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. StarHunter7

    Talladaga Nights.....Wooo Hooo

    July 27, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  2. anon

    Remind me NOT to pray for a smokin hot wife. If thats what god delivers, I might try a different religion.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  3. Tom

    Pictures or GTFO.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  4. Andrew

    Hey, I'd much rather have a God with an appreciative sense of humor than a cold, humorless one. And I also believe the evidence established supports the fact that the former is the probable case.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  5. CatS

    God created s3x. If that aiin't proof positive that He has a sense of humor, I don't know what is!

    July 27, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  6. BENJI

    This guy is great. God has a sense of humor so I'm sure He was laughing too!

    July 27, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  7. critic

    The fact that this is a problem is ridiculous. You have religious figures being arrested on molestation charges and people focus on a couple jokes. All I have to say is ... America!

    July 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  8. notimpressed

    that is a comment in prayer between oneself and God. I don't think it should be prayed in front of many people. how do you think the not so "smokin hot wives" feel? or other husbands? the prayer singles out a group that ends up being on the negative side. furthermore, he just created attention to his own wife and other men lusting after her.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • hmm

      Ohh c'mon. The mans wife is probably as fat as he is. The fact that this man thinks his wife is the cats meow, just goes to show he's not lusting after some other hussy. Give this man a break.

      July 27, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  9. an eye for an eye

    If he can't use movie quotes during a prayer, then you can't say his wife is probably hideous because he's fat and ugly . . . f-ing hypocrite

    July 27, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  10. debbie338

    I'm far more shocked that a truly "smokin' hot wife" would be interested in an obese religious fanatic. And, before anyone jumps on me about it, yes, if he's a Baptist preacher, he IS a religious fanatic.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • Alex in NJ

      I bet you consider yourself, "tolerant." Hypocrite.

      July 27, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  11. Mat

    How about we just stop this nonsense of praying before a sporting event?

    July 27, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • DinosaurDave

      Thank you for a moment of clarity. We are surrounded by morons.

      July 27, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • Veritas

      These kinds of public "prayers" in public are only found in the US and nations like Iran or Pakistan. It's sometimes hard to accept that evangelical x-stians are adult people; how can anyone believe in something as ridiculous as "prayer"?

      July 27, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  12. BigJ

    I wonder if I'm the only engineer in the world who gets annoyed when God gets the credit for my hard work. I have known doctors that express that sentiment. I am curious what the engineers behind the Dodges, Toyotas, Fords, Sunoco fuel and Goodyear tires think about something like this.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • Ali

      Geez, you ever wonder how you got created? How you woke up this morning? How you continue to live and breathe? GOD is awesome!

      July 27, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • Magic

      Thank God those engineers were so doggone smart and were able to figure out all that techno babble. (tongue in cheek)

      July 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • Veritas

      I can only assume that BigJ was "created" from two cells, each from his mother and father, just like the rest of us. He then grew from these two fused cells into the Home Sapiens mammal he is today. How else would it have happened?

      July 27, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  13. Lighten up

    You all need to lighten up. It was a quote from a movie. What's wrong with making it a little funny? And all of you saying there's a time and a place . . . the movie is about NASCAR!! You couldn't ask for a better time OR place to use that line! Man you super religious people must have a crucifix stuck up ur ass

    July 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  14. Joshua Ludd

    Wow... could one cheapen one's religion more? Could one make one's deity more of a cartoonish figure?

    July 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  15. DJ

    Where is it written a pastor can't make a joke. This isn't even a joke that hurt anyone. It was a reference that I'm guessing 90% of that crowd got. NASCAR IS religion there.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  16. Wendi

    This was the best prayer ever people. Leave this guy alone!

    July 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
  17. Tim E

    And other pastors are praying, "And thank you, God, too, for my butt-ugly one."

    July 27, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  18. WesH

    "Religion is arrogance parading as humility." -Bill Maher

    July 27, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  19. Evan

    Religion is a joke anyway, good for this guy to have some fun with it.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
  20. carjunkie

    Just remember that NASCAR stands for North American Society for Cars, Alcohol and Racism. You expecting anything different or on a higher level from a NASCAR race?

    July 27, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • bud

      why is it racism now?no blacks right?we can probaly get some police cars to put behind them.would that work for you?

      July 27, 2011 at 10:41 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.