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. DianD

    Does the smokin' hot wife end up leaving the pastor for a richer guy just like it happended to Ricky Bobby? Oh dear.

    July 28, 2011 at 3:29 am |
  2. epona41

    seriously, for all you people who "don't care" .. why do you even post a comment? clearly you cared enough to type out that you didn't care. dee dee dee

    July 28, 2011 at 3:28 am |
  3. Atheist FXXK OFF

    Little Bad Pastor here. Publicity objectivitas.

    July 28, 2011 at 3:28 am |
  4. Dan

    I'm not exactly sure what to make of this prayer. The thing that bothers me the most, in some ways, is the fact that it is gettig so much attention in the news. I have seen it ad nauseam and watched the commentators falling all over themselves to praise it, but it really just makes me sick.

    July 28, 2011 at 3:26 am |
    • MumboJumbo

      Get over it and STFU already!!!!!!

      July 28, 2011 at 4:21 am |
  5. JMAC

    Has it completely slipped past the super sleuths at CNN that this prayer is a copy of Will Ferrell's on Talladega Nights? Good investigating CNN. Way to not actually do your job of finding news but throw up stuff for others to comment on and generate content.

    July 28, 2011 at 3:16 am |
    • epona41

      um... they totally discussed the origin of the prayer .. maybe you should watch all the way through.

      July 28, 2011 at 3:25 am |
    • DianD

      Eeeehmmm... The report above does mention about the reference to the famous movie quote... oh boy.

      July 28, 2011 at 3:25 am |
  6. Jamshid

    "...poosy and religion is all I need..." –Kanye

    July 28, 2011 at 3:04 am |
  7. AngloRights

    God took Sunday off to watch Nascar! Ain't a doubt in mind he got a chuckle out the pastor's prayer!!

    CNN, don't you have something more newsworthy to do than trying to stir up shiit in the babtist corner. I mean really, would one of your editor's be kind enough to tell us all, why you have to toss this out there and ask if we consider it blasphemous? Get a firkin life!!

    July 28, 2011 at 2:51 am |
  8. krisko

    Uhhm, his wife is about 250lbs...far from 'smokin' hot'. I'm all for the comedic aspect of prayer but he should've kept it real.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:50 am |
  9. Cindy

    Cheatin on his wife within the year for sure!!!!

    July 28, 2011 at 2:48 am |
  10. fiskenmann

    Poor soul is delusional.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:46 am |
  11. Mike G in Hartford, CT

    Oh, come on people, this is the best prayer ever.

    You "but, but but, think of the poor children" people need to get off your soapboxes and laugh a little.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • Elaine

      I'm 57 years old, grew up going to church 3 x a week. This is the best prayer I have ever heard. Bless this minister. I would love to attend his church!

      July 28, 2011 at 2:47 am |
  12. My wife is hotter

    I hate that I can't like on some CNN comment sections. You suxz CNN. I think the guys comments were great by the way. Have fun with life.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:31 am |
  13. Barnacle Bill

    Boogedy boogedy boo!

    Frackin' 'tards.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:30 am |
  14. humanbeing

    who cares...is his prayer going to fix this country's financial problems? Is his prayer going to feed starving people around the world. is his prayer going to bring world peace. is his prayer going to stop that disillusioned father from killing his family because he can't make ends meet and he is scared to death. Is his prayer going to keep that working mom from beating her kids because she is stressed about keeping her job and her deadbead ex-husband isn't paying child support? is his prayer going to do anything more than cause some to shake their heads and say...

    July 28, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • Val

      Amen... and the truth is, God wasn't listening to him anyway.

      July 28, 2011 at 2:28 am |
  15. Sheila

    Every man should give thanks for his wife every day. Doing it in public, and complimenting her in the process – priceless.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:21 am |
  16. SillyRabbit

    I bet he's got another more meaningful message if you go listen to him on Sundays. Southern Baptists can really light up a place.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:21 am |
  17. Bonnie

    This kind of news makes the world believe Americans have become stupid. USA used to have a better-quality population decades ago.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • Aletheya

      Those days are long gone. The country has gotten progressively stupider, crazier, and nastier.

      July 28, 2011 at 3:23 am |
  18. Kat-A-Tat

    It's funny how people believe in gods. And sad. And terrifying.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:14 am |
    • Hunatic


      July 28, 2011 at 2:24 am |
  19. Doesn't Care Much

    Who cares? I personally am not religious (I won't speak my mind on fairy tales or money worshipping) but if I were, I would hope there was more people like this. Funny sells, and if that is your faith or a new deodorant then sell that S!&T.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:08 am |
  20. eric

    as far as atheists believing in ghosts, whether you do or do not does not matter, there seems to be far more evidence that ghosts exist than a god. so if you go by evidence ghosts are more believable.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:05 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.