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. B Ford

    Ted Turner is an atheist. Whenever an atheist talks about God, it's only so he can either mock God, or mock those who believe in God. So for Teddy Boy to talk about God is nothing but a joke and he knows it - and he'll pay for it in God's time. Now, let's talk about Ted Turner - the bi-polar, cross-dressing nutjob. Yes, I said cross-dressing - because the secret is out - this guy loves to wear woman's clothes when he's alone. This man is a human train wreck and every who knows him knows this. He's a sad and he's a sick man - and he's very alone. But he's also a man who mocks God and I pity what's coming his way. Ted, enjoy your life on this earth as much as you can because you're going to be dead a whole lot longer than you'll ever be alive. And that's when God will mock you.

    May 18, 2010 at 9:15 am |
    • kw

      Careful!!! If Ted repents on his death bed you might have to spend eternity with him. 🙂

      May 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • Jim

      ...but kw, eternity with Ted beats the crap outa eternity alone...

      ps eternity swallows-up time. Christians are there already.
      Adopt His Name: I AM.

      May 19, 2010 at 5:59 am |
  2. Pete

    My God doesn't punish us. He's a loving God that wants us all to succeed.

    I hope Ted reflects on that statement. It was not well thought out before spoken.

    Or as my dad would say, "That dog don't hunt."

    May 18, 2010 at 9:12 am |
    • hoppy


      You're Ross Perot's son?

      May 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm |

      Your God certainly has many facets and righteousness is one of them too. You are wrong if you think God will not judge all of us and rightfully so. He is loving but he is also just. The wages of sin is death. These are not just words but truth. Your view of God is not balanced. Please refer to the Bible for many references of just acts by God.

      May 18, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
    • Jim

      Excellent, NICE NICE TACO.

      and remember the Brasillian saying,
      "Who don't have dog hunt with cat."

      May 19, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  3. Nick in Virginia

    This from the guy who ridiculed religion just a few years ago, calling people (his employees) who believe in it and celebrated its traditions "Jesus freaks".

    Turner long ago became totally insufferable. Maybe that's what it takes to become rich. But being rich doesn't mean he knows what he is talking about.

    May 18, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  4. CFlyJuice

    I guess the Liberals God wacks 11 platform workers to send a message to us.

    May 18, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  5. captinjoe

    Still trying t to figure out what message God is trying to tell us by putting you Turner on this earth!!!!!!

    May 18, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  6. Rob

    Whoa, just hold on a second. Isn't this the same guy who split with Jane Fonda because he thought her newfound religious values were ridiculous. I agree with one of the previous posters who noted that Ted Turner only invokes religion when it suits his political purpose. I'd also be willing to bet ol' Ted has plenty of petroleum stock in his portfolio, stock that is sure to go up when oil prices go up due to the over reaction to this spill. Note, when I say over reaction I'm not talking about the environmental impact, which I'm sure is significant, but in terms of supply, this spill should not cause prices to rise.

    May 18, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  7. Q

    Another secular lib using God when it's convenient for them. You think God appreciates being used as a politcal pawn by people who rarely if ever step foot in inside a chruch? Hell was made for people who behave this way.

    May 18, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  8. Freedomfirst13

    Isn’t it funny how when Pat Robertson or Jerry Fallwell (RIP) or the Pope offers an opinion that “Maybe God is trying to show us something” the left howls and mocks and maligns those leaders with every ounce of strength in them, but when the likes of Ted Turner speaks we should all take it as Divine Revelation”. What a clown.
    I rather think that maybe God is thinking: “ I put that stuff in the ground right where I did so you could use it to create energy to keep yourselves warm and healthy and free! And so that you could use the energy to travel the world to spread the gospel…. It’s about time you went and got it!

    May 18, 2010 at 8:53 am |
    • kw

      This is exactly what I planned to say...but you have said it splendidly. Thanks.

      May 18, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  9. Sam

    Why does CNN give this guy any airtime? No wonder FOX is kicking their butt in the ratings.

    May 18, 2010 at 8:49 am |
  10. Kreuzer

    If you had read Michael's post carefully, you would have seen that he never said "...collapse a steel pipe...". No, these are all pretty sound ideas, and it's possible that the experts considered them. But without knowing all the data relevant to the situation, we're limited to arm chair engineering here.

    May 18, 2010 at 8:49 am |
  11. welovetheUSA

    Idoit liberal.....using God for your own agenda....We must have oil to survive as a country, period.

    May 18, 2010 at 8:49 am |
  12. Bob

    This coming from an Atheist. What a loon.

    May 18, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  13. Bruce Rutty

    Now Ted Turner is a meesanger of God. I seem to remeber Ted saying there was no God. I welcome the conversion and hope he spreads the word to his friends that God is alive and well, unlike CNN.

    May 18, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  14. ScottK-n-Texas

    you pretty much know that if the words Ted Turner and God are both in a story, you can pretty much laugh it off. Everyone knows how Mr. Turner views God.

    May 18, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  15. Frank Verdi

    Another thing Ted might consider is to possibly hydrate with some Gatorade, wheatgrass juice, or perhaps a ginseng concoction – His brain has obviously schrivelled...

    May 18, 2010 at 8:41 am |
  16. ADM

    Too much hooch and drugs has turned poor Ted's brain to mush.

    May 18, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  17. Scott

    Funny how some people find God when they near the end of their life. Ted Turner is just hedging his bets. He'll probably be passing away in the next 5 to 10 years and he figures...."Why not give religion a shot just in case?"

    May 18, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  18. Suebee

    And with all the automobile accidents that kill more people than all the fossil fuel excavation, maybe God is telling us not to drive cars. Ted, honey, think.

    May 18, 2010 at 8:38 am |
  19. PaRonVeritas

    For a guy who professes his atheism, Ted Turner now mentions "God." He mocked Christianity in the past.
    Has a conversion taken place? No, of course not. His use of the word, "God, is simply an empty gesture
    to get a point across which is "no drilling" in this case.
    As with so many politicians who lie consistently and with no shame, Ted lies to his own self because he could
    care less about the True and Eternal God Who created all things. Turner turned his back on Christianity a long time
    ago. Again, this is the man who mocks Jesus Christ as God and founder of His Church.

    May 18, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  20. dwcokla

    If God is telling us anything, He is saying don't Go against ISRAEL.... One month after Bush's State Dept. forced the Israelis to give up the Gaza Strip, we had Katrina.. Obama is giving ISRAEL a dose of grief, and we get what will be the biggest oil spill in History..
    Obama should change direction in Israel, or we will see things happen which are much worse than a simple OIL spill.

    May 18, 2010 at 8:34 am |
    • kw

      Hmmmm....this is a possibility. Remember the 6 day war in the 1960s? This could be very interesting research. That several thousand year old promise might still be active today...'Those who bless you will be blessed, those who curse you will be cursed'.

      May 18, 2010 at 12:57 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.