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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. ann

    I thought Ted Turner didn't believe in God.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  2. Dave

    Ted Turner....the SAME Ted Turner that doesn't believe in GOD. Now he can interpret his messages? Ya right Ted.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  3. Rocco

    Something tells me Ted's got "voices" talking to him all the time.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  4. Cleatus

    God is already here and He is in the WhiteHouse accordind to Cris Noballs!!

    May 18, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  5. Tom

    Sure come time for politics , ted becomes a FAITH HEALER! spit in your face TED TURNER!

    May 18, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  6. EagleHawk

    And now that I think about it, didn't Jane Fonda leave him because he couldn't stand her becoming a born-again Christian?

    May 18, 2010 at 10:59 am |
  7. Joan

    Can you imagine the furor from the liberal press if Pat Robertson had sad such a thing?

    May 18, 2010 at 10:59 am |
  8. EagleHawk

    How are Turner's comments any less stupid than Pat Robertson's comments about God punishing us with hurricanes?

    May 18, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  9. Brian P

    Uh Ted. God put the oil there in the first place
    and you are the LAST person I would consult for theological matters. Especially after you've spent years ripping Christians.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  10. Ratt Stone

    Well, it finally happened, Ted snapped.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:46 am |
  11. Gary Johnson

    I thought Ted Turner thought he WAS God.....

    May 18, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  12. SgtHulka

    For a man who detest religion, his citing God as a reference for his viewpoint is beyond comical.

    Time to up the lithium dosage, Ted.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  13. rdk

    Good old Ted. A godless man until he sees some advantage in invoking the deity.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  14. kj

    Hey Ted, is this the same God who brought Katrina to New Orleans? We would appreciate your theological opinion on why God did that...

    May 18, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  15. Brad

    Let's see, when men purposefully drill into the ground and an accident results because of their actions, it's God's will, and not just an direct effect of their causal actions. However, when an earthquake happens, following no causal action of man, we are told by liberals that it cannot reflect God's will.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:26 am |
    • kw

      Reasonable deduction. Now that is critical thinking.

      May 18, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
    • Jim

      Good, kw.
      Thanks Jesus, there are some intelligent persons among us.
      We are not alone.
      Please give us wisdom.
      Thanks!!

      May 19, 2010 at 10:46 am |
  16. Mark

    Wonder what Ted thought about similar comments from Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson? Way different subject but the same idea.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  17. Just Curious

    Darrell wrote: "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."

    Darrell, would you please tell us your definition of Islam? Judaism? Buddhism?

    May 18, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  18. jeff

    what of course is failed to be reported is that the amount of oil is still a drop in the bucket compared to the amount that NATURALLY seeps into the ocean annually. and the real cause of this is the environuts who have forced drilling further offshore where they must drill deeper and far more riskier. The goal seems obvious get the U.S. to quit drilling so we must spend our money with other countries (who happen to drill off our coast in international waters) and continue to drag our economy down

    May 18, 2010 at 10:22 am |
  19. Cindy

    Could it have been sabotage?

    May 18, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  20. Ray Magee

    Hey Ted. I hours of video where you say you don't believe in god. Are you a liar or just another lieberal hypocrite.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:16 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.