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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. Dan Fulks

    Wow! If Pat Robertson would have said this the media would roasted him. Stephanie Miller says God is a Dem and nobody says a word. If Glenn Beck would say, God is a Conservative the media would lambast him. The media has so many hypocrites.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  2. David7

    Love your response Rick.

    First, as a Christian, I believe that God is in control of all things. But liberals/leftists don't believe that.

    So, why is it okay for a leftist like Turner to say that God may be sending a message ("punishing us") by way of MAN-MADE or MAN-CAUSED disasters (the mine and the oil spill) because we have MORALLY fallen short by drilling offshore and mining in the tops of mountains. We won't hear a peep from the big media about his statment.

    It is only when a Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell or a true conservative says that God may be sending us a message ("punishing us") by way of a NATURAL disaster/phenomenon (an ACT of GOD) such as a hurricane or earthquake because we have MORALLY fallen short with our abortion practices, divroce rates, removal of God from the public square, etc., that we will hear from the big media that those proclaiming such are nut cases, intolerants, bigots, Christian fascists, etc.

    Maybe Mr. Turner or some other leftist out there can explain why you FEEL God would use something that involved MAN to show his displeasure with our immorality? I suggest He would show us how displeased He is with our behavior through His own strength, His awesome power, His control of the world's nature, rather than use man.

    There are so many examples in the Bible. The story of Noah comes to mind.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
    • Jim

      Good, thoughtful commentary. Thanks, David.

      God can and will speak through whoever He wants, however He wants.
      He spoke through a donkey...an ass... and He can interject a comment through
      Ted Turner or the Clinton News Network, or Cirque du soliel....we just need to keep
      our eyes and ears open, and have "ears to hear" what the Spirit says to the Church.

      No-one reading this is without sin...even having expressed some doubt or unbelief. Consider the demon-posessed boy's father's plea: "I do believe; forgive my unbelief."

      This Ted person may be looking for forgiveness of his sin through Jesus... maybe he'll find it...if he's called. Consider Jonah...he didn't want the Ninevites to repent and be saved.

      How many commentators here would like Ted to go to hell? Is that actually Christian? No.
      By their fruit you will know them.

      It ain't over yet.
      Those of you who are offended....is it not because you are guilty of the same things?
      Like I said before: Religion is that set of rules by which I know I'm ok...and you're not.
      Religion is always bad.
      Knowing I'm saved by grace through faith, by Jesus' Blood alone leaves no room for religion.
      The glorious freedom of the children of God leaves lots of room for good works: thank-you notes to God.

      Is God done with Ted? Is He done with you?

      May 19, 2010 at 5:40 am |
  3. GFFm

    Can you imagine if an evangelical had said this. There would be an uproar. Turner is a certifiable KOOK. He sounds like a religious nut of any stripe who blames God for human folly. What an idiot.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  4. Wizzid

    Yes, Ted, God is trying to tell us something, but it's not what you think. Try reading your Holy Bible rather than using it as a doorstop, and I challenge all Christians to read and understand that God does not change. His Holy Commandments were not nullified just because Constantine said so. Read Leviticus 11:9: "These may ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them may ye eat." Sorry shrimpers, oyster fishers, crabbers, clam diggers, et al. All that stuff is not food. Looks like he is finally enforcing his will upon those who have willfully disobeyed his wishes. My advise, find another line of work.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  5. KC Truby

    Ted Turner is a self announced athiest. What is this 'God' stuff all about Ted? Getting a little nervous now that your in the winter of your life?

    May 18, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  6. earl

    Ted Turner is and has always been a fine and staunch American. Yes, along with the rest of humanity he has made his mistakes such as involving himself with the likes of Hollywood and then marrying it. This just goes to show that all of us are vulnerable in one way or another to the temptations of what might be called life in America. Remember that it was Ted that gave a billion of his own dollars to the United Nations [tax deductible of course] to help those across the board. Ted is and always been a true and tested American even when at various stages in American life where it wasn't popular. As far as the belief that he turned religious is utter nonsense. Ted is a person of quality and sensible thinking abilities. He would not immerse himself in such trivial matters regarding this massive hysteria of belief in something so absurd that defies understanding or sensibilities. I could be that Ted, because of old age and inability to rationalize his own feeling because of the constant drum of religion is unable to escape the credibility of his own feelings. That's religion. It sucks. When he dies, we will have lost a very good person. And when he dies he will be dead just like every other person on this earth. No-one, that is, no-one comes ever in recorded or non-recorded history came back from the dead except Elvis, Santa Clause, The Easter Bunny and maybe the Tooth Fairy. Please don't vilify one of our good Americans. Ted, even with all his errors and misplaced faith in others around him, is mostly an honest person. You can tell, because he speaks his convictions. How many people do you know that do that.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
    • NICE NICE TACO

      He should not use the name of the Lord to peddle his personal agenda. That is a big NO NO. He is asking for more trouble than the gulf shores are facing. Just because Ted has deep pockets, doesn't make him a NICE GUY or a good american. He acts like a self-righteous communist.

