It may have taken 25 years, but it seems the Supreme Deity did indeed finally make good on His/Her/It's threat to call Oral Roberts home. Whether or not he raised the requisite $8 million remains another mystery of the universe known only to Oral's accountant and the tax man. One has to ponder what kind of twisted Rapture-Ready-Right version of God Oral's followers envisioned. A Divine Deity that's some kind of sleazy, supernatural Tony Soprano, holding one of His most faithful hostage if he doesn't raise enough dinero? And what, exactly, did The Almighty need the cash for? New gold harps? I wonder what the dollar trades for in Heaven. And did Oral enter his Great Reward with all his gold AMEX points intact?
My second favorite outrageous moment in All Things Oral was the 900 foot talking
Jesus that appeared to him in Tulsa. (When Jim Morrison saw Jesus, all he
did was write some great music, but I guessThe Doors had access to better
drugs.) The Ginormous Savior towered above Oral with glowing eyes and ordered
him to 1) build a City of Faith and then 2) cure cancer. It was shortly
thereafter the Jesus' Dad got all ticked off and demanded the cash, banishing
Oral to his prayer tower prison at OSU like some kind of wild-eyed Rapunzel to
wait for his faithful to pay the ransom.
Oral met his Maker yesterday at age 91, just in time to celebrate a Very Tall Messiah's birthday with Him in Heaven . . . or Muskogee. Oral leaves the legacy of Oral Roberts University (aka "Six Flags Over Jesus") and credit as the Godfather (pun intended) of the so-called "prosperity gospel," described by The New York Times as "a theology that promotes the idea that Christians who pray and donate with sufficient fervency will be rewarded with health, wealth and happiness. Mr. Roberts trained and mentored several generations of younger prosperity gospel preachers who now have television and multimedia empires of their own."
During his 51-year television career, he never cured cancer, but he
built a private empire of wealth and personal glorification on the promise of
healing the sick and poor by selling them one-dollar miracle pillows, blessed
anointing oil, and personal prayer cloths, which were some kind of supernatural
ShamWow that Oral claimed to have held while he prayed (for God to stop
threatening to kill him, possibly) so he could later sell to his faithful
minions and raise funds for The Lord's steep ransom on Oral's head. As a
miraculous bonus, they held twice their weight in holy water!
Seems only the good die young.