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. petkat

    Well, let's see a picture of the "smokin hot wife" and let the people decide.

    July 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  2. Babak from LA

    I don't see any harm in it....

    July 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  3. Clemence Dane

    What matters is that HE thinks she is smokin' hot. Everyone should feel that way about their spouse.

    July 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  4. ChristianDad

    Strange... I don't recal anything in the Gospel about Nascar. I'll read it again to be certain.

    July 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Smokin' Hot Wife

      There's not much in the Gospel about lots of modern things, like praying when your car breaks down or your kid needs to get into college, either – and yet many people believe that God wants a personal, close, up to date relationship with Him. For those who think God has no sense of humor, Kevin Smith recommends we look at the platypus.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • NOo..oON

      That is strange. How do you know if it is good or evil?

      July 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  5. Linda T

    I do not like to listen to a prayer that is either pious sounding or contains off color humor "so people will laugh". Both these behaviors only draw attention to the person praying. Such "negative attention getting behavior" is what gets kids in trouble at school and/or makes some people no longer want to attend church. I welcome a minute of silent reflection or prayer at any event. Others might prefer that as well..

    July 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Morgan

      I silently pray for your sense of humor to return

      July 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Jonathan

      What's wrong with making people laugh? Why not lighten up a little bit and have some fun with your prayers? What does it hurt? And nothing wrong with saying something funny to get more attention. Isn't that the point of this? To get attention for Nascar and the Almighty Lord, amen, roger roger, hallaluyeah (sp?)!!

      July 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Smokin' Hot Wife

      Actually, a big part of the reason I stopped attending church was because, having been raised in it, I was sick and tired of those who thought they were so holy and pious that they should tell others how to worship and how to live – usually while ignoring the logs in their own eyes. It's nice that people are at least talking about God after this man's prayer. God in the press is rare – so if it gets people thinking and talking about God, I fail to see the harm.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  6. Poodle McDoodle

    At a time when religious extremism and corporatism are combining to destroy this country, we could do without invocations to Dodges and Toyotas. Whatever with the hot wives. Can we have our country back please?

    July 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • ChristianDad

      Really? You think this man is stealing the country? And what about his says "religious extremism" or were you referring to the muslims?

      July 28, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  7. Johnny Blammo And His Amazing Kitten Of DOOM ! ! !

    Okay, check the prayer out yourself. It's pretty short:


    The wife part isn't so bad in context,. It's mostly corporate advertising, so why pretend it is a prayer?

    July 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  8. cul8rv8

    Next time you are at a baseball game, make sure to let the pastor know how you feel before he gives the invocation. Oh, wait, they don't do them before baseball games. Better make it football, that's an American favorite now. Wait, no... they don't either. Auto racing is the only American sport out there that will give an invocation before the event. In a time where everyone is anti-religion, they don't want their kids saying the Pledge of Allegiance because it mentions God, and so on, I find it very refreshing that racing still stands behind their beliefs and still says a prayer before the race. And if this guy is just trying to make that prayer a little more interesting for those that would rather talk down about religion.

    July 28, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Would like to correct you..it isn't racing. Calling it racing gives it way too much credit. When cars go in a circle and only turn one direction it is called circus event or merry go round event. They do have a couple track where there are also right turns with left turns and then they have to hire real race car drivers to drive their cars.

      July 28, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Normon

      @Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics,
      Yeah, like horse racing, foot races, dog races, bicycle races (velodrome), boat races, etc....

      July 28, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  9. Heather

    I love it....and he certainly got everybody's attention! Exactly what he wanted to do!

    July 28, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Red Roughandsore

      Darn right! Jesus loves a media whore!

      July 28, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Nacho1

      Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! The minister's got a HOT wife! Praise the Lord! That is REALLY progressive religion!

      July 28, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  10. Ashlyn

    I think it was sweet. This woman is married with kids, and if she had any supermodel days, they are long behind her. If her husband wants to proclaim her "smokin' hot" for everyone (including God) to hear, good for her. We should all hope our spouses still find us hot after years of marriage and multiple kids.

    The product placement seemed a bit over the top, though.

    July 28, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  11. Linda T

    As a husband, he was disrespectful to his wife in a public setting. This is not about religion. It's about lack of good manners which DO still matter- especially for any person in a leadership position. "When We Get Behind Closed Doors" is a song he & lots of others folks should take to heart. CNN should stop promoting such behavior. No wonder kids behave the way they do – double standards from adults.

    July 28, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Henry

      Unfortunately, she will bear a lot of suffering for his "funny" little prayer. Her picture is already out, and she is by no means smoking hot, and people are going to say it. I feel sorry for her, but then again, she did choose to marry a total shithead.

      July 28, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • AustinTony

      That's the most uptight thing I've ever heard. My wife and I aren't religious and yet we both respect his sense of humor and the fact that he finds his wife smokin'. That's great and should be admired. Disrespect? Nope. Admiration!

      July 28, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Bob

      You must not be a smok'n hot wife! 🙂

      July 28, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • PRISM 1234


      Regarding some of responses to your comment, as well as many other posts here...

      You must understand that most people's understanding of what honor, respect, love and dignity is, is of no more depth then that of a SHALLOW MUD PUDDLE!

      I certainly THANK YOU for your comment!

      July 28, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  12. Michelle McDade

    Lighten up! I knew exactly where the line came from when I read it! In this age of everything being so serious, it's good to laugh even during prayer! He wasn't being disrespectful! He was relating to the audience and I'm sure that most NASCAR fans have seen Talladega Nights. I'm not even NASCAR fan, but I do like Will Ferrel and the prayer seen at the table is the best in the whole movie!! I'm sure he got EVERYONE'S attention at the race. There are a lot of people, even though it is wrong, that tune out when someone starts praying! God blessed the preacher with a sense of humor! Everyone needs to have one – so GET ONE!

    July 28, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  13. Ashton

    I think my God every day for my smokin hot, wonderful, beautiful wife.She is a blessing to me and my family. And i love her like Christ loves the church!!!!

    July 28, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  14. Thoth-Amon

    We apes can has religion!

    July 28, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  15. frodo baggins

    do you have a photo of the pastor's wife, i would like to see if she is really truly smokin hot... no malice meant. just a photograph. fully dressed

    July 28, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  16. JojoMojo

    Thank ye lord fer my red neck.

    July 28, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  17. David

    The Good Reverend Nelms looks as if he gives thanks to "Smokin' Hot" BBQ ribs a bit too often.

    July 28, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  18. She Says Oink Oink Oink

    Anyone want to see his "smokin' hot wife"? Here you go:


    Suuuuuuuu-weeeeeeeee ! ! ! !

    July 28, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Martin T

      THAT is smokin HOT??? Sorry pastor, she's very ordinary, but perhaps to you she is smokin hot. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps in her youth she was considered smokin hot.

      July 28, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Michelle McDade

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! Unless you're perfect outside, obviously you're not on the inside, you shouldn't pass judgement! This man loves his wife! THAT is beautiful!!

      July 28, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  19. SAM

    @Debbie D, I agree with you. I wonder if he will look back and realize the lost opportunity. There are many prechers out there that would have loved this opportunity. And God does not need any boogity, boogity. He is "on it" when we pray. He knows what we need before we even ask it! The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth MUCH.

    July 28, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  20. Cathy

    Oh come on everybody!! Let the man be thankful for anything he wishes to mention......By the looks of him, I understand his prayer...........

    July 28, 2011 at 11:08 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47
About this blog

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.