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. jdurand

    While I am not a baptist and certainly not a fan of NASCAR, I don't get it.

    I mean, there are many things about the religious community (and by that I mean them all) that one can get all up in arms about. This is NOT an example of one of them.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
  2. atljewell

    What's wrong with a man of God having a sense of humor and having a little fun? I hope my husband thanks God for his smokin' hot wife, even if I'm a 55ish grandmother. I think it was funny and appropriate for a day at the races.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  3. NJBob

    And thank you Jesus for BP, the oil company that turned the Gulf of Mexico into a toxic waste dump. And thank you for the tons of carbon emissions that will be produced here today to amuse the rednecks.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Rincon

      And thank you for NJBob and his smug, pseudo-intellectual coastal elitism and arrogance.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  4. kendallpeak

    LT says there is no "J " in the Hebrew alphabet, thus how could there be a Jesus. LT, that is about the most hilariously idiotic thing I've ever heard from the long list of idiotic nonman atheistic arguments. If embarrassment existed, which of course it doesn't since it can't be proven, you would be an embarrassment to atheists. You would be an insult to their dignity if once again dignity existed, but since it can't be proven.....

    July 27, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • sam

      I think his real name was Cleatus.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  5. these people will go to the hell

    creating religion makes only God mad. these people and pastor will go to the hell. Jesus is not a God according to Bible. it the the people who made him God. Bible Mathew 7:21 and 19:16-17. call Jesus a God is a big sin. Bible said "Jesus fall on his face to worship his God". so those who consider Jesus as a God will go to the hell for sure.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • sam

      Will they be in the same furnace that Hitler and his 6 million Jewish victims currently share?

      July 27, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Yura


      July 28, 2011 at 5:46 am |
  6. NJBob

    More evidence that religion is a scam designed to take advantage of the ignorant. And I'd be willing to bet it's a lucrative one for that pastor too. What a crock!

    July 27, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  7. Elaine

    It's his wife, He can say what he want, God gave him that woman, regardless if she's hot, cold, fat, skinny, tall or short, it doesn't matter, it's his wife and he has a right to say things like that about his wife. I don't see nothing wrong with what the man said myself, it's his wife, not other woman, his wife he's talking about.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  8. Les

    Do you suppose wife blames God for tacky fat husband? In public?

    July 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  9. Love It!

    This guy is funny and can pray however he wants! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – leave him alone. Maybe if more pastors did stuff like this more people would go to church. This was a prayer for everyone, people who believe in God or not – which was extremely thoughtful.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • BigSir

      Why not jus git som good 'ole boy to git up'n say sup'n jus like it next time? No need fur a preacher.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  10. mervel

    Well its good to love your wife and be attracted to her, but this prayer included sponsors? So he gives thanks to God for Sunoco racing fuel and Goodyear ties in the same prayer as his wife. A far cry from how Christ told us to pray.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Wow!

      In all things give thanks

      July 28, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • luckimomma

      HUMOR, HUMOR, JOCKULARITY, The preacher was asking for giggles along with asking for the safety of the drivers. I think it's gonna be ok with the" big guy" who loves us all! reguardless of how we pray. Convey love and acceptence. you will be a happier person. God does love us all!

      August 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  11. barbara

    I think it was great. It's a nascar race for pete sake not a religious ceremony.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  12. Veritas

    And they say people from the South are stupid!

    July 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  13. BigSir

    The idea of being thankful for the good things in your life...ok. But thanking someone for giving it to you is maybe a mistake because if your wife is non-smoking cold than you would have to ask why you were not given a gift equal to what the big fat pastor got. And that would lead to problems...

    July 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  14. holymoly

    Not blasphemous at all...I know the good Lord has a sense of humor...look at some of the things (and people!!) He created!!

    July 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  15. joe

    Pastor needs to get right with the Lord

    July 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • twiddly

      Ah, and you would be the "holy" expert we should all listen to, right?
      Obviously god is talking to you, so please give a message for me: F-O-A-D

      July 27, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  16. Al Ron


    July 27, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  17. Fandango

    I don't see the big deal. That's how Jesus prayed, too and it's how the Bible teaches believers to pray, too. Isn't it? With pride, cracking jokes and propping sponsors. I don't see anything unusual of a Christian prayer here... move on.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • twiddly

      Jesus cracked jokes? I'd love to hear one!

      I'll put it next to my favorite joke by Zeus.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • beelzebubba

      Jeeeeeeezus had sponsors? Do you mean his eminence, Glen Beck... 'cause his sponsors split so fast that Fox had to can him. I wish they'd kept Beck, it would have been fun to watch his fringe wing implode due to the mental vacuum he created. OK... I guess a wine company might have endorses Jeeeeeeezus or, since he was a carpenter, some building supply company, but red-neck car racing???? Barf.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Fandango

      Irony a bit much for some of you?

      July 28, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  18. topgod

    wife must hates god for an ugly husband

    July 27, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • beelzebubba

      It's easy to doubt that gawwwwwd has anything to do with such a crass, red-neck cult-leader. And it's natural to wonder what his smokin' wife must have been smoking to pick such a loser for a husband. But maybe they deserve each other. Kin ah hear an aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamen?

      July 27, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  19. glenda

    I saw his wife, he needs glasses.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics


      July 27, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  20. magnus

    I guess he wouldn't be so thankful if she was fat or was deformed... what a dumb...!

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

      No but she probably wouldnt be his wife if she was fat or deformed.......

      July 27, 2011 at 7:28 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.