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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. ted Cory

    You piant a sad picture of your life darrel with your postings. You can tell you are a sad, "I hate the world" person.Spends most of his life at home in front of the TV & Computer. Divorced at least one. Go on deny it now, but group and review your postings. They paint an easy to read, paint by numbers picture of a man hating what life has dealt him. Hates everything and anything others like and get joy from. Good luck bubba.

    May 18, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  2. Joe

    Funny, an avowed atheist divining Gods Will.

    May 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  3. John

    As nutty as Ted Turner is, I agree with the bottom line message. We desperately need to start developing alternate forms of energy. Once the U.S. does this, other nations will follow and the price of oil will plumet. Then these arab countries won't be able to aford messing with the west.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  4. ONTIME

    Ted is a accomplished man, a man blessed with some talent but lacking in commonsense when it comes to judging his own self importance....Ted, if your going to speak to God, verify it and try and get it on tape.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  5. Sam

    Wow, maybe we should stop blaming God for every bad thing that happens. The God of the New Testament is a God of Love – pure love. He loves His creation and He would NOT kill people. If your child decided to do something, would you kill him? God is not a child abuser – we need to stop labeling Him as one. Do you think perhaps the deaths could be attributed to man? Aren't we the ones who tried to drill? We need to get over the old testament mentality of God and understand that our New Testament God would never kill people – He is so full of love that He wants to save people. Man has brought death upon humanity, not God!

    May 18, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • Jake

      You got that right! God wouldn't kill people; He's not a murder, nor is He a child abuser. Maybe we should try attributing the good stuff to God instead of all the bad stuff. Even though Ted Turner is acknowledging God exists, he seems to have a twisted idea of Him because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a God Who sent His only Son to die for His children wouldn't turn around and kill His children – that mentality makes no sense whatsoever. I hope Ted Turner ends up discovering the God of love and mercy. If anything happens to this country, its entirely our fault, not God's.

      May 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • Jim

      Good stuff, Jake and Sam.
      Just remember, though, that we're not all His children.
      John 1 describes how we came to have the right to become children of God.

      May 19, 2010 at 6:06 am |
  6. the town dullard

    Just Google: Ted Turner invest in green.
    His intentions will become a lot clearer.

    He might as well come out and say "people who believe in god are stupid". It is obvious that this is what he thinks.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • GREEN GOD

      GO GREEN

      Money GREEN

      July 24, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  7. aPatriot

    Ted is waking up to the fact that God does exist. God has said that all of His creation...the Earth and the Universe is evidence of His existence so that no one has any excuse for not believing in Him. Cut the guy some slack. All of us have made mistakes. Better to "find the light" toward the end of your years than to remain forever in the dark.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  8. Jack

    Ted, there really is no such thing as an athiest. Jesus himself said that "men supress the truth in unblief", not because they really believe there is no God, but "because their deeds are evil." Those are the very words of Christ from John chapter 3. Ever hear the old saying, "There are no athiests in fox holes?" It's true, and when we come to understand the full ecological and economic impact of this disaster, there will be a lot of people who will no longer be athiests because they will know that God has judged us. Just imagine, the fisharies of the entire Gulf, much of the Caribbean and the east coast of the US destroyed along with the recreational value of the beaches. This is truly a plague.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  9. Tom

    Ted Turner invoking God . . . now that's precious! 5 years ago he was lecturing the world on how only idiots believe in God.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  10. mike

    Will he be made to apologize like Jerry Falwell was? I doubt it. Being a liberal means never having to say you're sorry....no matter how stupid your comment.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  11. Jack

    GOD IS SOVEREIGN

    If you look to see what the Bible says, it tells us in the book of Collosians that "God works all things together after the counsel of his will." In other word's He is sovereign and the PRIMARY cause behind all SECONDARY causes, though He is always without sin. In short, God has the RIGHT and the POWER to JUDGE, and he uses all means to do it, including the actions and inactions of men (i.e., people).

    We also see God's judgement on wicked nations throughout the Old Testament, first with the plagues of Egypt and then with Israel's falling away and consequential defeats and captivity. In this same way, though BP and that other company are responsible, they are secondary causes. God is the primary cause and this massive oil spill, which very well may destroy the entire Gulf of Mexico, is a plague on the United States. What? Did we think that we could have freedom to be a nation of perverts and pre-born baby murders simply by electing liberal officials who would appoint unrighteous Supreme Court Justices? No, no. Our nation was improbably raised up, in the words of Ben Franklin, with the aid of God. And it will be raised to the ground too by His very hand. And the wicked will be absolutely humbled to the dust.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:35 am |
    • Jim

      Raised then razed.
      Be ready to be like Corrie ten Boom.
      The darker it gets, the brighter the light will shine.

      May 19, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  12. Ted

    Funny, this man is an atheist. He now says maybe God is sending us a message? I think maybe Ted wants us to do what Ted wants us to do... I would like to know where he is investing his money? Alternative energy now? Drill, but drill safely!

    May 18, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  13. Juan Moran

    LOL I wonder if teddy would consider that maybe it was caused by scantly clad women. Go make beef-a-lo burgers teddy and shuddup, we regard your opinion same as jimmy carter, to old fewls that will not stay in their padded rooms.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  14. sbenard

    I thought Ted Turner was a self-declared atheist! I hardly think he is now the voice for God, since he doesn't even believe in Him! It's more likely he's listening to the voice of the opposition!

    May 18, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  15. Jack

    GOD IS SOVEREIGN

    If you look to see what the Bible says, it tells us in the book of Collosians that "God works all things together after the counsel of his will." In other word's He is sovereign and the PRIMARY cause behind all SECONDARY causes, though He is always without sin. In short, God has the RIGHT and the POWER to JUDGE, and he uses all means to do it, including the actions and inactions of men (i.e., people).

    We also see God's judgement on wicked nations throughout the Old Testament, first with the plagues of Egypt and then with Israel's falling away and consequential defeats and captivity. In this same way, though BP and that other company are responsible, they are secondary causes. God is the primary cause and this massive oil spill, which very well may destroy the entire Gulf of Mexico, is a plague on the United States. What? Did we think that we could have freedom to be a nation of perverts and pre-born baby murders simply by electing liberal officials who would appoint unrighteous Supreme Court Justices? No, no. Our nation was improbably raised up, in the words of Ben Franklin, with the aid of God. And it will be raised to the ground too by His very hand. And the wicked will be absolutely humbled to the dust.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  16. Evie

    For someone who does not believe in God, how does he think he knows what God would or would not do. This guy is a total embarrassment to himself....give a guy a little dumb luck and all of a sudden he thinks he's smart?! Fools names and fools faces are often seen in public place.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  17. Dee

    Can you imagine if Rupert Murdoch had said something like this?!

    The liberals would be calling for a boycott of Fox News

    May 18, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  18. jackspratt1

    God has already spoken – in His Word – pay attention – repent believe on His Son Jesus for the forgiveness of sin against Him and you will be saved

    May 18, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  19. Milt

    Since when did Ted find God?

    When Jane left?

    May 18, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  20. Bothpartiessuck

    If by god you mean the CIA worked it's magic once again to create a crisis to strip us of more tax payer money and our freedom then I will agree. God "CIA" is telling us something. We have a government who openly says never let a crisis go to waste and now this? Right when a drill bill is on the table an oil rig blows up, twice? I think god "CIA" wants us to focus our attention to the natural resources "terrorists" in the middle east. How do you investigate an explosion when the rig is on the bottom of the ocean? Brilliant!

    May 18, 2010 at 11:14 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.