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Apr 05 2013

America’s Next Great Religious Con Artist

I’m thinking about pitching a reality TV show to the Trinity Broadcasting Network: America’s Next Great Religious Con Artist. It would have four judges — Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, Rod Parsley and Peter Popoff — and they would choose the next great faith healer or televangelist fraud.

I’m torn on how the contestants would get chosen. They could do American Idol-style cattle call auditions and they could laugh at and humiliate the contestants who actually make sense. Or they could do it like The Voice, where each contestant would come up on stage and, with the judges backs turned to them, preach some nonsensical bullshit and let the judges compete for which one is going to mentor them. We could have a series of challenges for the contestants, like these:

Challenge 1: Send them all to a hospital ICU to see who can get a dying person to give them the most money by promising that God will heal them if they do. Bonus points for the contestant who can show absolutely no remorse while fleecing the patient who is in the worst shape and thus most desperate.

Challenge 2: Send them to a mall and see which of them can literally take candy from a baby in the shortest amount of time. They could do this by convincing their parents that it’s God’s will that they have the candy, or that the baby must “sow their seed of faith” by giving up the lollipop and that God will give them back 10 or 100 lollipops later.

Challenge 3: Have the contestants compete to see which of them can come up with the most convincing excuse for why they live in a $10 million mansion while claiming to follow the example of a man who was so dirt poor that he barely owned his own sandals.

I think this idea has real promise.

24 comments

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  1. 1
    Didaktylos

    It should definitely be judged partially on how much money each contestant can bring in. There also needs to be scope for offering bribes“love offerings” to the judges.

  2. 2
    richardelguru

    Ed I’m getting tired of the way you keep giving these undastains ideas!
    One of these days they’ll take up one of them…

  3. 3
    jufulu

    The contests need an audience participation component. My idea is that instead of using buttons You pass the hat after each performer. We could include the viewing public by having them pledge after each performer. The contestant w/ the most money wins. Here is the best part, everybody wins. It’s now about who wins the most which correlates w/ who GOD loves the most. GOD picks the winner = profit.

  4. 4
    Worldtraveller

    Kind of off topic, but is it legal, given the current state of election laws in the US, to get a couple of presidential nominations using a TV series like this?

    I’m frightened of the potential results, but then again, there’s some promise of finding a real good person that could be a competent leader and fantastic president except they wouldn’t otherwise have the name recognition and funding to get there.

    One of the reasons I’d like half the senate, house, and the VP to be ‘drafted’ positions.

  5. 5
    patricksimons

    I say…..judge them on their ability to help amputees grow new limbs. if they fail, declare them to be frauds, and lock them up.

  6. 6
    Eric R

    Sounds like a History or NatGeo channel program to me…or maybe that comes after syndication

  7. 7
    roggg

    I see this working better following the “Apprentice” model. Each week, the team that pulls off the given fraud least effectively gets called into the presbytery where one of them will be excommunicated.

  8. 8
    Reginald Selkirk

    Too real for me.

  9. 9
    Crazyharp81602

    If I were to run the show, I’d put Ken Ham in as the 5th judge knowing what a religious con-artist and a total fraud he is just like the other 4.

  10. 10
    naturalcynic

    The way that contestants should be eliminated would be the method that is sanctioned in the Bible for false prophets. I wonder who would cast the first stone?

  11. 11
    fifthdentist

    “I wonder who would cast the first stone?”

    Me! Me! Me!
    I haven’t pitched a baseball since Little League, but I think I could make up for lack of practice with enthusiasm and desire to do a really good job.

  12. 12
    Worldtraveller

    patricksimons@5: I believe, to be biblically correct, a stoning would be in order.

    Hey, don’t blame me, it’s their book!

  13. 13
    democommie

    Ed:

    Do you seriously think that Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, Rod Parsley and Peter Popoff would willingly allow any competition to horn in on their action?

    Far more likely that they would get them in one place and allow them to kill each other until there is only one preacher standing and then feed him to the lions.

  14. 14
    grumpyoldfart

    Christians would love a program like that. They wouldn’t realize it was piss-take.

  15. 15
    timgueguen

    Are there any competition style reality TV shows on the US religious channels? You’d think someone would do a religious version of The Amazing Race, with contestants racing around between destinations important to Christianity. Or a show where groups compete to see who can build a church fastest.

  16. 16
    amadan

    The Failed Prophecy Challenge:

    “Jared Lee, you told your congregation that you will ‘be struck down from On High’ if you did not raise $10,000 before last Thursday. And here you are. Your answer?”

    “Well Bob, this Administration is fundamentally Mooslum. Did you know that UN appointees are picking the patients to die under Obamacare? You read Daniel 3:14-29 and tell me this ain’t the End Days nossir. There’s a tribulation coming and there’s just 144,000 people going to join their Lord and Saviour that’s right and they Will Not Be Know By Their Work nossir their Grace Donation of just $200 is gonna get them there with no work just yousee”

    Great idea Ed. It might sell in Canadia after the next election.

    O tempora, o mores…

  17. 17
    bobcarroll

    O tempora, o mores
    O Times, o Daily Mirror. (Thanks to Flanders and Swann.)
    Kent Hovind would be perfect as a judge. Too bad he’s still in jail.

  18. 18
    David C Brayton

    Genius, true genius.

  19. 19
    cry4turtles

    Can they please get a contestant to heal my husband’s hernia before the fucking thing kills him. It should be nothing compared to walking on water or splitting seas. I’d be a lifetime believer.

  20. 20
    cry4turtles

    Guess I’m too emotional to use question marks.

  21. 21
    d.c.wilson

    Another challenge:

    Who can come up with the most creative way to blame some random event on teh days?

  22. 22
    bwells

    I would put my money on Joel Osteen to win it… with his boyish charm and prosperity gospel promotion (not to mention his $10.5 million and $2.9 million dollar homes), you just know that he’s already mastered all of the challenges. That man is *sigh* sooooo dreamy!

  23. 23
    khms

    I’d like some contest where it would be possible for an atheist to win by using 100% false “bible quotes”. Shouldn’t be all that hard to find someone who can match the style better than certain golden tablets ..

  24. 24
    martinc

    cry4turtles @ 19:

    Can they please get a contestant to heal my husband’s hernia before the fucking thing kills him.

    I’m not a doctor, but don’t you think it might be an idea to maybe just stop doing ‘the fucking thing’ for a while, if it’s that much of a strain on his hernia?

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