Christianist Oral Roberts U. engulfed in scandal, with hundreds of texts from Roberts "first lady" to underage males
[Welcome, TPM readers. Welcome, Laodicea readers.] As we keep saying, authoritarian systems are extremely vulnerable to fraud, because authoritarian followers aren't capable of providing checks and balances for their leaders, and the leaders are always tempted by the usual suspects: Money, power, and sex. Latest example: Oral Roberts [cough] "University," which is about as much a university as Monica Goodling's Regent "University," or bad pizza billionaire and uber-Catholic loon Tom Monahan's Ave Maria. I'll skip right to the juiciest details:
An ORU student repairing [the laptop of Stephanie Cantese, Richard Roberts' sister-in-law] discovered the document and later provided a copy to one of the professors.
It details dozens of alleged instances of misconduct. Among them:
- A longtime maintenance employee was fired so that an underage male friend of Mrs. Roberts could have his position.
- Mrs. Roberts — who is a member of the board of regents and is referred to as ORU's "first lady" on the university's [sic] Web site — frequently had cell-phone bills of more than $800 per month, with hundreds of text messages sent between 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. to "underage males who had been provided phones at university expense."
Sounds like she's been taking lessons from Mark Foley (R-Neverland), although, granted, Foley ("Don't forget to measure for me") used IM, not text. Honestly, what is it about Christianist authority figures and child abuse? It's like being a sex predator is part of the job description, or something; at this point, these guys have a track record, and there's example after example after example.
More of the sadly familiar, yet still lurid, details:
- The university jet was used to take one daughter and several friends on a senior trip to Orlando, Fla., and the Bahamas. The $29,411 trip was billed to the ministry as an "evangelistic function of the president."
Yeah? So what's your point?
- Mrs. Roberts spent more than $39,000 at one Chico's clothing store alone in less than a year, and had other accounts in Texas and California. She also repeatedly said, "As long as I wear it once on TV, we can charge it off." (Matthew 6:5) The document cites inconsistencies in clothing purchases and actual usage on TV.
Tell me again why we don't tax these guys, just like we tax the rest of the entertainment industry?
- University and ministry employees are regularly summoned to the Roberts' home to do the daughters' homework.
Home work is for little people!
And, oh yeah, there's the use of church money in poltical campaigns. What a surprise.
Richard Roberts, according to the suit, asked a professor in 2005 to use his students and university resources to aid a county commissioner's bid for Tulsa mayor. Such involvement would violate state and federal law because of the university's nonprofit status. Up to 50 students are alleged to have worked on the campaign.
Pam's House Blend has a copy of the memo ("Attention All Campaigners"). Yeah, I'll be waiting for the [cough] Justice Department to bring suit on this one, despite Roberts being caught red-handed with documentary evidence. Maybe some Democrat will take their courage in both hands and ask Mukasey about it at the
coronation confirmation hearings.
NOTE Now, to be fairMR SUBLIMINAL Why? They're not fair to you! the document on Cantese's computer was from an internal investigation by the Oral Roberts board sparked by whistleblowing professors, who were fired, of course. But apparently, the campaign work was the last straw. The rest of the abuse had been going on for years. I'll give one of the whistleblowers the last word:
Tim Brooker, one of the professors who sued, said he fears for the university's survival if certain changes aren't made.
"All over that campus, there are signs up that say, `And God said, build me a university, build it on my authority, and build it on the Holy Spirit,'" Brooker said. "Unfortunately, ownership has shifted."
As it always does. That's the nature of the Christianist Project. Building institutions in the public square is, exactly, laying up treasures on earth (Matthew 6:19). Which is every Christianist's right, bless their heart. But they shouldn't try to kid themselves, or deceive us, that their enterprise is anything more than an power grab to impose their set of tribal so-called "values" on the rest of us. Their enterprise has nothing to do with religion. By definition, it can't. Which is why Jesus warned against the Pharisees, of whom the Roberts family is but the latest incarnation.