Richard Roberts’ DUI: Why Talking About It Is Important

Richard Roberts' mug shot. (Photo: Tulsa County Jail)

Just after midnight last night, Richard Roberts was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol on the Creek Turnpike in South Tulsa, Oklahoma. According to a news report from FOX 23, he spent the night in the Tulsa County Jail and was released after posting bail in the amount of $1,100.

Also according to the news report, at the time he was pulled over by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, he was driving 93 miles per hour in a 65 miles per hour zone and a breathalyzer test would reveal his blood alcohol content to be 0.11. The legal limit for drivers is 0.08.

Incidentally, today would have been the ninety-fourth birthday of his father, Oral Roberts, who died in December of 2010. I’ll explain why this might be significant later.

As the sun rose Tuesday morning, many people on the campus of Oral Roberts University (where I am a senior preparing to graduate in May of this year) rushed to his defense, many of them playing the “judge not lest you be judged” card and throwing out Scripture like confetti in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. The most common biblical reference appeared to be Romans 3:23, which says in the NIV translation, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”


Of course, the real issue isn’t that he was drunk, which might or might not be a sin depending on the Christian denomination. For example, if he’d been caught totally trashed in his house on camera and video of it showed up on the Internet, I’m sure it would been embarrassing for him but that’s it. It’s likely no laws would have been broken and it would have been no one’s business.

Now, the excuse that he might have been drinking because he missed his father on what would have been his birthday is not only conjecture (we’ll have to wait for the book to know for sure) but is also no excuse at all. Getting drunk and driving a car under the influence has never been an acceptable form of dealing with grief in this country. When a man whose blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.11 gets behind the wheel of a car on a public highway, he is not only endangering his own life, but the lives of countless others.

Just how bad is it to drive with a BAC that high? According to, a person with a BAC of 0.11 experiences “loss of critical judgment,” “impairment of perception; memory and comprehension,” “decreased sensitory response,” “increased reaction time,” “impaired balance,” and “drowsiness” among other hazardous effects. As a matter of fact, he, his family, and everyone else concerned should be glad the highway patrol pulled him over; had he continued, any number of things could have happened, ranging from nothing to a multi-car pile-up with multiple fatalities.

So, let’s talk about Roberts’ DUI for what it is: a violation of the laws designed to protect citizens from dangerous drivers for which, if convicted, he should be held to account. At the same time, we can all avoid the “holier than thou” defenses based on logically fallacious arguments and assumptions that tend to be only selectively applied anyway. How many people rushed with these arguments to the side of Charles Barkley, Lindsay Lohan, or Mel Gibson? They had DUIs too, and Scripture applies to them just the same way it does to Richard Roberts. People who break drunk driving laws are making decisions that have the potential to cost lives and as any mother who’s lost her child to a drunk driver will tell you, it’s not the drinking that the issue, it’s the driving.

26 thoughts on “Richard Roberts’ DUI: Why Talking About It Is Important

  1. Richard Roberts frequents a well known restaurant in Tulsa and drinks at least one bottle of wine per sitting according to a relative waiter of mine. According to the Bible we are not to be given of much wine but a bishop is not to have any. That is why Paul wrote Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomachs sake.(Those Baptist over there are upsetting your tummy). As far as GOD not using drunks, what about Noah? I do not condone drinking, but if you must, do it in private. if you cause a man to stumble it is a sin. A sinner thinks if you smoke, curse, drink and/or other things they are as good as you. So why should they become a Christian?

  2. I graduated from oru in 2005 and aside from catching a news clip in a gas station when the whole richard roberts money scandal happened i didnt really keep up with this family. I met them a handful of times during my time as a student. Thinking of Tulsa makes me a little sad because during my time there i saw people have to leave because of how expensive the school was and people literally go dorm to dorm asking for donations so they could stay in school. Also had gay friends who suffered humiliation and prejudice there. It makes me upset to see this person who held everyone to such a high moral standard having been speeding in a mercedes like a spoiled teenager endangering peoples lives. What an asshole.

  3. I have been inspired and uplifted, having heard our dear Brother Richard Roberts preach through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It is true that God is unrepenting when he has blessed some one with a great anointined ministry. Look at the mistakes in life that David in the Bible did. Yet David was a man after Gods’s own heart. We are not Brother Richard Roberts judge in any sense of the word. We should take heed to what the scripture plainly says in regards to TOUCH NOT MINE ANNOINTED, AND DO MY PROPHETS NO HARM. God is not finished with Brother Richard Roberts, may God bless and meet all his needs.

