God gives the gift of schadenfreude
October 5, 2007 2:05 PM   Subscribe

TelevangelistFilter: No matter how many times we do this, it's still so very satisfying. Richard Roberts, President of Oral Roberts University, son of its founder, and that guy who's always on TV, denies a lawsuit alleging political corruption, misappropriation of funds, scores of text messages to underage males coming from the cellphone of his glassy-eyed wife (also always on TV).
posted by bicyclefish (188 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
If only this were shocking.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:11 PM on October 5, 2007


I'm not sure who we are, or what this is, but it isn't satisfying.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:12 PM on October 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is beginning to get not just weird, but downright frightening. Not because of teh Gay, that's the least of it, but because culturally this nation is turning completely schizoid. Either that or there's some seismic shift on the horizon that signals the death of not only the evangelism movement, but the politicized wing that is a pillar of the GOP. (and we all know what the G in GOP stands for...).
posted by Skygazer at 2:12 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


No matter how many times we do this, it's still so very satisfying.

What you mean "we", Kemo Sabe?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:13 PM on October 5, 2007


hysterical! Every single one of them is either closeted or a criminal --or both!
posted by amberglow at 2:14 PM on October 5, 2007


Meh... half their problems would go away if they just insisted on floor-to-ceiling bathroom stall dividers.
posted by wfrgms at 2:17 PM on October 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


possibly the most wildly amusing detail among so many delightful ironies: Mrs. Robert's spent "$39,000 at one Chico's clothing store alone."

Chico's, people. Not bloomies, or Sax. Chico's. wow.
posted by buka at 2:17 PM on October 5, 2007 [5 favorites]


Whenever gay people are outed like this – publicly, and doing something lurid or illegal, like propositioning underage boys or cruising in public bathrooms – I worry that it gives people the impression that all gays are freaks who will one day be caught with their dick in a goat. We’re just as well-adjusted as straight people, and news like this is so sensational because it’s so uncommon.
posted by tepidmonkey at 2:18 PM on October 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


Won't someone think of the goats?
posted by docpops at 2:20 PM on October 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Although, in this case, the implication seems to be that his wife is the one dallying with underage boys.
posted by mrnutty at 2:21 PM on October 5, 2007


Um, tepidmonkey, the text-messaging was from Mrs Roberts.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:21 PM on October 5, 2007


jinx!
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:21 PM on October 5, 2007


Whoops! I was still hung up on Lou Pearlman.
posted by tepidmonkey at 2:22 PM on October 5, 2007


The stereotypes must be completely reversed because I grew up in a liberal, Democratic Catholic family, joined the cub scouts through my church, and was never exposed to any pervs. On the other hand, I was exposed to Star Trek, Lake Wobegon and crushing national elections at a vulnerable age.
posted by Taargus Taargus at 2:22 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Won't someone think of the goatse?

This guy is a joke, but my free, LARGER miracle spring water has done wonders for me.
posted by Curry at 2:23 PM on October 5, 2007


lessee, hung around with 12 other guys, not at all into manly stuff like war and conquest, hair like a girl, big scandal around the one time he might have had sex with a woman....you know who else is looking a little gay around the gills these days?
posted by telstar at 2:23 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


... pervs from either gender. (oops)
posted by Taargus Taargus at 2:24 PM on October 5, 2007


John Backderf has a topical comment. From Derfcity.
posted by anthill at 2:29 PM on October 5, 2007


Should we really be surprised by this anymore? People in positions of power abusing that position to obtain sex and favours: its been going on for a long, long time.

I don't even find it amusing anymore when their abuses show them to be hypocrites; its just sad. Perhaps the saddest thing is that we somehow expect that this kind of thing isn't common; what is (or has been?) uncommon is for them to get caught.
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:32 PM on October 5, 2007


Sweet Suffering Jesus on the Cross, thank you, thank you, for these blessings.
posted by Rancid Badger at 2:32 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Holy crap! Richard Roberts? The stretchy guy?
posted by Smedleyman at 2:36 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Whenever gay people are outed like this – publicly, and doing something lurid or illegal, like propositioning underage boys or cruising in public bathrooms – I worry that it gives people the impression that all gays are freaks who will one day be caught with their dick in a goat.

The impression I'm getting is that all sanctamonious Republican evangelicals are freaks who will one day be caught with their dick in a goat. That some of them are gay too? is merely incidental.
posted by fshgrl at 2:42 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wide stance people, wide stance!
posted by Artw at 2:45 PM on October 5, 2007


To republican right wingers and religious extremists, every day is apparently the opposite day.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:48 PM on October 5, 2007


The impression I'm getting is that all sanctamonious Republican evangelicals are freaks who will one day be caught with their dick in a goat.

This is how the GOP hopes to turn public opinion against 'gay rights.' Masterful.
posted by Curry at 2:50 PM on October 5, 2007


Soon the tide will turn, and we'll start hearing stories of flamboyant gay activists who secretly have boring heterosexual marriages.
posted by brain_drain at 2:56 PM on October 5, 2007 [11 favorites]




I can't wait until the day that my grandchildren look up at me from where they've gathered at the foot of my rocking chair and eagerly ask where I was during the Fundy Cock Craze of 2007.
posted by The Straightener at 2:59 PM on October 5, 2007 [9 favorites]


Darn it! Whenever high-profile pathologically repressed, power-mad, narcissistic, larcenous pedophiles are caught doing lurid things like this, it makes people think that all pathologically repressed, power-mad, narcissistic, larcenous pedophiles are just like. . . .

Wait, nevermind.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:07 PM on October 5, 2007


Conservative Republican federal prosecutor commits suicide in prison after being arrested for crossing state lines to with the intent to have sex with a five-year old.
posted by telstar at 3:09 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Telstar, I can't even work up a good head of schadenfreude over that.
posted by adamrice at 3:19 PM on October 5, 2007


Conservative Republican federal prosecutor commits suicide in prison.

Awesome! Good riddance scumbag. I am so glad we did not have to waste any more tax dollars on this guy. I propose a toast.
posted by Mr_Zero at 3:24 PM on October 5, 2007


It's only fair to be ecumenically non-partisan about this, so here's one from the That's My Story and I'm Sticking to It file. You have to admire this guy's sheer chutzpah.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:29 PM on October 5, 2007


It's the do as I say, not as I do stuff. Look at Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) out, and a solid sense of integrity. Of course she is slammed with this s..t so it not to hard to understand why when the shoe is on the other foot there is an appreciation of a self induced misery. The Golden Rule is pretty straight forward.
posted by Rancid Badger at 3:35 PM on October 5, 2007


The only thing I plan to say on this thread is this:

There will be more and more scandals. People exposed (some of them falsely but not most) in both the political and religious arena.

Kinda in the realm of "what is whispered in the dark will be shouted from the rooftops."

If one claims to be righteous and isn't, one day God WILL come a'knockin', and stuff that was assumed to be hidden will be publically exposed.

I have no thoughts whether these particular accusations re these particular people are true or not. For my main point to stand, it doesn't really matter.
posted by konolia at 3:42 PM on October 5, 2007


One other thing. I know of one particular fraternity that supposedly had as part of its initiation a consortation with a goat. So not even that kind of a revelation about a politician would totally shock me.
posted by konolia at 3:44 PM on October 5, 2007


Here is a good list of Republican pedophiles.
posted by Mr_Zero at 3:45 PM on October 5, 2007


Fundy Cock Craze of 2007

Hilarious!
posted by Tullius at 3:48 PM on October 5, 2007


Maybe Richard and Lindsay Roberts need a prayer request.
posted by 445supermag at 3:48 PM on October 5, 2007


Mrs. Roberts was given a white Lexus SUV and a red Mercedes convertible by ministry donors.

Hey, if that's what gawd wants her to have, who am I to argue?
posted by jaronson at 3:49 PM on October 5, 2007


So do the kiddie diddling glory holers of the Republican party become that way because that's what happens when one finds sex something shameful to be repressed, or did they become Republicans because they were kiddie diddling glory holers actually deserving of shame and repression? Chicken or the egg?
posted by bunnytricks at 3:50 PM on October 5, 2007


The stuff about all the money, yea, well, money makes people crazy. Not surprising.

But here's the really crazy part:

The allegations are contained in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by three former professors. They sued ORU and Roberts, alleging they were wrongfully dismissed after reporting the school's involvement in a local political race.

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.

