Ever since I finished high school, I have worked night shift. So, I am accustomed to being awake at all hours of the night. That being said, I do pity the patients who can't sleep at night, if only for the fact that television programming after hours leaves a lot to be desired. You have your choice between the "Get Rich With Real Estate" infomercial as hosted by two midget twin brothers in matching suits, various other infomercials claiming to help you drop 50lbs in 1 week, music videos, the Feed the Children commercials in which Sally Struthers threatens to eat the impoverished unless you send in enough money to buy one cup of coffee a day, and most importantly, the early morning televangelists.
Televangelism is sort of like stumbling upon a fishing show. You stop, you stare, you drool on yourself, and you cannot find the strength to change the channel. Back in the 90's, with the fall of the PTL and Tammy Faye's makeup budget, one would think that televangelism would fade into obscurity. Sadly, it didn't.
A lot of times, I catch patients watching this stuff. I'm continually surprised at the lengths some of these televangelists will go to get your dollar. One guy claims that if you contribute to his mortgage, I mean, ministry, God will miraculously deposit millions into your bank account. He even has "followers" who attest that such a miracle occurred. Another guy is soliciting for funds to feed the starving Jewish people in Israel, and if we do so, God will bless us for blessing his children and so on and so forth. On one show, the guy told a woman who was essentially homeless, that she still needed to give because that is what God wanted her to. If I believed what they told me, God would want me to give thousands because I will get a monetary return on my investment, because God wants us to have riches, and Satan wants everyone to be poor. It says so in the Bible!
Actually, I'm pretty confident that the "riches" spoken about in scriptures doesn't involve money.
And don't pay attention to the preacher's wife (who is usually half his age, and not his first wife), who is standing next to him, either crying or wailing out a song (sometimes, it's difficult to discern between the two), covered in diamonds and gold, and their three poodles sitting at their feet.
I know the scriptures warn of false prophets, but I always figured they would be a little more subtle that that.
As long as people keep sending them money, they will continue to siphon off those individuals who buy into it. Out there, I'm sure there is more than one person who has been driven to bankruptcy by televangelist ministries. While it may be easy to look at those people and call them gullible idiots, it's just plain sad.
Yes, there is a special place in hell for televangelists. Right there next to the lawyers...and that evil surgical resident whom I loathe.
There should be laws banning such shows from hospitals. We give these patients powerful drugs, and they might actually be compelled to call and give their credit card numbers while in an altered state. One of my patients already did. Apparently, she gets a calendar for every dollar she sends. She has a lot of calendars.
I have an uncle who used to get drunk on Sundays (well, he got drunk everyday) and watch Jerry Fallwell. He never sent money (because that's money that could be used to buy more beer), but he was inspired to dress in drag and go parading down in the town square in front of the Catholic church.