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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. Brian

    Has anyone brought up the fact that the line he used is from the NASCAR spoof film "Talladega Nights". Will Ferrell's character, "Ricky Bobby", thanks GOD for his "Smokin' Hot Wife" while saying grace before Sunday dinner.

    July 27, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • wow

      Greatest discovery of the century!!!, were have u been dude?

      July 27, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
  2. Matthew Van Der Aue

    Uhhhhh... I just image googled his smoking hot wife... Not so sure about smok'in hot.

    July 27, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  3. reddog

    I thank God for his "smokin' hot wife" too.

    July 27, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  4. jimbo

    May god have mercy on such a heathen

    July 27, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  5. fyhyjj

    His 'smoking hot wife' has a deeper voice than he does – perhaps he has to call her smoking hot or she'll beat him up, I certainly wouldn't like to meet her in a dark alley

    July 27, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • wwsd

      any more she could have been a he

      July 27, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  6. Jimbo

    This is why NASCAR is a joke. Racing is serious business and he should have stuck to praying for everyone to make it through the race alive and leave the jokes at the dinner table. I would like to see a picture of her anyway though.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  7. LifeLongWestern NYer

    I pray every night for my next wife to be "smokin' hot"!!!! This one sure isn't.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  8. C Reason

    lol awesome. Any Christian who finds this offensive should re-examine eating Jesus and drinking his blood. Now THAT is offensive.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • fyhyjj

      pillock

      July 27, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Elder L

      Amen!

      July 27, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  9. Val R

    Get over it! What has this world come to where it seems everyone is offended by something. If you don't want to see it – close your eyes. If you don't want to hear it – plug your ears. If you don't want to watch it – change the damn channel. If you don't like what a person is wearing – thank your lucky stars it isn't on your body. For crying out loud we have become a petty, self-centered, selfish nation!

    July 27, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Anne

      Wow! Took the words right out of my mouth. Thank you!

      July 27, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
  10. janelyn

    Makeing a mockery of prayer would be similar to Weird Al Yankovich singing the Star Spangled Banner, which even he would not do for fear of the backlash. True religious people view prayer as something sacred. Jokeing to a congregation on Sunday morning would be more appropriate as you are not speaking to God himself.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • C Reason

      Sorry you still see God as vengeful and wrath filled. Stupid. God has a sense of humor. Otherwise he would have struck down all Christians for eating Jesus and drinking his blood. As is, I'm sure they have a good laugh about it every Sunday.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • secularbear

      And truly reasonable, educated people regard prayer as talking to oneself.

      Why pray if there's already a plan anyway? Makes no sense. Besides, I thought he always demanded dead sheep, not verbal thanks.

      July 27, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  11. CCIngram

    I thought it was great. My God has a sense of humor and that is what he was praying. He did pray for the safety of the drivers and he ended it in "Jesus name". So many of these public prayers are sanitized praying only to God or maybe not even mentioning God. Bottom line, he prayed for the safety of the drivers in Jesus' name. Amen

    July 27, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  12. T

    LOL That was so funny. If there was a god, I bet he would think it was funny too.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  13. tinhorn

    lighten up, it was clearly from the movie. I bet everyone in the crowd laughed.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  14. Jim

    OMG people, some of you are way too wound up...God must have a sense of humor or he wouldn't have created us. It wasn't church, it was a prayer before a race. It took nothing away from God, if anything it enhanced the interesting probability that God created humor right along with "us"

    July 27, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • secularbear

      Did your god also create conjoined twins, childhood cancers, and intestinal parasites?

      July 27, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  15. secularbear

    Nice try pastor – I'm guessing he'll get caught manhandling teenage boys soon enough.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  16. teachdiesel

    The Bible mentions many time that God wants us to be joyful. He also wants us to "rejoice in the wife of our youth"!

    July 27, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  17. Mr. T. Bag

    what ever happened to praying for sick and hungry children?

    July 27, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • secularbear

      God is either unable to help them, or unwilling, or perhaps both. Hah, I'm just kidding – there's no god.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  18. Mr. T. Bag

    I didn't understand a word of this... I flunked the HICK101 course.
    boogity, doogity, what? –Good God....

    July 27, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  19. Sinfony

    People just need to lighten up and at least chuckle a little. The world is full of many serious issues, why not have a little fun every once in a while?

    July 27, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
  20. hdlmkr

    Heck we let gays get married so whats wrong with whatever he want to pray for. The only one that needs to make the decision is God not us!

    July 27, 2011 at 8:46 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.