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Ted Turner uses churches for malaria campaign

Ted Turner, known for creating the Cable News Network and for calling Christianity "a religion for losers" is joining with Lutherans and Methodists to raise money to fight malaria in Africa. Methodists and Lutherans promise to raise over $200 million.

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Ted Turner, who once called Christianity "a religion for losers" has launched a joint initiative with Lutherans and Methodists in the United States to raise US$200 million to fight malaria in Africa.

Best known globally for creating the Cable News Network, the 69-year-old Turner on 1 April launched the anti-malaria project through his United Nations Foundation. Other partners in the campaign are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the United Methodist Church.

The CNN founder made the announcement at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, while flanked by Methodist and Lutheran leaders.

Turner said he had become more tolerant of religion and regretted anything he may have said concerning it in the past that was negative.

"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," Turner told the Associated Press. "But I'm sure God, wherever he is, wants to see us get along with one another and love one another."

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has also provided a $10 million grant that will help promote the campaign in churches.

The Rev. John Nunes, president and chief executive of Lutheran World Relief, told journalists, "This will be the largest campaign of its type ever for Lutherans."

Texas Bishop Janice Huie, president of the Methodist Council of Bishops, said her denomination would raise more $100 million over several years for the project.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, with their humanitarian arm Lutheran World Relief, will raise between $75 million and $100 million.

Turner told his UN audience the initiative "will take our malaria prevention efforts to an entirely new level".

The United Methodist Church has nine million members in the US and 12 million worldwide. The church has been involved in missionary work and poverty alleviation around the world for more than 160 years.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod together have eight million members in the United States and 70 million worldwide.

Each year, malaria kills more than one million people, who are mostly women and children under the age of five in Africa.

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