Sunday, October 14, 2007

Seeding faith, reaping scandal

I have refrained from talking about the latest series of scandals at Oral Roberts University this past week -- since my colleague at Bene Diction has most of the bases covered -- but I do have some thoughts, though. It starts with Oral himself.

Mr. Roberts has based his entire ministry on a claim that he had a "healing" -- spontaneous remission might be a better description -- of the tuberculosis that had him bedridden, back in 1935. I don't doubt he was sick or that he suddenly got better. But it does raise a question. TB was a huge scourge back during the Great Depression, and when one went to a sanatorium, it was to die. If Roberts had been healed, why didn't he present himself to the medical authorities and offer to be a guinea pig to develop a vaccine? Or at least an antibiotic? It could have closed the sanatoriums decades before they finally were.

No ... that would have been too clever. He must have figured that the real money was in persuading people, wrongly, that God can be bought off. And in so doing, he became not only a wealthy preacher but a very lucrative real estate developer as well. Interesting, he's managed to stay in remission from TB for 72 years, although he has had other medical issues. And it's interesting to note the writings of E.W. Kenyon which are widely seen as the launch of the Word-Faith movement, were published just around that time.

That leads to the present allegations against Richard and Lindsay. Renovating the President's house 11 times in 14 years? Text message sex -- and with minors? Using the corporate jet for personal purposes (just like Ken Copeland who was once a pilot for Oral?) Firing professors for whistle blowing? Encouraging students to go campaigning for a local GOP candidate in clear violation of federal laws (as well as, presumably, accreditation rules for universities)? And let's not forget Lindsay's extensive selection of wardrobes which makes Imelda Marcos' 3000 pairs of shoes look pauperish by comparison?

Yes, they are only allegations. But one has to wonder about this whole thing about "seeding faith" -- meaning money to enrich others. Whatever happened to what Jesus said:

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21, NIV).

Give the university to the poor, Mr. and Mrs. Roberts, and expect your hundredfold blessing. You won't do it, 'cause it won't happen. Interesting too that 20 years ago you two were screaming to high heaven over the notion that the accreditation might be cancelled because Oral said gimme eight mil or I meet my Father. Maybe it's time they actually revisited that.

Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers.


Oldschool said...

And . . . how much money did you send him?????

BlastFurnace said...

Let's just say far less than many unfortunate people with no discernment at all who've given their life savings to the hucksters -- yet enough that I could have taken him to small claims court, if the statute of limitations hadn't run out.

Oldschool said...

What about all the folks that have given money to "hucksters" like the Suzuki Foundation, Club Sierra and Al the Goricle to save the planet?

Although, I kind of think, since its your money you can do what you want with it!!!

You on the other hand think like a Socialist . . . its all my money, you should be paying it all in taxes, so you will not be able to waste any on things like say "beer and popcorn"!!

BlastFurnace said...

I personally think people should be taking the initiate and making changes in lifestyle themselves -- they certainly don't need the Suzukis and Gores of the world to tell them what to do.

Another thing, I'm not a socialist. I'm a social liberal on most issues, but actually I'm also a fiscal conservative ... and as for the so called "beer and popcorn" money it's actually taxable which is what many of us find objectionable. I think it should be tax-free so families don't have to pay any taxes during a kid's first seven years. But that's a topic for another post.