .

    August 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  2. TheyNotHim

    This just illustrates why xtianity is a pox on society. The man was quoting from a movie, trying to get a laugh, because he thought that people would actually pay attention to him if he invoked god that way. LO-freaking-L at all the jaggoffs who are up in arms about his possible blasphemy. The man is a snake oil salesman and needs any edge he can get to sell his god.

    August 16, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  3. scotonfire

    Bruce Almighty might think it's funny but God does't have a sense of humor and He will SMITE YOU FOR THAT JOE NELMS!

    August 16, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  4. don't call me a "christian"

    "There is hope for the future because God has a sense of humor and we are funny to God" -Bill Cosby.
    If you don't think God has a sense of humor, look at the person next to you. If that doesn't prove it to you, look in the mirror.
    My Father has a perfect understanding, and therefor a perfect forgiveness, of all his children. I hope He laughs at me more than he weeps because of me. The teachings of Yeshua (his given name) is full of puns and clever word-play. I think the reason "Jesus wept" appears in the New Testament and not "Jesus laughed", is that they didn't have enough ink to record all the times that it happened. At least I hope that's why.

    August 15, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  5. Dawn

    Once again we are reminded that "he is just a man". Judgement of others is not for any of us, he is also God's creation.

    August 15, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • TheyNotHim

      Please give one shred of evidence there is an invisible old white dude in the sky that invented anything please? Just one shred of evidence, I beg you. The bible is not evidence, mind you, since it is filled with fairy tales and third and fourth person stories, speculation, outright lies, parables, and contradictory testimony.

      Still waiting...

      August 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  6. cbr

    Give it up. Unless you are a member of his congregation your reaction does not mean a thing. Those in his congregation must decide how they wish their pastor to act. We have no say.

    August 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • James

      He is a human being who said something publicly, of course everyone has a say lol That said, I don't think it's blasphemous or inappropriate, I saw the movie; it was funny. Chillax.

      August 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  7. KWill

    How could it be wrong to be thankful for what you have, including smokin hot wives and good entertainment? I'm all for it, way to go!

    August 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  8. CaptainObvious

    I give thanks every day for my unfairly hot girlfriend, who I got the cajones up to ask out without looking to an imaginary friend for courage.

    Don't get me wrong, I think this guy's hysterically funny, but come on, just say "Jesus told me to tell y'all to start yer engines!" and get the hell away from the microphone.

    August 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  9. fred

    If there is a God, I'd like to think he has a sense of humour.

    August 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  10. chief

    well as much as i think its blasphemy..... at least it wasnt some offense with a little boy.... oh yeah he is a chicken eating baptist preacher and not a priest

    August 15, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  11. JWH

    What a disgrace for a Baptist. He does not know who he is talking to. God is holy and could care less about a sport that has alcohol. No glory to God there.

    It is disrespectful to use Jesus' name like that. He was not praying, he was taliking to the people. Religion is alive, Christianity is dead.

    August 14, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Mitsy

      Oh for God's sake. Loosen up will ya'!! The beings of heaven are probably cracking up!

      August 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  12. LODUW

    Stupid, lustful, blind, leprous, mentally crippled, micro-mini-minded disrespectful moron who believes that God thinks like him!

    August 14, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • James

      How do you know God DOESN'T think like him?! Come oooon!! You don't know.

      August 16, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  13. morris2196

    This man needs to show greater respect for prayer.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  14. Let's See

    let's see the wife! If she's as HALF as hot as this delicious big ol' hunk of manly perfection, she MUST be a goddess! Christ, this guy looks like he's married to a freaking Dunkin Donuts.

    August 13, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  15. Ron

    One look at the fat slob, close-set eyes, and you immediately can tell he's a inbred religious Bubba. So why the outcry? What else do you expect from a guy who prays to an invisible friend and has no shame about it?

    August 13, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • waiting...

      This Invisible Friend Created All things visable.It maybe wise for us all to talk to HIM more...though, not so vain.

      August 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  16. >.

    it was from a movie, and anyway even if it wasnt why does it matter?

    August 12, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  17. RICKY BOBBY!!!!!

    IT'S FROM TALLADEGA NIGHTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ITS F#@%!^& ENTERTAINMENT! Learn yo self people!

    August 12, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  18. Jean

    In his mind he thinks shes great,thats what matters

    August 11, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • Chaos

      Well, this is also a guy who thinks there's a magical being he communicates with so it isn't really saying much.

      August 12, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  19. Jean

    too bad more men didn't think to say it.Thats why we leave them!

    August 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  20. john dus

    if his wife really was hot, i wouldnt mind. i wasnt impressed

    August 11, 2011 at 4:32 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.