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Ted Turner sorry for anti-faith stance, joins church to fight malaria

April 5, 2008:

Ted Turner, America’s media tycoon who once disparagingly described Christianity as a “religion for losers,” has made a turnaround of sorts.

Describing faith as a “bright spot” in the world and apologizing for his previous criticism of religion, Ted Turner, 69, has launched a $200-million partnership with Lutherans and Methodists to combat malaria in Africa, news agency Associated Press (AP) has reported.

Ted Turner, founder of CNN, had in the 1980s condemned Christianity, and written his own “version” of the Ten Commandments. What is more, in 2001, he asked his employees who commemorated Ash Wednesday whether they were “Jesus freaks,” remarking that they should work for Fox. However, he later apologized for these unkind remarks.

Ted Turner was quoted as saying at a news conference in New York, called to announce the anti-malaria program, “I made a few disparaging comments a long time ago and I’m always developing my thinking as I grows older. I regret anything I said about religion that was negative. As I get older, you know, I get more, you know, more tolerant.”

“Religion,” Turner continued, “is one of the bright spots as far as I’m concerned, even though there are some areas, like everything else, where they’ve gone over the top a little, in my opinion. But I’m sure God, wherever he is, wants to see us get along with one another and love one another.”

Turner said he does not now consider himself agnostic or atheist, as he had sometimes described himself earlier. “I pray for sick friends,” he added, “because it doesn’t hurt.”

He also maintains several churches on his properties for employees and others who live nearby.

Turner said at the news conference that he was familiar with Methodist and Lutheran Churches and praised them for preaching “the brotherhood of man.” He said he has read the Bible “cover to cover twice” even though some of it is “pretty tedious” and that he had, as a boy, considered becoming a missionary.

He said he rejected religion after his younger sister died from a form of lupus when they were both young.

Ted Turner, who still has not completely embraced religion, said he continues to subscribe to his alternative commandments, which he called the ‘Ten Voluntary Initiatives’ which include caring for people and the earth, promising not to have more than two children and contributing to the less fortunate.

On April 1, 2008, Ted Turner’s United Nations Foundation, which he started in 1997 with a donation of $1 billion, launched the anti-malaria program along with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the United Methodist Church.

The Protestant groups, who now collectively have over 15 million members in the United States, have been working overseas against poverty and to prevent disease for over a century now.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made available a $10-million grant to help promote charity campaigns by Churches.

Ted Turner’s foundation is already working with many Church groups in their work in malaria-infected cities and villages. But the new joint project aims to fight malaria aims at stopping deaths from the disease.

In Africa, over 1 million people die of malaria a year, of whom a majority are women, and children under the age of 5.




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