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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 • Money & Faith

soundoff (388 Responses)
  1. FLaDave

    " The mouth of the South"??? How about just "The mouth". Fact is, he isnt much more than soem washed up, has been, nut job. Why CNN would interview him and give him the slghtest bit of credibility is mind boggeling. Oh, yeah, thats right, he owns it. I guess thats why no REAL network news covers him.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:22 am |
  2. terri

    Ted Turner is linked to our powerful leaders-MAURICE STRONG- GEORGE SOROS-OBAMA whom are all linked to Chicago Climate Exchange. Who was responsible for errecting the GEORGIA GUIDESTONES which reads the world population should consist of no more than 500,000 million?????? That means NINE-tenths of us MUST GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 18, 2010 at 7:21 am |
  3. Jim

    athiests are often most religious.
    Religion: that set of rules by which I know I'm ok....and you're not.
    CNN: Earth-god Speaks Vomit.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:18 am |
  4. alan77

    Ted what are you going to use to replace oil with? Wind and solar? Are you kidding? Any real engineer (like me) will tell you wind and solar have low limits in producing power. Can be part of a solution but only a small part. Did God tell you he wants us to stop digging for coal and oil? Ted, why did God put coal and oil on the earth anyway? Just to sit there. Maybe we should stop cutting trees, growing crops, using water, making products, wearing clothes and just die. Is that what you want TED? You are an elitist maxist white rich idiot. You have no real world solutions .

    May 18, 2010 at 7:17 am |
  5. OldmanJoe

    Mr. Turner. If you believe God is asking us to stop drilling then you must do your part "Do as I say not as I do" doesn't impress me. If you're the great prognosticator you claim, it is your duty to eschew all petroleum based products and live as an example to others. Thank you.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:16 am |
  6. greatcaesarsghost

    Ted, that's not God in your ear, that's Gerald Levin whispering "A...O...L".

    May 18, 2010 at 7:14 am |
    • lili

      AOL

      LOL!!!

      Very good!

      May 18, 2010 at 7:54 am |
  7. Mike

    How is this any better than the Iranian cleric who says that women who wear revealing clothing cause earthquakes, or the Westboro wacko that says that God is killing US service members because of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy? This is a disgusting effort to claim a twisted "divine" right for a stated political policy. REJECT THIS INSANITY!

    May 18, 2010 at 7:12 am |
  8. William

    This is a perfect example of someone demonstrating that they are theologically ignorant and have no capacity to use logic. Why would God destroy the environment in order to send a message not to destroy the environment? I will begin reducing my energy consumption by turning of CNN and the nitwitted comments of Ted Turner.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:11 am |
  9. scout

    Must be armagedon. The left is using God. Perhaps we need to sacrifice some virgins to appease the Gods. That worked in the past.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:10 am |
    • lili

      Planned Parenthood sacrifices virgins all the time!~

      May 18, 2010 at 7:53 am |
  10. ricardo maxwell

    Besides the fact that this man is a proven whack job, the question arises, if no drilling what becomes of this country? How would folks see to eat his expensive buffalo steaks or watch his far left liberal programming? The left (aka Democrats) in this country prove daily that they are becoming more and more disconnected from reality.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:07 am |
    • Buck Wilder

      disconnected from reality? when was the last time you ate a Burger cooked on Oil or any petroleum product?...we will still have energy/electrity at hand. Im no tree hugger and I dont think wind/solar are plausable but we do have other options like HHO or Browns gas made from water, small nucleur reactors and other forms of clean energy. we all have to admit Oil is bad for our stance in the world and only empowers the wicked. But as long as we are all fighting amongst ourselves and nothing really gets done anymore than Ted Turner and his fraternal buddy Rupert Murdoch are doing their job as NWO propaganda wing well.

      May 18, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
  11. JF

    You wanna see a liberal get religion *real* fast? Give them an opportunity to politicize it!

    May 18, 2010 at 7:06 am |
  12. Orrin

    God commanded man to use the earth for his comfort. therefore, I can have my gasoline, my deermeat, and my wife can have a fur coat if she chooses. Ted Turner and the rest of the eco-crazies trying to run our country inot the ground for Social Justice should be used to stop that leak up. it would be the last and probably o9nly useful thing they ever did for humanity.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:05 am |
    • JQ

      "The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." (Genesis 2:15)

      In other words, God told Adam to take care of his environment.

      May 18, 2010 at 10:22 am |
  13. ak4mc

    It is predictable and ridiculous that a guy like Ted Turner who claims to be an atheist suddenly rediscovers His existence when it suits his politics. Turner's like a lot of atheists in that he doesn't really disbelieves God's existence so much as he pretends to do so out of a fit of selfish pique because God isn't running the universe the way Red Ted thinks He should.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:04 am |
    • Wyrdless

      Right .... Atheists don't believe in god because they secertly believe in god and want to spite him? Weird

      Atheists don't believe in god because god doesn't exist. just like the gods of olympus don't exist or the gods of zoraster. Its a big myth to unify tribes, and enforce morality. Its been used forever, Machiavelli talked about using religion to manipulate society.

