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. ana

    People who are criticizing the pastor are idiots, I would say in my own words boogity boogity, means get a life.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  2. notlad

    Send us some of that stuff she is taking.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  3. weewee


    July 28, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  4. hingedlwnb

    Imagine all this uproar over Nothing.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  5. HadEnoughReligion

    "A merry heart doeth good, as a medicine"... You'll find that in the book of Proverbs. I just may visit this pastor's church some day soon. Like many other people, my life could use more joy in these hard times.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  6. Robert

    Anyone calling this guy a clown is complimenting him. Clowns are great. I loved Emmet Kelly. Loved Red Skelton. This guy was funny and laughter is not sinful.

    Bless him. And all the laugh makers.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  7. Janet

    I am glad to see someone with a sense of humor. I am totally disgusted with all of you talking about this pastors weight.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  8. Chris Ritchie

    I thought it was GREAT! God does have a sense of humor after all. I tell you what, something like this shows you how up tight some people are.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • sideofbacon

      proof of that lies within the platypus, justin bieber, and rosie o'donnel!

      July 28, 2011 at 9:48 am |
  9. Nell

    They must not have seen Talladega Nights.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  10. Cleve Rocks

    Should he have said "Thank you to my disgusting hag of a wife sitting on her fat @$$ at home today watching soap operas?" That would have been funnier but the prayer was still GREAT! More power to ya pastor. And it was a line from Talledega nights, a movie about NASCAR!!! Lighten up people.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:44 am |
  11. mettle

    I will never again have even a twinge of regret for speaking disrespectfully to Christians re: their hypocrisies after hearing Pastor Nelms p!ss all over his own religion in the name of NASCAR.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • melvinslizard

      Did he offend your atheist beliefs? What a crock. You'd react to a bowl of cereal if it meant you could slam Christians.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • mettle

      You're wrong. I'm usually VERY tolerant of Christians, but this one offends even my atheistic sensibilities. Sorry to see that some of you have as little respect for your religion as Pastor Nelms.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  12. Nettie

    God certainly can understand HUMOR!!!!! Amen.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Seamus Callan

      Can "He"? Since you have a hotline to God, what else does "He" think?

      July 28, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  13. sideofbacon

    "In Jesus’ name, boogity, boogity, boogity, amen."

    good thing he didnt say that while looking into a mirror. he would have raised the boogity man from his slumber and all hell would have broken loose!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  14. Carly

    That scene was hilarious in Talladega Nights, but from someone who professes to have respect for God – not so much. But why would you be surprised? The first clue he doesn't take prayer seriously was that he was PRAYING OVER A NASCAR RACE.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  15. Angel

    I loved it!! And to just give all the people out there judging the way he prayed and what he prayed for, your judgment means nothing. It is for God to judge not you. Also I wish to point out that I thank God for EVERYTHING but that does not mean I am advertising....lol... Get real! I thank God for McDonalds especially if that is a way to save me from cooking once in a while, but I also thank him for Burger King. There is nothing wrong with showing thanks to all that comes into your life, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with prayer no matter how you do it as long as you pray and mean it! Sometimes I simply look up, smile, and say Thank You and oh my goodness, I do not always say Amen when I do that. Does that make my prayer of thanks any less meaningful? If you think so, then you need to re-evaluate yourself.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • carolyn

      He could have said "thank God for my miserable butt ugly wife" this is much adoo about nothing.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • mettle

      Hey, Angel...

      Pull your head out of your butt and reread your post, lest you stand in judgment of those you condemn for doing the same. Typical Christian hypocrite.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Guest

      LOL mettle you know nothing about Christianity.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:48 am |
  16. Ed

    Good for him. If my wife was smokin hot, I'd thank God for her too. Nothing wrong with it at all.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Guest

      I'm religious and I agree, Id thank god for a hot wife.. There is nothing wrong with a prayer having humor in it. Based on the comments below it shows how ignorant people are of religion. They have this expectation that is completely unrealistic to the teaching of god yet act like they know what they are talking about because the mob mentality agrees with them.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  17. Ed DFW

    A Smokin Hot wife must cost a lot of money to that fat guy. He must be able to afford her with a fat salary, all tax free.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • Jen

      Uh, not sure where you got the idea that preachers don't pay taxes. They actually pay twice as much, because they're considered self employed, so they pay the portion that their "employer" would pay as well as the portion a person with a regular job pays. Plus, they have to "estimate" their taxes and pay them four times a year, not just once like the rest of us.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  18. WFO

    Oh for god's sake. The dude has a sense of humor. It's the one thing everyone complains about the christians is that they take themselves too seriously. So here's a guy that DOESN'T take himself too seriously and he gets slammed for it. Just another case of a bizillion opnions fueled by the ability to mouth off without consequence. Everyone is an expert, everyone is awesomely smart about everything. All of these "look how clever and moral I am" responses to a (for once) funny article about a pastor with a sense of humor. He's obviously mocking those that pray for such things and is obviously making fun of himself in the process. His Ricky-Bobby references landed home with those that have a sense of humor, and it was good to see an invocation that didn't take itself so serious. In a day and age where we are BOMBED with the money-driven 24 hour NEWS CARPET BOMBING we get hit with, here comes a guy that says "we're worthy of poking a little fun at" and folks get all up in a tizzy over it.


    Besides, I thank Big Louie for my smokin' hot wife daily! 30+ years with her ... now THAT is truly a universal blessing (and somewhat of a miracle .. the girl deserves a friggin medal! HAA!)

    July 28, 2011 at 9:40 am |
  19. anonymouse

    It doesn't bother me at all that he said this.

    But I do have 2 questions:

    1. Is his wife really "smokin' hot"?

    and, if so:

    2. Why would a "smokin hot" chick marry that fat guy?

    July 28, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • Guest

      Why would a smoking hot woman not marry him, why is there an expectation that really attractive woman must marry a really attractive guy. You are clearly very insecure.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  20. AC

    All prayer is funny; because it is worthless.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • ZackBauer

      I used to pray every day for endless sushi and a bottomless glass of Sauvignon Blanc, but it didn't work. Damnit.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • mettle


      I will never again have even a twinge of regret for speaking disrespectfully to Christians re: their hypocrisies after hearing Pastor Nelms p!ss all over his own religion in the name of NASCAR.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:43 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.