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. Sean

    If you ever watched "Taladega Nights, the story of Ricky Bobby" you would see that this was just said in humor. There's a lot worse going on to really put this guy under the microscope. Go find some meaningful news to report.

    July 29, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  2. AvdBerg

    We give thanks to god for the infinite gayness of itself and for our fine bucking gay turtles which you can see Michele Bachmann and her gay husband riding on our website at http://gaychristian101.com.

    It's all turtles all the way down and they are all gay.

    July 29, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      Its okay to be gay
      * 1 2 3 step and turn*
      Its otay to be that way
      *1 2 3 shake the booty and turn*
      Saved by gay! yesssssssss
      *1 2 3 step, step, step and pop that hip like you momma wanted you to*

      July 29, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      I am starting to feel it burn

      July 29, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  3. AvdBerg

    By reading the comments on this Blog it seems very obvious to us that all the foundations of the earth out of course . For a better understanding of this scriptural verse we invite you to visit our website http://www.gaychristian101.com

    July 29, 2011 at 6:50 pm |

      Moderator, I will see across the chasm in HELL for stopping my comments to AvdBerg about gays not going to heaven as told in the Holy Bible.

      Moderator, I will be the one that you will see from across the chasm in HELL signaling U that I-TOLD-U-SO.

      Have fun tonight..

      July 29, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      Love the last 3 letters babe in the name. Its okay to be gay – – -otay

      July 29, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  4. AvdBerg

    By reading the comments on this Blog it seems very obvious to us that all the foundations of the earth out of course (Psalms 82:5). For a better understanding of this scriptural verse we invite you to read the latest article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’ listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Please ignore any messages that inform you that we are on a troll and that ask you to activate the abuse button or even refer you to a gaychristian website. It is an attempt to discredit the work of our Ministry, which is for the edifying of the Body of Christ – His Church (Eph. 4:12).

    July 29, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Don't forget your other website AvdBerg http://www.gaychristian101.com

      July 29, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • .....

      AvdBerg is a troll on this site trying to sell their cult and book, when ever you see their post click the report abuse link to get rid of this troll.

      July 29, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  5. clara

    I think his prayer was right on.. If more pastors and ppl who go to church weren't so up tight.. there would be more ppl sitting in the pew on sunday morning. I no God loved It....look at the attention he's getting b/c of it:)))

    July 29, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  6. Srhyne

    I think its a great prayer it's the truth u just got to be a race fan to get what he's saying ppl quit making something out of nothing

    July 29, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  7. Shannon Westfall

    What's the big deal? He was having a little fun. It was at a Nascar Race. Not in front of his church or any church. People need to lighten up & get a life. Geezzzzz!!!!!

    July 29, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  8. Aretha Aikens

    That was soooooo much fun.

    July 29, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  9. Aretha Aikens

    That was sooooo much fun!!

    July 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  10. Michael

    He was quoting Will Ferrel from Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

    July 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  11. Martin

    There's nothing at all surprising about the weak character of someone lowering their standards to the lowest common denominator of Popular Culture.
    It's quite easy to see who his God really is.

    July 29, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      "There's nothing at all surprising..."
      No, Martin, it's really not!
      We live in times of great apostacy spoken of in the Word of God. And we'll se it more and more, emerging right out of the midst of the Church.

      July 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Athiest

      You're an idiot, way to put all your beliefs into someone no one can prove existed. Be more of a mindless follower please.

      July 29, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  12. PRISM 1234

    The problem with our American society is that it craves entertainment!
    This guy was trying to get a cheer from the craving crowd..... He got it!
    But what he did is disgrace to the Name of the One whom he is supposed to represent!
    No jokes, especially the se-xu-aly insinuating ones have any place in language, or demeanor of a man who is a pastor of a church, or in any way a minister of God's Word.

    I cringe inside just at the thought to be in his preaching "services".

    But people are like dumb sheep... Just nodding their heads, for thinking they're secure because they are in a flock.

    There is an advice that many people who truly seek God should take to heart:

    It is better to be alone, never be in a flock, then sitting under a shepherd who puts boundaries you can't cross, taking it upon himself to lead you on the path, yet never leads you pass his own fleshly nature...!
    For this reason there are so many people in churches nowadays, having absolutely no discernment, taking in just about anything that they are fed!
    But God's Word d says that to us is given the anointing from above teaches us all things, and we have no need that any man should teach us, but that anointing will teach us All things. But so many pastors/church leaders bar people from getting in position to have that anointing...
    This does not mean nor imply that we don't need all the Spiritual giftings, and ministries of each calling God bestows on different individuals and puts them in churches, but it means that all things that one hears, encounters, faces and participates in, MUST be discerned by the Spirit of God, i.e. that Anointing which the Word is talking about.
    And according to the discerning of that Anointing, what that man did, DOES NOT PASS the test, and he has disgraced God by using His Name in frivolous , carnal, fleshly manner!, which does NOT build the Kingdom of God, nor does draw people to Christ, but tears it down, and causes those who may enter, not to see God for WHO HE IS!

    July 29, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Martin

      SPOT ON. !,,,,

      July 29, 2011 at 4:14 pm |

      PRISM 1234, U R VERY RARE to believe the inspired words of God in 1st John 2:26-27.

      I do not need anyone to teach me about anything because I have the anointing as U seem to have in verse 27.

