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. GAW

    Evangelicals do the darndest things.

    July 31, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  2. starr

    Its amazing how the world is drawn to foolishness , more than to truth. This pastor got more attention by thanking God for his smoking hot wife , than those who are praying for the problems in this land.

    July 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Jim

      Or, you know, the people actually doing something and not just praying.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  3. edwest

    try an original thought, parrot

    July 31, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  4. edwest

    clearly all glory is for Nelms. A tool of christianity.

    July 31, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  5. Steve Skeete

    Before I could comment on this "prayer" I would first have to know why Pastor Joe was invited to start the NASCAR with a prayer in the first place. And since you usually get the person you invite, I would also like to know what his hosts thought of the "prayer". It is obvious to me that Pastor Joe considers himself part cleric part comedian. Who knows he might have been invited as part of the entertainment package.

    July 31, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  6. Rupes Altai

    Judge Not.... Lest what ?

    July 31, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • edwest

      good parrot

      July 31, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  7. inTheDogHouse

    It is clear that his wife must not be an argumentative wife that scriptures say you should live on the corner of the roof to get away from.

    July 31, 2011 at 9:01 am |
  8. Wayne

    "A life" for many people is praying to an imaginary deity and watching cars go round in a circle.

    July 31, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • Kevin

      You sound lonely.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • edwest

      and little Kevin, you sound single....for life? but Jesus is your bride, right? you cant wear white, though. 🙂

      July 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  9. Sanity

    Americans should stop joking using the terms of divinity. There will be punishment. No one can mock and laugh in hell. Why are Americans so stupid?

    July 31, 2011 at 7:20 am |
    • ciscoheat

      Why are you so uptight?

      July 31, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  10. Marie

    I'm pretty sure the God I believe in had a good laugh and said, "You're welcome, Joe."

    July 30, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  11. AtheistSteve

    Nascar happens to be my favorite sport and I follow the Cup, Nationwide and Camping World series closely. It's a privately owned organization founded by southern bible belt Good Ol' Boys so it's not surprising that faith and prayer play a role in the events. This particular invocation was comical, unlike the painful beseachings by coach Gibbs during a few past race events. I swear Joe could give Pat Robertson a run for his money. Generally I just try to ignore the offending few minutes of supersti.tious ramblings and wait for the call to "start your engines".

    July 30, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  12. John Pedant

    "I also give thanks for her." - Tiger Woods.

    July 30, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  13. gentileboy

    Just a thought: if i married a smokin' hot oriental girl, should i thank god or buhdda?

    July 30, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Nematoda

      Just a thought: What an asinine and ignorant comment.

      July 31, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  14. Prometheus

    BOOGITY !"

    July 30, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  15. Foundation

    Looks like we have forgotten how Jesus taught us how to PRAY, let's begin with 'Our Father'.

    July 30, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Martin T

      How about we knock out all public prayer it offends a lot of people and it doesn't add anything to the event. IF people want to talk to their fairy god father, they can do it privately.

      July 30, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • why

      @Martin T, Prayer is a call to the Heavenly father , why should it be offensive? don't u talk to your earthly father?
      Try Prayer for thyself and see the change, you can find a lot of inner calm and peace if only you prayed.

      July 30, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • The Cheese Taken Daily

      Our fictional As-shole In The Sky
      who aren't in heaven (which doesn't exist)
      who condemns us to eternal hellfire (which doesn't exist)
      for not bowing down to his an-us-ness
      Hollow be thy name
      thy will can't be done ( because you don't exist and therefore doesn't have a will)
      ...and so on, more blithering by religious dweebs to their non-existent BIG AN-US in the sky.

      There's no god, so stop kissing up to one that doesn't exist and get a life.

      July 30, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • why

      Athiest sayings:

      I have no life and no faith, YOU therefore cannot and must not have FAITH or LIFE either.

      July 30, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Atheist

      I am an eternal pessimist

      July 30, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • beleivers

      ....and we are Optimists

      July 30, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Why: the reason that a person can talk to their earthly father is because the existence of that father is provable. There is no such evidence for any god. I have never cared about other people's religions. It's is a personal choice and I can respect that. However, it does offend me when religion is foisted upon me during day-to-day life and at special events, because my time is precious to me and I don't want to waste it pandering to your religion during secular activities.

      By the way, I like my life very much. When you all claim that atheists are pessimists, you are lying.

      July 30, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • beleiver

      Some people complain because God puts thorns on roses, while others praise God for putting roses among thorns.

      Author Unknown

      July 30, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • edwest

      you "optimists" are clueless, but who needs a clue when you believe!? right?


      July 31, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  16. JS

    NASCAR, now the 2nd biggest sport behind football, would be better off to leave the biggest scam in the history of humanity- RELIGION- OUT of all their races- whether comically, like this useless clown or with serious 'prayers' before races. To me, it's NASCAR is pathetic because of the waaaay overdone sponsorship. It's so pathetic. But, they sure are making money- so good for them. Every time I get MORE interested in NASCAR (because I DO like their new scoring system AND the fact that they have an amazing 5x Champion)– I watch something like this joker– or see the 1000s of ads on the cars racing by ad after ad along the track and I turn it off. SOOOO glad that the NFL is baaaaaack! CYA NASCAR– Good luck and GOD BLESS (BTW... shh..but GOD is NOT REAL– and neither is SANTA- ALL FAIRY TALES!!!!)

    July 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Martin T

      Well Said!

      July 30, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  17. 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 30, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • iTzlogical

      Share "your" Apostle Creed with everyone again (scary).

      Your hatred towards all religions does not sound that far off of Breivik's hatred of a specific religion.
      Hatred and fear mongering is not an intelligent format to share your views and shows your myopic view of the world around you.

      I hope you get help...

      July 30, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Martin T

      Actually, I find this post rather interesting. There is NOTHING wrong with hating religion, everyone knows that the religious have been hating and persecuting the non-religious for thousands of years. Common sense, rationality, reason, and freethought should be accepted and praised by all. Without this, there would have been little accomplished throughout history in the areas of science, medicine, and cosmology. IF the Catholic Church had their way we would still be living in huts and bowing down in fear to the church. Martin Luther once said that the greatest threat to Chrisitianity was an educated populace.

      July 30, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • John Pedant

      Sounds convincing to me. Of course, the same can be said for people born in places where atheism is the norm. But I think you would agree with that. Unlike some other repliers, I do not have you pegged as a miltiant atheist.

      July 30, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  18. James

    Interesting how many people take note of a prayer to God that might be a little different, although "very thankful" on all accounts. Maybe these same people (and media) should take more note (and reporting) when God's name is used in vain, used disrespectfully and argued that he doesn't exist. Hmmm, I guess that wouldn't drive ratings eh?

    Good to see Christians having fun and enjoying everything God gives us! Helps break the perception of being "sticks in the mud". Racing, golf, football and my smoking hot wife...thank God for them all! 😉

    July 30, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  19. tracy

    Hilarious, not really our job to judge his prayer. I am pretty sure that is god's job.

    July 30, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  20. FaithScent

    Americans are stupid. CNN is partially responsible.

    July 30, 2011 at 4:25 am |
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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.