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. tiffany

    how unimaginative and sad for white christians.........this is your saving grace.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  2. Carl

    And so it goes.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  3. Carl Brooks

    To the people with a problem, I say.first get a life first and maybe they could get a smokin hot spouse too!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • Norm

      I'm guessing you haven't seen his wife.

      But then again....maybe your idea of smokin hot is on the same level as the pastor.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:30 am |
  4. Paula

    My God is the maker of all things, including humor. God didn't give everyone intelligence, looks or ability, and on the same note, he also didn't give everyone "humor". I applaude Pastor Nelms for using his knowledge of "like" events in a very tasteful manner to reach those in attendance during prayer. I thought it was hiliarious and like the quote in the article "Shocking, I tell you, that a Pastor might have a little fun". I'd love to attend his church...he seems to be a people person for sure!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:28 am |
  5. joanne

    I go to church every sunday and I only wish my pastor would have a little more fun.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  6. Mark

    Dearest Baby jeezus, please help me to com up with a really neeto prayer that will make them ignorant NASCAR hicks join my flock and poor money into my collection plate. And if u can get me an endorsement from cheetos that would be really good too. In Jesus name we pray... giggity giggity... Amen!

    PS – Can u get my fat wife on a stairmaster... she is absolutely disgusting!

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

      Why's it gotta be the baby Jesus????
      You know Jesus did grow up to be a full growed man.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  7. wakano

    She's not really smoking hot... but other than that I think it's fine.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  8. Chris

    That man would be embarrassed if he was smart enough to know how stupid he sounded. Just another example how southern baptists are absolutely insane.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  9. Sarah

    Did you folks not see "Ricki Bobby"???

    July 28, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • Norm


      July 28, 2011 at 8:33 am |
  10. well

    Nelms told CNN that the prayer wasn't officially sponsored. "There were no endorsement deals," he said. "But I’m not against them." WOW!

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

    People have no sense of humor... uptight Christian flag wavers had the same reaction when I used arm farts to play the national anthem at a high school football game. I thought it was freaking hillarious yet some people got bent.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  12. Christian

    Hebrews 4:16 Let us approach God's throne of grace with confidence. I can't judge the pastor's heart; only God knows if he was sincerely praying or making a mockery. But I do know that we can talk to God with whatever words we would use to talk to anyone else - we don't need to sound "pious" or "religious" for Him to understand.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  13. Jan

    Regardless. I'm always glad to hear a prayer before a NASCAR race and this one was fun and covered most of the bases 🙂 However, I never want to forget to pray for those in service to our country, like law enforcement and the military. . . they need all the prayers they can get and should have been remembered first before going on and having fun.

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

      But for the life of me I can't figure out why some of the military men got mad at me when I used arm farts to play the national anthem at a highschool football game. .I mean come on... prayers, anthems and pledges are there for comedy... not something serious!!!!

      July 28, 2011 at 8:21 am |

    John- I agree.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:18 am |
  15. Bonnie

    Stupid secular Americans making fun of Christians again.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Jen

      But with a prayer like that.....stupid christians are making fun of themselves

      July 28, 2011 at 8:22 am |
  16. Butch stewart

    Darrell Waltrip is from Kentucky?

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

    Who cares....lol the guy is a moron for believing in god in the first place so I find the whole rant funny.

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

    Dear Baby Jeezus, bless this Cheeto as it symblizes the body of our lord Jesus Christ. As we drink on this six pack of Old Milwakee, it too symbolizes the blood of our lord and savior. In dear ol Baby jeezusses name we pray. – Amen!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  19. John

    If more men thought that their wives were 'smokin' hot! We would have a lot better place to live!!!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Mike Johnson

      More men would .. if the wives were hot ... but most are not ... short hair, sneakers, loud, 70 lbs over weight ... yuk

      July 28, 2011 at 8:22 am |
  20. Me

    My thoughts are stupid/unimportant.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • asgardshill

      I agree with this poast.

      July 28, 2011 at 8:31 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.