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. Meat Puppet

    Wow – finally a minster who knows what God is thinking – hot babes, cheap beer and NASCAR
    the gene pool and been drained and cleaned with bleech !!
    yank his ministerial credentials immediately and evict him from the double-wide
    he will need another place to hold his services
    community property is not an issue as his wife is probably his sister
    she'll probably want to go after him when she gets her drivers license and a GED

    July 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
  2. Mark

    Pretty much the usual. Religion trying to blend in and even cater to nationalism in order to rally support. The complete opposite of what the bible teaches.
    Would Jesus have done this? Not a chance! But this guy doesn't care at all because he follows the crowd and does whatever he thinks people want him to do..

    True christianity may not be fun at a nascar race but when the chips are down they really give people hope.

    Keep in mind I said "true" christians which pretty much excludes all major religions. Guys like this are usually first in line too bless the bombs and rally the troops!

    July 27, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      I surely do agree with your comment!

      Our only hope of not being swalowed up by the spirit of the world is to keep our eyes on our Lord Jesus Christ.
      much of today's church is identical to one described in Revelations 3:14-22 . Therefore, we KNOW what time it is on God's time-scale!

      July 27, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  3. usajagroltyd

    If, as the Good Book says, if we are made in God's image and likeness, He MUST have a great sense of humor!

    July 27, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  4. planet212

    ass clown

    July 27, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  5. MissouriBoy

    Very funny. I'm totally not religious, yet I love that this preacher could make light of himself and the prayer. He was also making fun of NASCAR, at a NASCAR event. He was quoting from a movie that was a total spoof on NASCAR. The comment on his wife is excellent. I have never seen a picture of his wife, so she may not be smokin' hot, which makes the comment even funnier.

    Everything about this is OK. Anyone taking this prayer seriously needs to get a normal life! Laugh, and have a good time!

    July 27, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  6. Bill

    It's just making fun of a quote in the Will Ferrell's NASCAR comedy movie, Talladega Nights.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  7. Julia

    LOVE IT!! This was awesome, and I bet God loved it.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  8. MrMajestik

    Where is his wife? The gal in the family picture is a just a fat cow

    July 27, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  9. Michael Ray

    Invocations of religion have always bothered me at sporting events. I really don't think that any higher deity really cares about sports. Thanking them for your great performance just seems a bit silly.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • Kay

      And of course, there are always those losers who God apparently didn't bless quite as much. Yeah...I think prayers at sporting events are pretty silly myself.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • janelyn

      This guy fits right in with the NFL players and MLB players who thank God for their TD's and home runs. Something(maybe it's pure logic) tells me he doesn't really care if you caught a ball past a fat white line. And if you make a ton of TD catches you can demand millions of money to buy your 8th luxury vehicle with 20 inch rims or throw bashes with the likes Snoop, Kanye, and Hugh Heffner.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  10. janelyn

    Does anyone remember Bugs Bunny when they get stranded on that island with no food and start picturing each other as food? I think this guy was picturing hes "smokin hot wife" as in a smokin hot turkey leg, hamburger, or lump of buttery mashed potatoes.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  11. Patcee

    I suppose god will know what "boogity, boogity, boogity" means. I don't understand how it fits between "in Jesus' name" and "amen." Is it "In Jesus' name go get it, boys, amen?" Must be Baptist speak.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • DinosaurDave

      Hi Patcee- "boogity, boogity, boogity" apparently means "I'm so drunk i cant think of anything intelligent to contribute, but i want to speak". I am embarrassed when this movie/Waltrip/ hillbilly phrase is associated with people from the Southern states.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  12. Doug

    Because this prayer draws attention to the person praying instead of Christ the person praying has received his earthly reward instead of a heavenly reward. I'm just saying.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • Kay

      Interesting point!

      July 27, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Don

      I understand your point, however I think it was great! I believe that God also has humor, because we have humor. Granted it is not the prayer I would throw out there, however I thought it was awesome!

      July 27, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  13. thegadfly

    I think it's a little ridiculous that there's a flap over the smokin' hot wife bit, but not about the product endorsements, or the sheer stupidity of invoking a deity before a gasoline guzzle-fest. With which, I wonder, would J have a problem?

    July 27, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Kay

      Yeah...the endorsements *really* got to me...while all I could think while looking at him was "smokin' hot wife"...is it this guy's prayer to GET one???

      July 27, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  14. The Half Baked Lunatic

    Well, we all know that all the christians are going to hell anyway. He might as well have a little fun while he can.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
  15. arthurrrrr

    God likes a thankful heart. Lighten up peope!!!!!

    July 27, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  16. Holy Frijoles

    Love it! Thank God for what you have! No problem here.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  17. DaVuVuZeLa

    It's only funny if he has two sons named Walker and Texas Ranger

    July 27, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  18. Will

    If I looked like him and had a "smoking hot wife", I also would be yelling HALLELUJAH 24/7!!!

    July 27, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  19. He had a chance to let God use him BUT

    He walked in the flesh with this worldly prayer, many are called few are chosen.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • Kay

      You got it in one 🙂

      July 27, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • josh

      you have got to be, I meannn got to be pentacostal. "wordly prayer" do you think people are supposed to get on their knees and light candles, and pray in latin? "wordly prayer" dont you live in this "worldy" place we call earth.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      " do you think people are supposed to get on their knees and light candles, and pray in latin? "word prayer" don't you live in this "worldly" place we call earth."
      No, but we who are supposed to KNOW Him, and especially those in leadership of the flock of God, are to treat God's name holy, and sanctify Him in our hearts and lives. It just shows how many of those who claim to be GOd's people don't even know His nature and character, or else they would fear to drag His Name to their level! That's what is wrong with much of the Church today... salt that lost its flavor, so is being trodden down, mocked and made light out of by the ungodly world! Those who know God, His nature and character will understand the meaning of things said in this post!

      July 27, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
  20. djl

    As an engineer I found the prayer insulting to all the designers and engineers and pit crew that worked on making those cars mentioned in the prayer. God didn't make them, people did.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • The Half Baked Lunatic

      Amen, brother!

      July 27, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • josh

      are you flippin serious? Do you think that he really thinks that God made those cars. That prayer lit up every face in those stands, and he all their attention because he used some humor. And if you want to say people built those cars, do you think they couldve built those cars without a brain? And who created the human, along with the brain? lighten up dude.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • f0rbidden

      i'm pretty sure that NATURE made humans..and brains..so now we're back to square one.
      personally, i think it's amusing and since no harm was done to anyone – what's the big deal?

      July 27, 2011 at 8:45 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.