He has known it in his heart since he was about 5 years old. But Randy Roberts Potts didn't admit to his family, and the world, that he was gay until he was 31, just six years ago. That's largely because the weight of his family name -- Roberts -- made being a gay man untenable. After all, his grandfather, the Rev. Oral Roberts, was one of the pastors who influenced a generation of people to believe that being gay was a sin.
Expecting N.C.A.A. Miracles, the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles Make a Run
PRESS COLLECTION: "Evangelist Oral Roberts" () | These Americans. An American Archive.
Gay Oklahomans like my uncle, son of Oral Roberts, bear the weight of stories the straights refuse to tell. Now I am chasing down — and sharing — his own tale. At age 37, Uncle Ronnie was found in a car on the side of a backcountry road, shot dead. He was gay and closeted and, for 10 years now, I have been chasing what few facts remain about the part of his life my family has swept under the rug. I chase after this private history because I am gay as well and, if I am silent, my family could erase me the way they have tried to erase my uncle. In the world of my childhood — spent on a Pentecostal compound in Oklahoma — my uncle Ronnie was a hothouse flower: the way he laughed; the way he smiled through his beard; his professorial cardigan; his glasses; his pipe. I remember him the way you might remember the way the sky was lit on a great day 20 years ago: brightly yet faintly.
PRESS COLLECTION: “Evangelist Oral Roberts” (1965)
Oral Roberts was an American Pentecostal televangelist and a Christian charismatic. As one of the most famous and controversial religious leaders of the 20th century, his ministries reached millions of followers worldwide over six decades. His healing ministry and bringing American Pentecostalism into the mainstream had the most impact, but he also pioneered TV evangelism and laid the foundations of the prosperity gospel and abundant life teachings. November 16, Up until that time Roberts had struggled as a part-time preacher in Oklahoma.