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.