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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. Amanda

    It is a quote from a movie that is popular in NASCAR circles...my brother has used this in his dinner prayer since Talladega Nights cams out.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  2. Rodney

    I cringed when I first heard it, but then thought 'how many prayers have gotten this kind of exposure and contemplation?' Plus he put it in context at the beginning with "You said in all things give thanks so..." Well done Pastor Nelms.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  3. Eagles Fan

    I loved the prayer. So many people out there want to SCARE religion into you. This guy has fun with it and still loves his and our God. Good for him...

    July 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  4. frank

    THIS PASTOR HAS THE EVIL ONE IN HIM!! THE DARK LORD BEELZEBUB HAS HIM IN HIS BONY CLUTCHES!!! HE WILL KNEEL AT THE PEARLY GATES BEFORE JESUS, KING OF JEWS, AND GET HIS SKULL CRACKED IN FOR THIS INSOLENCE, GOD DAMN HIM!!!

    July 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • Tom in Santa Fe

      Yeah, right, and you are so pure that you can use the Lord's name in vain along with the rest of your vitrolic spatum?

      July 27, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
  5. DinosaurDave

    The only rational purpose for a prayer here would be for the safety of the participants. Thanking God for multinational corporations, and using the moment and microphone to kiss up to your mate, is inappropriate and cause to send this person away. Additionally, bogitybogitybogity is NOT Southern for anything, this is NASCAR marketing. Southerners do not speak like this, although Waltrip and his hillbilly neighbors might speak this way for the amusement of visiting yankees.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Eagles Fan

      Your name says all we need to know... Go back to the 50's.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • Roberto

      Gimme a break, the pastor did nothing but enlighten the day. Don't be so close-minded.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • Baker1

      I don't know what part of the South you're from, but that's exactly how they sound in Georgia.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  6. Rico

    Maybe that gentleman is thankful that God has sufficiently deluded him into believing that his truckload of a wife's hot. Sixty years ago, she would've been fit for a carnival.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
  7. mad hatter

    was that too cool or what jeeee whizzzz lighten up already...it goes to show that a preacher can have a good time even in a moment of prayer....and i know my (G)od likes humor or i wouldve been hooked off this stage a long time ago...too bad nascar cant get it on tv all the time what with all the golf and paid advertisments there is no room for god or nascar.....grits

    July 27, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  8. Tom in Santa Fe

    If a Spiritual leader can not express levity, then how can that person be a fully spiritual person? Levity in not a sin nor immoral. Heck, being raised Catholic, some of the best jokes I've heard came from Priests during their surmons from the pulpit on Sundays. Any of you heard of Benny Hinn (NOT Benny Hill) – televangical speaker? You should watch him REGARDLESS of your sect / faith / or any lack there of – he will have you laughing, yet thinking about the underlying message at the same time. And I give thanks to my creator for blessing me with a smokin' hot wife every morning and every night – she is my ideal perfect lady that my creator blessed me with – I don't know what I did right in this life to deserve her, but to be married to her, to honor and cherish her, to respect her, to know that she is my equal and my council, and my guide to happiness is PRICELESS. I can honestly say that my facial cheeks hurt from always smiling and laughling with her. And if we were not suppose to have levity in our lives, then why can we smile with only 3 muscles yet it takes 30'ish to make a frown? Power to the Preacher who can help us feel good about life through whatever method they and we choose!

    July 27, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  9. DB

    Different strokes for different folks. Simple humor at a great sporting event. Better than the pastor meeting the wife under the bleachers!

    July 27, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  10. PDXf

    Too bad god can't solve that world hunger or world peace thing - but it's awesome he has a smokin' hot wife.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      what have you done lately to solve world hunger or promote world peace?

      July 27, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • PDXf

      I've done numerous small things to at least not make the world's issues worse, and a few to hopefully make them better...but this doesn't really matter, especially since I'm not omnipotent. If I were, I would likely solve the worlds more serious problems, rather than focusing on making sure this man has a smokin' hot wife.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      It is good you are helpful. Perhaps God in His wisdom intends for us to look after and care for each other.Perhaps God has entrusted mankind with the responsibility to do these things ourselves.Is it better to earn our wages or would you prefer we live by gift alone?

      July 28, 2011 at 5:00 am |
  11. melinda

    God know this mans heart. I didn't see anything wrong with what he said.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
  12. Josh Maloney

    Would have been awesome if he would have thanked God for his smoking hot husband.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  13. A different Bill

    My first reaction was "he said what", then my bosses advice of not to assume intent kicked in and I thought about. My next reaction was 'I thank God for my smoking hot wife also" even though she's not here to see me say it... 🙂

    July 27, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  14. Joe

    Why do people think that God doesn't have a sense of humor. The Bible tells us that He is our father and He loves us. Well, my my father loves me and I love him. And we both enjoy ribbing each other from time to time. Why wouldn't God be appreciative that his children love Him enough to joke with Him???
    Lighten up all you tight-ass uber-Christians.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  15. Pete

    I want his wife. That's not a sin, or is it?

    July 27, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • Tom in Santa Fe

      'Fraid so Pete – the one 'bout coveting thy neighbor's wife...

      July 27, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  16. Cuchy

    While we are thanking everybody making the event possible, how about thanking King of Saudi Arabia or Hugo Chavez for the oil?

    July 27, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Rescme

      If you are from the U.S. most of your imported oil comes from Canada and Mexico not those scoundrel places that use it against you...

      July 27, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Rags

      Why thank those two? The oil was there long before they were even gleam in their fathers eye.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  17. DR. Drew

    Hey, that's between him and God. Can't be quick to judge, right. Isn't that what Christianity is partially about?

    July 27, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
  18. ArtInChicago

    In all thy ways acknowledge God and He will direct thy path...even to a hot wife.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  19. marko65

    Nothing wrong with thanking God for his wife. I'd be more concerned about their weight. Holy crap are these people F-A-T!
    God wants you to take care of the body he created for you, lose some freakin pounds.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Joe

      Wow. Really marko? Was that the 11th commandment, Thou Shalt Not Be Fat?
      I think God is more concerned with our souls than He is of our bodies.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  20. Bill

    Not a good prayer. Rather than directing the attention of the hearers to the God of the universe, he intentionally drew attention to himself. It was much more of a public performance than moment of prayer.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:50 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.