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. josh

    This is the facts. NASCAR is a good ole boy sport. It was founded in deep southern roots. It is the backbone of the slow fading southern way of life. And when I feel like Im the last one in the country that loves that way of life, I watch a nascar race, and am reassured that there is still alot of us here. Whether the left wing side of this country like um.... CNN(even though this is cnn website), MSNBC, and unfortunatley right now the WHITE HOUSE likes or not, There will always be us god fearing, rebel flag waving, country music loving, good ole boys and girls in this country. So suck it up and just let it be. Because we dont back down, and we sure as hell do not put down our values and beliefs because some people in this country think we are living in Europe. Thanks.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  2. sciihs1958

    Hilarious and wonderful! And I'm not even a fan of Nascar or Baptists.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  3. Veritas

    Who cares? It's just made up religion anyway. I cannot imagine that any adults really think "prayer" has any effect on anything, so it's good if can at least be funny.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • hez123

      There's at least one.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Veritas

      Oh, did I offend you?

      July 27, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  4. JohnnyOh

    He stole that from Will Farrel and Talladega nights.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
  5. zebulonpi

    I for one find this absolutely heinous. There is absolutely no room in modern religion for this type of frivolity, and I condemn it wholeheartedly.

    Now excuse me while I go molest young children, which is the proper, Church-sanctioned thing to do.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  6. Chitown Jason

    I'm no fan of NASCAR. Quite the opposite, actually. Still, this is funny. Those who are upset about it should really give themselves a reality check on where they stand spiritually, as their spirit clearly is not healthy.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  7. Scott in NH

    I think we need to learn to have more of a sense of humor like the Brits do. Not everything has follow conventions and rules.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Chitown Jason


      July 27, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • rafael

      Humor has its appropriate place in any society. But you don't understand how repressed British society is if you think a British pastor would say thanks for a smokin' hot wife.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  8. 12-21-12


    July 27, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  9. American Pie

    I heard his prayer and thought it was quite good. Does God have a sense of humor sometimes? I believe he does. No problems here.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  10. Soul69

    I am sure God loves happiness, no matter in which way we trasmit them and thats the spirit in life. If science ever finds the answer to spirit, it will be the proof in existence.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • rafael


      July 27, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • intothefire

      Nicely said. If the christian god does exist im sure he would enjoy the laughs spread around

      July 27, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  11. Tony H

    Nyaaaa. A little irreverent; but do we honestly think that an all-powerful, all-knowing God could be taken by surprise by this utterance? This kind of prayer DEFINITELY fits a NASCAR event.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
  12. John

    Pray for our elected officials? No thanks!

    July 27, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • jenycuco

      actually, Jesus said we should pray for our government officials.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  13. nick

    He's just a good old boy, never meaning no harm

    July 27, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • jeff

      religion is for praising and celebrating. it has become all about "i want" and "i need". hopefully this pastor will awakan all the new age pastors to bring the church back to constructive and positive. one that can be enjoyed with enthusiasm. accept how good that pray made you feel. it was uplifting and brought everyone together as friends. this was alot better than what you see when you leave most churches after being made to attend for the time limit we gave the church out of our perceived busy week.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • Andrew

      Beats all you never saw
      Been in trouble with the law
      Since the day he was born

      July 27, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
  14. Talon

    get a room...

    July 27, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  15. Denise

    I think it was great....(most time i mute them out...for some reason i didn't this time).... we had a great laugh about it, and have replayed it a couple of times since, he got our attention.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • jenycuco

      That's great!! And that was his point, that not all Christians are self-rightious, snobby hypocrites. Some of us actually are fun, nice people. Personally, I bet God chuckled, too!

      July 27, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  16. Melvin

    Sounds like he was praying to himself.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • Veritas

      "Praying" is always talking to oneself by definition.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  17. Lee Cherry

    Do you think the Creator "heard" that prayer? Very irreverent.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • Chitown Jason

      If God is everywhere, then yes, He heard it. FWIW, the Creator also gave Adam a smoking hot wife with Eve, ya know.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • intothefire

      hot wife ==> happy pastor.........hot wife joke==> you being uptight even tho god never said "dont tell jokes that really make people laugh and feel good only horrible in church jokes where people chuckle politely but 85% of people roll their eyes and wanna kill themselves"

      July 27, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  18. DeeDubya

    Anyone who has a problem with that pastor seriously needs to get over it and get a life. Just bi+ch slap yourself for being an Ass Clown.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  19. jdizzle

    the wife sounds like a man?

    July 27, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • DeeDubya

      Pretty sure he was quoting his wife. That was my first thought also though. haha

      July 27, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • jdizzle

      very true. :-p i was thinkin that.. dang reporter misled me!

      July 27, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
  20. Tony Isaza

    If the "God of the Universe" doesn't find this funny... he's a dick!

    July 27, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Andrew

      I know God has a sense of humor. He made me. So know that He has a sense of humor, I'm quite sure he laughed at that one.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:33 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.