The story of Oral Roberts’ gay son

An Evangelical leader kept a secret

Jonathan Poletti
I blog God.


He lived a life in full view of American Christianity, though also unknown. He was Oral Roberts’ eldest son. Even as a small child he was helping out with his father’s church services.

At the altar call, Ronnie was called up sing a hymn, “Don’t Turn Him Away,” and everyone was so charmed they wanted to get ‘saved’ all over again.

“He had such a sweet little voice,” his mother said.

Oral Roberts isn’t as famous as he once was, but he was once as big as Billy Graham.

The two leaders were like the polar ends of American Christianity. Billy was seen as the cerebral, intellectual side—the counselor to presidents! Oral was the Pentecostal faith healer. Billy was mind, Oral was body.

Billy largely kept his family tucked out of sight, but Oral made his family into something like reality T.V. stars. Everyone knew he was very proud of his eldest son, Ronald David Roberts, born October 22, 1943.

I’m reading a 1976 memoir by Oral’s wife, Evelyn Roberts. She was so proud of her “well-behaved” Christian son…