  4. If Richard only had a 0.3. alcohol blood level count that was legal, he was not very drunk–regardless of what they claim. We do not know why he drank, but I do know that if a person never drinks–and I would say this is probably Richard’s case–it does not take very much alcohol to affect that person. Point, Richard probably had very little to drink. Second point, he therefore did not realize at all that he would be vulnerable or hindered in his ability to drive. In fact, most police officers will tell you that drunk drivers usually go slow in order to be able to control their cars. The fact that Richard was going so fast showed that he had the ability to drive, and proved just how much in control he was. In face, he may have been trying to get home quickly. He was pulled for speeding, not swerving all over the road. I do agree that he should not have been speeding if for no other reason but the one that happened–he got stopped.

    In defense of Richard and other ministers allow me to say this. The majority of Christians have no idea the pressure that these guys are under at times. The devil is trying to take them out because of the work they are doing for the Lord. He wants you to think they are just cons and thieves so you will not be saved delivered, or healed from their ministries. And, you are wrong about Oral Roberts money. He put all he had into the ministry. When ORU was about to go under in the eighties, both Oral and Evelyn, and Richard and Lindsay sold their homes to put all they could toward saving the college. These people spend so much time serving God and the people that they have very little time for themselves–they cannot take the time to spend money on fleshly pleasures, therefore, money does not help them satisify their flesh the way it would you or I. They are and have been accountable to the people. When I think about it, I probably would have taken a drink also–who would not need a break after all they have been through. When I read comments like the one above, it makes me realize how out of touch some people are. One more thing–The gifts and callings of God are without repentance,” which means that when God gives a gift He does not take it away. Yes, we will all be accountable to God on judgment day, and He will judge all of our works. Why not start with the idle words He will judge that are coming out of your judgmental mouths–judge not that you be not judged.

    • I think what I find most amusing, aside from the plethora of factual inaccuracies and logical fallacies present in this comment, is that people are still Google-searching and commenting on articles dealing with this thing that happened over two years ago. Some Christians… *sigh*

  5. I am a conservative Christian. I have grown up in the church and have been a Christian for many years. The fact that we all can and do sin has little to do with this incident. What is important and relevant is the fact that the Bible holds Christians to a higher standard and it holds preachers and teachers to an even higher standard. God’s grace and love are not are not a license to sin and get by with it. Nor are they a get out of jail free card. For far too long Christians have closed their eyes to the flagrant sins of their leaders, especially high profile, famous leaders. Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, Jack Schaap, to name just a few. We need to hold our leaders accountable. Yes, we must be ready to forgive and understand them when they sin, but we must stop denying and covering up their sins. Yes we all sin, but most of us must pay a price for our sins. Just because someone is rich and famous and powerful doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be held accountable for their sins and the consequences of those sins.

  6. I know God forgives, I’m very thankful that God is able to not condem Richard because Jesus paid the price for all of his sins and mine 2000+ years ago. Why should we condem him. I have plenty of sins I need forgiveness for.

  7. Richard made a mistake so what?? Maybe he had personal reasons. Lay off of him. I think very highley of him. God forgives everyone

    • 1. The mistake he made could have cost any number of innocent bystanders their lives.
      2. Whatever personal reasons he may have had are irrelevant. He still broke the law.
      3. Whether or not you think highly of him is also irrelevant.
      4. God does forgive everyone, but there are also inescapable consequences for people’s actions. Drinking and driving is a serious matter and requires a stern response.

      • Good grief, people are STILL commenting on this article? *sigh*

        Incidentally, no, I don’t recall everything I said two years ago, but I wager you do since you’re probably referring to something specific. So, please, inform me.

  8. I have been greatly influenced by Oral Roberts Evangelical Association. Richard came through as one called by God to the healing ministry and has been following on the correct path God has called him on. I will continue to pray for him and his family. I believe God still has alot for him to do.

  9. Pingback: Christianity is a Scandal | Roygeneable

  10. It hurts me deeply to learn that Richard Roberts has this black mark against him. I have always wondered about his committment to his Lord as he came across to me as a spoiled brat. My parents supported his father in his ministry heavily with money as my father came to know Jesus Christ when I was six years old when he was saved at an Oral Roberts tent campaign in Oklahoma City. Richard and his siblings lived very well growing up because of the large donations given to Oral Roberts over the years. Richards sinful behavior is the result of being spoiled in a Christian environment when he had no concept of resposibility….just living off the name and reputation of his late father. Oral Roberts certainly was not perfect, but he had a special calling on his life from God. Oral and his wife Evelyn were good parents and suffered greatly at the loss of their oldest daughter and son Ronald to suicide. To me Ronald was the responsible son of the family even though the demons of drug addiction pushed him through the gates of suicide.
    A sad day for Christianity due to the irresponsibility of Richard.