The professors also said their dismissals came after they turned over to the board of regents a copy of a report documenting moral and ethical lapses on the part of Roberts and his family. The internal document was prepared by Stephanie Cantese, Richard Roberts' sister-in-law, according to the lawsuit.


Guess the Cantese family won't be having Thanksgiving at the Roberts house this year.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:55 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


amberglow: "hysterical! Every single one of them is either closeted or a criminal --or both!"

You say that like those two things are related.
posted by koeselitz at 3:58 PM on October 5, 2007


konolia: "If one claims to be righteous and isn't, one day God WILL come a'knockin', and stuff that was assumed to be hidden will be publically exposed. I have no thoughts whether these particular accusations re these particular people are true or not. For my main point to stand, it doesn't really matter."

You're absolutely right, konolia.

Although, personally, whether the people discussed in the article are guilty of the charges or not, there ought to be red flags all over them for intelligent religious people. In times like these, false prophets are everywhere, so any time someone claims to be revealing the word of God, they should be subject to the highest thoughtful and spiritual scrutiny possible; if the article is correct, it sounds as though the Robertses are rather cavalier about using the phrase "God told me that..."

It goes without saying that the commonness of false prophets doesn't prove that there have never been true ones. Greatness of soul is a real goal even in these times of mediocrity.
posted by koeselitz at 4:03 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


One other thing. I know of one particular fraternity that supposedly had as part of its initiation a consortation with a goat.

Shhh, don't let the word get out!
posted by ludwig_van at 4:04 PM on October 5, 2007


I'm upset to learn that Oral Roberts University has a corporate jet and the large public university at which I teach most assuredly does not. I demand jet-plane equity, dammit!
posted by sfred at 4:07 PM on October 5, 2007


OK, somebody has to say it: How much do you wanna bet that after the transcripts of her late-night text messages become public, Lindsay's nickname will also be "Oral" Roberts?
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:11 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


University and ministry employees are regularly summoned to the Roberts' home to do the daughters' homework.

Short of making them clean up dog shit, I'm not sure it can get any more demeaning than this.
posted by Clay201 at 4:13 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Where's the gay? It's the wife who is alleged to be communicating with underage males. Read the story, people.
posted by xmutex at 4:14 PM on October 5, 2007


Would have been so much more apropos if it was his dad, though. You know, Oral. His name is Oral. Right? Is this thing on?
posted by chococat at 4:15 PM on October 5, 2007


This phenomenon of decadent homophobic closet cases in the Republican party and the religious right has ceased to be news. It should now be considered in the public discourse to be as natural to them as money-grabbing.
posted by Anything at 4:15 PM on October 5, 2007


Anything: "This phenomenon of decadent homophobic closet cases in the Republican party and the religious right has ceased to be news. It should now be considered in the public discourse to be as natural to them as money-grabbing."

Actually, for myself, I'm hoping that the prevalence of stories of a scandalous private nature mean that america is turning into england.
posted by koeselitz at 4:17 PM on October 5, 2007


On lack of preview, xmutex is quite right.
Point stands though.
posted by Anything at 4:19 PM on October 5, 2007


I have a special kind of hatred in my heart for televangelists. Normal religious figures cause me enough grief, but oh, televangelists are the absolute worst.

They always seem to be fleecing their flock through fear and pandering, and they always, when the curtain is pulled back are revealed to be money hungry monsters.

And it doesn't ever stop them.


Look at the guy's dad, he basically said to his audience, send in money or God will kill me. It's insane.

My feeling is that if you are living off the earnings of a televangelist, and spend more than the average American worker's salary at a single clothing shop, then you and your whole family should be "called home to god".

Fucking parasites.
posted by quin at 4:24 PM on October 5, 2007


YAWN. Been there, done that, read the book.
posted by dw at 4:25 PM on October 5, 2007


What's the hardest part about being a Republican?

Telling your parents you are gay.
posted by Mr_Zero at 4:27 PM on October 5, 2007 [9 favorites]


telstar: in order for this to really be apoptosis we have to somehow recycle the nutrients. An interesting part is that the articles go to length to point out how normal he was. Two contradictory things come to mind: 1) welcome to rape culture 2) the part of the brain that decides what's a sexual target really is independent. There's probably some piece of hindbrain that lets you know what to hump, and it's easily confused.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:42 PM on October 5, 2007


...there's some seismic shift on the horizon that signals the death of not only the evangelism movement, but the politicized wing that is a pillar of the GOP.

ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease
posted by DU at 4:42 PM on October 5, 2007


I remember back in high school, there was a joke making the rounds: 'What do you call two gay guys named Bob?' 'Oral Roberts.'

Eerie.
posted by jonmc at 5:02 PM on October 5, 2007


In somewhat related news: Ted Haggard Escort Mike Jones Claims Larry Craig Was His Client.
posted by ericb at 5:03 PM on October 5, 2007


Also, in somewhat related news: GOP Senate Candidate in Louisiana Drops Out Over Lewd Conduct ("Toe-tapping" nd "Peeping Tom in a men's room stall.
posted by ericb at 5:05 PM on October 5, 2007


Metafilter: What's the hardest part about being a Republican? Telling your parents you are gay.

love that! : >
posted by amberglow at 5:14 PM on October 5, 2007


They always seem to be fleecing their flock through fear and pandering, and they always, when the curtain is pulled back are revealed to be money hungry monsters.

Also describes Republican politicians to a "T."
posted by ericb at 5:16 PM on October 5, 2007


from artw's link:

I've spoken to university students whose wanna-be politician friends even in their early twenties abstain from anything with even a whiff of controversy.

Heh. I can just see these young puritans saying "will there be any chance of sex or drugs at that party? Because then I can't go, because I eventually hope to run as a candidate whose heart and mind are pure as the driven snow."

Actually, scratch that. Not funny, depressing rather.
posted by telstar at 5:23 PM on October 5, 2007


Heh. I can just see these young puritans saying "will there be any chance of sex or drugs at that party? Because then I can't go, because I eventually hope to run as a candidate whose heart and mind are pure as the driven snow."

The only way to fight that is to form our own political party and call it The Guilty Party.

"Mr. Mc, have you ever experimented with marijuana?"
"No I just smoked it."
"Did you have sexual relations with that woman?"
"Yeah. Want her number?"
posted by jonmc at 5:27 PM on October 5, 2007


A copy of the lawsuit [PDF].

Campus Reacts (local TV news video).

Excerpt (student face and voice disguised):
"A lot of students are scared. A lot of people have known things for years. And things that have gone on that aren't just right, but it's kind of just been swept under the carpet."
Richard Roberts Speaks Out About Lawsuit (local TV news video)
posted by ericb at 5:30 PM on October 5, 2007


One other thing. I know of one particular fraternity that supposedly had as part of its initiation a consortation with a goat.

Iota Phucka Goata?
posted by pardonyou? at 5:32 PM on October 5, 2007 [5 favorites]


Noah cursed his own son just for seeing him naked when he was falling over drunk (Genesis 9: 20-27).

Abraham slept with one of his servants (Genesis 16: 1-4)

Jacob lied to his father and stole his brother's inheritance (Genesis 27).

David had an affair with Bathsheba, then sent her husband, Uriah, to the front line where he was sure to be killed in the fighting (2 Samuel: 11-18)


Meh. A little hot man-on-man action on the sly aint that big of deal by comparison.
posted by tkchrist at 5:34 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


'Holier-Than-Thou Republican Conservative Christian' meet 'Petard.'

Good luck in the 2008 political race.

The Party of Moral (Christian Nation) Values! Bwahahaha.

Republican Hypocrisy Revealed, Republican Pedophilia and Republican Sex Crimes.
posted by ericb at 5:37 PM on October 5, 2007


ORU students talk funny. (Via Ericb)
posted by Skygazer at 5:39 PM on October 5, 2007


Wow. There is nothing in this that implies the man was gay or even that his wife had an inappropriate relationship with a boy. or even republican for that matter. You realise it's possible to be a church-goer-leader while Liberal no? sorry to interrupt the hunt but you can at least put down your hoes and rakes.
/quip>
posted by Student of Man at 5:52 PM on October 5, 2007


"The devil decries evil.
Virtue is his guise
To find the hidden villain
Listen for the loudest voice."
-- Rodger Malcolm Mitchell*
posted by ericb at 5:55 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was present when Richard Roberts appeared for the first time on Jim Bakker's PTL Club show with his then-new wife Lindsey, whom he married after his divorce from first wife Patti. (Her book.) To a swelling of music from the orchestra, Jim said "Please welcome... RICHARD AND PATTI ROBERTS!!!! LINDSEY!!!! I MEAN LINDSEY!!!!"
posted by The Deej at 5:55 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, what else are they going to do in Oklahoma?
posted by idiotfactory at 6:08 PM on October 5, 2007


Oral Roberts. Liberal. Teh lol, sir. Teh. Lol.
posted by DU at 6:13 PM on October 5, 2007


There is nothing in this that implies the man was gay or even that his wife had an inappropriate relationship with a boy. or even republican for that matter.

