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. Bonnie

    This is another stupid attempt by CNN to mock Christians. Stop this.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Ted Oldham

      There's plenty to mock.Sorry, but it's true.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:16 am |
    • high on baby jesus

      it worked because they are soooo mockable

      baby jesus ~ immaculate p00p ~ no smell

      July 28, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • Duh

      If Christians didn't do such silly things then it wouldn't make the news but since they keep making as*ses out of themselves they have no one to blame but themselves.

      July 29, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  2. MOCaseA

    So let me see...

    Pastor says an off-color prayer, gets national attention, and draws attention (and possibly attendance) to his church, and said nothing profane...

    And people are upset?

    July 28, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • Mark

      It worked for Rozanne Barr and her liberities she took with the national anthem. Soon you won't have a boring prayer, pledge, or anthem because it is just so much more fun to turn it into a comedy act!

      July 28, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  3. Prometheus

    {Spoken to public fans}

    Do excuse me for just one minute...thank you...-

    {Heard on radio}
    Dear lord...it's so hot in there I think my Uvula just burst into flames...

    [Excerpt from 'The Rebellion', "A study of 21st century political change."

    July 28, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  4. Mike in SA

    Hey, everybody, God has a great sense of humor. If you don't believe that, go look in the mirror!. Lighten up, for God's sake.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • Mark

      Exactly... And they thought I was disrespectful for farting the national anthem during a highschool football game. Where is the sense of humor?

      July 28, 2011 at 8:18 am |
  5. jt_flyer

    I don't think the imaginary friend upstairs really cares.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  6. JustThinkinOutloud

    God bless America and my shotgun. Get me some whiskey and start your engines!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • Nancy


      July 29, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  7. chuck

    just another sign of the times, the end of the earth is near I tell you, repent and be saved for thy kingdom awaits. I think we probably have 2 years at most left in this world but who am I to say – just a servant to a higher cause – I can't tell when the exact time will be but see the signs.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:11 am |
  8. CptStupid

    Must have been in the "Dog House" and wanted to get "Some" later that night!!!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:11 am |
  9. high on baby jesus

    he is a teletubby

    he is a TFTFP ~ too fat to f... properly

    baby jesus had immaculate p00p ~ it did not smell

    July 28, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  10. Mark

    Dear baby jeezus, thanks be to god for allowing us to mock you in prayer... your faitful Christen Nascar fans...giggity gigigty giggity... and a big shout out Amen!


    July 28, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  11. iBELIEVE

    "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears,"

    July 28, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • Q

      And thou shalt be plagued with pestilence and famine, and your first born shall scream and long for the rocks to crush them, So that I may drink their blood, thus saith the Lord!!

      July 28, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  12. Sparky91

    Duh, it's nascar, he's playing to his audience. And if there is a god, I'm sure he's put everything else aside so he can answer all the nascar prayers for that day. YeeHaw, git-r-dun

    July 28, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  13. Mark

    Dear Baby Jeezus, please bless our Christian brothers with a smart intelligent wives who are kind, considerate, and will look after others. Please provide our wives with good health and loving children... ahhhh to heck with that... just our wives SMOKIN HOT!!!! whooohooooo – giggity giggity and a womp bamb boom – AMen!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  14. Winston

    Great prayer!!!!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:07 am |
  15. BigAl

    umm.. ever read song of solomon in the bible? it tells you to admire the beauty of your wife and be in awe of her because she was created that way by God. so.. who are these people that are criticizing this pastor? They just want to be the fly in the ointment.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:07 am |
  16. Chaos

    Its still all about a fairy tale.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:05 am |
  17. Dave

    I am not sure but it sounded to me like he was quoting Will Ferrell’s character Ricky Bobby from the movie "Talladega Nights" .

    July 28, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • Sherry

      Reading is fundamental. It says in the article that he said he was using a quote from that movie.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • Nichole

      Did you even read the article Dave? That's what he said...

      July 28, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • bubbahu?

      if you read the article it already states the reference from will's movie ! duh , winning ?

      July 28, 2011 at 8:10 am |
    • Prometheus

      The REALLY funny thing is you below replying to a poster named; "DAVE" about this...

      July 28, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  18. Mark

    I pledge alligence to the Cheetos corporations, to witch it stands, one nation under baby jezus with hot smokin poll dancers for all! – AMEN! Drivers start your engines!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:04 am |
  19. Mark

    Prayers to God, National Anthems, Pledge of Alliegence... They are all for fun... mock them, change the words... do as you please! Nobody really cares!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • Shamrock6

      Exactly. Do what you will with them. No one cares. It was funny.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  20. Mark

    Remember when Rozanne Barr mocked the national anthem... All in good fun... yet some people just couldnt take joke. I have a feeling we are talking about the same skinned people. National Anthems and prayers are both to be mocked and made fun of. That is what it is all about... Giggity Giggity a big AMEN!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • Prometheus

      Wellllll...depends on the audience. I am pretty sure you wouldn't feel that your daughter's funeral after cancer would be a good time for some bald or skinny jokes. Equally I am sure someone who is burying a child that just came home from a war would not appreciate comments at the service about a 'smokin-hot Wife' before being led into prayer.

      I get the post about the Rev, and appreciate his humor...but some of the viewer comments here are painting over the voices of other posters in a way that makes no sense and is CLEARLY in poor taste.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:25 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.