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. Jake

    For all you FAT-tards out there, get a freakin' life and quit being a shallow mental midget. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I for one think this prayer is awesome and if he sees his wife as "smokin' hot" then that's his business and all your comments about him or his wife being fat really says more about you and your inner ugliness than their outward appearance.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • ZackBauer

      What a brilliant piece of armchair pyschoanalysis. You, sir, are brilliant.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  2. Lorraine

    There are WAAAAAAAAY more things in this world to get upset about than this pastor's prayer. Lighten up – or go get riled up, but about something that actually matters!

    July 28, 2011 at 9:59 am |
  3. sylvan finkelstein

    who ever you think this person god is he sure had nothing to do with your so called smoki9n hot wife, get a life

    July 28, 2011 at 9:59 am |
  4. OnlyInTheSouth

    God wasn't really a Nascar fan until Rev. Nelms invited him to attend and the crowd opened their hearts with joy... nuff' said.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  5. Matt

    I'm sure God has a sense of humor too. After all, he invented NASCAR.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  6. Way south

    Could we at least get/see a picture of the wife?? 🙂

    July 28, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • maxi

      She is the blond one in the video...

      July 28, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Texas Lady

      When I saw this on the T.V. I couldn't believe it that is not praying that is just standing up there saying words that don't mean a thing. He is a pastor I would hate to go to his church and listen to his sermons- Shame on him for making a joke of something that is so special and personal

      July 28, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  7. Fernt

    well that ain't really prayin at all. it's show-boatin fer entertainment sake. just like "Rub a dub dub. thanks for the grub, Lord."

    July 28, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  8. James Taylor

    THis is a pastor representing JEsus and is OK with all of you? Imagine if this had been Obama then what? And hey he aint a minister of the Lord and it shouldnt matter since he is a POLITICIAN no a PREACHER.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • nofed

      Jesus didnt like pastors cause they kept people from the truth.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • maxi

      There are some good pastors out there. Not many though.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • VoipOfReason

      Haha, good for him. Of COURSE god has a sense of humor, look at religion. I personally thank god for my "smokin’ hot girlfriend, who I live with outside of wedlock, so I'll be burning in a fire pit for all eternity". In response to James Taylor… Obama knows better than to lead a prayer at a NASCAR race, that’s a kin to him holding a KKK rally, at least most of the guests would be the same.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  9. Jerry Wade

    The God I pray to created me in his image. So, he understands me however I pray. When I pray, I pray as if Iam talking to my father. Well, I guess I am. I don't pray in "King James", I pray in "Jerry". He understands. God is not all about stuffed shirts. This pastor's prayer was no less heartfelt than one loaded this "thee" and "thou", "henceforth" and "bestows". I'd love to go to this pastor's church.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • maxi

      I agree pray to God as you wish in private. When you are in public, and when you are a damn pastor, you show respect for God. You don't pray to entertain.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • GG

      I see nothing wrong with this prayer. Our communication with God should be very transparent and deep down from your heart. We can thank, complain or say whatever we feel like. He is our creator and understands/knows us better than anyone else can. There is no need to hide or wordsmith anything in your prayers, He already knows what I have in my mind... utlimately nothing is hidden from Him. This pastor seems to be having good time, happy to be at the race track with his wife and he thanked.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  10. HadEnoughReligion

    Oh dear Lord...for those that don't understand "boogity"... it has nothing to do with the "boogy man". It is the southern equivalent to "Ondolay, ondolay" shouted often by Speedy Gonzalez (a cartoon from days gone by).

    July 28, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  11. maxi

    I am kinda disgusted... it is one thing to sing loudly, to pretend to be speaking and tongues and do all sorts of crazy crap like that in the Church, but at least it is clear that they are trying to 'worship' at least the way baptist consider worship.

    Now, to pray like this in public just to please a crowd is just so idiotic from a non-religious point of view. From a religious point of view it is so wrong. I don't care about his remark about his wife, but why he said it. He was trying to entertain. The sponsorship remarks to me are the worst part.

    It sure is funny for a non-baptist to watch, but I wonder how normal baptist feel about this garbage.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  12. jennygirl

    it seems as if he was more concerned about bringing attention to himself than to God. would he act like a clown if he had a public audience with obama, or would he treat the occasion with dignity? that's what i thought....

    July 28, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  13. aubrie

    Gee...... Not thank God for my spiritual wife, or compassionate wife, or hard working wife, or attentive wife, or conscientious wife, or smart wife, or loyal wife, or interesting wife, or loving wife, or sweet wife, or even an upstanding wife...... No.... He thanks God for a smokin hot wife.... What a shallow A$$..... I thank God he's not my husband.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • obamasucks

      you must be fat and ugly...

      July 28, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • beavo040

      and that coming from you, who is obviously a closed-minded bible beating fool who doesn't understand a thing about god's word!

