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. Rolling on the floor

    Weeeelll , weeeeell wellllll buggity goes to he.lllllll Jeeees.us lllooovess (multimillion $$) cars. A race car for ev'ry starving kid.
    Funny speech that is, entertaining.
    A prayer? NOT. Oh god, what have south'n baptist screechers come to? I'm sure his wife loved his endorsement... maybe. Let's make a joke out of every prayer. That's what it is anyway: entertainment for the gullible. At least that's what the bimbo made it sound like.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  2. MichelleBachmann

    I have a "Smokin Hot" wife too.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  3. JE Gonza

    Well, he certainly got the attention of the masses! LMAO. And what is so wrong in thanking a higher power if you are fortunate enough to have such a wonderful mate as a "smokin hot wife" ?

    July 28, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Rolling on the floor

      Nothing wrong with it. Prayer has been taken tooo serious anyway. It's entertainment, as this preacher dude made abundantly clear. buggity buggity.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  4. marissastar

    Perfect for the audience ... it's great. I'm sure God has a sense of humor!

    July 28, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  5. Phil

    Smokin hot wife? He's smokin somethin alright.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  6. teremist

    We are to be thankful for whatever the Lord provides good or bad I'm sure the Lord has a sense of humor.....She invented men.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • JE Gonza

      LOL – AWESOME!

      July 28, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  7. fred

    get a life, you hill billiies!

    July 28, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  8. Chun

    This is awesome. There is nothing wrong with his prayer. As long as it is something you truly are saying from the heart...and this man obviously is...then is just like (probably better) saying a check the block type of prayer that Christians say everyday just so they can say "hey I'm being a good Christian today, God will love me." I like how this guy has the guts to get up there and make prayer something that all NASCAR fans can relate to. Why does everyone get so butt hurt these days about things that are sooo silly?

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

    Long live the idiots of this world... it provides entertainment for the rest of us.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • why

      ...and why are thou 'judgemental' about lowly people, u enlightened one!

      July 28, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  10. EQ

    Love it... well done. A little humor will not send him to hell.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  11. corey

    seriously. It was fiunny. Did you see the reaction of the racers. they were all laughing. come on. get a life people

    July 28, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  12. HadEnoughReligion

    Photos of the wife. Have you people ever heard of GOOGLE... seek and ye shall find... http://www.familybaptistchurchlebanon.org/default_files/Page581.htm .

    July 28, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Ruderalis


      July 28, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  13. Forrestal

    Maybe his wife is one of the few there without a black eye.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  14. maxi

    This kind of pastor encourages people to be atheists.
    He thinks that because he is at an event full of red-necks and whitetrash, that he should sound like them even during a prayer.

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

      my my aren't we judgemental

      July 28, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  15. Andy

    Jeez, "boogity, boogity, prayers for a smoking hot wife, little migets driving in circles who believe they are talented, and fans who can actually watch for hours as these masters of their own universe drive in circles. Take this Nascar thing out sports reporting.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  16. susan

    I am no prude, but i think of prayer as being thoughtful and reverent. this was neither. What a disgrace!

    July 28, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • rob

      I think of prayer as adults speaking to imaginary friends.

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

      @rob, that is u speakin to urself in a moment of stupor!

      July 28, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • brent

      Sorry Susan ...you are a prude. Some say Jesus had a hot smokin wife called Mary....how do you lie them apples...do you think Jesus ever had erotic thoughts....ever lusted after Mary...gave into temptation....just saying think about itSusan....your not Susan my wife are you?

      July 28, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  17. Forrestal

    To the rednecks turning left, I have this to say: If you can't see the wheels, it isn't racing.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  18. Ricky Bobby

    Hilarious! These days we could all use a little more laughter and smiles. It certainly made me chuckle! Good on ya Pastor!

    July 28, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  19. ILoveCNNCommentsInTheAM

    I am truly happy for the pastor because im sure his heart was warmed after adding some humor to something that has become nothing but a formality at sporting events. By putting a smile on the faces and in the hearts of those listening he has done more than any malicious, cold hearted, negative person blasting him on this message board. It is much easier to walk through life with a light heart then to be weighed down by one thats frozen solid. I'm just saying you could do better, now tell me have you heard that lately.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • maxi

      lighthearted is God. Lightminded is not good when you are praying. There is a difference sir.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  20. finally

    ..heard from St Pete that the Atheists are now FINALLY prayin for a smokin hot wifey!!!!1

    July 28, 2011 at 10:00 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.