By Dan Wooding, January 8, 2000
"Actress Jane Fonda and her husband, media mogul Ted Turner, need prayer, not gossip." So says Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission.
Dr. Baehr, who has met with Ted Turner several times, has called on Christians around the world to pray for Turner and his wife, the movie star and former radical political activist, who have separated in part over Fonda's reported conversion to Christianity. The couple announced Jan. 4 that, while they are committed to the long-term success of their marriage, they "mutually decided to spend some time apart."
Dr. Baehr explained, "A year ago, Ted Turner told his marriage counselor that Jane Fonda was 'trying to make him a saint.' This comment was reported but not followed up by the major media. What he (Ted Turner) was referring to is the fact that, according to reliable sources including correspondence with Jane herself, Jane has accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
"In fact, Ted Turner has complained that several of his closest friends and associates have accepted Christ over the years: key people in Turner Broadcasting, his best fishing buddy and his former paramour.
“Perhaps, God is trying to get Ted Turner's attention. Several years ago, he told Woodstock Baptist Church in an apology for some anti-Christian comments, that, in his youth, he accepted Jesus Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade, but then rejected Jesus when his sister died and his father committed suicide.”
Baehr added, “We need to pray for Ted and Jane and their marriage.”
According to a story by Joseph Farah in his WorldNetDaily, an Internet-based news service, Fonda became a believer in Jesus Christ through conversations with her chauffeur. Farah revealed that Fonda's chauffeur began approaching her about his personal faith in Christ two years ago. At first Fonda was uncomfortable with the conversations, but eventually attended church with the chauffeur, Farah said. She regularly goes to Bible studies and church, and her faith is “very real, very deep.” Her outlook is changing, friends say.
Jane Fonda had incurred the ire of many conservative Christians by backing abortion on demand and is notorious for her support of Communist North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Although she has not publicly discussed her current political views, she reportedly refused to participate in a meditation ceremony at a recent environmental conference and said it would be better to “pray to Jesus Christ,” Farah said. She has alluded to her faith in Christ publicly at least once, in 1998.
Turner has often derided Christians and once called Christianity a “religion for losers.”
While Dr. Baehr said he is deeply disturbed by these kind of comments, he noted, “We have all made mistakes. We've all said and done things we learn to regret. And, that's a feeding ground for a malicious media, which seeks to create scandal and foment sensationalism. Ted and Jane are two very bright and energetic people caught in the glare of the media's celebrity spotlight. They may be doing the right thing by taking time to re-evaluate and re-appreciate one another. Our prayers—and theirs—can resolve the problem. That is the message of this millennium: Look to God, not the media.”