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. remember Caylee


    July 28, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  2. Wow

    I have no problem with his prayer. Yes, Christians can be funny. I am sure he is thankful for his smokin hot wife. I am sure God likes humor.

    July 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  3. Kris

    It's HIS wife.. so no biggie

    July 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • derp

      Actually she is a biggie. There are photos of her on the church website She is a huge fat chick. Gotta go about 250. If that is the dumb rednecks idea of hot, I'd hate to see what he thinks fat is.

      July 28, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  4. Robert Knowles

    I find No problem with the Pastors Prayer, Yes it caught a Lot of people off gaurd but it was Sincere and Honest. And it will be talked about for a long while so isn't that in itself a form of ministry ? And In JESUS name Boogity Boogity Boogity, Amen !

    July 28, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  5. purepeach

    i was always taught that you can pray and say anything to God if it is pure from your heart..as a matter of fact He wants you to..if you ask Him for something and He doesn't like it for you at that time you just won't get it...and i'm sure He appreciates all thanks.

    July 28, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The most ridiculous concept ever perpetrated by H.Sapiens is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of the Universes, wants the sacharrine adoration of his creations, that he can be persuaded by their prayers, and becomes petulant if he does not recieve this flattery. Yet this ridiculous notion, without one real shred of evidence to bolster it, has gone on to found one of the oldest, largest and least productive industries in history.
      – robert heinlein

      July 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  6. ArmyVet

    Great job Pastor Nelms. For those of us that have Smoking Hot wives, we should all be thankful.

    July 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • derp

      It was a joke line from a bad redneck movie. His wife is not smokin' hot. Check out his church website photos. His wife is a heffer.

      July 28, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  7. Ray

    two words............RED NECK!

    July 28, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Harry Pairatestes

      Hahaha, you are such a moron.

      July 28, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  8. Ray

    wow...how reverent! especially from a baptist. They hate everyone including other baptists so hearing this is interesting

    July 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  9. AB

    Granted I didnt hear the whole prayer but I have to say that what I did hear was not heretical or blasphemus at all. God created us in His image and was the one who gave us humor sooooo He has a sense of humor! I think it's great that he thanked God for his smokin hot wife! More men need to tell there wives, girlfriends, etc that they are beautiful. And I also see no problem in thanking God for the sponsors who help fund these drivers and who allow these drivers to have a job... God's way of providing for these drivers. Anyway just my thoughts. 🙂

    July 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  10. Elizabeth

    unoriginal..."shake and bake"

    July 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  11. TexasTarotReader

    I'm not even Christian and I thought it was a great prayer. He did what any speaker needs to do to hold people's attention. He used humor. I'm completely amused at how some people's insecurities make them think this was even slighltly disrespectful.

    Boogity boogity boogity. Amen.

    July 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  12. Jacquie

    I thought he did just fine and it was awesome.

    July 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  13. Roger Rinker

    Perhaps the participation of 'religion' wouldn't be so dry and boring, if we added more light-hearted humor to it. I applaud Mr. Nelms for his effort in doing so!...I'm sure he's getting alot of negative feedback from many narrow minded southern baptists. God Bless You, Pastor Nelms!!!...The world needs many more people like you! Religion needs to focus more on Love and Forgiveness, rather than all the 'fire and damnation' that only scares our chidren away from Christianity...Can I get an 'Amen' ?!!!

    July 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Mik


      July 28, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Jimbo

      Roger......... Preachers wouldn't be doing the will of God if they only preached His love and forgivness. Yes our God loves us and wants to forgive us for our sins, BUT He is a holy God that will judge us. This needs to be preached so that people know what He expects from us and what the consequences will be if we choose to continue in our sin. The fire and damnation you speak of is real and needs to be preached.

      July 28, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  14. Hasher Iva

    ROFL. It's bloody hysterical. It's NASCAR, and Baptists. What did you expect?

    July 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  15. Err

    Don't you people have something better to cry about? Who cares if he was quoting a movie or actually giving thanks for a smoking hot wife. We should all be so lucky. You're just ticked you got stuck with some lard-ass with a shrill voice that could cut through diamond. And that's when she's in a good mood.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • derp

      did you see his, I think you just described her.

      July 28, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  16. Dante

    What an Idiot.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Harry Pairatestes

      The article was asking for your thoughts on the article, not a self-assessment.

      July 28, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  17. TKO

    WOW – if church services were a little more like this (a little light-hearted and fun!) I might attend church now and then. What do you want him to do at Nascar of all places – damn you to hell if you don't drop some $ in the bucket? Way to go Sir! How refreshing!

    July 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  18. Andrian Harsono

    God doesn't exist anyway, so he can say whatever he likes. I really don't see what the problem is.

    July 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  19. ms. blunt

    Is this how white people pray? and to think, white people criticizes other religions. SMH

    July 28, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Hey, blunt, this is not about race, it's about a preacher disgracing himself! What color are you blowing your horn for?! Or should I guess?

      July 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • phylicia

      White people wow why does it always have to be about race. SMH at you. how dare you say that.

      July 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  20. Reality

    Dear Pastor Joe Nelms,

    For your next NASCAR "prayer meeting":

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

    I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


    July 28, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ "reality"
      Just stop posting your worthless, meaningless repeti-tions all the time... Do you even have mind of your own, or do you have to keep borrowing other's trash to post it?! Who do you think is even reading it, seeing you post it over and over again?!

      July 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Jeff

      Looser... I've seen this posted over 20 times on every article about religion for the past year. Get a new joke, or at least copy someone elses.

      July 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Reality

      As we "thu-mp" along with rational thinking, conclusions and reiteration to counter the millennia of false and flawed religious history and theology repeated to/by "pew peasants" 24/7 during their worthless gatherings.

      July 28, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • derp

      "Looser... I've seen this posted over 20 times on every article about religion for the past year."

      Might you mean loser?

      July 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
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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.