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May 17th, 2010
11:43 AM ET

Ted Turner: Is God speaking in Gulf Coast spill?

Ted Turner has never been one to keep his opinions to himself.

Sometimes referred to as “The Mouth of the South,” the CNN founder lashed out against religious believers in the past. He once dubbed Christianity a “religion for losers” and wondered aloud whether the Ash Wednesday observers around him at work were “Jesus freaks.” His marriage to Jane Fonda was rumored to become strained when she started finding religion.

And while his stance has certainly mellowed with the years - he apologized for his past comments and joined with churches in 2008 to fight malaria - his suggestion that God may have had a hand in the oil disaster that killed 11 and is threatening the Gulf Coast may take some by surprise.

“Could be,” God’s work, he told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. “He’s sending us a message.”

Turner sat down with Harlow recently to discuss the energy policy in the United States. The full interview is posted on CNN Money.

“I’m not a real religious person, but I’m somewhat religious. And I’m just wondering if God is telling us he doesn’t want us to drill offshore,” he said. “And right before that we had that coal mine disaster in West Virginia where we lost 29 miners,” as well as repeated mining disasters – “seems like there’s one over there every week” – in China.

“Maybe the Lord’s tired of having the mountains of West Virginia, the tops knocked off of them so they can get more coal. I think maybe we ought to just leave the coal in the ground and go with solar and wind power and geo-thermals where it’s applicable.”

Calling the United States “the biggest polluter and the biggest energy user in the world,” Turner said the country needs to take the lead in ridding itself of coal and oil dependence.

“It’s just as important, if not more important, than getting to the moon.”

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Culture & Science • Faith Now • Money & Faith

soundoff (388 Responses)
  1. Jason Prather

    Is this the same God that Ted wants to throw all those people to all at once, because he believes in population control? Thinking that the world's population is too big so he needs to go out and murder too many people! Or is he confusiong Barack 'Messiah' Obama with God like many of his voters did? Because Thus saith Obama: 'If you drill for oil I will make sure you will obey me so much, that you won;t want to or be able to, oh but if you have a spill and your an American it's your fault not mine. Ha ha I am the Messiah Worship me or I'll send my servants the SS. oops I mean secret service to administer my JUDGEMENT upon you!" Divine WOrds Spoken by Messiah Barack Obama Chapter 7 verse 15

    June 14, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  2. Chris

    Wow, you can really tell the Right WingNuts. They think he is serious when he is talking about GOD. Get a Clue you Right Wingers, He is invoking a point, that the current Dirty energy is costing us very dearly! It has cost us far more than Money. Get your head out of your rears and realize NOTHING is free or cheap. The trade off is always going to be Equal to your gain. Do you really think that a God that created plants to use photosyntheses would have intended you to blow up a mountain for energy? God endowed man with something very powerful, intelligence! Thats right we have the ability to think our way out of our problems. God invented the laws of physics and nature, and those laws state that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, this in mind do you really think that it is wise to burn coal for energy? Do you really think it's wise and intelligent to cut down trees that produce the oxygen that you breath. I am sick of you Right Wingers Claiming to be holier than though when your anything but. 99.9% of have never actually read the bible end to end and the other .01% don't have enough brains to understand it. All you people do is pick a few versus you like and try to impress them on everyone around you. You take the passages out of context and twist them to meet your needs of the moment, to justify and ratify your actions. And if you actually read the bible you would know thats a sin! So get off your high horse! And am I saying I am not a sinner? No, I am a sinner but see as someone how read the book I know we are all sinners, so get over yourselves!

    August 15, 2010 at 2:30 am |
  3. ybs

    "All" religions are one big pile of dung. Justifying eating it however you want, the putrid stench lingers.

    August 14, 2010 at 9:48 am |
    • ybs

      Christians will sing a different "separation of church & state" tune when "Allah akbar" replaces "in god we trust!"

      The U.S. is the greatest nation on earth! Let's learn from past religious persecutions & strive for true "separation of church & state" now - before it's too late!

