Robert TIlton and God’s Wallet

Oral Roberts on TV in the 50's.

Oral Roberts healing the sick on TV in the 50’s.

As late-night Saturday turns into Sunday morning, the television landscape is a pretty barren place. It’s nothing but infomercials and religious programming. It turns out that those two things aren’t so different from each other.

If you know the name Oral Roberts, it’s usually in the context of Oral Roberts University, which sounds respectable enough. He also founded a (for profit) hospital called City of Faith Medical and Research Center. The fundraising he did for that, though, leaves no doubt about what kind of guy he was.

He was inspired to build the hospital, in part, by a thing that he swears happens to him. He was reportedly approached by a 900 foot tall Jesus, who told him to build it, and that it would be a big success.

But he ran into fundraising problems anyway.

So, he went on the air and said this:

“I spoke to god, and If I can’t raise another $8 million by March, he’s gonna call me home.”


"You can have up to a dozen women using you for your boat using my method!"

“You can have up to a dozen women using you for your boat using my method!”

Taking both Oral Roberts and assorted TV real-estate con men as his inspiration, Robert Tilton became the king of a new kind of for-profit ministry. He did this by promising his viewers untold riches and happiness, provided they send him a ‘vow of faith’, or as it’s more commonly known: shitloads of money.

A face (and a phone number) you can trust.

A face (and a phone number) you can trust.

We’ll get into this and a whole lot more on this installment of Liar City. Everything from late-night infomercials to Florida car chases. From BET to unlimited Crunch Berries, we’ll give you the whole story.

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The original ‘Pastor Gas’ in all its glory: