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. The Guy

    Are the rest of the non-Christians our there cracking up at these posts as much as I am?

    July 28, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Chris Turner

      Bad, bad you! (-: Try not to laugh, but tens of million of Americans actually believe there is an invisible being in the sky that listens when they pray... Praying though is in itself a nice form a meditation that makes you connect with your inner self (a.k.a. "God").

      July 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  2. Mark

    Dear baby jeezus, lets hear a whoop whoop whoop and a giiggity giigty for the wonderful homies at Cheetos and a boogity woogity woogity and a womp and womp bam boo for our smokin hot wives down who know how to go down and stay down doing the old chizzo wizzo me gizzo until I totally spewizo. – AMEN!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  3. Xgirl360

    God is about sincere prayer for the blessings you've been given. If he was sincere, there's no sin. If he was being funny or insincere, then its blasphemous. Either way, its not for we mere mortals to decide what was in his heart and how the Big Guy will take the prayer. Judgement Day does not have a jury....and to that I say THANK GOD!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  4. Chris Turner

    I don't get this at all. Is "hot" blasphemous/offensive? Can somebody please explain. This makes no sense to me whatsoever. Of course Christian men who think their wifes are hot feel appreciation about that! (I'm atheist, but that's kind of beside the point.)

    July 28, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  5. Superman

    I am beyond disgusted with the religious fantatics and puritancial ignorance of so many Americans..

    The uneducated, simple and the fearful who cannot interpret or apprecaite the symbolism, but use these man-made religious systems to promote their own agendas and closed-minded, fearmongering..

    WE are as dumb as we ever were, and evolution is not happening fast enough!

    Why is everyone so stupid?! Why??
    The truth is so obvious, it is directly before us, but humaity always shooses the simple, stupid, and fearful direction.
    It will destroy us....we will destroy us, NOT creation, etc.

    IN the States I wish we could take the East Coast and West Coast, pull out the entire midwest, and squish the two together..

    ..we'd lose the natural beauty, but it is a sacrifice I would accept and be able to live with...sigh.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  6. Sarah

    I was watching the race and heard this prayer first hand and it was AWESOME!!!!! This really should happen more...everyone was smiling something that does not happen often enough these days...

    July 28, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  7. Gross.....

    That is a far cry from smokin' hot.......

    July 28, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  8. andrewsome

    Getting peoples attention is no sin.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:46 am |
  9. religion doesn't belong on planes

    Why is this a big deal. He was thanking God for his what he believes are his loves. It was NASCAR people NOT the Vatican.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  10. Sherron Teal


    July 28, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  11. Mark

    Next week the national anthem can be played by frat boys blowing farts out of their anus!! – Nascar fans will love that!!! All in good fun!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  12. Mark

    Dear Baby Jeezus... help me make a good joke prayer for my ignorant Nascar fans. It needs 2 be funny and objectify my wife. giggity giggity – amen!

    July 28, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Sarah

      Obviously you need to grow up...your remark sounds like it came from a "baby"....whether you believe or not it was a great prayer...you say what you think...right????

      July 28, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  13. humor

    Sure ,God has heard all our humor. Hopefully he won't humor us..cos we won't get it...
    He is a loving God, Reverance and respect belong to HIM.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:43 am |
  14. Joshua W.

    I'm sorry, but I found that prayer to be hilarious and serious at the same time. You have to look at the venue where it was given, a NASCAR event. People are there to sit and watch cars go in a big circle racing each other; the Pastor tailored the prayer to the audience. He has the right to throw comedy into prayer.
    The problem with main-stream religions and prayer is that they believe that prayer has to be solemn and rigid, and yes for some situations it should be.
    God says come just as you are. He wants you to talk to him in a way that is natural. (The last two sentences were not trying to spread a religion; just expressing an opinion.)

    July 28, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • Sarah

      Boogity, boogity, boogity, AMEN!

      July 28, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  15. U.S.Army-OverLord

    Best prayer of the week, I thank God for my smokin' hot wife as well. LOL

    July 28, 2011 at 8:41 am |
  16. HadEnoughReligion

    Huh? RAJ said "Live in the fear of God". I thought we were set free in Christ and were to live the abundant life!" This is exactly why organized religion is in trouble... they can't even agree what's what among themselves! Boogity, boogity, boogity past the church doors and head on down to the track for an uplifting prayer and some racing fun.

    MARK: Word... it takes an inbred to know one.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:41 am |
  17. Jane

    Thank God for all your blessings. I'm sure God has a sense of humor. Let's not be harsh on the guy. Many women wish their husbands thanked God for their smoking good looks.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:41 am |
  18. Believe It

    Lets everyone get together collectively and pray to your god to cure all forms of cancer tonight. So by tomorrow. No more cancer. Won't work will it. Yeah. That's what I thought. Because God isnt listening. Because he's not there.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • U.S.Army-OverLord

      The thing that kills me about you Godless types is that you want to convince everyone else that there is no God. I know God is real because he told me himself, and I believe him. 😉

      July 28, 2011 at 8:46 am |
  19. Bewildered

    Would we make such jest in the Court of Law yet we come before the Throne of God with sacrilege, making mockery of prayer?

    July 28, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • bluegrassmama

      Lighten up!!!!! Your mind set is just one of the reasons I got away from religion and church to begin with..... No sense of humor... Do you not thank God for your loved ones?? Do you not thank God for other material things you hold dear in your life..... I feel sorry for those that go through life judging and casting stones...... Get over yourself.... I have heard plenty of humor from the pulpit, in sermon and prayer........ my daddy was a minister for 30+ years.......

      July 28, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  20. Marvin

    Rude and crude. He should keep his thoughts about his wife to himself. Hope she hit him with a frying pan when he got home. And booooo to drumming up business for sponsors in a prayer! The guy needs his head examined or should step down. I'd quit his church if I were a member.

    July 28, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • bluegrassmama

      WOW.... sounds like you are promoting domestic violence........ what do you think God would have to say about that???? Amazing...... self rightous hipocrete!!!!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:03 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.