      You don't really think that you can live forever by devoting an hour a week to telepathically communicating obedience to a dead jew and eating a piece of breadl? Do you?

      May 18, 2010 at 8:36 am |
    • Dude

      Wyrdless doesn't know the difference between religious ritual and faith, so he picks what seems like the most absurd aspects to paint the whole thing. Truly faithful people don't spend "an hour a week" being so. Funny thing with atheists – they claim to have no religion but actually do. They set themselves up as god and put blind faith in their own understanding. Or they worship the creation itself in the form of Nature or Earth or whatever.

      By the way, many atheists do in fact choose atheism as a way of punishing a God that they are angry at. That's why they get so angry at any discussion of God. That's why they spend so much time trying to harm other people's faith.

      May 18, 2010 at 8:52 am |
    • Kreuzer

      Gosh wyrdless...you truly don't understand Christianity nor Faith in general. Nobody believes in God the way the way you put it. Its easy to make disparaging remarks about something you don't know...which is something Ted turner likes to do. He's proof that money does not make you wise.

      May 18, 2010 at 10:38 am |
    • Darrell

      > By the way, many atheists do in fact choose atheism as a way of punishing a God that they are angry at. That's why they get so angry at any discussion of God. That's why they spend so much time trying to harm other people's faith.

      When you think, your religion just goes away.

      May 18, 2010 at 10:59 am |
    • Jim

      You guys are responding wisely....
      I'll add it again here..just to keep it local:
      Religion: that set of rules by which I know I'm ok...and you're not.

      May 19, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  14. Mike

    If God is sending a message, it's probably... Hey... I put the oil right under the ground for you, what the heck are you doing drilling 20 miles off shore and 5,000 feet deep.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:04 am |
    • HeavyD

      Mike – EXACTLY! Why are we out there when there is plenty on dry land! Oh yeah, the treehuggers can't drive their Subarus out the rigs to protest! Ted talking about God, is like Obama talking about jobs. Neither know a thing about them or what they are for.....

      May 19, 2010 at 5:27 am |
    • Jim

      Hey HD watch it about my stupidbru.
      More like Chevrolet, now that the gvt and unions own it.

      May 19, 2010 at 10:31 am |
  15. ricardo maxwell

    There is more intelligence and rational thought contained in your post than in ALL of Washington DC at present.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:04 am |
  16. Vidbizz

    Just how many people would be able to watch all his stations on alt fuels? How would all of his stations be powered? Idiot.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:02 am |
  17. Steven

    All this coming from a communist / atheist.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:00 am |
  18. 2amendment

    Ted Turner is an atheist. Ted Turner is a socialist. Ted Turner belongs to the church of global warming. Ted Turner can't be taken seriously.Ted Turner was married to Jane Fonda-enough said.

    May 18, 2010 at 6:55 am |
    • Darrell

      "Christianity: The belief that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree."

      Yeah, people who don't believe this shouldn't be taken seriously. Ri-i–ght.

      May 18, 2010 at 10:12 am |
    • Me

      It is not a symbol....Protestant!!!!

      May 18, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
    • Redford

      Darrel, you are two dollars worth of chemicals and fifteen gallons of water for a net worth of about seventeen bucks if you buy the water. How's that for literal.

      May 18, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  19. GE2

    "Somewhat religious" ? Seriously?

    This is the ultimate example of taking God's name in vain. This is directly to related to making money. What type of alternative energy source do you suppose his money is invested in.
    So sad.

    We need to pray for our country that we will turn back to God all the time, not just in times of crisis.

    May 18, 2010 at 6:54 am |
    • Darrell

      No, you need to STOP praying and start using your brain. Praying is the exact opposite of thinking.

      May 18, 2010 at 10:11 am |
    • Not Darrell

      Praying is the opposite of thinking? Apparently being atheist is the opposite of being intelligent.

      You evangelical atheists really need to get hobbies. You might end up with a friend or two. And no, your atheist "friends" don't count, because they won't help you if you're in trouble.

      May 18, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • Darcy

      "What type of alternative energy source do you suppose his money is invested in."

      That's the exact same thought I had when I read this article. Follow the money. What does Ted stand to gain if we make coal and petroleum illegal? On second thought, whe really cares what Ted thinks. Except maybe a network owned by him...

      May 18, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  20. Sean B

    I'm a supporter of alternative fuels as much as he is, but seriously? God is going to kill a dozen people and countless animals to get us to change fuel sources?

