Oral Roberts’ Gay Grandson Ditches The Hate But Keeps the Faith

The late Oral Roberts, who passed away in 2009, was one of the first and certainly most powerful televangelists in history. Through his ministry, which was worth an estimated $120 million at its peak in the early 1980s, Roberts was big on faith-healing and preached the “prosperity gospel” (basically that good Christians get lots of really great stuff). But he also found time to rail vehemently against homosexuality.

And wouldn’t you know it, Roberts’ grandson, Randy Roberts Potts, is gay. (We’d call that poetic justice but we wouldn’t wish Oral Roberts as a pawpaw on anyone.) Sadly, Oral Robert’s son Ronnie (Randy’s uncle) was also gay—and ending up committing suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1982.

In a sermon last Sunday at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Potts revealed he nearly followed his uncle’s example: “I almost relived his life in every way: marrying young, having children, becoming a teacher, becoming suicidal. All because I was never told his story, because his story as a gay man has been hushed up.”

Potts  shares some of the anger and sadness he felt over Ronnie’s death in his (slightly longwinded) contribution to the It Gets Better campaign.


Sometimes it just feels like it can’t get any worse.

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  • bigeyeboy

    he is so cute!!!

  • twittoroso guy

    He looks like a hunkier version of darren criss!

  • Mmmmmm

    So sexy. Great message too.

  • Vidur

    Nice message but, those last two minutes did it for me. :'(

    Also, damn he’s hot.

  • Paco

    Nice, if my pastor looked like him I would’ve still worshiped in his house…although I might still be inclined to do that

  • Interesting

    Nearly every post is about how people want to fuck him. Can you say “Wildly inappropriate response.”

    I am glad he’s trying to turn a page on his grandfather’s evil.

  • Atlas

    I’m in love.

  • orcanyc

    What an amazing job, your Uncle would be proud. Keep up the good work!!

  • Jamie Noir

    How is it going to get better for Dead Uncle Ronnie? He’s dead.

  • AedanRoberts

    His story was powerful, his strength in the light of what he’s been through is extremely admirable, and he seems to have come through it an very handsome, healthy individual.

    However I wish he hand’t tried to read his letter like a person in a coffee shop doing a poetry slam. It was a little tough to listen to a couple times because the delivery felt off.

    Regardless though- thank you Randy for sharing your story. It’s a powerful message and the world is a better place with you in it. And it just goes to show- even the most heinous individuals can leave something worthwhile behind ;)

  • AedanRoberts

    @Jamie Noir:

    If Randy is still spiritual (or hell- religious. Though I hope not religious) then Ronnie is still here with him- just on another plane of existence. And while it’s true that it will never get better for Ronnie- I don’t think that was what Randy was trying to convey. He didn’t say “hey dead Uncle Ronnie- it gets better for you,” he said it simply gets better.

    I saw it as more of Randy giving himself the artificial conversation between him and his uncle showing Ronnie that his life is proof positive that you can get beyond that all-consuming despair. And that there is hope for future Ronnies.

  • Jamie Noir

    It says it on the blackboard right behind him ‘Dear Uncle Ronnie, it get’s better’. But I take your point.

  • AedanRoberts

    @Jamie Noir:

    Yup, like I said: “Dear Uncle Ronnie, it gets better.” not “Dear Uncle Ronnie, it gets better for you.”


  • Jamie Noir

    Eh, maybe Dead Uncle Ronnie is some sort of afterlife that’s just wall to wall cock.

  • Daez

    @AedanRoberts: Did you miss the part where is not only religious but a pastor at a Unitarian church. I swear, some of you hear the word religion and automatically think Fred Phelps and WBC. I feel bad for you if you are like that.

    That being said, hell fire and brim stone preaching kind of lost its way when lives started getting so shitty that people already experienced a glimpse of hell and got through it.

    My personal faith took a nose dive when I started working at a mental hospital and saw all the patients and what they were going through and thought to myself that if God has all the power to change this the way they claim he does he must be a colossal douche for not doing so.

  • AedanRoberts


    I did miss that Daez, and I didn’t mean to be offensive about my view on religion.

