WASHINGTON _ Florida evangelist Bill Keller says he was making a spiritual — not political — statement when he warned the 2.4 million subscribers to his Internet prayer ministry that “if you vote for Mitt Romney, you are voting for Satan!”
But the Washington-based advocacy group Americans United for Separation of Church and State says the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) should revoke the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status of Bill Keller Ministries, nonetheless.
Keller, 49, who has a call-in show on a Tampa television station and a Web site called Liveprayer.com, on May 11 sent out a “daily devotional” that called Romney “an unabashed and proud member of the Mormon cult founded by a murdering polygamist pedophile named Joseph Smith nearly 200 years ago.
” If the former Massachusetts governor wins the GOP nomination and the presidency, Keller’s message added, it will “ultimately lead millions of souls to the eternal flames of hell.”
In a letter to the IRS on Thursday, Americans United called Keller’s message a violation of the ban on partisan politicking by tax-exempt religious groups.
Keller, in a telephone interview, laughed off the controversy. “Let them come after me for making a spiritual statement about Mitt Romney. I would love that,” he said. “Bring it on.”