    May 17, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
    • ricardo maxwell

      Just another example of the looney tunes on the left. The sooner we purge ourselves of these left wing radicals in Washington, the sooner our country gets back on track.

      May 18, 2010 at 7:01 am |
    • Hazmat77

      Ted Turner? I thought he was relegated to stud service on the Turner Horse Ranch?

      *
      He is not a real religious person but is somewhat religious....just what does this nonsensical statement actually mean? Surely if GOD wants to speak to Americans, he/she/it has the technological methods to contact all of us directly.

      May 18, 2010 at 8:14 am |
    • nancy

      God didn't kill them!!! Humans did you idiot!!

      May 18, 2010 at 9:43 am |
    • Cindy

      Could it have been sabotage? Has that been looked into?

      May 18, 2010 at 10:14 am |
    • Spider

      It's God's work? That's a rather odd comment coming from a self-professed communist. Then again, comrade Turner has apparently joined the Dan (i'm hearing those voices in my head again) Rather school of irrational blathering.

      May 18, 2010 at 10:18 am |
    • Yvonne W

      Ted Turner, you are an idiot!

      May 18, 2010 at 10:44 am |
    • Fed up Tax Payer

      Religion! A total waste of time, money and lives!
      Hey Teddy! How about controling the population!
      How about punishing stupid people for pumping out too many kids!!
      Remember
      The less people, the less oil needed!!

      May 18, 2010 at 11:15 am |
    • TDC

      Wait a minute. Ted Turner has long claimed to be an atheist! How convenient for him.

      May 18, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
    • slorgg

      What about technology withheld? If we could produce a free form of energy would those that wish to charge us for the energy withhold that kind of information?

      May 18, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
    • Steve

      Turner is an atheist , so his comment not sincere.

      May 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
    • ET

      Ted Turner = " THE ATHIEST OF THE SOUTH '

      May 18, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
    • jon N jonsson

      TT doesnt believe in God!
      Do not listen to him...

      May 18, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • nicap

      Is anyone aware that the mental midget actually reads these posts? I am sending the UN a bill for 1 Billion Dollars to pay back what stupid paid them. THIS PART IS IN CAPS SO TED CAN BE SURE TO READ IT.

      May 18, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • R Dinsdale

      Who does Mr. Turner think God is? I always find it interesting when people who don't have a clue who God is speculate on what He is doing. God created the universe and is in control of all things, One day, every knee will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord when they see Him in the Second Coming which when you observe everything that is happening, might be sooner than we think.

      May 18, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
    • The MoM

      I think it's not God at all, It's you and me! that's right human beings. If we had our troops back on the USA land we would have a hand on things, the Americana working for the American people that live in and around the Gulf of Mexico. Also for people who live on the Oceans coasts or for that matter it's for the people that live on any body of water or who loves an Ocean View & the tranquil feeling you get from just being on the Ocean or on the beaches, what a great way to feel and experiencing the beauty of God. The children of the "60's where are you? And where are your children, where are the human race?

      May 29, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
    • The MoM

      "God" I hope will come to all of our consciousness that there is an alternative fuel. But "God" The Highness Power who made us think and to CARE...No "GOD" did not do this. Greed, with the Freedom to think did. Bring the Troops back to save us!

      I'm a supporter of fuels as much as he is, but seriously? God is going to kill a dozen people and countless animals to get us to change fuel sources?

      May 30, 2010 at 7:22 am |
    • Zon Moy

      Actually that is exactly the way I would expect the evil that is god to act.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:01 am |
    • Enoughalready

      Quite frankly I am tired of people saying that God does bad things. Lets get this straight, God is good and as he may allow bad things to happen he does’nt cause them. I do believe our nation needs to get back to the basics. As for controlling population, that is nothing more than killing and killing is wrong. We are a Christian nation, our nation was founded by our forefathers based on their love and faith in Jesus. Is God trying to tell us something? Oh yes Mr. Turner he sure is but I don’t think he is telling us not to use coal or oil as he provided us with them. I do think there is a clear message of how greed, laziness, turning our back against Israel, hatred for one another, selfishness, self absorbed attitudes, and placing money before a human life and God is a clear message on how it is not going to get any of us anywhere, think about it..how can it? We are not perfect but we really need to extend our hands to one another. One more thing in regard to God there are no gray areas either you are with him or against him and if you remain in the gray area your not with him. God Bless

      July 21, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
    • Joy

      Why wouldn't God kill a bunch of people and animals to get His message across? Noah & the Flood, anyone? I am an atheist so I don't believe the Gulf oil spill is a message from any god, but I find it amusing that so many people are insisting it can't possibly be God considering the death and destruction attributed to "God" in the Bible. Why do people believe those stories but insist Ted Turner must be wrong?

      August 14, 2010 at 7:56 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.