      All RELIGIONS are as it says in verse 26, they are nothing but deceivers of the TRUTH.

      99% of those that reads your comment have no idea what U R talking about.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      You may be right that 99% of those who read my comments don't know what I'm talking about..
      There are things they'll never understand, since they don't know the LORD. There is only so much that can be said to them...

      But that's why I said, "There is an advice that many people WHO TRULY SEEK GOD should take to heart"...

      They WILL understand! !

      July 29, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Real Deal


      Believe whatever you wish, but I hope that you have enough of a grip on reality to know (or that some sane person is watching you) that if this "Lord" ever speaks to you and tells you to kill anyone, that you will know what's happening.

      You sound dangerously close to losing it...

      July 29, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      By reading the comments on this Blog it seems very obvious to us that all the foundations of the earth out of course . For a better understanding of this scriptural verse we invite you to visit our website http://www.gaychristian101.com......

      July 29, 2011 at 7:15 pm |

      PRISM 1234, I believe God's inspired words mean what it says and not what people WANT it say.

      Religions make the Bible say what the congregation wants it to say so they can get their money.

      God writes what He wants me to believe on my heart not through the words of mankind.

      I am courious if you believe what the verses Luke 14:26, 27 & 33 and Acts 7:47-48 & 17:24 says. I have been told to think that they were inspired 'OUT OF CONTEXT' but I NEVER will.

      July 29, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Walkinglass, I've got to go now, but I will get back to you about the questions...

      July 29, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      "Real Deal" Don't worry about me losing it... Wory about yourself, in what condition YOU are! 🙂

      July 29, 2011 at 7:45 pm |

      10-4 PRISM1234.

      July 30, 2011 at 9:58 am |

    How many of U have 'SMOKING HOT' sisters, daughters or cousins that U want to get rid of.

    Send all of them to me and I will test them out and get rid of them for U kind of like Noah did with his granny, mother, aunts, sisters, daughters and cousins during the flood.

    Send them to me on the next FedX flight. Thanks

    July 29, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  14. Reality

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to radomness of birth. Maybe just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

    To wit:

    "John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today

    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. " J. Somerville

    July 29, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  15. chuck wicker

    Why do some people think God so some little man like us. He is a big guy who can take it. He has been insulted a lot worse than this but really, he can take it. He might even be thinking the guys wife Isn't that hot, he knows it all.

    July 29, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Duh

      If he can take and knows it all then why does he need the love of a bunch of humans, you would think a God as great as the one you're claiming wouldn't need crap from you. Oh, that's right the only way for you to feel special in this world is if you actually believe some invisible being loves you, that way you don't have to deal with the reality of yourself. 😉

      July 29, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  16. heehawGoat

    I don't know him, but anyone with a good sence of humor can't be so bad... He made me smile and I'm sure Jesus and God were smiling too... Why does everything always have to be doom and gloom with you religious folks?

    July 29, 2011 at 1:48 pm |


      July 29, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  17. Argle Bargle

    Leave it to a NASCAR–lovin' preacher to mock prayer.

    July 29, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Martin

      Exactly !

      July 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Udin

      I attended the show in Chicago (Allstate Arena) on Wednesday this week. The daecrns did an admirable job and where very enjoyable to watch perform. However, I was gravely disappointed with the utterly horrible production. The sound was so bad I almost left early. To say it was unlistenable would be a kindness. All of the material was per-recorded and sound quality should have been flawless, but it was dreadful. As deplorable as the sound was, lighting was a close second. Lighting design did not take the audience into account. The backlighting over powered everything else leaving the daecrns in silhouette. Given the high quality of the TV show I was surprised that the owners/producers of the So You Think You Can Dance would allow themselves to be associated with such an amateurish effort. If anyone evolved with the show where to experience the night I attended they would fire the FOH engineer and lighting designer on the spot. I can only hope that these issues are resolved for the balance of the tour.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  18. Lord's Prayer in Aramaic

    Abwoon D'Bashmaya

    Aboon Dbashmayo (Our Father who art in Heaven)
    Nethcadash shmokh (hallowed be thy name).
    teethe malkoothokh, (thy Kingdom come),
    nehwe sebyonokh, (thy will be done);
    aykano Dbashmayo off bar’o. (on earth as it is in heaven.)
    Hab lan lahmo dsoonconan yawmono, (Give us this day our daily bread).
    washbook lan howbain wahtohain (and forgive us our trespasses)
    aykano doff hnan shbakn il hayobain (as we forgive those who trespass against us)
    lo thaalan il nessyoono (and lead us not into temptation)
    elo fasson men beesho (but deliver us from evil)
    metool ddeelokhee malkootho, (for thine is the kingdom)
    ou haylo ou Teshbohto, (and the power, and the glory)
    loalam olmen Amin. (for ever and ever. Amen.)

    July 29, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  19. Bonnie

    Secularized Americans are stupid and meaningless.

    July 29, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      By reading the comments on this Blog it seems very obvious to us that people need to learn more about the gayness of Christ . The truth of Christ’s gayness is coming out more and more each day. For a better understanding of this scriptural verse we invite you to visit our website http://www.gaychristian101.com

      July 29, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  20. Ricky Bobby

    I want to go fast. Thank you baby Jesus.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:07 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.