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. ANN

    what do you expect from a religious nut? Be thankful he's not raping your kids

    August 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  2. HZ

    Smart guys tend not to brag about their wife's hotness or um, special skills too much, so as not to encourage other guys to go after her. Pastor may be in for a surprise.

    August 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  3. Jason K

    Prayer is nothing more than a conversation between onesself and their s0vereign god. "Christians" have taken the context out of early New Testament writings and turned God The Father into their personal genie. The fact is God doesn't care about your needs outside of His predetermined will, and He certainly doesn't care about your wants. You exist for no other purpose than His Good pleasure and plan, He does NOT exist for you.

    As for this guy, I see no problem with what he said. Instead of asking for crap, he is thanking his god for various things, and doing so in a matter he would with a friend. I don't know where people get off thinking God is a kill joy that must be addressed with absolute piety and reverence all the time...oh wait, that would be the Catholic Church...thanks again.

    For those of you who believe in God but think He has no sense of humor...consider the lighning bug...its @ss glows. Or perhaps the platypus, now there is a joke.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm |

    Feel sorry for those who don't believe in prayer or a higher power of any kind. Religion comes in many forms and faith is sometimes what gets people through the toughest times in their lives. Just knowing that someone out there, no matter where that may be, seems to care about this one little person down hear amongst all the haters and bullies and negativity. Sometimes giving thanks for what we have is more of what we need to be doing rather than asking for what we don't.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  5. Brent

    Who cares? It's called living life and having fun. It was funny, meant for enjoyment and applied to the people listening to the prayer at that time. Just because he made a prayer in which not everyone agrees with does not mean he is going to hell or anything else. Any extremist of religion who views it that way needs to go back, re-read the bible in a less literal terminology and maybe will come out with a different point of view. There a bigger and more important things to sit and worry about than a Pastor say boogity boogity boogity and the words smoking out wife. At least he wasn't screaming "Not God bless America, but God Damn America"... Get over it, and move on. Life is too short to worry about such petty things.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm |

    "Man is a marvelous curiosity ... he thinks he is the Creator's pet ... he even believes the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to
    him and thinks He listens. Isn't it a quaint idea." – Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

    August 24, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  7. ericmatthews

    I hope members of his congregation don't start lusting after her

    August 23, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Jennifer

      That would be my concern. . . one of the reasons why that might not have been such a good idea. I don't think that that statement was morally wrong, though.

      August 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • mike carnes

      "ericmathews" is like most people everywhere !wants to be heard and this is his stage and hes prob a little mad at life so why not take it out on a preacher who takes life with a little humor rather than dealing fire and brimstone daily and not getting thru to his audience,this preacher wasnt at a church full of people like billy graham he was at a car race and he did well with those souls of thunder,If god is going to send him to hell then what have we to hope for ?

      August 24, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • HZ

      Jennifer, that is exactly why most normal men would never say something like that about their wife. Talking like that is something a HS/college kid does cause he's bragging about someone he's not really into. When you're not into a woman it's easy to say stuff like that because it's more important to brag than to keep her. When you're into her it's more important to keep her than to broadcast that she's 'smoking hot'. Besides. if she is hot that should be obvious.

      August 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  8. hmmmmm

    TheyNotHim......yes there is proof that GOD created us and the universe for that matter.. He didn't "invent" he created. Where's the proof? It is in the universe and creation itself!!! Do you really think that this universe happened from a "big bang" and all the planets and stars just "happened" and the earth was on its perfect axis and rotation and distance from the sun to be able to sustain life? Do you think that the way animals and humans and plants reproduce and grow really started from a pond? That from single-celled creatures we happened to "evolve" into the complex beings that we are with specific cells growing into certain parts of the body, or that sperm and egg can turn into the beings they came from? There's your proof...

    August 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Brian

      To answer your questions, Yes, No, the orbit of the earth is not perfect, it wobbles, and how perfect would you find our orbit if you're around in 2 billion years when the sun expands to where we're currently orbiting? Except the planet will be flung into space by then anyways so... Yes I believe we're here by pure chance and evolution, and also.. Nothing you state proves Gods existence in any way whatsoever. You just are proclaiming a mystical power is responsible for the things you cannot understand. That is not proof, I could claim the universe was started by Elvis, and that holds about just as much weight as your claim that God did.. But where's your actual proof of God? where can you state something concrete? You can't.

      August 23, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  9. emma65

    Blasphemous? How about just bad taste?

    August 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Tia

      At least now his wife and everyone else knows that he's only interested in her body and doesn't appreciate any other aspects about her like her personality, her intelligence...nope, just "thank you God for giving me a good looking one!" And for those saying that God likes a joke...show me where in your Bible it says that God has a sense of humor.