    My comment was more a fear that he could still be following Evangelical Christianity in spite of his experience. If he’s managed to find a different form of Christianity that is open and accepting of him and allows him to live his life as an openly gay man and not get judged for it then more power to him. I am happy he’s found a place- regardless of whether I would do that myself.

  • Kieran

    How tragic and sad that these self-righteous, Bible-thumping, evangelical Protestants missed the point—-the most important message that Jesus Christ came to teach us: “Love one another”. I think the message that Jesus would like to give Oral Roberts’ misguided daughter is: “Love your son and Stop judging others”.

  • Drake

    Michelle Bachmann went to Oral Roberts University for law school. That is where she went off the deep end in terms of ultra-right fundamentalism. The laaw school closed down/merged with another wacko place, Regent university, which recently declared its requirement for law students to swear not to enforce laws that they deem unconstitutional passed by the socialist Obama administration. So much for the lawyers oath to uphold the US Constitution. The American Bar Association should pull accreditation on that place.

  • GayBachelorBlog

    I want to marry him! He’s precious.

  • Daez

    @Kieran: First, love your god with your whole heart, whole body and whole soul. Second, love your neighbor like yourself.

    Those are the only two commandments that ever came from JC, and neither one of them mention being gay.

  • Joshua H

    I thought the article got on the wrong foot of immaturity from the beginning when it said “(We’d call that poetic justice but we wouldn’t wish Oral Roberts as a pawpaw on anyone.)” Again…what’s with the schoolyard talk? Doesn’t that work AGAINST efforts of acceptance? That sort of talk plays right into the fundamentalist arguments against LGBTQ people.

  • Steve

    This is probably the best example of how human nature has screwed up so many things. This is why religion should remain a personal matter, nto somethign that you force onto your family or society at large. You can’t just assume everyone around you is okay with your beliefs. If you do, well, you get unfortunate tragedies like Uncle Ronnie. Glad to see Randy realized that his happiness is more important than his family’s personal beleifs.

  • dane

    God’s Word 100% clearly says Homosexuality is sin and homosexuals
    will not make Heaven…they will go to Hell. 1 Cor.6:9,10.
    Romans 1:24-32 calls homosexuality degrading of the body, shameful,
    indecent and perversion! Homosexuality is condemned!
    And Homosexuals should be helped out of this darkness with 100% love!
    Advise to Homosexuals:Hit your knees and pour out your dirty hearts to the living God!
    I say this with love, respect…and truth

  • Jamie Noir

    There’s only one reason I’m getting down on my knees and it has nothing to do with Jesus.

  • xander

    @Dane : “God’s word” also allows slavery, stoning adulterers, and abandoning one’s family to follow Christ.

    Your beliefs in your holy book are quaint, the way that astrologers believe in the stars affecting destiny, or the way that palmistry holds meanings on creases of the hands.

    Get away from your superstitions before it’s too late.

  • Joshua H

    @dane: Your exegesis is rather weak.

    1 Cor 6:9-10 (KJV with relevant Strong’s definitions in parentheses) Know ye not that the unrighteous (unjust, unrighteous/sinful, of one who deals fraudulently with others/deceitful) shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators (a man who prostitutes his body to another’s lust for hir, a male prostitute), nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (effeminate: of a catamite, of a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man, of a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness, of a male prostitute), nor abusers of themselves with mankind (the Greek word is arsenkoites and I’ll try to write more on it later because other things have come up), nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    I was going to bring up translation issues (as well as exegetical issues) related to the passage in Romans as well, but I’m going back to an alert status now that news on the budget talks is breaking.

  • Tony

    @dane: Dane the bible is it’s current form in not really God’s word. It’s been translated many times, had things added and taken away, to match the fashion of the day. I’m sorry, but it’s become an accessory, just like a handbag.

    You got a belief? We’ve got a version of bible that matches.

  • Henry

    Oral Roberts is good for a laugh. He’s one of those “public figures” that have their fifteen minutes in the spotlight. A non-entity.

  • Alex Sarmiento

    I remember that in the 1980s, Oral Roberts asked his followers for $1,000,000, otherwise “God would call (him) home.”