As has been established by links and comments in this thread -- there is no charge of Roberts being "gay".

However ...

Richard Roberts is accused of financial improprieties and illegal involvement in a local political campaign, violating state and federal law.

His wife has been accused of having 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.'

Richard Roberts is indeed a Republican -- as per the lawsuit filed.
"Brooker was instructed by Roberts to use his talent and his students in local political races, specifically that of Randi Miller, seeking the Republican nomination for Tulsa mayor, according to the lawsuit. Miller is now a county commissioner."*
posted by ericb at 6:16 PM on October 5, 2007


A comment from ericb's link:

He wants to defend conservative values against liberals. How are we going to defend our public mens' rooms against Republicans?

Pretty pithy - and a great example of framing an issue. This is how the Democrats sane people need to fight the neocons insane people; quit letting them frame the issues.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:21 PM on October 5, 2007


And still, nobody talks about Oral Roberts' brother Anal.

Let us make clear here, this is not your Standard Issue Evangelical Scandal. Nobody is accusing anybody of anything homosexual, but Mrs. Roberts is seriously suspected of AT LEAST Mark Foley-style e-flirting with underage males. And Oral Roberts University is (was?) substantially better regarded as an institute of Actual Learning that Bob Jones U. or Liberty U., so there is serious reputation damage going on here. Papa Oral was always kind of the lesser counterpart to Billy Graham, but this was before Falwell, Bakker, etc. started really lowering the bar. If the second-generation of Roberts has indeed followed the others under the low end of the low bar, then Evangelism - not just Televangelism - is jumping the societal shark big time. And that's a very good thing.
posted by wendell at 6:27 PM on October 5, 2007


Yep. There's no sexual innuendo attached to the husband.

But assuming the charges are even partly true, the wife is a piece of work; at worst, she's a sexual predator, texting undergradate boys at 3:00 AM (the question is why...). At best she's an insomniac loony, who made *seven* 3 AM phone calls to an unfortunate vice-president to get him to post a personal message to one of her daughters on the school's electronic marquee. And the school is a personal fund and tax haven for the family first and formost, and a 'university' second, if at all.

The deepest horror, though, is that she managed to spend 39,000 dollars on clothing here.

I could see if it was Neiman Marcus, or if she regularly shopped at Rodeo Drive, but 40 grand on crappy Lands End level clothing? The woman has neither taste NOR restraint. To the tumbril!
posted by jrochest at 6:33 PM on October 5, 2007


I've nothing to add except a story of when a Japanese exchange student was living with me back when I was in Tulsa. We drove by Oral Roberts University one time and he thought the giant praying hands on campus was a giant monument to Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. Excellent....
posted by fishmasta at 6:40 PM on October 5, 2007 [11 favorites]


Maybe Oral Roberts' black son can help out.
posted by humanfont at 7:07 PM on October 5, 2007


This should be a holiday. International Come of the Closet day. Make it a big party. Pressure your closeted friends to do it. Maybe then guys like Roberts would have come out long ago and spared everyone, including himself, a lot of pain.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:40 PM on October 5, 2007


The only way to fight that is to form our own political party and call it The Guilty Party.

You'll be hearing from my lawyer...
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:49 PM on October 5, 2007


This should be a holiday. International Come of the Closet day.

It’s actually only 6 days away.
posted by tepidmonkey at 8:12 PM on October 5, 2007


Yep. There's no sexual innuendo attached to the husband.
Except that he can't satisfy his god-given helpmeet.
posted by Flunkie at 8:15 PM on October 5, 2007


“If the second-generation of Roberts has indeed followed the others under the low end of the low bar, then Evangelism - not just Televangelism - is jumping the societal shark big time. And that's a very good thing.”

For most non-evangelical Americans and certainly most mefites, evangelical is the same thing as televangelical. In truth, though, there are far more evangelicals and evangelical churches than those associated with these high-profile television ministries. And evangelicals are not exclusively culturally conservative—there is a very old (though currently a small minority) progressive/liberal evangelical tradition in the US (and elsewhere).

Among young evangelicals, there's been a movement away from televangelists and their ostentatious lifestyles for some time. Roberts, Roberston and many others have little relevance for these young evangelicals; and the people they do look to for guidance are mostly people the rest of us have never heard of. I think there's quite definitely fatigue with and mistrust of the older conservative evangelicals who are de facto full-time GOP political operatives.

I do think we're seeing the beginning of the collective downfall of a certain kind of ostentatious conservative Christian who has traditionally been indistinguishable from well-connected GOP lobbyists and activists. As konolia says, for many, many of these folk, their piety was just a suit they put on in the morning as a means to exploit many Christians who, until recently, didn't realize they were being played for fools. Pretending to be a certain kind of Christian, even to the point of being a minister, was just a means to the ends of money and power. They needn't actually live their own lives according to the beliefs they espoused because those closest to them who could see the hypocrisy were also part of The Machine, and everyone else could be kept at bay with some theatrics, blackmail, fear, and utilizing the awesome force of self-delusion. But all the old tricks aren't working so good these days.

These revelations of hypocrisy spell the doom for a certain kind of televangelist/political hegemony. But it certainly doesn't mean the end of evangelism in general. In fact, it probably heralds a rebirth and a return to some oft-forgotten key Christian values such as humility, compassion, good works, love and knowing the difference between the worldly and the godly.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:32 PM on October 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


lessee, hung around with 12 other guys, not at all into manly stuff like war and conquest, hair like a girl, big scandal around the one time he might have had sex with a woman....you know who else is looking a little gay around the gills these days?
posted by telstar at 3:23 PM on October 5


Hitler?
posted by Eekacat at 8:33 PM on October 5, 2007


So, having attended ORU from '97-'01 and having read the suit, I'd have to say that there is a good chance that a substantial portion of the allegations are true. I do know that the remodeling of dorms for the benefit of the daughters is absolutely true.
posted by The Bishop of Turkey at 8:43 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]



hysterical! Every single one of them is either closeted or a criminal --or both!


Imagine that...all these people needed to do to avoid scandal was tell the truth; that is, be honest with others and themselves about their sexual orientation, and not do criminal acts that they'd then need to hide or lie about.

Life's so much easier when you tell the truth, isn't it?
posted by davejay at 8:47 PM on October 5, 2007


It's kinda nice that upon hearing the news of a sex scandal involving a televangelist, we've now reached the point where everybody automatically assumes that the scandal must involve gay sex.

It's now become the expected story.

And as xmutex pointed out above, It's the wife who is alleged to be communicating with underage males.

Oh, well, it's a sex scandal involving the minister's wife. Well, that's ok then. There was a time when that would have been shocking: but the scandal-ridden evangelists have successfully raised the bar for just what constitutes a scandal these days. "Minister's second wife and underaged boys?" *Yawn*.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:10 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is there some sort of sex cult that has somehow infiltrated every powerful social, political, and religious office in the USA? It's becoming simply unbelievable how many of your figureheads and powertrippers are balls-deep in assholes and children and children's assholes. WTF, USA?

I really wish nice Americans would take back control of their country.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:24 PM on October 5, 2007


...the scandal-ridden evangelists have successfully raised the bar for just what constitutes a scandal these days. "Minister's second wife and underaged boys?" *Yawn*.
Ah, yes. Thank God, Almighty Jesus, Praise The Lord, The Almighty, J-E-S-U-S!!! ("I can't hear you. What? Who? Yoo-hoo. Yaha. -- err - Yahweh!)

It Wasn't The Pastor Seeking The Young Boys' Cocks. It was just his 'Whore-of-a-Second-Wife' ('Divorce-Not-Sanctioned.') by Our Dear Lord Jesus Christ, Hallelujah! She Be The 'Whore of Babylon!!!'
posted by ericb at 9:26 PM on October 5, 2007


i don't think there's ever been a better example of people taking a trite allegation (ooh - text messages!) and exploding it into a sordid bunch of fantasies - YOUR fantasies, i might add

people believe what it makes them feel good to believe, don't they?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:43 PM on October 5, 2007


people believe what it makes them feel good to believe, don't they?

