God Expelled from Tulsa Magic Kingdom: Oral Roberts University Saga Continues

Richard Roberts and his ORU Private Jet

ORU’s “Praying Hands”: For God or More Money?

Earlier in the week, I reported here about the scandal that was emerging at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa (OK). In that article, I wrote:

“Twenty years ago, on his widely viewed national televsion program, televangelist Oral Roberts announced to his viewers that he had been reading a spy novel when, all of a sudden, God visited him and ordered him to raise $8 million for Roberts’ university, or else he would be “called home.” Of course, not wanting that to happen, Roberts’ viewers showered him with vast amounts of money for the university.

Last Tuesday, three former professors at Oral Roberts University sued the evangelical institution in Tulsa (OK), filing a petition in state court that accuses the university’s current president, Oral Roberts’ son Richard L. Roberts, of using university resources to back a local mayoral candidate and to bankroll an extravagant lifestyle for his family. The lawsuit also says that university administrators tried to cover up the president’s involvement in the mayoral campaign when the Internal Revenue Service began investigating the nonprofit institution’s interventions into local politics.

The university immediately issued brief a statement regarding the lawsuit on Tuesday that read, in its entirety, “It is important for ORU students and their families, faculty and staff, alumni, partners as well as the general public to understand that this lawsuit is largely premised upon a compilation of incomplete statements, unsubstantiated rumors, and innuendoes. ORU will address these allegations through the legal process.”

Later in the week, Oral Roberts University President Richard Roberts, announced that God had recently visited him as well, ordering him to deny all of the lurid allegations that are contained in a lawsuit that threatens to bury this 44-year-old Bible Belt college in scandal. As mentioned before, Roberts is accused of illegal involvement in a local political campaign and extravagant spending at the university’s donors’ expense, lavish spending that has included numerous home remodeling projects, use of the university’s jet for his daughter’s senior trip to the Bahamas, and a red Mercedes convertible and Lexus SUV for his wife, Lindsay. She, in turn, is being accused of squandering 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.'”

Ralph Blumenthal reports in today’s edition of the New York Times that Mr. Roberts was on “Larry King Live” on Tuesday night with his wife, Lindsay, who is also included in the accusations. He denied having taken any improper political role, saying: “I didn’t ask or coerce anybody. That’s not true.” He and Mrs. Roberts also denied wrongdoing to a list of other accusations in the suit. Denials were also made to reporters who flew to New York with the Robertses in the university’s jet.

The original CNN news report on The Oral Roberts Lawsuit, as well as this Tuesday night’s “Larry King Live” television interviews with Richard and Lindsay Roberts are presented below:

CNN News: The Oral Roberts University Lawsuit

Larry King Live: Richard and Lindsay Roberts Defend Themselves (Pt. 1)

Larry King Live: The Roberts’ Defense (Pt. 2)

UPDATE:

On Thursday (10/11/2007), David Kuo published a detailed response at Belief.net to the statements that were made by the Roberts’ while defending themselves during their television appearance on “Larry King Live.” In general, their statements were characterized as half truths and outright lies, nothing more than an attempt to conceal the facts of what has actually been going on at Oral Roberts University behind a deceptive display of smoke and mirrors. Readers will find the particulars of the rebuttal that David Kuo has published here.

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