      August 14, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  4. SeekingtruthNOW

    I'm more convinced than ever, after reading how anti-religion (and I assume it is all religions, not merely Christianity) Turner is, that HE IS, INDEED the MYSTERIOUS R. C. Christian who developed and erected the GEORGIA GUIDESTONES. Only a human with such disregard for religion and for our earth could write that the POPULATION SHOULD BE KEPT UNDER '500,000." Looks like he's on his way to gettting his wish because the outrageously wealthy, like himself, are DESTROYING GOD'S BEAUTIFUL MASTERPIECE-THE EARTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can only PRAY he is changing, based on his statements.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  5. james

    i always said the one thing that i would say to god if i ever meet him is. that i am sorry for what we done to his beautiful world. i also beleive that is how the world willbe destroyed by fire as the bible said. all the carbons and unburnt fuel that we are putting in the atmosphere thru exaust. when the sun gets close enough to the earth it will enight and burn up the earth. WHO KNOWS

    June 22, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
  6. Divinity

    GOD isn't doing this. I do believe that this is a fulfillment of that eerily specific prophecy where the sea would become "as the blood of a dead man" (and although the oil on the surface does indeed "look" red, the reference to it becoming "as the blood of a dead man" is more a reference to the toxicity of it) but because it was prophesied about doesn't mean God is doing it. It means that the disaster was forseen. Scoff if you wish but that's between you and your Maker.

    May 31, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  7. Tom

    I'd bet Turner is a zionist Christian and therefore not a Christian at all. Human stupidity was the cause, Removing the drilling fluid reduced the hydrostatic head causing the kick. The BP company man who ordered the drilling fluid removed should be thrown upon the fire.

    May 20, 2010 at 4:59 am |
  8. Burnie

    It don't matter now wether a person is a born again christian, life believer in God or an atheist, relgion nowadays is nothing but big business for financial gain.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
    • Jim

      Out of the mouth...okay, keyboard...flow the contents of the heart....
      Jesus came to tear down 'religion'...that set of rules by which I know I'm ok...and you're not.
      Without HIm none is ok. With Him anyone can become ok...more than ok...born again, joyful,
      and, since you brought up $$$, giving 1/10th and having more afterwards than before!
      Let him who has ears hear.

      May 19, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
  9. ThomasPaine

    Anyone who worships a god that would send natural disasters to kill people is a worthless human being.

    May 19, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  10. Sal

    Wait a sec... when the Democrats lose in 2010 will that have been an act of God too?

    May 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
  11. Sal

    Ted Turner says this is an act of God?? I thought liberals did not believe in God? I thought God was made up by Right Wing nuts? Oh I see, when it suits them liberals start believing in God. I got it now. Thanks for straightening that out Ted!

    May 19, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
    • Joy

      You *though* wrong. According to the 2007 Barma Group study, 67% of Democrats report that their Christian faith is "important in their life" vs 77% of Republicans.

      August 14, 2010 at 8:32 am |
  12. Carol Russell

    Yes He is sending us a message-return to Me and repent of your sins because judgment is coming upon you. Read your Bible people-see how God deals with unrepentful and sinful nations.

    May 19, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  13. Kreuzer

    Good quick analysis Mavrick. Your response somewhat more considered than simply dismissing Michaels statement as b.s. Oh and Alan B...I do know a little something about oil well drilling. I had to do an analysis of the process back in 1999 when my company was supplying a major drilling outfit with the drilling lubricant.

    May 19, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  14. Jim

    Ok, Dick, we'll get right on that....as soon as we learn to spell and punctuate.

    May 19, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  15. Garry Denke

    "King Arthur, surface the Heel Stone artefacts, or it will be bad 24 June 2010 for you, God"

    (scrivener's error correction)

    May 19, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  16. Garry Denke

    "King Arthur, surface the Heelstone artefacts, or it will bad 24 June 2010 for you, God"

    May 19, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  17. Mahone

    Okay, Ted. And by your own infalable logic, if you suffer a fatal heart attack, or stroke, that will be God sending a message about you. What an infantile way of looking at the world Ted. He's on the same plane, whether he realizes it or not, as those who say AIDS is God punishing behavior. Jeez, what a doltish way of looking at reality.

    May 19, 2010 at 8:35 am |
  18. Mike in Reston, VA

    Ted.... How much "solar and wind power and geo-thermal" stock do you hold and how quickly after the disaster did you sell your BP stock?

    May 19, 2010 at 8:31 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.