I think we've already defined religion.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 9:56 PM on October 5, 2007


Metafilter: WTF, USA?
posted by Skygazer at 10:18 PM on October 5, 2007



Down With Tyranny!

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." - Sinclair Lewis

Elmer Gantry (1927) It tells the story of a young, narcisistic, womanizing college athlete who, upon realizing the power, prestige, and easy money that being an evangelical preacher can bring, pursues his "religious" ambitions with relish, contributing to the downfall, even death, of key people around him as the years pass. Although he continues to womanize, is often exposed as a fraud, and frequently faces a complete downfall, Gantry is never fully discredited and always manages to emerge triumphant and to reach ever greater heights of social status. The novel ends as the Rev. Gantry prays for the USA to be a "moral nation" and simultaneously admires the legs of a new choir singer.

It is a great read.
posted by Rancid Badger at 10:45 PM on October 5, 2007


"people believe what it makes them feel good to believe, don't they? posted by pyramid termite"

They certainly do, Pyramid. Not once did the article mention "gay" but we have some folks calling for "national coming out day" *rolls eyes* absolutist & silly ideas like "the world should be fair" or "we should all tell the truth" (where's the thought police when you need one?). I read that the woman was arranging field trips for everyone on the Tab, so a late-nite text doesn't seem that suspicious. the article offered no scenarios or late night hotel bookings of that sort, this is all just conjecture.
posted by Student of Man at 10:55 PM on October 5, 2007


Iota Phucka Goata

Actually, it's Sigma Pi Omega, Ʃπω
posted by ryanrs at 11:30 PM on October 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." - Sinclair Lewis

Great quote, but that is from Lewis' It Can't Happen Here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:41 PM on October 5, 2007


The fact that Oral Roberts named his son Dick just proves that he wasn't tormented enough on the playground.
posted by rokusan at 11:47 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks Blazecock I stand corrected.
posted by Rancid Badger at 12:11 AM on October 6, 2007


The couple is corrupt, have sucked great sums of money from those who have little, and have tried to buy an election. They have committed sins and crimes. Convict them! Sue them! Shun them! Does it matter whether they are also gay or pedophiliac? The Christian Right has framed this argument already. Sex is headlines. But you are accusing a godfearing women on little evidence (the employment thing, not the e-mails is the key -- unless the e-mails are really really dirty! But this going-after-underage-males thing sounds like a widespread rumor that might or might not be fact.) She will found innocent. The fight is fixed. And Ms. Roberts will win over you dirty-minded scum! And when she does, she and her husband will be granted a pass on the earlier mentioned crimes.
posted by CCBC at 12:39 AM on October 6, 2007


Should be woman of course and she will be found innocent.

Oh, just forget it.
posted by CCBC at 12:41 AM on October 6, 2007


If one claims to be righteous and isn't, one day God WILL come a'knockin'

If the preacher's van's a rockin', God WILL come a knockin'.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:44 AM on October 6, 2007


Where's the gay? It's the wife who is alleged to be communicating with underage males.

Yeah, because she's not getting any from her husband. Because like all Republicans and Evangelical Christians, he's GAY!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:52 AM on October 6, 2007


If one claims to be righteous, one is full of shit. There ain't no such thing.
posted by Malor at 1:45 AM on October 6, 2007


Yep, we definitely are in for a dose of the women-can-get-away-with-anything double standard, and endless discussions of why women can't be "predators" on teevee. I haven't seen a photo, but even more so if she's even slightly hawt for a Xtian Mama.

Though a lot depends on what "underage" means. Are we talking just college "boys"? Because where I come from most college "boys" are 18 or older and thus not "underage."

Anyway, ol' Dick Bob (for short) is in for a time, it seems. Ol' Oral Bobberts is lookin' down prowdly on hiz boy Dick.

LOLevangelicals.

And btw, for konolia: how is a lawsuit or even a criminal prosecution "god's" justice? The attitude that the wicked will get theirs eventually in the sweet bye and bye is no more egregious than the attitude that the good shall taste sweetness on the same "eventually" terms. Screw god's justice. What we see here is human justice, after years in which these corrupt pinheads relied on the fantasy of god's justice to blind the flock they were fleecing.

Xtianity got us into this mess. It ain't going to get us out. Begone, believers, from my public sphere of rational discourse and earthly accountability.
posted by spitbull at 7:41 AM on October 6, 2007


That said, I appreciate a change from the same-old-same-old man-on-man GOP action. A little MILF cougar evangelical wife porn is a pleasant change of pace, before we start talking about the equally Shakespeare-must-have-named-him Joey DiFatta. Yep, just the usual Republican in a men's room stuff, again.
posted by spitbull at 7:47 AM on October 6, 2007


And after checking the last link, yeah, America would hit that.

And will.
posted by spitbull at 7:49 AM on October 6, 2007


If one claims to be righteous and isn't, one day God WILL come a'knockin', and stuff that was assumed to be hidden will be publically exposed.

That would make one feel better, if there were any evidence it were true.

But, no, as far as we can tell, any actual justice will need to be meted out by mere mortals.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:38 AM on October 6, 2007


Is there some sort of sex cult that has somehow infiltrated every powerful social, political, and religious office in the USA? It's becoming simply unbelievable how many of your figureheads and powertrippers are balls-deep in assholes and children and children's assholes. WTF, USA?

The Terrorists got a hold of one of these puppies.
posted by EarBucket at 8:46 AM on October 6, 2007


any actual justice will need to be meted out by mere mortals.

Why is that a problem?

Lots of precedent for God using mere mortals to do His work. Go look at the Old Testament, where he used nations such as Babylon to bring punishment on Israel for its blatant idolatry. Also, the Bible does teach that civil governmental is ordained by God to maintain societal order.

True, there are some miscreants that escape judgement here on earth, and those do get dealt with in the hereafter. But God has no problem whatsoever unmasking hypocrites right here on Earth. As we see, and will most certainly continue to see.

I don't have a problem with that.
posted by konolia at 10:03 AM on October 6, 2007


government, not governmental. I do need to remember to proofread...
posted by konolia at 10:03 AM on October 6, 2007


Oh, and IIRC, the present Mrs Roberts was a former beauty queen of some sort.
posted by konolia at 10:04 AM on October 6, 2007


Lots of precedent for God using mere mortals to do His work.

That is truly hilarious. As if there were any precedent, whatsoever, at all, for the opposite. I have never seen evidence of "God" doing his (whatever) own work. I've seen nature and mere mortals do a lot of work, however. Not God.

There's a name for the species of fallacy you prefer konolia. I can't quite recall the name, but it entails assuming a premise that you then qualify as if you were giving in on something.

That's pretty much the same racket as Oral and Dick Roberts are in. Christianity, Inc.
posted by spitbull at 2:02 PM on October 6, 2007


And so, if we mere mortals can do "God's work," by throwing asshat preachers in jail or shaming them into disappearing from teevee, does that mean God is not necessary? At last, konolia and I agree on something: God is irrelevant to the question of justice on earth.
posted by spitbull at 2:04 PM on October 6, 2007


Lots of precedent for God using mere mortals to do His work. Go look at the Old Testament, where he used nations such as Babylon to bring punishment on Israel for its blatant idolatry.

So I guess God has called upon Al-Qaeda to bring punishment on Europe and the U.S.A. for their sinful ways. Boo-yay!
posted by ericb at 2:12 PM on October 6, 2007


Don't say things like that, ericb, or you'll cause the religionists' heads to explode. Very messy, that.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:09 PM on October 6, 2007


As if there were any precedent, whatsoever, at all, for the opposite

You obviously never read of the throwdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal.

But I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone here, and neither is God. Your unbelief doesn't affect Him in the slightest.
posted by konolia at 6:16 PM on October 6, 2007


Le sigh
posted by ludwig_van at 6:42 PM on October 6, 2007


You obviously never read of the throwdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal.

st augustine had a different view of such "throwdowns" and the advisability of taking them as precedent

mysterious ways and all that, you know ...
posted by pyramid termite at 7:54 PM on October 6, 2007


“That is truly hilarious. As if there were any precedent, whatsoever, at all, for the opposite. I have never seen evidence of ‘God’ doing his (whatever) own work. I've seen nature and mere mortals do a lot of work, however. Not God.”

It's not “hilarious”, it's what the majority of the world's people believe, in one form or another. And many people believe they have seen evidence of God “doing his work”.

