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. Reality Check

    I don't see what the big deal is. I think people forget that religious people to include pastors are human. It's his wife for goodness sakes. If he thinks she's hot more power to both of them. In his eyes she's HOT and in the end that is all that matters.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  2. Carrie Ann

    It's nice to see bible beaters get randy. Keep it up Pastor Pervo!

    July 27, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  3. Your grandma

    Isn't that in talledega nights?

    July 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  4. StraightsDs

    Im not religious at all – but more power to this preacher. A sense of humor, culturally and locally relevant.
    Gotta love that, right?

    July 27, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  5. justathought

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////// I can't remmember anything about making a burnt offering to cure leprocy, however something akin to that was looking at a bronze serpent on a staff to save people from snake bites. But, that wasn't the cure. The serpent on the staff was symbolic of salvation from sin, which was the crucification of Christ and he bore our sins on the cross. So it was an act of faith that cured and the people the people understood this. I know that this may sound like nonsence to you, believing in God takes an act of a lot of faith; I know, I once did not believe because I did not have the faith. /////////////////////////////////////////////

    July 27, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  6. Reality

    Dear Pastor Joe Nelms,

    For your next NASCAR "prayer meeting":

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

    I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


    July 27, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • LT

      Again, despite reams of physical historical evidence of the events of those times, there is no reference beyond the Bible to the community of "Nazareth" even existing, and there was no letter J in Hebrew, i.e. no Jesus.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • kendallpeak

      Your "prayer" could also go on to say you do not believe in honor, dignity, truth, nobility, love or hate, since these also cannot be proven.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • iTzlogical

      A pastor quoting Ricky Booby....amusing.
      You ranting about an Apostles' Creed "you" created....kinda scary.
      Have you written any 1,500 page manifesto's lately we should know about?

      July 27, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Pat

      LT: The letter Y did, as in Yahweh.

      It wasn't long ago that many 'experts' believed that King David didn't exist either, yet he too eventually showed up under archaeological evidence.

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

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 (Time Magazine)

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      "Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      July 28, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • iTzlogical

      Reality...you really should seek help.
      I am sure there are many anti-"fill-in-the-religon" blogs that you visit.
      Remember, just because someone wrote something on the internet, it doesn't make it right or sane.

      Sad we have to remind people of this.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Rolling on the floor

      @kendall , sure that refined prayer above is not particularly polished. But you can't associate that preacher with honor, dignity, class or style or humility either. Shouldn't those be considered when dealing with divine matters?

      July 28, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • nana

      Whew! I am certainly glad that when Judgement Day comes and IT WILL that I don't have to stand before God and confess this blasphemy! All we can do is pray for those people that might have a big problem explaining themselves!

      August 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  7. justathought

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////// I can't remmember anything about making a burnt offering to cure leprocy, however something akin to that was looking at a bronze serpent on a staff to save people from snake bites. But, that wasn't the cure. The serpent on the staff was symbolic of salvation from sin, which was the crucification of Christ and he bore our sins on the cross. So it was an act of faith that cured and the people the people understood this. I know that this may sound like nonsence to you, believing in God takes an act of a lot of faith; I know, I once did not believe because I did not have the faith.

    July 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Chaos

      Do you also say, Silly Nig***s?

      Um no. Apparently you can't tell the difference between race and behavior.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:07 am |
  8. kynyth

    Siily hillbillies.

    July 27, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      How true

      July 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Pumbaa

      Do you also say, Silly Nig***s?

      July 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • ummm

      It's pronounced naggers....get it straight next time..

      July 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  9. justathought

    ///////////////////////////////////////////// I believe you are refering to Isaiah 40:22. Unfortunately, many people believe this to refer to the sphercal shape of the earth, I believe it refers to the orbit of earth around the sun. //////////////////////////////////////////////

    July 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Stevie7

      I'd be careful. You could pull something if you stretch that much.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  10. justathought

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////// A sciientific fact is something that was a theroy that has been proven to be a truth or fact. I just learned of one scientific theory that was that wasn't proven as a fact until in the late part of the 19 century (about 1890)and that was, that there are curents in the ocean [sea] yet in Palm 8:8 it reads :...an whatsoever passeth thtough the paths [currents] of the seas." (Written by David who may have never even seen an ocean or sea.) How did the ancients [people of long ago] know about the currents of the oceans [seas] if they weren't discovered, or proven, until some time in the late 1800's? ////////////////////////////////////////////////

    July 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Carrie Ann

      The ancients were able to navigate their ships by using the stars. Everyone knows this...even not so bright school children. If They created "paths" and maps via the stars why do you automatically assume "oceans path" is a reference to currents? It could the total opposite: the stars. Think a little before you go spewing your jesus juice all over the keyboard, okay?

