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. 7Mountains

    The prayer heard around the world! It made people smile, laugh, and think that Pastor Nelms was a pretty cool guy. If more Pastors invoked some humor and fun in their semons there might be more people attending church these days.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  2. Johnny

    Keep selling the snake oil Pastor Joe.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  3. Nik THe Quick

    You people posting the Hatered here are such hypocrites! The man said a good prayer and thanked the lord for what he wanted to thank him for. He did nothing wrong and this man probably does more good in a week for people than most of these hate posters do in a life time.

    Sit back, WATCH IT AGAIN AND HAVE A GIGGLE, with all the wrong going on in the world its ok to have some joy in your life. With a few small innocent words this pastor made over 100,000 Race car fans smile and remember that we gotta thank god for everything in our lives, even smoking hot wives, good year tyres and Dodges, Fords and yes, even Toyotas.


    July 28, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • Mark

      Many Christians can't take it... they reacted the same way to Rosanne Barr when she had a little fun with the national anthem. Anything that is not exactly as they expect it to be freaks them out. Rosanne Barr and this pastor were hillarious and brought fun to a very very dry event.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  4. Kimberbl

    Loved it! God too has a sense of humor and actually chuckled to Himself... we need comic relief in this crazy mixed up world! Thanks for the reprieve Pastor Nelms!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  5. diana

    Get over it people........what's wrong with a good laugh. After reading CNN homepage.....there's not that much to laugh about !

    July 28, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  6. Woodrow

    I cant stand any religion at all but that was awesome. Good for him.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • Woodrow

      And his wife is rumplefugly, but whatever, to him shes hot which is all that matters.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  7. mikee

    I'm Catholic and I thought the prayer was lighted hearted and pretty darn funny. Good for him! The rest of you complaining about this take life and prayer a little too serious. I think God probably had a good laugh too.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  8. pcollen

    This just confirms that non-denominational preachers and their congregations want to have God, Jesus, and religion on THEIR terms. Worship of God should be serious, not comedic. But some have a hard time admitting in public that they worship God and are humbled by and subservient to Him...it's a sign of weakness for them. And so they
    talk about "the Big Guy", or 'the Man Upstairs" or any other term other than God because, to them, God is not hip and professing a dependence on God is lame.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • Gregg

      so good, loved it

      July 28, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • Larry P

      And yoy know this how????
      Get the stick out of your behind and relax, crack a smile.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  9. Mark

    The pastor is funny. I'm hoping he will do arm farts to the national anthem as a followup in the next race!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  10. mper

    God probably loved it. God has a sense of humor. How else can you expain George W. Bush ...

    July 28, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  11. Antonio

    There is no controversy, it was made up by the author. Grow up please Christians, this is non-news.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • Enough

      You might want to read the posts a little more. Most of us have no problem with it. Please don't judge all Christians by the comments from the loudest few.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  12. Randy

    Lol, rumplefugly.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  13. America!

    I would like to think God has a sense of humor.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  14. Sean Pisano

    I'm sorry, but I find this funny and I pray every single day. People need to lighten up. God invented humor for crying out loud. If you don't think so, where did the duck billed platapus come from.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  15. Moose Knuckle

    Awesome prayer.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:23 am |
  16. Marie

    With all the depressing news we hear everyday right or not, this gave me something to smile and even giggle about. I am a Nascar fan and I got it. It's just a silly reason to get all upset. Believe me there are worse things out there to worry about and to get twisted about. Just have fun with it. God does approve of humor, I would like to think.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  17. JJDLS

    I heard the whole thing on the radio and thought it was hillarous! I imagine God even got a good chuckle out of it.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  18. Peter E

    I'm not offended by him thanking God for his beautiful wife. But I'm pretty sure turning a prayer into series of advertisements for cars/fuel/tires is inappropriate. Ads are jammed down our throats everywhere we go already. If advertisers get a hold of this precedent we won't have peace at our Sunday services anymore either!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  19. Bro


    July 28, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  20. jamesnyc

    My Dad had the hots for my Mom up until the day he died. God Bless 'em. True Christianity doesn't judge others so in this age of hyper political diatribe, this is refreshing. I might actually start to like church folk again. Y'all just have to get over it...

    July 28, 2011 at 9:21 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.