The notion of some form of cosmic justice is, of course, quite old. In fact, while Buddhism and Christianity agree on very little, they do agree on this idea (though they radically disagree on how justice is effected).

I don't have a problem with people saying they disbelieve theism and they find it irrational. I disbelieve theism and find it irrational (well, at least I think it's irrational in many respects). What is offensive is your smug dismissal and ridicule of konolia's beliefs as if they were so exceptional as to be bizarre. But they're not exceptional, many intelligent and educated people both today and in history have believed such things.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:21 PM on October 6, 2007


It's not “hilarious”, it's what the majority of the world's people believe, in one form or another.

Comedy = tragedy + distance.
posted by Artw at 9:52 PM on October 6, 2007


That a lot of people believe or have believed something doesn't necessarily have anything to do with its truth value. It's a popular belief because it's an elegant solution to the problem of justice. You have to be good, even if you have the ring of Giges, because God can still see and will punish you.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:02 PM on October 6, 2007


What is offensive is your smug dismissal and ridicule of konolia's beliefs as if they were so exceptional as to be bizarre.

Fuck the religionists: they're the reason were in the shit we're in today. They're the ones who elected a retard for President, they're the ones who are trying to force Armageddon, they're the ones who are tearing away at the separation of government and religion, they're the ones who are denying their fellow citizens equal rights.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:30 PM on October 6, 2007


Fuck the religionists: they're the reason were in the shit we're in today. They're the ones who elected a retard for President…

If only this were true.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 4:20 AM on October 7, 2007


Let's do a quick thought experiment. Let's pretend that the world is filled with nothing but atheists.

Mind you, you probably are thinking of urbane sorts with smoking jackets and PhDs.

But guess what? There might be a few of those...but quite a number would be people you would never want to turn your back on.

You say that an atheist can be moral? Sure, I grant you that. But in a world filled with nothing but atheists, what percentage would be selfish, evil, monstrous people who would think nothing of knocking off your grandmother for cigarrette money? Nothing to restrain, no one to hold back, because, in their view, no god to punish, no god to guide, nothing but the abyss after death, why not screw over as many other people as we can and get ours until at last we die and become food for worms?

So go ahead. Blame all problems on "religionists." But if you think the alternative would be better you are sadly deluded.
posted by konolia at 5:36 AM on October 7, 2007


Fuck the religionists: they're the reason were in the shit we're in today.

it's all the carbon emissions from churches that are causing global warming, isn't it? - and don't get me started on nuclear proliferation and how the national council of churches started the manhattan project
posted by pyramid termite at 6:04 AM on October 7, 2007


The problem isn't religion, it's tribalism. Religion is just an offshoot of tribalism. "My tribe believes this!" "Oh yeah? My tribe believes differently! Let's fight!" A world of atheists would break down into "Us" versus "Them" just like the real world, only the tribal divisions would be based on something other than religion.

See also the South Park episode Go God Go.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:08 AM on October 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Let's pretend that the world is filled with nothing but atheists...

But in a world filled with nothing but atheists, what percentage would be selfish, evil, monstrous people who would think nothing of knocking off your grandmother for cigarrette money?

The same as it is now, most likely.

The zealous brain has a predictable tendency to think in black and white, as demonstrated here. When konolia pictures a world where religionists have left the building, she immediately envisions a world where logic and law and social order have left also.

Religion is not the keeper of social order. People desirous of social order keep social order. Equilibrium is sought by all systems.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:50 AM on October 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Nothing to restrain, no one to hold back, because, in their view, no god to punish, no god to guide, nothing but the abyss after death, why not screw over as many other people as we can and get ours until at last we die and become food for worms?

That wouldn't be a rational course of action.
posted by asok at 7:52 AM on October 7, 2007


You obviously never read of the throwdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal.

But. I've seen Booby Flay's Throwdowns and I bet he can smite a sizzling steak better than any of those ancient dudes!
posted by ericb at 7:58 AM on October 7, 2007


"But in a world filled with nothing but religionists, what percentage would be selfish, evil, monstrous people who would think nothing of knocking off your grandmother for cigarrette money?"

To start -- George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld...need I go on?
posted by ericb at 8:00 AM on October 7, 2007


Jesus Wept.
posted by jonmc at 8:04 AM on October 7, 2007


Jesus is the Answer!

Err, what was The Question?
posted by ericb at 8:06 AM on October 7, 2007


The problem isn't religion, it's tribalism. Religion is just an offshoot of tribalism.

I like that. Much better description of the problem.

PT: the idea that mankind has the right to abuse our environment to death has its roots in Genesis. This type of thinking permeates our culture and just might drive us to extinction.

But that's okay, because, hey, the End Times are a peachy-keen thing!

It's religionists who have brought us to the brink of nuclear war with Iran. It's religionists who will fucking celebrate that war as the beginning of the end. And it's religionists, like your precious George Bush, who may ultimately kill us all because he believes God speaks to him.

The USA would be better off today if there were, if not an atheist running the show, at least someone who makes rational, secular decisions about the governance of the country and its interactions with foreign nations.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:08 AM on October 7, 2007


As for Konolia's witless suggestion that a lack of religion would lead to chaos, I suggest she actually grab a few surveys of countries outside her own limited world.

While religion is apparently the be-all and end-all in the USA, it's quite the opposite for most of the rest of the world.

Atheism/Agnosticism account for between a third and two-thirds of the population of most European countries. Yet at the same time, they've less crime. My gosh, it's almost as if religion doesn't dictate how people behave!

Here's a cute fact: in the USA, conservative Christians divorce at a much, much higher rate than atheists. And while atheists make up about 10% of the US population, they're only 0.2% of the massive prison population. Again, gosh, it's like perhaps religion isn't correlated with good behaviour!

Or in short: what you wrote, Konolia, is uninformed, senseless drivel.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:22 AM on October 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


PT: the idea that mankind has the right to abuse our environment to death has its roots in Genesis.

so that's why one billion chinese are doing their part abusing it, too - because of genesis

that's also why the ancient romans and greeks overgrazed italy and greece - because of genesis

that's why the easter islanders chopped down all their trees building statues - because of genesis

so much for that idiotic theory

It's religionists who have brought us to the brink of nuclear war with Iran.

we are not at the brink of nuclear war with iran
posted by pyramid termite at 10:38 AM on October 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Danger, level of discourse falling rapidly!
posted by ludwig_van at 11:14 AM on October 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Take evasive action!
posted by ludwig_van at 11:14 AM on October 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


OK pt, change the word mankind to the Northern Hemisphere countries.

Stupidity and unsustainable systems may not be the sole domain of the Christian countries, but they certainly did not divert from that path. They continued to abuse our life support system and engendered the atmosphere of ecological ignorance that permeates the world today. Save for St Francis of Assisi, they were a pretty myopic bunch as regards mankinds position in the ecosystem. This reflects the maniacal egotism of the Christian faith, as I see it. Any faith that claims to be the one true faith is clearly one pontif short of a synod.
posted by asok at 11:36 AM on October 7, 2007


OK pt, change the word mankind to the Northern Hemisphere countries.

i thought china was in the northern hemisphere

but don't let facts get in the way of a good rant
posted by pyramid termite at 11:43 AM on October 7, 2007


Hey konolia, I'm a PhD, but I wear workboots and not a smoking jacket. Stop stereotyping the educated. I also grew up in a believing household, learned my theology backwards and forwards, and rejected it utterly as soon as I could think completely for myself.

As for my "smug dismissal" of what most people believe, lol. Most people believe a lot of stupid shit. But the fiction that "God" will deliver "cosmic justice" has been used to keep "most people" under the boot of despotic power since time immemorial. The belief is clearly false on a rational level, since there is no obvious prevalining principle by which the just are identified, or the unjust. Many a horrific despot has wiled away his retirement on a beach. Many an innocent child has died horribly. Give me a break until you show me the proof.

A nation of atheists, or a world of atheists, would be a more moral place than what we have now. Accountability to reason and the empirically observable facts is, I believe, the only hope for humanity at this late date in our collective suicidal progression to an apocalypse of eco-destruction.

So call me smug. But then show me where I can see God at work for myself.
posted by spitbull at 12:33 PM on October 7, 2007


Educated people scare most religionists.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:40 PM on October 7, 2007


Oh, and PS: don't tell me to read fairy tales in your bible as "proof" -- your "throwdown" is fiction as far as I am concerned. That doesn't prove anything other than that someone had a good imagination a few thousand years ago, and that people will believe anything they are told to believe if they aren't taught to think for themselves.