    • everyone has their opinions and speculations. He was drunk, so maybe we should pray for him so he sobers up!….Maybe the problem is, WE ARE A LITTLE TO HIGH AND MIGHTY TO HUMBLE OURSELVES AND PRAY?

  11. I am angry, yes angry because if I were driving that night with my daughter in the car seat and he would have hit me with his car, I really don’t care who you are if you are drunk. My question is, is this the ONLY instance where he decided to be an irresponsible jerk and get behind the wheel drunk. I am a Christian and am tired of these “so call preachers” try to get away with this sort of thing. Some people have it all wrong when they say “don’t judge”… because that makes you feel superior to him, it’s the other way around, he thinks he is superior therefore he thinks he can get away with this reckless behavior!!
    And for those people who worship and condon his behavior, check yourselves too. Worship GOD, not man. Quit being so blind lest you become the same way.

  12. Roy, you have it partly right – Richard Roberts driving drunk certainly broke the law and on that basis alone is sinful and unacceptable. But you are wrong when you say that his drunkeness is only a sin depending on which denomination we’re talking about. Drunkeness is a sin. Period. That’s how God puts it in His word and that is the standard.

    God does not use drunks. He does not use liars. His word is very clear on this. Richard Roberts is both a profligate drunk and a liar. Therefore, no matter what Richard Roberts may profess and/or claim on his TV program, he is NOT being used of God. By extension, I believe that it is reasonable to conclude that he is not a Christian in any meaningful sense. That means of course that he is a fake and a con man.

    In Ezekiel 33:14 God speaks about “walking in the statutes of life.” Seems to me that Roberts has broken nearly all of those precious statutes.

    Unless and until he repents and restores the pledge, as Ezekiel was instructed to say, Richard Roberts deserves rejection by those of us who name the Name that is above every name. He does NOT deserve wimpy “forgiveness” that comes from shallow thinkers and weak minded “nonjudgemental” types.


    • “[Y]ou are wrong when you say that his drunkeness is only a sin depending on which denomination we’re talking about. Drunkeness [sic] is a sin. Period. That’s how God puts it in His word and that is the standard.”

      I’d like to point out that I said “drinking” and “drunk,” not “drunkenness.” There is a difference. I, for example, fully intend to celebrate my graduation from ORU by having a beer with friends, as I will no longer be living under the school’s Honor Code. On the other hand, I do not intend to be given to drunkenness. Drunkenness denotes a repetitive pattern; “drinking” or being “drunk” does not automatically imply the latter.

      “God does not use drunks. He does not use liars. His word is very clear on this. Richard Roberts is both a profligate drunk and a liar. Therefore, no matter what Richard Roberts may profess and/or claim on his TV program, he is NOT being used of God.”

      The arbiter or who can and cannot be, who is and is not being used of God is a slightly grandiose title to attribute to yourself. Furthermore, as the only instance we know of Richard drinking is this one, how you can label him a “profligate drunk” is unclear to me.

      “By extension, I believe that it is reasonable to conclude that he is not a Christian in any meaningful sense. That means of course that he is a fake and a con man.”

      Your logic is astounding: because of this one instance of Richard being drunk (since that’s all we can know for sure), you take it on yourself to pronounce his salvation null and void until he “repents” and “restores the pledge.” Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t allow this sort of bigoted and ignorant statement to be voiced on my blog. However, for the sake of example, I’m going to leave your comments unaltered so as to illustrate exactly the type of fundamentalist inanity that gets me absolutely beside myself.

      The only real issue is that Richard was driving under the influence. Consuming alcohol is neither a sin nor a litmus test for judging the validity of a person’s relationship with the Lord.

      • Of course people like Richard Roberts who profess to be christian but do not walk in the Statutes of Life (see Ezekiel 33) throw their salvation into question- it is inevitable and legitimate to question the salvation of someone who gets on TV every night and claims to have great faith and special anointing and yet gets caught drunk and careening around at 100 miles an hour in a luxury car bought with money he got from people who trusted him. So, yes! I openly question his salvation.

        Statistics clearly tell us that when a person gets caught driving drunk, chances are very VERY good that he’s been doing it for a very long time before he gets caught. You can do some quick Internet research and validate that point if you care to.

