Religion: Raising Eyebrows and the Dead

Oral Roberts stirs controversy with an extraordinary claim

So far, 1987 has been a checkered and chastening year for the Rev. Oral Roberts, 69. Last January the Tulsa-based TV evangelist announced that if he did not receive $8 million from donors by March 31, God would "call me home." The money was raised, but Roberts' dramatic ultimatum provoked widespread derision. He drew additional gibes by declaring that his wife Evelyn had come to his rescue when the devil visited his bedroom and tried to strangle him. Then, in May, Roberts mailed 1 million packets of "healing" water to followers, advising them to use it to "anoint your billfold" to...

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