Saturday, October 06, 2007



Anyone who's ever read Sinclair Lewis' brilliant book, Elmer Gantry (1927) or, more likely, who has seen the 1960 film adaptation (see clip below) starring Burt Lancaster as the corrupt, hypocritical womanizing model for virtually all evangelical "ministers" who have come on the scene in the past 40 some odd years, won't be surprised that Oral Roberts and his familial crime syndicate are in trouble again.

Today we visited with a former divinity student from Oklahoma, Andrew Rice, who is the polar opposite of Oklahoma's most famous crooked religionist hypocrite Oral Roberts. Andrew wants to help people gain a more just and equitable existence by following simple precepts espoused by Jesus and other great philosophical teachers. Oral Roberts and his fellow shyster-shamen want to use fear and uncertainty to fleece deluded believers, accruing personal wealth and power in the process. Roberts is famous for threatening his flock that God would "take him home" if they didn't contribute money to this scheme or that scheme-- all of which have contributed to his family's rise into the realm of multimillionaires. Like crooked preachers Jim Whittington, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert, John Hagee, Benny Hinn, WV Grant, Pat Robertson, Ted Haggard, Peter Popoff, Robert Tilton, et al, Roberts and his deceitful son have stolen millions and millions of dollars from poor suckers who have bought into their scams.

It looks like the Roberts' family enterprise is starting to crumble under the weight of it's own outrageous and scandalous behavior. Oral's avaricious son Richard, currently head of the phony college they use to rake in the dough in Tulsa, Oral Roberts "University," a joke even for a Buy Bull school, says Gawd is speaking to him. And what is Gawd saying to Roberts? He's telling him to "deny lurid allegations in a lawsuit that threatens to engulf this 44-year-old Bible Belt college in scandal."
Richard Roberts is accused of illegal involvement in a local political campaign and lavish spending at donors' expense, including numerous home remodeling projects, use of the university jet for his daughter's senior trip to the Bahamas, and a red Mercedes convertible and a Lexus SUV for his wife, Lindsay.

She is accused of dropping tens of thousands of dollars on clothes, awarding nonacademic scholarships to friends of her children and sending scores of text messages on university-issued cell phones to people described in the lawsuit as "underage males."

At a chapel service this week on the 5,300-student campus known for its 60-foot-tall bronze sculpture of praying hands, Roberts said God told him: "We live in a litigious society. Anyone can get mad and file a lawsuit against another person whether they have a legitimate case or not. This lawsuit ... is about intimidation, blackmail and extortion."

San Antonio televangelist John Hagee, a member of the ORU board of regents, said the university's executive board "is conducting a full and thorough investigation."

Colleagues fear for the reputation of the university and the future of the Roberts' ministry, which grew from Southern tent revivals to one of the most successful evangelical empires in the country, hauling in tens of millions of dollars in contributions a year. The university reported nearly $76 million in revenue in 2005, according to the IRS.

Oral Roberts is 89 and lives in California. He holds the title of chancellor, but the university describes him as semi-retired, and his son presides over day-to-day operations on the campus, which had a modern, space-age design when it was built in the early 1960s but now looks dated, like Disney's Tomorrowland.

Cornell Cross II, a senior from Burlington, Vt., said he is looking to transfer to another school because the scandal has "severely devalued and hurt the reputation of my degree."

"We have asked and asked and asked to see the finances of our school and what they're doing with our money, and we've been told no," said, Cross who is majoring in government. "Now we know why. As a student, I'm not going to stand for it any longer."

The allegations are contained in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by three former professors. They sued ORU and Roberts, alleging they were wrongfully dismissed after reporting the school's involvement in a local political race.

This scandal mixes, religionist nonsense with right-wing politics, sexual perversion, graft and corruption and simple swindling-- all the hallmarks of today's Republican Party, except so far there is no connection to anyone molesting young boys or bothering folking trying to move their bowels in a public restroom. But it's just beginning and, after all, this is the Oral Roberts family we're talking about. So anything-- and I mean anything-- goes. Will Republican members of the Senate and House want to condemn these folks too?

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At 5:50 AM, Anonymous Helen Rainier said...

Very interesting article. I remember years ago, Oral Roberts described seeing an 80 foot Jesus telling him to do something (can't remember what it was any more). Funny, I grew up in a "Christian" home (go to Sunday School, church every Sunday). My mother was the one who did this -- my dad didn't normally attend weekly services but would go on "special" Sundays, such as Christmas, Easter. As soon as I was confirmed, I stopped attending and spent most of my adult years as an agnostic and adopting more of a "humanist" set of values by which to live my life. Got married in early 40s, started attending Assembly of God services, got caught up in the emotional aspect of religious belief, but still couldn't completely let go of my rational, humanistic values. Finally got divorced about 6 months ago (after a 12-year marriage), left my home state, moved halfway across the country and have returned to my humanist values and I am a much happier and more well-adjusted person now than at any time when I tried "pretending" to be a "Bible believing Christian."

At 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I see where you are coming from! Instead of listening to folks who, whatever their minor faults, are bathed in the Saving Blood of Jesus Christ, and dryed with the rough toweling of Eternal Inerrancies, than dressed in the Buckler, Shield and Armor of the Holy Ghost, you would rather we listen to a bunch of "sexual humorists" and the davanings of those who would Directly Deny the Divinity of Jesus, and have big noses, besides. I'm talkin' about the Jooooos, baby! Maybe you don't like the Roberts imbroglio (which, so far as we know, does not involve a seraglio, yet) but would you rather than Jews, unshriven, unnanealed took over?

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You know you can't justify your decision to reject the teachings of Jesus because of the religious scandal of the day.


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