Mike Clawson here. I saw this article in the paper today and thought some of you here might be interested.
You maybe remember media-mogul Ted Turner as the guy who once called Christianity a “religion for losers”, asked employees who celebrated Ash Wednesday if they were “Jesus freaks” (and told them they ought to be working for Fox), and joked that the Pope ought to step on a landmine. Turner has said that he rejected religion after his younger sister died of lupus when they were both young.
Apparently Turner has recently had a change of heart as he is now partnering with several major Protestant denominations to raise over $200 million dollars to fight malaria in Africa. Turner will be teaming up with both the mainline (i.e. liberal) Evangelical Lutheran Churches in American and the United Methodist Churches, as well as the significantly more conservative Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod – groups that have already been working overseas to fight poverty and disease for over a century. Turner has likewise been known for his philanthropy and social activism throughout the years.
According to the article, Turner, who used to describe himself as an agnostic or an atheist, now occasionally attends church and has recently apologized for any disparaging comments about religion he had previously made.
What accounts for his change of mind? Turner said that he is “always developing” his thinking. “As I get older, you know, I get more, you know, more tolerant,” Turner said at a news conference. “Religion 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.”
Regardless of what you think of Turner or his apparent “conversion”, it is encouraging to me to see former antagonists set aside the name calling in order to make a real difference in the world for people in desperate need.