Don't point to natural wonders either. They are only "wonders" in the sense that we "wonder" about them. With few exceptions, which we're working on, we have a pretty good idea how they came to be.

And finally, don't point to examples of bad people getting their just rewards unless you can explain why 100,000 innocents die in an earthquake or a tsunami or why one child has to go to bed hungry tonight while one dictator stuffs his face. Justice is only justice if it applies evenly.
posted by spitbull at 12:45 PM on October 7, 2007


You say that an atheist can be moral? Sure, I grant you that. But in a world filled with nothing but atheists, what percentage would be selfish, evil, monstrous people who would think nothing of knocking off your grandmother for cigarrette money?

And what? What is the percentage of religious people NOW who are like this? You actually think it could be WORSE? You are kidding yourself.

Which is at heart the function of Organized Religion— kidding yourself. Providing the rationalization for whatever cognitive dissonant crap you want to believe or do anyway.

Yeah. Imagine, in the absence of the civilizational effect of Religion, all those secular humanist factions is Iraq strapping bombs on their children.

It's terrifying people actually believe bullshit like this.
posted by tkchrist at 12:55 PM on October 7, 2007


PT: here. Too much to pull-quote.

The US legislatures are choc-a-bloc with looney millenialists and dominionists who want the world to end and who do not want to impede its destruction.

And WTF is with "we are not at the brink of nuclear war with iran"?! Have you not been paying attention? Those running your country have said time and again that all options in dealing with Iran remain on the table: that means nukes. Influential neocons have stated flat-out that Iran should be nuked. And it's pretty damn clear that your Administration is on the warpath against Iran. There isn't a doubt that your government is on the brink of nuclear war.

Get it through your head: your religious extremists want Armageddon and they believe they can cause it to happen through political (warfare) means. And unfortunately for us all, those madmen have been put into positions of power.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:57 PM on October 7, 2007


so that's why one billion chinese are doing their part abusing it, too - because of genesis

Who do you think they are copying?

Dude. The Chinese were comparatively over-populated for centuries and yet their "impact" on the outside world environment was minimal. They had famines internally and generally were brought back into balance with their own resources.

It's been only the last twenty years or so that their ECONOMIC GROWTH is beginning to impact everyone else. BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE US.

Not they were ever granola eating hippy stewards of the planet but it's global capitalism that is the problem and this is a tremendous change in national character, philosophy, and traditional culture.

And if you read then you must know all the great rationalizations for invading, occupying, exploiting and raping the worlds natural resources by the great Capitalist thinkers were morally legitimized by Genesis. And then later they added social Darwinism in there.
posted by tkchrist at 1:06 PM on October 7, 2007


I don't know that it's so much that they want to be us, as it is we want really cheap consumerist shit and they can provide. This is partly exacerbated by the "eye of the needle" Christians who believe material wealth is a godly ideal. Consume in the name of the Lord!
posted by five fresh fish at 1:13 PM on October 7, 2007


Consume in the name of the Lord!

Yeah. Check out your average suburban American Mega-church parking lot. It's like a day at the mall!
posted by tkchrist at 1:31 PM on October 7, 2007


A nation of atheists, or a world of atheists, would be a more moral place than what we have now.

You assume they would all be just like you.

I don't assume that for a minute.
posted by konolia at 1:58 PM on October 7, 2007


I don't assume that for a minute.

So, pray tell, do you assume?
posted by ericb at 2:33 PM on October 7, 2007


You say that an atheist can be moral? Sure, I grant you that. But in a world filled with nothing but atheists, what percentage would be selfish, evil, monstrous people who would think nothing of knocking off your grandmother for cigarrette money? Nothing to restrain, no one to hold back, because, in their view, no god to punish, no god to guide, nothing but the abyss after death, why not screw over as many other people as we can and get ours until at last we die and become food for worms?

Why would a atheists in an atheist-only world act any different from atheists in this world where many people believe in god? If atheists' lack of faith makes them more likely to be evil, why aren't there a crapload of atheists being totally evil RIGHT NOW?
posted by 23skidoo at 2:53 PM on October 7, 2007


She certainly does assume.

I guess I've got faith in my fellow man. I know humanity has organized into decent social groups under a variety of dieties, from born-again supermen to small clusters of gourds.

Now, not being convinced that it's the Power of the Gourds, yet having seen evidence that these guys managed to have a decent little social thing going, it's pretty plain that if religion is a requirement for social order, it's a pretty low bar.

I believe I cleared that bar some time around Kindergarten. Play nice with others, share your toys, have a naptime, and eat well: there really is not a whole helluva lot required in order to have a civil society.

It is only tribalism, primarily in the form of religion, that prevents us from having a largely peaceful society.

One notes the Western societies with the lower rates of religiousity are also those societies with lower levels of negative social behaviours: less crime, lower teen pregnancy rates, lower dropout rates, lower incarceration rates, lower poverty rates.

One notes the Western society that is the most religious is, however, top of the charts for all those negative things.

It must take an sincere effort to add up one and one and come up with three. A wilfully blind faith in one's correctness helps, I suppose.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:57 PM on October 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I might also note that it is religion that is at the root of much of our current grief, not God.

Most of the not-a-cult religious writings are all pretty much saying the same sort of things: God says we should help one another, try to act civilized, and give unto god. Things we can all mostly agree with.

So it's not that believing in God is the problem: it's the religious part of it, in which one starts to get together with a bunch of other people, to form a tribe.

Which really becomes a problem when that tribe decides it needs to turn the mid-East into glass in order to hasten Armageddon, or decides it needs to wage jihad against the non-believers.

Spiritualism is peachy: believe whatever claptrap you desire to get along nicely with others in life. But for the love of all that is good, don't make it into a religion!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:12 PM on October 7, 2007


The US legislatures are choc-a-bloc with looney millenialists and dominionists who want the world to end and who do not want to impede its destruction.

and this impacts the actions of the chinese government how?

i forget - it's so american to believe that the world revolves around us and what we do

And WTF is with "we are not at the brink of nuclear war with iran"?!

did they get the bomb today?

Have you not been paying attention?

according to some people we've been "on the brink" for years

it's interesting how your political argument depends as much on armageddon as theirs do

-------

Who do you think they are copying?

who were the ancient greeks and romans copying? or do you mean that the only way that someone could ever over exploit their environment is to read the book of genesis first?

The Chinese were comparatively over-populated for centuries and yet their "impact" on the outside world environment was minimal.

This is nothing new, of course. In the 4th century B.C. Chinese philosopher Mencius (Mengzi) wrote about desertification and its human causes, including tree-cutting and overgrazing.

and then there's having to move the civilization to another river

people have destroyed the environments they have lived in for thousands of years - it's because they're ignorant and don't know when to stop, not because the book of genesis told them to

you know, for a bunch of rational, reality based people i sure have to correct you a lot on your facts

ifff's initial statement is nothing but western-centric sloppy thinking and anyone who's read world history with a regard to ecology knows that
posted by pyramid termite at 5:36 PM on October 7, 2007


Here, PT. It's one of your representatives telling you he lives and prays for Armageddon within his lifetime. And he did everything in his power to try to help make it happen.

Oh, hey! It looks like youre beef is with this exact statement: PT: the idea that mankind has the right to abuse our environment to death has its roots in Genesis. This type of thinking permeates our culture and just might drive us to extinction.

I can see how that first sentence confused you, as it was only in the second sentence I said "our culture." And for that matter I guess I didn't specify our Western culture, so as to not offend our Chinese, non-Christian readership.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:55 PM on October 7, 2007


A poster, probably offensive to Christians. Though no more so than I've already been.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:56 PM on October 7, 2007


Oh, hey! It looks like youre beef is with this exact statement: PT: the idea that mankind has the right to abuse our environment to death has its roots in Genesis.

do you mean it took you this long to figure it out?

I can see how that first sentence confused you, as it was only in the second sentence I said "our culture."

don't blame me for your inability to think or communicate effectively

species != culture
posted by pyramid termite at 6:35 PM on October 7, 2007


I Corinthians 1:18-29...

18For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19For it is written,
"I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,
AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE."

20Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

22For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;

23but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,

24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;

27but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,

28and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,

29so that no man may boast before God.

posted by konolia at 6:40 PM on October 7, 2007


I can see how that first sentence confused you, as it was only in the second sentence I said "our culture."
don't blame me for your inability to think or communicate effectively


Hey, what can I say? I didn't realize I was writing a thesis for pedants. My deepest apologies for confusing you so very, very badly.