      August 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  10. Ricky Bobby

    Seriously? Has anyone ever seen Talladega Nights? He took it from the movie. It was funny in the movie and it's even funnier in real life when an actual pastor says it. No need to read anymore into it then that.

    God is allowed to have a sense of humor people. Get over yourselves.

    August 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • GinaBonBon

      true, the 'smokin hot wife' part was taken from talledega nights. the part about his two kids was taken from the movie, too. the 'boogity boogity boogity' part was taken from darrell waltrip. the whole thing was lifted!! it was funny in the movie. but i personally don't find it funny in person because he's just repeating what someone else already said. he lifted it! get some original material! he totally carlos mencia'd that prayer!

      August 24, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  11. Kendra

    Anyone see his wife?

    August 22, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  12. Cheryl

    Acknowledging and thanking Yahweh God and the Lord Jesus Christ is never wrong. The Lord likes to 'keep it real'. Respectful, yes, but He loves it when we give real, heartfelt thanks for the things we love because ALL GOOD THINGS COME FROM GOD. So, if you enjoy and appreciate racing fuel, fast cars, and your wife, by all means, give GOD His thanks because He is the one that gave those things/her to you!

    August 21, 2011 at 3:41 am |
  13. Kooms

    Supposedly this was a prayer , who do those who pray pray to ? God . If you mean to pray , pray earnestly , if you're just putting on a show and mean to provide a little entertainment , a mock prayer ain't the way to do it . I'm not religious myself , but this was poor judgement at best , particularly coming from a supposed Baptist minister. .

    August 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  14. Just Jim

    Some of these so called Christians need to get the stiffness out of thier necks, God likes a little humor now and then. I just love how they can be Sunday only Christians and judge others while the rest of the week they are doing everybody they can however they can......They are the ones who need to watch out for the hotness of Hell...

    August 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Larry the Lobster

      God doe NOT like humor! Try to find any mention of God laughing or enjoying humor in the Babble. He does a lot of being very angy, and a lot of revenge and punishing, but enjoying a nice joke? No.

      I think the only place he laughs is right before he gets to destroy some people.

      August 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  15. karmasab

    I come from a very religious back round and I don't see a thing wrong with this. Reading this, I would have wished my Father would have said something like this about my Mother. It's sweet ( IMO )... Furthermore...

    Matthew 7:1
    Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

    Just sayin'..

    August 20, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • karmasab

      *correction... background 😉

      August 20, 2011 at 12:57 am |
  16. ScottybudLite

    God created women to be attractive to men. And yes, some women are more "blessed" with good looks than others. Nothing wrong with a man who is grateful for the God-given beauty in his wife. Power to him.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • karmasab


      August 20, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  17. Shelbi

    Who cares how he talks to his "god"? How does it in anyway affect you?!

    August 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  18. Blayne @visceralfire Nolin

    Good on ya Pastor! I loved the prayer and thought it very thorough. Now the cars are blessed, the fuels blessed, the tires and even the racers. What more could anyone want out of a prayer?

    August 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  19. robert

    GOD does have a sence of humor. he made us.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  20. Philip Ubas

    Maybe when he goes in front of God for Judgement Joe Nelms and his wife will be Both Smokin Hot in Hell because God will not be mocked. Many preachers today are just entertaining people and they are Not Serving the Real God in Heaven.

    August 16, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • njthompson

      You never know Philip, anything can happen in sandcastle fantasy land!

      August 17, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Justin Johnson

      I agree with you 100 percent phillip!

      August 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Blayne @visceralfire Nolin

      Really? That's what you think will change the hearts and minds of the masses? Threatening the wrath of your narcissistic, sociopathic and not to mention very intolerant God? Think about all the people your white bred, oh so loving creator would have sent to that "smokin hot hell" if it wasnt for his son. Grow up, read the book and learn who God really is. Remember Phillip, You're casting stones when you judge others like that 😉

      August 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • susan

      Blayne's got that one right. I've been taught my God is an awesome God and that means, at least to me, He appreciates humor. If He doesn't, how in the world could He possibly appreciate the people that He created. We do funny things and I sure hope He is looking down on me and when I do something utterly ridiculous – what did I expect, I created her and give it a big chuckle.

      August 21, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • mike carnes

      "Philip" is like most people everywhere !wants to be heard and this is his stage and hes prob a little mad at life so why not take it out on a preacher who takes life with a little humor rather than dealing fire and brimstone daily and not getting thru to his audience,this preacher wasnt at a church full of people like billy graham he was at a car race and he did well with those souls of thunder,If god is going to send him to hell then what have we to hope for ?

      August 24, 2011 at 8:46 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.