Here’s how The New York Times reports the latest scandal at Oral Roberts University:
By GRETEL C. KOVACH
Published: November 28, 2007
DALLAS, Nov. 27 — Oral Roberts University’s regents announced Tuesday that they would legally and financially separate the university from the ministry headed by Richard Roberts, the television evangelist accused last month in a lawsuit of tapping university and ministry money to finance a lavish lifestyle .
The regents also decided during a two-day closed-door meeting to accept the resignation of Dr. Roberts, who began a leave of absence Oct. 17 from his position as university president when he and his wife, Lindsay Roberts, were accused of financial and personal misconduct.
University officials recently disclosed that the institution was more than $50 million in debt.
I suppose as a Gay Christian I should be celebrating. But I’m not. I feel sad, and not because of any particular sympathy for Oral Roberts, or his once-telegenic son Richard, or their Pentacostalism, or for Oklahoma, but because just once I wish these TV preachers weren’t all whores.
They exercise enormous influence; not just on Aunt Martha but on several hundred thousand Lesbian and Gay teenagers, who think, because these people are on TV and proclaim “Christianity,” that they say what God thinks.
But they don’t; they never do. Every last one of them is a hustler for fame, jets, mascara and mansions.
Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel in the 1920’s called “Elmer Gantry.” He could have called it “Richard Roberts.” Or Oral, or Jim and Tammy Faye, or Jerry or Pat or Jimmy Swaggart, “I have SINNED!” No shit, Sherlock.
I feel sad because I wish there was one credible evangelical to argue with; instead they all elected Ted Haggard their White House spokesman, a man who “bought meth but never took it” from the hands of an aging muscleboy hustler in Denver.
Is it any wonder Christianity is considered ridiculous? What am I to do, as a Hoosier follower of Jesus?
All I can do is stay true to the faith that I learned here, trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us through.
Meanwhile the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion don’t have one evangelical worth arguing with, a person of substance and style, intelligence and impeccable credentials. They’re all hellbent-for-leather, totally into schism while blaming it on everyone else; they’re none of them rich and famous (Anglicans don’t do TV) but just as corrupt as this Roberts guy.
Meanwhile children who don’t know any better get led astray. Man, that hurts.
God’s about to call Oral Roberts home. His health can’t be improved by watching his anointed son go down in flames. Once upon a time Richard Roberts was the handsome young man who was going to take Daddy’s empire bigger and better.
But Richard saw all the millions rolling in and said, “Hey, why not?”
Meanwhile his wife was apparently getting dicked by a certain undergraduate. I don’t blame her; hubby Richard turned out not that exciting.
Thus a whole university gets torched. Should I rejoice? I don’t.
Using purity codes and exclusion (that is, being holier than thou), fundamentalists seduce millions of souls, then invariably turn out to be charlatans. When they get found out, people’s faith in Jesus Christ gets destroyed.
Oral Roberts purported to be a faith-healer. At his peak he took in $100 million a year. But if the man could cure cancer, by faith, voodoo or wiccan incantation, he’d have been richer than Warren Buffet and Bill Gates combined. He wouldn’t have been able to move, to go anywhere; people would have blocked him from getting on an airplane or coming down from one. Rich people will pay any price to get cured; the poor will give all they have.
In the age before media that’s what Jesus went through; people flocked to him, hung on his every word, cut holes in the roof to lower down the sick on a pallet, walked miles just to touch the hem of his cloak.
When they did, Jesus turned around and said, “Who did that?” He knew when “power went out of him” and into someone else. He wanted to lay eyes on the recipient, to see the one who believed that his mere hem had power.
Jesus had a massive gift of touch; Oral Roberts never did. Oral Roberts is a fraud, always was and will be, and who can blame his son Richard for taking advantage of all those dollars? His own father taught him how to fleece people, so who can be surprised at this tawdry little scandal?
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’”
It’s sad, I tell you, the depths to which people will sink while crying “Lord, Lord.” God save the innocent and bring them to a faithful, humble, non-TV poor church.
God especially help the Lesbigay ones led astray.++
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