Randy Roberts Potts has been invited by Andrew’s Round Table, a group opposed to Minnesota’s marriage amendment, to give a series of public lectures Oct. 23-26 called “A Place at the Table.” The 37-year-old grandson of the late, legendary televangelist Oral Roberts hasn’t had a place at his family’s table since coming out of the closet in 2005. “I haven’t been invited home for the holidays since I came out,” said Potts in a telephone interview from his home in Dallas.
But the writer and father of three says he’s determined to show “faith and homosexuality don’t conflict. There really is a middle ground.”
A year ago, Potts made his coming out story more public, producing a video for the It Gets Better series on YouTube. It’s a letter to his uncle, Ronald “Ronnie” Roberts, Oral Roberts’ eldest son who committed suicide thirty years ago. When Randy was going through his own coming out process, a relative informed him Ronnie too had been gay.
“It was upsetting to hear this man I had always idolized had been gay and I had never even known about it,” said Potts. “I was having such a rough time coming out that it felt like almost like he committed suicide right then. Just all of sudden it was fresh and really tragic.”
In the video, Potts says, “A bullet was the only example he left.”
It’s an example Potts didn’t want to follow and he says he wants to spare other young evangelicals that pain. “So my message to them is, ‘It’s OK. That God loves you. You can have a wonderful life and you’re not going to hell.'”
Potts says he hears from a lot of young Christians who are distressed about being gay. The other group he tends to hear from are older gays and lesbians “that came of age when my grandfather was on television a lot [in the 1960s and 70s]…they say it means a lot to them to hear me tell my story because…their parents took what they saw as Oral’s message of anti-homosexuality to heart and used it against them.”
Potts will be speaking next week in Minneapolis, Winona and Rosemount.
He’s hoping to be back in Minnesota next year with a new project he’s launching called“The Gay Agenda.” The touring performance will set up in rented storefronts in conservative small towns. “Inside will be a gay couple being domestic. They’ll vacuum, play cards, have visitors over and eat dinner and that kind of thing.” Potts and his boyfriend will test out a five-hour fishbowl stint at an upcoming Dallas art fair that he promises will be very boring.
“We’re always accused of having an ‘agenda’ and if we do, it’s the human agenda of loving one another and living in peace and harmony and being domestic.”