      July 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • stejo

      You are incorrect with your assessment of what a scientific theory is. Sorry about that. I'm not an atheist, but I do know a thing or 2 about science. I also know about faith. Faith is something you generate or you don't...it's not based on facts. If you try to prove your faith, you have no faith.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  11. xtheist

    who cares? not me, but i had to post so you all know that i dont care. you shouldnt either. life is great with fairy tales like jeebus and all his pals right?

    July 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • EC

      Only a fool says in his heart that their is no God.
      The One in whom you refer will forgive your blasphemy, please turn unto Him and repent of all your transgression, accept the the work He accomplished on your behalf, and receive the free gift of salvation He has waiting for you. Otherwise you'll have to take the horrendous punishment upon your own self.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Carrie Ann

      @EC – Can you explain why God is a HE? Because Mommy and Daddy and Preacher say so???? I do not question the existence of God, I question the existence of YOUR God. The minute mankind gets involved with God, it becomes false; mankind, (specifically religiously inclined people like yourself) issue edicts and declarations on what God thinks and how others should think and behave and believe because you have deep in your core a primal urge to control others, to consume the world and wield your power over others in the most intimate arenas of their lives. Your constructed God gives you the justification in your mind to be dominant. I can't think of anything more unGodly than people like you.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  12. Frogist

    And the hits just keep on coming!
    I kinda like this pastor guy. Not taking things too seriously. Having some fun with his homey, God. It's all good! And even though he's an atheist, would it really hurt my husband to thank god for his smokin' hot wife too?! Maye I'm not smokin' hot enough... ooh wait. If she's "smokin' hot" does that mean she's in Hell? Awkward.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  13. DRT

    God Bless Pastor Joe Nelm!

    July 27, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  14. Lord's Prayer

    Let's see who remembers the Lord's prayer?

    July 27, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  15. really?

    Dear 6lb 8oz baby jesus............

    July 27, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  16. TODAY

    And his wife probably thank God every day for such a "smokin' hot hubby"....LMAO

    July 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  17. Burbank

    If he doesn't get some of that poundage off his smokin' hot wife is goin' to be smokin' with someone new!

    July 27, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • derp

      his wife is fatter than he is.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  18. Adria K.

    Hey, what's the problem with him including that in his prayer? I've got no problem with it! Him thanking God, personally, for having a "smokin' hot wife" shows how much he believes and has faith in God and I've got no problem with him expressing that. Who cares if it wasn't politically correct! It would be a welcome change, IMO, if more prayers were done this way instead all formal, saying the same thing but mixing around the words.

    On the other hand, this was pretty hilarious to watch too! 🙂

    July 27, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  19. AreYouaBeliever

    His prayer may have not been main stream politically correct traditional fundementalist charismatic holy ghost tongue talking, but it sure was from his heart. I would suggest all you stuff shirt christians men, remember HE made your wife especially for you. And be as grateful as this man is.


    July 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Basics

      Nothing wrong with these kind of prayers if made in private. It is ok to thank god for all the good things in life that are personal.

      Probably we have forgotten how to pray since we have abolished all forms of public praying, how about starting with the Lord's Prayer? Many people do not even know this, but now everyone know's how hot this pastor's wife is????

      July 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Married man

      Please take her back, pleeeeeze!

      July 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  20. Bud

    That fat retard got a hot wife? At last, proof of the Existence of God!!!

    July 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • derp

      The fat retards wife is huge beastly heffer. There are pictures of her on their church website. She's got to weight 250. I wouldn't poke it with a stick.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:39 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.