      July 28, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • Jeff

      The "smokin' hot wife" is a line from the Talladega Nights movie which every fan of NASCAR has seen. I'm glad you paid attention to the article.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • aubrie

      Not hardly.... LOL.... But you are obviously an A$$ as well.....

      July 28, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  14. Erica

    It was a quote taken out of the movie "Talladega Nights". It is a joke concerning Nascar and Will Ferrell. I don't see what the big uproar is about.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • James Taylor

      SO we should be JOKING with GOD? I didnt see that movie and I bet most folks didnt either, so you think they would get it at that moment?
      HOw about if Obama or any other President had made this prayer? And hey they are no preachers.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Matt

      I agree Erica. These people were not in church, they were at a NASCAR race looking to have fun.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • James Taylor

      Matt I dont have a problem with his prayer. But whenever a pastor prays it represents JEsus. It doesnt matter if is by the lake, an open desert or Nascar. Is all the same. A "hot" wife is a very personal topic. Next he is gonna thx Jesus for his hot Camaro or bimmer.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • j

      Erica, you are right on. To the response from James Taylor. I would bet a million bucks that the audience that this pastor was speaking and praying to SAW the movie, and got the joke, since this was NOT a public service announcement, but a prayer for a NASCAR race. It was not meant for you or anyone outside of this particular area of interest to hear or embrace or to take so seriously. I would not go too far caring whether or not people would be upset if a politician or Obama said something similar. Sure, if he was addressing congress, or the public over a national concern, and he spewed that out, it would be deemed inappropriate, but a NASCAR race, really!?!?!

      July 28, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • Texas

      Exactly, I loved that party of the movie. He was just trying to be funny. God has a sense of humor, he made the rest of us with one, most people don't use theirs very much. I don't think he owes anyone an apology and his wife is smiling from ear to ear everytime shes hears the media replay the comment over and over again. I think every married guy should be thankful for their SMOKIN HOT WIVES, even if they may not be SMOKIN HOT to anyone else. Great job Pastor !!

      July 28, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  15. maybesomeday

    I think it is awesome that he said that- he gave a compliment to his wife and gave everyone (well.. some) a chuckle. People are wayy too uptight nowadays (including myself:) its nice to see a glimpse of the lighter side.. Doesn't happen often these days.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • Tha Chikin


      July 28, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  16. mettle

    Don't bother judging this pastor's actions. He has plenty of Chrisitan sympathizers here who will judge you for judging his actions. Imagine that.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  17. Daisy2011

    OMG! I don't think God will condemn him for this prayer. Thou shalt not judge....

    July 28, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  18. Randy M

    Ministers, preachers, pastors, priests; whatever you want to call them they are human. God bless Pastor Nelms and his 'smokin hot wife!'

    July 28, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • Daisy2011

      Amen!! 🙂

      July 28, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  19. razor

    In response to ANYONE who comments on why the "fat guy" would have an attractive wife....its time to get over YOUR hangups with body image...he seems fun! Believe me, loyalty and a sense of humor last a whole lot longer than looks, unless you're Cary Grant. And before you strain your brain guessing what my husband and I look like, nobody would put bags over our heads.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • mettle

      His wife is hardly "hot". Fat guys just don't get hot women, unless they have money. And this guy has no money. If he did, he wouldn't be a pastor.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • James Taylor

      Actually I disagree. If were made like God's image I dont think that the Lord wants us been fat slobs. The USA, in the whole history of time, is the fattest nation in the world.
      We should be eating less burgers and fries and much healthier meals. We should be running, biking and working out regularly. I traveled plenty to Spain, France and even to South America, the other America, to Argentina and Chile and in any of all of those places saw any fat white person. Their women are to die for. SO why are we so fat when is so dangerous and unhealthy and costly to our health care and our future?

      July 28, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • Quest

      I disagree.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • Robert P.

      @ mettle, being a pastor doesn't mean you are poor. I know plenty of pastor who are not poor, but has devoted their live to God and to spreading his word. Personal finances has nothing to do with being called on by the Lord teach his word.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • James Taylor

      Quest exactly how you disagree? Pls tell me how I am wrong? THx

      July 28, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Texas

      I was at Mcdonald's eating my second Big Mac and Large fry when I read James Taylors comment.
      "Lighten up Francis!!" We are all going to die of something. As long as your not hurting someone else or
      infringing on their Civil Rights, ENJOY LIFE

      July 28, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  20. Marcia

    Don't see a thing wrong with it. God does have a sense of humor – just look at the platypus.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • look

      @Marcia, assume u are a goddess???reveal thy veil from behind that veil so that the world can judge thee...go on...don't feel shy

      July 28, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • maybesomeday

      lol Marcia, definetly a saying I have heard before and fantastically fitting! 🙂
      @look- she was referring the oddly made platypus as a sense of humor and the pastor making a joke- not in comparison to the pastor or his 'smoking hot wife' 😉

      July 28, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • serenity2112

      I think you should sincerely apologize to all Platypus enthusiasts out there who are offended by that thoughtless comment about the Platypi.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:04 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.