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. Max

    I would be religious if all sects were this funny.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Max

      And you bible people who think this is offensive need to lighten up.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  2. PRISM 1234

    So many say they believe that God has humor, because he created us to have humor..."

    If God does have humor, it's NOT THE KIND that this beggarly "pastor:" displayed, and so many of people keep ascribing it to Him....
    God's kind of sense of humor is demonstrated through His creation, especially animal species, the way they look and behave, and also even through children, through their spontaneous genuine characteristics which every normal person just finds amusing and humorous...God's humor is creative, is pure, inocent, and void of fleshly, lewd, demeaning, human humor's carachteristics...
    God's humor IS IN LINE WITH HIS NATURE, and His CHARACTER. But when a "supposedly' a pastor, a man of God, who has a flock to tend, that looks to him to be fed and thought by... when he uses the Name of the Lord in a mock-prayer, which ends up to be something equivalent to a sitcom style dirty joke, then he has dragged the Name of the Lord to his lewd level, and portrayed Him in tainted light!

    That's where the difference is between God's humor and man's poluted one!

    July 27, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Steve

      Wait a minute. You started your comment with "If God does have humor...," and yet, then you launched into a diatribe about the nature of God's humor. How can you know anything about God's humor when you freely admit you're unsure he has any? You're speculating. AKA, talking out of your @ss.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Pious14u

      OMG. Get a LIFE. And find God while you're at it (If you know where to look.)

      July 28, 2011 at 12:05 am |
  3. Tar Baby

    "What do you think? Hilarious/innovative or blasphemous/offensive?"

    Provocative nonsense?

    July 27, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  4. Compassion

    this is "thank YOU" theology. Thank YOU for everything for all is good for YOUR WILL.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  5. Tar Baby

    So, is she smokin' hot?

    July 27, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
  6. Robert

    I think "beautiful" would have been more appropriate.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  7. John

    Why did he pray for Dodge, Ford and Toyata but not for Chevrolet?

    July 27, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  8. Derp Hat

    I thank God for his smoking hot wife, too.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  9. usnret

    If he considers his wife smoking hot, it keeps his eyes on the right thing.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
  10. BGL

    Jesus H. Christ...........another closeted gay man in the spotlight. Please come out of the closet. Gays are getting really tired of you self loathsome types.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
  11. John

    Don't have a problem with a husband giving thanks for his wife. The product placement cheapens it. The prayer seemed to be a parody designed to bring more focus on himself than the God he was praying to.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
  12. Compassion

    Thank you GOD for having terrorist to bomb our McD and Burger King. hahahaha....

    July 27, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • Compassion

      but please not Au Bon Pain’s

      July 27, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  13. Give it a rest people

    People taking themselves too seriously is one reason we have wars, poverty, violence, sadness, abuse, heartache, and pain in the world.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  14. Compassion

    Lucky him have wife, others not. If you see this world as a hell then it will be a hell and if you see this world as a heaven than it will be a heaven for you...in your own brain.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  15. Brad

    I think it was sarcasm and he was imitating Talledega Nights with Will Ferrell. I thought it was funny.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • Brad

      And no I did'nt read the story I just knew and replied.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  16. Paul

    I thought of the comment by Mark Twain, "We must respect the other fellow's religion but only to the extent that we respect his belief that his wife is beautiful and his children are intelligent."

    July 27, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Benjamin

      Posted on yam brother it's an aptapecirpeable effort on ur part to promote our culture.can u plz upload some old ginans like by hashim,shamim Alam ke especially(Alam-e-baalaar nichm shulguyo muhabbat galingay dal hun akesh shanan blum me shahi merdan bama beyam) meher angez's starting ginans Amir hayat's especially (A warisay immamatay dauraan khosh aamdeed, thanks

      August 1, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  17. Marine5484

    People need to relax a little I thought it was great. If god didn't have a sense of humor he certainly wouldn't of made some of us.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Connie Blankenship

      This is funny and really shows how stupid it is to give a prayer at a function such as this. It is just for show. No real purpose that I can see.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Gingerpeach

      I agree!! I thought it was awesome!!

      July 27, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • kristen

      I want to see a picture of the smokin hot wife. PROVE to me she is smokin hot. I bet she's got gobs of nasty make-up all over her face. Maybe a bit of nip-and-tuck. Yuuuck.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Roddie

      I thought the prayer was awesome. Christians do have a sense of humor...except those who are too sanctimonious to believe in laughter. I bet Jesus was a hoot hanging out with the disciples.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  18. The_Mick

    There was once a retired Catholic Priest named Father Stephen Melcher who lived in the Baltimore area, was the chaplain of some secular clubs (political, civic, etc.), and used to come up with the most bizarre, funny, opening-prayers – some from Hinduism, etc. It's always proper to start events off with everyone smiling!

    July 27, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  19. rick smith

    Thank god for all we have...and a realy neat Pastor,boogity, boogity, boogity

    July 27, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Freelance

      Reaction to the prayer has been mixed. From the twitterverse:, and from facebook:

      July 27, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  20. Bonnie

    Americans should stop joking about God before their nation gets destroyed.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • Adam

      Why don't you shut the hell up and go to your country CNN page...

      July 27, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • MS

      If god exists may he strike you dead!

      See nothing happened

      Hello? Are you there?

      July 27, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • Max

      LOL by god?

      July 28, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      ...... God does not deal with every nation the same...Americans have declared their independence from God.

      I find it very peculiar that the Declaration of Independence was the do-cu-ment that marked the true freedom for this country. God took up for the poor, frightened, overpowered, out-numbered , suffering people.... because in their desperation they called on Him!

      But it is the very NAME of the do-cu-ment " The Declaration of Independence" FROM HIM, that will bring u-tter devastation on this land....

      Because "when they knew Him, they honored Him not" and they threw Him out from their midst!
      That will be the "fate" of America:" removal of God's hand of protection and leaving her to her own devices, and to wollow in self-made mire!
      America says, "we don't need God", so it will be... God will NOT stay around. He will step aside, and watch while the rest of the world looks on, as her glory fades to AS-HES!

      You can be sure, this will happen!

      July 28, 2011 at 12:19 am |
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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.