(2 pm – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Orel’s name was probably taken from Oral Roberts, one of the first and most famous of the televangelists. Roberts, 89, is still alive; but one of his most enduring legacies, Oral Roberts University, is in considerable difficulty.
ORU is an interesting place. Having been to Tulsa several times for training, I can tell you from first hand experience it dominates an otherwise declining city; the main tourist attraction in a harsh landscape of boarded up storefronts and empty streets. Like Liberty (Falwell) and Regent (RobertSON) it is a monument to the fundraising power of its founder.
In fact what most people may remember about Oral Roberts the man is his famous fundraising appeal in 1987 where he demanded $8 million from his followers “Or God will call me home.”
“Call me home!” below-
He exceeded his fundraising goal by a million so we were spared the sight of his televised seppuku, but even at the time he was busy turning over control of his empire to his son Richard Roberts.
Like so many dynasties the son was not half the man his father was and early this month on Larry King Live some of the problems in the “management” of the Roberts empire came out-
- Roberts had remodeled their home eleven times in 14 years with University money
- He and his wife Lindsay bankrolled a daughters’ $29,411 trip to the Bahamas with school funds
- Lindsay Roberts had spent the night in an O.R.U. guest-house with an underage male nine times
In new developments also reported by Time, Richard has taken a leave of absence and
the zombie ghost of Ronald Reagan Oral himself has come back to take the reigns as president.
The article goes on to detail some of the serious structural problems with the house of cards Oral built including an over ambitious athletic program (lots of colleges have those), a failed Law School (since purchased by… wait for it… Pat RobertSON), and the City of Faith Medical Center– “a combination physical and spiritual healing facility.
That’s what Oral was raising money for in ’87 and despite the fundraising drive it closed it’s doors in 1989.
Even today the University is losing millions of dollars a year, and
the zombie ghost of Ronald Reagan Oral is only back as a figure head “co-president”.
But what I really found funny was this part at the end-
Of course, a religious university doesn’t have to be charismatic to have money problems. Liberty University, Jerry Falwell’s academy in Lynchburg, VA., was between $20 and $25 million in debt until this year. But When God called Jerry Falwell home last May, it turned out that he had a $34 million insurance policy. It was used to bail out his school.