Yes, God takes over WPLG-Channel 10 after the Jimmy Kimmel show goes off the air. Well, not God per se, but a facsimile by the name of Bill Keller, a convicted felon. Keller -- a middle-aged fellow with burnt orange hair, a burnt orange face, burnt orange glasses, and sometimes a burnt orange suit -- comes on the ABC affiliate a little after 1 a.m., sits in this big chair in what looks like Ward Cleaver's study, hawks his Web site, and asks all the desperate people to call him so he can help them find Salvation. "God has an appointment with you," as he likes to say.
"For some of you those challenges are great," he told viewers on Wednesday morning's show. "They are magnanimous."
Got to hate those magnanimous problems, but the small-minded and selfish ones are even worse. Malaprops notwithstanding, Keller is pretty straightforward. He's not as pious as D. James Kennedy or as bombastic as Pat Robertson. He's not a carnival barker, like so many boob tube evangelists. He just tells people to get "connected to God" through his web site.
The first caller on Wednesday morning was a woman named Deborah from St. Pete. In an obviously pained voice, she told Bill that she was suicidal and that she'd spoken to him several times before but was still "very sad, very lonely, very depressed."
Yet she keeps calling. Then a guy from Miami called and asked Bill if it was okay that his girlfriend "masturbates" him.
"No," Bill told him point-blank. "... Don't fall into the trap of the devil."
The caller chuckled as he hung up the phone.
Keller's show runs on more than just Channel 10; it's on a bunch of Florida markets (Fort Myers, Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and West Palm Beach on Channel 25). He claims the web site for Bill Keller Ministries has 2.2 million members. The site, tells us a bit about the man. He went to Ohio State University and built a successful business, but that only made him run from God. According to the web site:
"God got Bill's attention in 1989 when he became involved in insider trading of the stock market, was convicted, lost everything, and spent the next 2 1/2 years in Federal Prison. Shortly after going into prison, Bill rededicated his life to the Lord..."
It's so nice to see that Lord turns around people like Bill Keller so they stop leeching off society. Now living in Palm Harbor, he even became a writer. You can find a lengthy Christian-based Harry Potter story on his web site, which Keller penned. It's full of Quidditch, Muggles, and Jesus Christ. I'm not kidding. Here's an excerpt:
"My dad is with Jesus, Harry," Dudley beamed. "Six months ago, we all became Christians," Dudley proudly announced. Harry looked at his cousin with a puzzled look. He had heard of Christians before, but really didn't know much about them except they were Muggles that did not like witches and wizards.
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The story ends with Harry being saved:
Harry's head was now spinning. He felt hot like there was some sort of spell being cast on him. He barely heard Dudley tell how within a week of becoming a Christian, his mom and dad also accepted Jesus into their hearts and became Christians too. Harry felt like running out of the room, but for some reason he couldn't move. He was sure now that someone had cast a spell on him but he was powerless to do anything about it. It was at that moment Harry saw a bright light and heard a loud deep voice. "Harry Potter," the voice bellowed, "renounce wizardry and accept Jesus as your King and you will have powers greater than any wizard or witch that ever lived!"
On the web site, you can also watch footage of Bill sitting in his chair and saving a real live Satanist. And, if that's not enough for you, how about clicking the box that says, "Watch An Abortion Video." It's good and disgusting, so make sure your stomach can take it. If you're into that kind of thing, Keller wants your money. Amazingly, he's not averse to donations at all.
Question: Is Channel 10 that hard up for money that it needs to pimp out the airwaves for the likes of Bill Keller? Almost makes you long for the halcyon days of good wholesome Flowbee infomercials.