Oral Roberts, the classic televangelist, complete with brown suit, and blonde wife who took phone calls, has died. Oral Roberts was a pioneer in removing money from imbeciles using his “seed faith” theology. Basically, it worked a lot like Jack in the Beanstalk, you buy some seeds from Oral, and the gods give you a goose that lays golden eggs. Or, at least, you (and all the other idiots) buy Oral a giant ugly “university” (plated in gold, no less) full of wackjob Christianists. And, of course, the University glorifies His name.
I grew up in Tulsa, and most in my family and Assembly of God church (where I once captained the Bible Quiz Team) assumed I would go to ORU and become a televangelist. I saw Oral preach live several times, and “met” him on a couple of occasions. He truly was one of the greats. I witnessed Oral doing the tag team side by side with Pentecostal star Katherine Kuhlman, and I hazily recall seeing Oral get in on with Jimmy Swaggart once as well. Being good Oklahoma Pentecostals, we had season tickets to Oral Roberts’ basketball games. That was back in the 1970s, before Oral and the rest of the morons figured out that “Titans” are Greek gods…which would be paganism, or such. They later changed the name to the “Golden Eagles.”
Oral Roberts University has spawned all manner of Christianist cretins. Indeed, their numbers include Ted Haggard, Michelle Bachmann, Kenneth Copeland, Ron Luce, and a host of other Christian Nationalist scumbags. People who look to established denominations or specific creeds (like “apostolic reformation”) and shit like that don’t understand the flexibility and diversity of far right wing American Christianity. Oral started out Baptist, but that didn’t stop him from going to Phillips College, which is Disciples of Christ (and “liberal” for Oklahoma). And, it didn’t dissuade him from embracing Pentecostalism when that became the cool thing to do. Indeed, back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Oral wasn’t sure which way to go, and he made overtures to the United Methodists!!! You won’t see that in many other obituaries, but I swear to fucking sheep it is true. In the end, Oral wouldn’t submit to anyone else’s authority, so the merger was off. Oral tried to avoid politics on a grand scale, though he did some down dirty dog local political actions when it helped his enterprises. But, far right wing politics doesn’t have to be explicit in American conservative Christianity. Everyone else is going to hell, and you shouldn’t even live in the same neighborhoods with them, much less vote for them.
In the end, Oral’s two major failings were his insatiable greed, and his huge ego. First, he built a giant, cock-shaped clusterplex, in which he put his “medical school” which never got accredited. And, yes, he put his giant Praying Hands in front of the Giant Cock of Tulsa. Amazing, eh, a bunch of fundies who don’t believe in science can’t front a med school. So, the med school went down the shitter, and then there was the not so small matter of a 60 story building flanked by two 15 story buildings (I shit you not, there is a giant prick in South Tulsa). It’s still mostly empty, and has passed hands several times since Oral managed to finally unload it on some suckers. The mismanagement cost him his rather successful law school (what with Anita Hill on the faculty, and Michelle Bachmann an alum!), which he wound up selling to Pat Robertson–who renamed it Regent Law School, the outfit responsible for many of the bright minds who have argued that torture and indefinite incarceration without charges, trial, or Habeaus Corpus are perfectly fine according to Jesus, which is even better than the Constitution.
After that, Oral’s brain was clearly toast and he made an even worse decision, to try to rehabilitate his loser son Richard into his successor. The ultimate vanity, blood succession. The problem is, Oral actually had some beliefs, however distorted, perverse, and subject to change based on what will make him more money. Richard is one of the most insincere and incompetant people in all of televangelism. Without that name, he’d be nothing. He was most well known around Tulsa for getting busted for drunk driving, drugs, and having sex with floozies in public places. I think he even dated my sister. Hopefully, in a couple of decades, the ministry and “university” will go broke, and they’ll turn most of it over to Tulsa Community college, and turn the rest into a park. Nice campus, once you get past the praying hands…
Big difference here….Dweezil has talent….