Embattled President of Oral Roberts U. Wins Support From a Higher Authority

October 03, 2007

God, it seems, has gotten involved in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday against Oral Roberts University and its president, Richard L. Roberts.

In his weekly chapel address today, Mr. Roberts said God had spoken to him this morning and advised him to respond to the lawsuit. “Here’s what he told me to say to you,” Mr. Roberts told the students and professors gathered at the service, according to the Associated Press. “‘We live in a litigious society. Anyone can get mad and file a lawsuit against another person whether they have a legitimate case or not.’

“‘This lawsuit … is not about wrongful termination,’” Mr. Roberts said God added. “‘It is about intimidation, blackmail, and extortion,’” he said, according to the wire service.

Three former professors at the university sued the evangelical institution and Mr. Roberts on Tuesday, accusing him of enlisting university resources to back a local mayoral candidate and to furnish his family with an opulent lifestyle.

How opulent? According to the lawsuit, the university maintains a stable of horses for the exclusive use of Mr. Roberts’s daughters; university security guards are routinely ordered to run errands for the daughters; and the university jet was used to fly one of the daughters and her friends for a $30,000 trip to the Bahamas and Florida.

The professors are suing for breach of contract, wrongful discharge, slander, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

God has also been quoted about the lawsuit once or twice in a discussion on the Tulsa World Web site, though usually in the form of Bible verses. Many commentators are alumni of Oral Roberts. Some stand by the president. Others say they’ve felt for a long time that Mr. Roberts has demonstrated a little too much focus on the family.

“Instead of ‘Thy Kingdom Come,’” said one poster, “it became ‘My Kingdom Come.’” —John Gravois