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. jack


    July 28, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  2. Religious Blah

    i am not religious but there was a day when i was...long ago. Since then i have realized it is a waste of precious time but I do not deter anyone else from wasting their time. This pastor seems like he was just trying to convey "His Message" a different way which nobody has ever seen on national television before. GOOD FOR HIM! Maybe if more pastors, priests and other members of clergy were as funny, there might be more people wasting their time!

    July 28, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  3. Mark

    Dear Baby Jesus, bless my sponsors and the huge amounts of money they will give me for mentioning them in my prayers. And when I asked for that smoking hot wife... I think there may have been a mix up... think you could do a bit of a ggigitty giggity and try and figure out what went wrong? – in Jesus name I BEG of you.... amen!

    Dear lord... here is a pic of my wife. Can you make sure I got the right one. Im really worried.


    July 28, 2011 at 7:44 am |
  4. Torrie Brown

    You rock Pastor....you too Nascar...Boogity, boogity, boogity !!!

    July 28, 2011 at 7:44 am |
  5. Belarius Marek

    He was having a good time.. So what? I think it was great! And I'm not even a Christian.

    July 28, 2011 at 7:43 am |
  6. Kyle

    To know if it's appropriate, I would ask myself who is being glorified by the prayer I offer. Is my prayer giving glory to God? Or is it giving glory to myself? The pastor said "We should definitely pray for the safety of our soldiers and public officials, but nobody seems very interested in it. We wanted to do something to get their attention.”

    The purpose of his prayer was to get attention. Has this prayer glorified God? Or glorified the pastor?

    July 28, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • Oh Really

      What's the difference? He's praying to a man made god anyway. Those prayers will be heard just as well as a gallon of milk you've prayed to. You'll get the same answers from both of them. Nothing but silence.

      You can also make believe your jug of milk is doing the same work as your man made god. You can make excuses why the jug of milk didn't answer your prayers just like your man made god didn't answer your prayers.

      Time to learn to think for yourself.

      July 28, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • Zander

      Totally agree, Kyle. That being said, I thank God for my hot wife everyday. Not because it's a Talledega Nights thing, but because I know she is a gift from Him.

      July 28, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • Kyle

      @Oh Really. My comment was obviously addressed to those who believe in a God. You know nothing about me, so how can you know if my prayers have ever been answered? Just because yours have not, it doesn't mean that nobody else can receive answers either.

      @Zander. Thanks. There's certainly nothing wrong with thanking God for your hot wife. I thank God for mine, too. 🙂

      July 28, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Mark

      Well I think everyone knows deep down the only one really listening were a bunch of drunk imbred Nascar fans. The many has money to make. The notion that he was really praying to God is of course ridiculous... he was more interested in getting a laugh.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • Mark

      I think another aspect too is that he didn't thank God that she is a good mother, or intelligent, or caring, or in good health. He thanks god because she is a nice piece of tail. It was objectifying her as if her sum total value was her appearance. Smoking hot is about as shallow a reference you can make about a womans real worth and something women all the time find frustrating when trying to be seen as more as a s3x object.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • Kyle

      @Mark. Excellent points. Thanks for the comments.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  7. Mark

    I'm mostly offended because his wife is a total hag and nothing at all in any way resembling smoking hot. Since this pastor has got an in with God it could ruin what smoknig hot is for the rest of us! Should I pray for fat ignorant hick if I want to get a woman who is good looking?

    July 28, 2011 at 7:39 am |
    • H

      you're offended? get a sense of humor...

      July 28, 2011 at 7:50 am |
  8. Chris

    Talledega Nights anyone? It's a reference to the Will Ferrel movie. A reference NASCAR fans would appreciate. Don't overanalyze this one

    July 28, 2011 at 7:37 am |
    • Ouch


      July 28, 2011 at 7:52 am |
  9. Dee

    All these people getting all hot and bothered about this, maybe consider his WIFE'S feelings – they don't state her age nor do they show a pic of her – suppose maybe that for some reason she was having doubts as to her appearance and appeal to her husband and just in general (I know, I know – we shouldn't be vain, but we are after all only human) – maybe, just maybe this was a 'shout out' to his wife, just to let her know that as a 'smokin hot wife' she can still 'light his fire'!

    July 28, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • Mark

      Here is the pic for you... Just remember, when you pray to God for SMOKING HOT... this is what you will get!!


      July 28, 2011 at 7:41 am |
  10. Nic

    I think this is GREAT! Sure thing .. I thank God for my "smoking hot" hubby. I think God would want to hear a 'thank you' for me loving my man. What's wrong with this? I bet it's a relief to God to hear happy true expressions too. You go, Preacher, sing praises for your wifey. =)

    July 28, 2011 at 7:35 am |
  11. Mark

    Dear Baby Jesus, Please let me come up with a prayer that will help me get in cool with these ignorant Nascar hicks so they will join my flock and give me more money toward my 3rd vacation home. Got to keep the smokin hot wifey happy ya know. in Jesuses name I pray a big ol giggity giggity to you! – Amen

    July 28, 2011 at 7:33 am |
    • shoos

      That was laugh out loud funny! 😀

      July 28, 2011 at 7:42 am |
  12. Canadian Man

    In that context, I don't see anything wrong with what he said, it's just a quote from a very funny movie. In a church setting, it wouldn't have gone over very well but in this case, I think it was very funny.

    July 28, 2011 at 7:33 am |
  13. Quick8

    NASCAR is a religion

    July 28, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  14. Medardus

    Thank God for product placement.

    July 28, 2011 at 7:30 am |
    • legend

      i don't know why everyone is talking about oh how he thanked God for a hot wife when product placement is all over this prayer.

      July 28, 2011 at 7:34 am |
  15. lalubye01

    Luke 6:45
    45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

    July 28, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  16. legend

    forget the hot wife part can't anybody see how commercialized that prayer was.

    July 28, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  17. cregis

    The problem here is that this preacher has set his wife up to be scrutinized and criticized. I heard on the radio that she looks like Rikki Lake used to look like. I looked her up on the Family Baptist Church in Lebanon Tenn, web site and she does need to lose a few pounds as does the preacher, but different strokes for different folks. Wonder if this Southern Baptist wife submits herself to her husband?

    July 28, 2011 at 7:29 am |
  18. Siesta Beach

    Dear God,

    Thank you for down home country people. I was born on a farm but moved to the city. Sometimes I forget how much fun it was to be a farmer. If they had hay balers back when I was a kid, I would have never left the farm.

    July 28, 2011 at 7:27 am |
  19. Chaos

    "prayer is a conversation between God and a person."

    Translated in to reality: Prayer is a conversation between a person and their imaginary friend given omnipotent status.

    July 28, 2011 at 7:26 am |
    • Veritas

      Praying is a sign of mental illness.

      July 28, 2011 at 7:29 am |
    • RickyBobby

      You needn't read things that are outside of your belief system. You are welcome to have your opinion as others have theirs.

      July 28, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  20. Sorry

    FORK !!!!
    I haven't thanked God for my Smoking Hot Wife today....

    July 28, 2011 at 7:25 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.