Thanks for the scripture, Konolia. If that doesn't say it all, nothing does. Fools, all y'all.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:04 PM on October 7, 2007


Hey, what can I say?

anything except "i was wrong about that", i guess

buh, bye
posted by pyramid termite at 7:15 PM on October 7, 2007


you know, for a bunch of rational, reality based people i sure have to correct you a lot on your facts

Buddy. You got a serious selective reading problem.

So. Settle down with the obnoxious sarcasm routine and read what I wrote again.

I said:
The Chinese were comparatively over-populated for centuries and yet their "impact" on the outside world environment was minimal.

The 4th century Chinese were not creating asthma problems in what is now Los Angles, threatening world fisheries, or contributing to massive world climate change. The only problems they were causing were for the 4th Century Chinese.

Understand?

Yes, Captain Obvious, we understand that EVERY civilization impacts their regional environment to one degree or another.

Mankind, even the much romantisized paleo peoples disturb their environments until the environment won't support them any more... so they move on. You know. Hunters. And. Gatherers. Like, um. Nomads and shit. We know that. No shit.

The point is it has only been since large scale industrialization that this has become a world wide problem. More over it has only been since the entire world has adopted first world consumerism that it now threatening our species. It is now a potentially INCURABLE problem. Because we all can't move to the next valley any more.

If you think that the world most successful exploitative industrialized colonialism (invented by the west) and it's bastard stepchild modern consumer globalism was not heavily influenced (and rationalized) by western cultural RELIGIOUS traditions you're out of your mind.

BTW: Maybe you better look up guys like former Secretary of Interior, Anti-environmentalist and nut bag Christian Millennialist, James Watt again.
posted by tkchrist at 11:19 PM on October 7, 2007


I think maybe pyramid termite's beef is with overblown and mostly egregiously stupid statements. You're providing many of those type, five fresh fish, with spitbull providing backup for the stupid.

Apparently, some folks here who believe in the supremacy of reason (well, other than me) fail to know basic logic. If most judeo-christian nations have a past of environmental rape with justifications from their religion, then you conclude that it's only jude-christian nations who have a past of environmental rape with justifications from their religion? Whoops, you're an idiot.

Oh, and religionists are the cause of environmental rape and if the Chinese are doing it, it's because they're copying people for whom religionism justified it. Therefore, religionism causes environmental rape. Whoops, you're an idiot. (By the way, the explicit and core ethic of atheism and a wholesale rejection of capitalism—with its rape-the-environment ethos—didn't seem to keep the Soviets from raping and despoiling their environment with a gusto unmmatched by mere religious capitalists.)

I entirely agree that the judeo-christian mythos with its human exceptionalism bears a large responsibility for environmental destruction, both historically and presently. But it's not only judeo-christian belief which has this characteristic, and, as a simple matter of fact which seems to elude too many people in this discussion, there's a large number of agricultural cultures which predate Judaism, certainly Christianity, that exhibit hostility to the sanctity of the natural environment.

Anyone who thinks they are being wise and knowledgeable when they talk about how the history of war and such is an indictment of theism is someone who is an ignorant fuck. You don't need religious belief for war, wars are fought for other reasons. People do bad shit to each other for a whole host of familiar reasons, religion is just one among many. On the other hand, there's plenty of historical evidence that religious belief has motivated people to do great things, including making peace, abolishing slavery, and many, many other examples. Of course there are many motivations for doing good works. But it's certainly clear that all major religions have been repositories for philosophies of good works.

I think that konolia vastly overestimates how much theism acts as a check on bad behavior and an incentive for good behavior. But I think she's arguably close enough to being right that one can make a case that a history without theism would be a worse, not better, history. At the very least, theism creates a social context which limits behavior in civilizations that have not acquired other, secular limits. Religious law is the only manifestation of law in many pre-industrial societies.

Ranting about the evils of theism is mostly just a bunch of adolescent nonsense. It's adolescent in its profound ignorance of the whole of human history; and it's adolescent in its profoundly stupid obsession with theist irrationality at the expense of being concerned with and outraged at all the multitudes of non-theist irrationality, both historical and present. The people that the loud and obnoxious anti-theists most remind me of are Objectivists and Randroids. It's the same sort of simpleminded ignorance that thinks itself quite sophisticated and, worse, superior.

The lot of you have not a billionth the insight and wit of, say, Nietzsche, or for that matter, Russell. Just give up trying to say anything of interest on this matter, you've proven yourselves incapable a long, long time ago. And, as usual, you've made me embarrassed to call myself an atheist. Luckily, I realize you're not representative.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:23 PM on October 7, 2007 [17 favorites]


By and large the only difference between our world and a solely atheistic world is that the latter would have fewer churches.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:21 AM on October 8, 2007


I entirely agree that the judeo-christian mythos with its human exceptionalism bears a large responsibility for environmental destruction, both historically and presently.

Good. Perhaps you'll clue-stick a few of your clueless representatives, then. Particularly the multitude of dominionists and "bring it on" retards you've managed to elect into power.

But it's not only judeo-christian belief which has this characteristic, and, as a simple matter of fact which seems to elude too many people in this discussion, there's a large number of agricultural cultures which predate Judaism, certainly Christianity, that exhibit hostility to the sanctity of the natural environment.

And this applies to solving ourselves from Western idiocy in what way?

I don't think there's a smegging lot we as individuals can do to influence China right now. There's a lot we can do to influence our local communities and governments. Kicking religions out of them would be a good start.

The lot of you have not a billionth the insight and wit of, say, Nietzsche, or for that matter, Russell. Just give up trying to say anything of interest on this matter, you've proven yourselves incapable a long, long time ago.

I suggest you bugger on off, then, because this is MeFi. You are not going to have discussions with Nietzsche or Russel here.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:36 AM on October 8, 2007


Well, Ethereal, aren't you just the sophisticated one.

Read Nietzsche. In junior high. And Russell in college. I was already an atheist. We can shorthand the arguents from theodicy and natural science. I'll continue to play the rank positivist:

show me your god; until then, I choose not to believe. And I think you stupid for believing, if you do.
posted by spitbull at 3:19 PM on October 8, 2007


Oddly, When You Spend A Generation Acting Like A Bunch Of Asses, Young People Grow Up Disliking You (about a new study on young people and their views on Christianity)
posted by amberglow at 9:46 PM on October 8, 2007


just 16% of non-Christians in their late teens and twenties said they have a "good impression" of Christianity

Yet another reason why real Christians, who I believe are good people so long as they distinguish between religious belief and secular law, should be decrying those that are promoting intolerant, socially-backward policies and political positions.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:20 PM on October 8, 2007


“But you CAN comment, right? Therefore you're comparing yourself to Nietzsche and Russell? Right. ”

No, not at all. I don't have any interesting criticism of theism. I'm not offering any, my comment included only so much that was an agreement with others, a concession to their points. I don't think I'm the first person in history with the guts to criticize theism. That's for perpetual sophomores like spitbull.

(Who can't be bothered to even notice that I'm an atheist. If there's anything that demonstrates just how narrow and unworldly these outraged and oh-so-brave atheists are, it's that they almost invariably assume that anyone who disagrees with their idiocy must be a theist.)

“...should be decrying those that are promoting intolerant, socially-backward policies and political positions.”

There are. I know politically progressive Evangelicals. Just because you don't doesn't mean they don't exist. What's unbelievable to me—unbelievable in its brazen hypocrisy—is that the same group of people who loudly decry bigoted stereotypes of Muslims as representing all Muslims can so eagerly embrace similarly bigoted stereotypes as representing all Christians. What this really shows is that what's operative here is a form of tribalism, not criticism on the merits.

I was once 20 years old and an angry atheist, too—which was probably more egregious in my case as I did have exposure to many countertypes to my expectations and bigotry. But then I, you know, got out into the world, met more people, learned a great deal more history. And while I think that theism is a pernicious superstition, I've come to realize that it's possibly among the least harmful of a great number of pernicious superstitions. And that's “least” on balance, as I don't argue that theism hasn't motivated a great deal of evil. But it's acted against a great deal of evil, too.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:05 AM on October 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


yup--little patience for those of us who point out the real harm, societal damage, lies, perversions, and crimes your co-religionists do daily--but endless patience and passivity towards those who actually do the harm and spread the hate.
posted by amberglow at 9:09 AM on October 9, 2007


Why would neo-cons use "their" religion to get things done, when using evangelical Christianity works so much better?
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on October 9, 2007


[this is now in MeTa, please take your personal back and forth there]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:16 PM on October 9, 2007


Why do thick, blue-veined cocks hate America? And Jesus?
posted by bardic at 4:42 PM on October 9, 2007


I am very disappointed by this "scandal". It has been several days and I have yet to see any leaks of these text messages for my perusal.