      May 18, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  7. jubal

    Very amusing, coming from an avowed atheist. And, as God does nothing evil, this comes under the heading of 'malicious mischief' by Lucifer. Finally, no, this would not get BP off the tab for the total cleanup. It happened on their watch, their lease of the platform, their management. If they want to go after the people that fabricated the suppressor or the tower, that's what the courts are for. But BP bears the whole bill.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  8. Jay

    The comments here are unbelievable. Who are we to judge who believes and who doesn't? That's for God to decide. Praise the Lord Ted Turner is speaking out about this issue, he could be right on target. Look where our dependence on foreign oil has gotten us...not to mention the expense. I wonder how much this little BP "mishap" is going to cost us at the pump.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  9. A Funny guy

    Maybe Old Teddy boy did it. he probably thinks him self a god

    May 18, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  10. c'est moi

    No atheists in CNN-holes, eh?

    May 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
  11. F. Thomas Cain

    One gets insight sinto the Liberal mind with the comments of Turner, Woody Allen, Harry Reid, Obama, Holder, Kagan, Napolitano and Nancy Pelosi. They truly suffer from a mental disorder that has turned their brains into dysfuntional , irrational and illogical pieces of grey mush, obsessed with absolute control and domination.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
  12. faith

    God may very well be speaking ( or screaming) Not only about oil, but aborting 4 milllion babies (maybe one of them was supposed to have been our president in lieu of what we have now) Taking God our of schools and government so as to not mention Jesus at all. So we have an increase in tragedies like oil spills, hurricanes, tonadoes, floods (seems like I read that somewhere in the book of Matthew in the Bible where God sent us a letter so we could understand the seasons and times) My prayer is we will seek to listen, learn, and follow what we have read. (and if you have not read the Word of God, my suggestion is you do so quickly) The 10 commandments are not 10 suggestions – GOD

    May 18, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  13. Heartland Patriot

    Everyone wants to blame the government for this one...and as much as I do NOT like this administration, I don't think its their fault...neither do I blame BP corporate...the workers are usually some highly skilled folks who do this work day in and day out...so they probably did as good as a job as they could...I find that mid-level managerial bureaucrats within any organization are often to blame, bean-counting and cutting corners to make themselves look good, taking credit when things go right and finger pointing at bosses for policy and workers for incompetence...look, corporate wants things to go well, that's profit riding on the line...the workers want to do a good job, so they can keep theirs...but the mid-level managers (think OFFICE SPACE), well, they are always ladder climbing...sad, but true and it doesn't matter if it is capitalism or communism, bureaucrats are always there.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  14. kg

    China & India produce much, much, much more pollution than the US. They adhere to no industrial standards in terms of pollution management.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  15. Heartland Patriot

    @GE2 and @ricardo maxwell:

    You guys are spot on...glad to see not everyone is looped on the leftist koolaid.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  16. Chris

    Would someone please tell Ted Turner to just shut up? He is an embarrassment. I can't stand listening to him because he's always saying things like this. Check into his position on overpopulation and his support of the Chinese "method" of population control, which he talked about on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR last year. That said, I have little doubt that conservatives will take what he said while shooting from the hip in an interview and apply it to how all liberals think. Consider, however, that both sides of the political fence have their share of "loonies." Think back to 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina and how folks like Pat Robertson wondered out loud about whether God was sending us a message about our moral bankruptcy. I am sure most thinking conservatives would be offended to be of the same mindset.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  17. Walter R. Dixon

    Well...duh...uh...this the....uhhh..most duhhh...dumbest thing uhh..he has said...uuhh yet uhhhhh.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  18. Kenny

    Its not sabotage, Cindy. I think BP would love for it to be sabotage so they wont have to fork out all this money themselves. It was the gas burst, lack of regulations, faulty equipment (BOP), and incompetent workers or management cutting corners that caused this disaster.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
  19. rick

    Yeah, God is speaking loud and clear her in California where the oil is leaking out of the bottom of the ocean and L.A. is practically floating on oil (La Brea Tar Pits). God is saying stop paying for foreign oil to make arabs rich; he's saying to drill offshore. He's saying to drill off the Gulf Coast before the Chinese (who don't have a good environmental record) begin pumping oil out. He's saying to put America first and put americans to work by building refineries to refine all of the oil that we'll be pumping in order to put the economy back on track.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  20. coast2co

    OUT of Ted Turners and T Boones AbundaNCE OF CASH they can and will pay for higher cost of products in groceries and utilities but what about you the working stiff. You will have to pay higher prices from what you don't have.... THINK about it its about these guys making a ton of cash playing on fears and good feeling Green energy slogans.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:03 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.