  • Aramax1001

    AW!! He’s TOTALLY cute!! He’s ADORABLE!! He is a very noble, very kind man, who would go out of his way to help another person, regardless of who they were, or what nationality they were; or of their religion. I’d love to just cuddle on up to this sweet, loveable, kind, endearing man. In my opinion, he’s an amazing young man, who spreads hope and compassion just by being himself. He’s beautiful on the outside as well as the inside. Hugs, kisses, and cuddles to you, Randy Roberts Potts.

  • Ganondorf


    Arguably also wildly inappropriate would be the expectation for a different response.


    As to this, meh. Oral Roberts was an evil con artist (as are all religious leaders. you’re either the conned or the conman in that racket), and this can’t possibly make up for the damage he inflicted in his lifetime and beyond (any of it, really). Not that it was offered with that expectation or intent, but it sure seems as if it’s being received that way.

  • sheilaputang

    Its good to see that these groups were not able to silence the gay people in them. Its also good to see that you can still keep your faith in god, despite what religious radicals are wanting people to beilieve about god and gays. http://www.sheilaputang.com

  • Matt

    He is so hooooot!! I want 2 meet him love men with beards they are hot.

  • Adam

    he is hot take ur shirt off r u a actor I will watch ur show especialy if u take ur shirt off. And I want 2 see ur barefeet.

  • Daez

    @Steve: I’m willing to bet that they never saw Ronnie as a tragedy. I’m willing to bet that they felt that his suicide was a better alternative than him living life as a gay male.

  • Daez

    @dane: I simply love how people read these versus and throw up the homosexual aspects of them. They forget to mention the long list in these versus that basically includes everyone and everything right there in the same boat.

    As for myself, I really don’t give a shit about this religious thing, so why do you feel you have the right to judge me on it?

  • Daez

    @Jamie Noir: Jesus was kind of hot. I’d get down on my knees for him. There is something about those 32 year old Jewish boys.

  • Jamie Noir

    @Daez: I know right, there was a guy who never skipped his ab crunches.

  • Daez

    @Jamie Noir: It was all that walking around that he did. He was like constantly walking, and he apparently survived on leaven bread and wine.

  • Jamie Noir

    @Daez: He should do a diet/exercise book. Call it The Messiah Plan.

  • Joshua H

    I won’t go into the Romans text, since it seems that dane is in the same game of judgment that others on here are doing in the other direction. I will, however, finish my point on Paul and that last word in 1 Corinthians. That last word “arsenkoites” is a word that hasn’t really been found in Greek texts before Paul’s writings (the controversy of which you can read if you just Google that Greek word); the uses of it after that were various church officials. Given the situation in Corinth when Paul wrote that epistle, it was probably referring to men who participated in sexual rituals during pagan festivals.

  • Ogre Magi

    @Daez: Oh BARF

  • jj

    Interestingly enough, Randy’s brother, Stephen, is also gay and came out a long time ago. He was a military officer who vocally opposed the Iraq War–a hero in his own right: http://www.archive.org/details/VetsSpeakOut

  • KY

    @Vidur: yes he’s good looking

  • Riker


    Are you for real? Get your head out of your ass and get up to speed with modern Bible scholarship. The Bible never uses the word homosexual, it wasnt even invented until the 1800s. And no use quoting Paul, he was a closet case who was in love with Timothy, Timothy had to escape Paul because Paul was way too annoying on so many levels. Leviticus? Really? You eat shrimp, lobster, grow your hair over your ears, have a shirt with cotton and nylon blended together? You’re an abomination. You can’t pick and choose your abominations, Dane. Quite frankly, if your mentally ill version of God was real, you’d be in as much trouble as everyone else on the planet. It’s just sad you live a life of torment and fear because of a god who should be put on trial and locked up for horrible abuses of his creations. BTW, I’m a minister, and would prefer spending eternity in hell with my wonderful and loving gay brothers and sisters than in some sham heaven with a religiously abusive nudge like you.

  • joe

    Why do people constantly confuse God with religion? God never wrote books, people did. God exists within all of us. We are born with this, it’s not given to us by a church, or a particular religion. Wake up. God is the representation of goodness which exists within all of us. How we choose to live our lives is entirely up to us.

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