Also, there are no supernatural entities hiding in your attics or under your floorboards. You all got that, right?
posted by meehawl at 6:54 PM on October 9, 2007



I am very disappointed by this "scandal".


You won't be by this one: the death of Reverend Gary Aldridge, a graduate of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, home to some of this country's greatest master debaters. Oh, the Rev. Aldridge also worked for Falwell:

Clothing: The decedent was received wearing two (2) wet suits, one scuba diving mask, one pair of diving gloves, one pair of slippers, one pair of rubber underwear, two (2) ties, five (5) belts, eleven (11) straps. ...


posted by amberglow at 7:50 PM on October 10, 2007


See also: Stephen Milligan. Recently engaged UK Conservative MP for Eastleigh. Found dead of apparent auto-erotic-asphyxiation, cross-dressed in stockings and suspenders and bound, with a satsuma in his mouth. This was during a campaign by then-PM John Major to drive out sleaze in public life.

After that, "New" Labour's ascendancy was pretty inevitable.
posted by meehawl at 7:59 PM on October 10, 2007


Today's New York Times: Professors Sue Oral Roberts President.

One tidbit ... the photograph accompanying the article shows Richard Roberts in front of the university's private jet. From the article:
"Tax law strictly limits the political activities of nonprofit groups, as well as the use of a charity’s assets by insiders like the Roberts family. The university’s reported ownership of a plane might also raise questions, lawyers said. Harvard, the nation’s wealthiest nonprofit institution, does not own a plane."
posted by ericb at 12:33 PM on October 11, 2007


CNN provides a little more detail on some of the allegations in the lawsuit:
"...the university was charged for 11 home renovation projects over 14 years....Lindsay Roberts spent more than $51,000 on clothes and told university employees to cover up the costs. Lindsay Roberts' Lexus SUV and Mercedes Benz convertible were provided for the university's use by donors, who also pay the insurance costs. Cell phone bills for Lindsay Roberts and her three daughters run more than $800 each month. Richard Roberts books speaking engagements in cities his daughters wish to visit, and then charges all travel expenses to the university."

And ya' gotta love this quote: "Bishop Carlton Pearson, a former Oral Roberts protege, told CNN Tuesday that Richard Roberts was 'born into privilege.'

'What others may call extravagance he may not see it as extravagant,' said Pearson. He said he was disappointed but not surprised by the allegations.

'These kinds of things are common among family-owned and operated businesses and ministries,' Pearson explained. 'They don't cross every T and dot every I.'"
Just ask Tammy-Faye. Err, wait. Too late.
posted by ericb at 12:40 PM on October 11, 2007


Beliefnet:
"In order to understand the angry reaction to the luxurious lifestyle enjoyed by the Roberts, it is important to understand that ORU is millions of dollars in debt (perhaps as high as $85 million), due to a slowdown in giving to Oral Roberts Ministries and financial mismanagement. This crushing load has necessitated severe staff cutbacks, reduction of salaries and delays on campus improvements. While campus salaries are reduced or jobs eliminated altogether, Richard and Lindsay drive around campus in luxury cars that cost more than a Professor makes in a year.

....Allegations aside, I am most troubled by the tone the Roberts have taken throughout this time. Instead of a spirit of humility and seeking what was best for the reputation of the University, the Roberts have accused the professors of extortion.

It is vital that the Regents make a stand for the integrity of the institution. While the legal process will either convict or exonerate the Roberts, there can be no question about an appearance of evil. The Bible talks often about the high standards set for spiritual leaders – a bar the Roberts have failed to reach. If the Regents do not remove the Roberts from their pedestal of leadership until the investigation is complete, their words about integrity, Godliness and honor will ring as hollow as the bronze hands that sit in front of the ORU campus."
posted by ericb at 12:48 PM on October 11, 2007


Oral Roberts University President Richard Roberts asked the school's board of regents for a leave of absence Wednesday amid accusations of lavish spending at donors' expense and illegal involvement in a political campaign.

The 58-year-old son of the evangelist who founded the school said he would continue in his role as chairman and chief executive of Oral Roberts Ministries.

``I don't know how long this leave of absence will last, but I fully trust the members of the Board of Regents,'' Roberts said in a statement released by the university. ``I pray and believe that in God's timing, and when the Board feels that it is appropriate, I will be back at my post as president.'' ...

posted by amberglow at 5:00 PM on October 17, 2007


''I pray and believe that in God's timing, and when the Board feels that it is appropriate, I will be back at my post as president.'' ...

Don't hold your breath.
posted by ericb at 5:12 PM on October 17, 2007


he'll be back--his name is actually on the place (unless he has a squeaky-clean brother to take over?).
posted by amberglow at 8:36 PM on October 17, 2007


related: just one of the eliminationist messages at the current "values voter" summit
posted by amberglow at 1:10 PM on October 20, 2007


The university's own internal report [PDF] on the scandal. Very "eye-opening" and damning.

Some tidbits:
"• Dead bolt locks were installed on all bedroom doors at the insistence of the Roberts' oldest daughter. This was precipitated by Mrs. Roberts repeatedly moving into the home her 16 year old male 'friend,' which made her daughters uncomfortable.

• Photos exist of Mrs. Roberts and an underage male smoking at the President's residence

• Mrs. Roberts has personally spent the night in the ORU guest house with an underage male on nine separate occasions. (Draft report references photos of these events as well as logs from security.) It is reported that this underage individual was allowed to stay in the university guest house unsupervised on numerous occasions. All living expenses for this individual were born by ORU/ORM -- despite reported compliance prohibitions.

• Draft report references 29 distinct photos of Mrs. Roberts and an underage male alone in her sports car. Time stamps on the photos indicate that they were photographed after the citywide 10 p.m. curfew for minors not with their parents. In fact, all 29 photos were taken after midnight. The Draft report cites blog entries from current students confirming these meetings.

• Draft report cites statements by Victory Christian Students and past employees of VCS confirming Mrs. Roberts’ presence at the school in the presence of the underage male companion. Security tapes showed 81 visits to VCS by Mrs. Roberts and the underage male to the campus in 2004 alone.

• A longtime maintenance employee was summarily fired so that this same underage male companion could have his position. (Draft report cites a statement from current employee in confirmation of this assertion.)

• At ORUEF, Security removed three individuals for being intoxicated. Photos of the three show that one of the individuals was Mrs. Roberts’ 'boy friend.' She ordered that Security ignore the infraction. (Draft report indicates existence of photos of Mrs. Roberts ordering security to ignore the drunken youth.)"
CBS News on the scandal.
posted by ericb at 6:14 PM on October 20, 2007


And more from the university's own report:
• Mrs. Roberts personally awarded thirteen non-academic, non-need-based scholarships exclusively to friends of her children. Two of the recipients scored 12's on the ACT, making them academically ineligible for admission to the university. When informed that the two students with 12's on the ACT could be admitted contingently and put into the Bridge program, Mrs. Roberts demanded that they be admitted without condition and that the questioning employee be fired. (Original draft references affidavit and copies of all transcripts of students awarded scholarships. Additionally, copies of awards for fulI room, board, and tuition scholarships, bearing Mrs. Roberts signature, were attached.)

• Mrs. Roberts was informed that these unilateral scholarship awards might constitute inurement, as she often received significant "thank you" gifts from the recipients or their parents. The unfortunate aspect of these scholarship awards to questionable students was the depletion of limited resources to fund the educations of more worthy candidates.

• After awarding the thirteen full academic scholarships to friends of the family, Mrs. Roberts established the "Make Your Day” scholarship. This financial aid was advertised as serving needy students. As before, Mrs. Roberts selected the recipients from a pool of mostly friends of the family.
posted by ericb at 6:25 PM on October 20, 2007


BTW -- the internal University report ("Scandal Vulnerability Assessment") was written/prepared by Stephanie Cantees, Richard Roberts' sister-in-law.
posted by ericb at 6:28 PM on October 20, 2007


It sounds like Mrs. Roberts really liked being wealthy and powerful.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:39 PM on October 20, 2007


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