        Why are you so determined to defend this man? In Ephesians 5 Paul said “be not drunk with wine wherein is excess.” Solomon in Proverbs says consider not wine when it is red in the cup. Drunkeness is not in any way consistent with a true Christian walk. Why attempt to defend the indefensible.

        People like you make con men like Richard Roberts possible.


    • Ignorance and delusion are not admirable Christian character traits where I come from. The gentleman with his “evidence” of light drinking due to RR’s driving well over the speed limit, shows shocking simple-mindedness. To hit .11 a person has consumed 5 mixed drinks (contains a jigger 1 1/2 ounces of liquor) or 5-6 cans of 5-6% alcohol beer, over the previous 2 hours. If the alcohol were consumed over a longer period of time, the blood/alcohol level would be dropping from a much higher level. That’s out of the manual used in a court room. Driving fast would indicate a more careless attitude, an uninhibited devil-may-care sense possibly brought on by the effects of the drug. I read about a local family of 8 returning from a Chritmas Eve program who were hit headon by a kid driving a Jeep Cherokee 90-100 mph down the wrong side of a freeway. All but the dad and a 13 year old daughter were killed. Do you suppose the attending state trooper tossed out any DUI links because of the speed? The kids blood alcohol level was .12. And please don’t tell me that RR’s normal non-drinking status, by your estimation, had any effect on the findings of a blood level over the limit. The federal government will soon force the states (if they want federal $$$) to lower the legal limit to 0.05, because at 0.07 a person can be impaired.
      I have a funny feeling that RR, the Newport jetsetter, the guy that carries a 3″ tick bankroll and enjoys his liquor, is not the guy that ORU and Tulsa folks know very well. If you live in Southern Cal check out the better restaurants right on the water at Dana Point, there is a very upscale Italian place that the Roberts frequent, the Newport Roberts.
      Few people in public view have controlled their public image as well as RR. Living in the backwater has to help as long as you don’t get involved with the police.
      His salary is $490,000/yr plus $278,000 (pension, retirement), Lindsay gets $172,000/yr plus$ 150,000 (pension, retirement). Those are official ORU figures, look up RR on Wicapedia, the link to the reference is at the bottom of the page. They are not suffering.

  13. I don’t want to sit here and be a judge of Richard Roberts decision to drink…that’s between him and his faith, but I do want to say I am disappointed in his decision to get behind of the wheel of a vehicle and put the lives of innocent people in danger. Very bad move…and he should be held accountable for driving under the influence just like anyone else, but not crucified. We should all be careful when throwing stones…if you know what I mean.

  14. This is a really sad day. Richard is held to God’s standards because he has been God’s ambassador. What he did was wrong. Yes, it was sinful and fourtuantely he didnt get in an accident. Drinking for someone in his position of authority is certainly wrong. The more difficult problem he needs to deal with is the emptiness that drove him to this place where drink was an escape. The old time preachers used to say “Flee to Christ, run to him”…….This is the only remedy for the pulls of our flesh and this old wicked world. The other thing needed in this situation is to step down from any place of leadership, and find the place of true repentance…..

    • You know what really amazes me? Everyone quickly rushes to the “judge not lest ye be judged” passage (Matthew 7:1-3), but NOBODY bother to quote the Apostle Paul when he talks about ACCOUNTABILITY INSIDE THE CHURCH (Hello? Is anybody listening???) when he says, “11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, OR A DRUNKARD, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” (I Corinthians 5:11-13). The simple truth is that we, as ministers of the Gospel are responsible and accountable to God AND TO ONE ANOTHER for our moral conduct. I am 63 years old, the same age as Richard, and I made my mistakes as well but I HAD TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR MY SINS WITHING THE BODY, just as Richard has to. The day of glossing over the overt and obvious sins committed by our leaders has GOT to come to an end. We attract sinners into the Kingdom with the Gifts and then drive them back out with our total lack of Fruit within the Body. I have ministered all over the world in the last 30 years, and, unfortunately, whatever goes in America goes across the World in the Body of Christ as well. Saints, grow up, ‘fess up and stand up, or you won’t be CAUGHT UP!!!

  15. I agree that breaking the law and endangering lives is a crime, no matter who commits it. That isn’t judging. Saying something is wrong when it is, is not judging the person, it’s saying that what they did was wrong. We are always to love and forgive, but never to call “evil good, and good evil.” That doesn’t mean that someone who does wrong is evil, or bad, it just means that their action, and /or actions were wrong according to God’s Word and the law. We need to care enough to pray for him and his family. Even though ministers have a higher accountability, God’s desire is restoration.

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