The Devil and Mr. Romney

A lot of people have harsh things to say about politicians. You have to have a pretty thick skin to run for office these days. You’ll get called every name in the book… including, apparently, Satan.

Liveprayer.com is making news these days because of a widely quoted public statement that a vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for Satan. That’s right, Satan.

You can pop on over and read the whole post yourself if you’d link, it’s definitely interesting reading. Here’s a select quote:

If Romney gets elected as the next President of the United States, the Mormon cult will finally have the mainstream acceptance they have been striving for these past 200 years. Romney winning the White House will lead millions of people into the Mormon cult. Those who follow the false teachings of this cult, believe in the false jesus of the Mormon cult and reject faith in the one true Jesus of the Bible, will die and spend eternity in hell. *ROMNEY GETTING ELECTED PRESIDENT WILL ULTIMATELY LEAD MILLIONS OF SOULS TO THE ETERNAL FLAMES OF HELL!!!

And if you’re like most folks, your first reaction is probably, “Who cares?”

Well, the IRS cares. The IRS cares because this isn’t Joe Blogger posting about what he feels like. The site, liveprayer.com, is a public charity. That’s right, it’s part of Bill Keller Ministries, a 501(c)(3) organization, and as such, all donations to Liveprayer.Com are tax deductible. That means the organization is prohibited from distributing statements for or against candidates. Last year, the IRS posted a list of political activities and related prohibitions in anticipation of this very issue. And not coincidentally, the IRS released additional guidelines which were distributed to exempt organizations this week.

This case is attracting some serious publicity as the elections creep forward, mostly because of the potential for an early precedent in terms of what will be acceptable – and what won’t. The IRS is not excited about the kinds of publicity generated by its examination of Reverend Bacon’s speech during the 2004 Presidential elections and the spate of accusations on both sides of the political dais, conservative and liberal, about speeches and literature from churches and those controversial 527 organizations. After its investigations, the IRS found that 3 out of 4 targeted organizations had violated the rules against political campaigning.

So it’s not surprising that the IRS has immediately gone on the offensive in this case. And for those reasons, it couldn’t have been a surprise to the owner of liveprayer.com. My guess is that he was counting on it.

So, who is this guy anyway? Bill Keller is a former felon who served time in the federal pen for insider trading before, as he put it, “God got his attention.” Bill then went on to get his degree from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, apparently while still in prison. After prison, he started Bill Keller Ministries which received 501(c)(3) status in 1993; liveprayer.com was added to the corporation in 1999. Liveprayer.com claims to average 20,000 daily visitors and 2,400,000 email subscribers.

Clearly, Keller is loving the publicity that this has brought him. He’s even posted reactions to the post on his site including his audio exchange with radio personality Howard Stern. He is also scheduled to appear on Hardball with Chris Matthews to discuss his position.

He feels, apparently, that it’s his God-given mission to stop the spread of Mormonism (and thus, in his mind, devil/pagan worship) through the use of this charitable organization. And from his posts, “blasting Microsoft and the UK blacklist company” from preventing the distribution of his email requests for money (though he’s quick to point out that it’s not about the money – in the same breath that he posts about the budget shortfall), he doesn’t feel that he’s done anything wrong.

Personally, I don’t care what your religious or political beliefs are. Just stay within the law when you’re espousing them. It looks like Mr. Keller somehow missed that part.

What do you think? Should the IRS revoke liveprayer.com’s charitable status? If not, where is the line?

Comments

  1. Joel

    I value free speech, and freedom of religion, so I don’t have a problem a Mormon candidate or someone speaking against Mormonism. But I do have a problem with tax free religous organizations avoiding taxes and campaigning for/against candidates. I hope the IRS toasts him.

  2. Suz

    He can say what he wants…he just can’t do it with my tax money (becuase in essence not paying taxes makes me pay more taxes).

  3. Todd Thuss

    Keller isn’t telling anybody how to vote. His point is that a President Romney will lend credibility to a pseudo-christian cult that is in opposition to orthodox Christianity. Keller himself is conservative and would much rather vote for Romney than Hillary. Keller has never advocated one candidate over another, but has pointed out issues that would be of interest to Christians. End of story.

    Funny how the “Reverend” Sharpton & the “Reverend” Jackson (head of PUSH) never attract the same heat, despite their unwavering and obvious support of Democratic candidates.
    I smell hypocrisy here.

  4. Kelly

    But Keller did, in fact, advocate against a specific candidate (which is prohibited) and not against an ideology. He didn’t say “vote pro-life” or “vote Christian” – he said “Don’t vote for Romney.” That’s against the rules for nonprofit organizations and he did it very plainly on his site.

    I actually asked Mr. Keller if he’d like to comment on this issue and he didn’t respond.

  5. PAUL WILLIAMS

    NOT ONLY DID KELLER ADVOCATE AGAINST ROMNEY ON HIS WEBSITE (ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION), HE DID IT ON HIS LIVE TELEVISION PROGRAM AS WELL.

    NOW HE IS SAYING HIS COMMENTS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS OR ROMNEY, HE CLAIMS HIS COMMENTS WERE PURELY ABOUT SPIRITUAL MATTERS.

    IF YOU CHECK OUT HIS WEBSITE AT LIVEPRAYER.COM YOU WILL FIND HE HAS A DEVOTIONAL ARCHIVE. IF YOU TYPE IN KEYWORDS SUCH AS PRESIDENT, CLINTON, OBAMA OR ROMNEY YOU WILL FIND THAT KELLER OFTEN MAKES POLITICAL STATEMENT REGARDING THE “CHRISTIANITY” OF CANDIDATES. HE EVENT SUGGESTS THAT OBAMA IS STILL A MUSLIM. HE CLEARLY CROSSES THE LINE AND SHOULD HAVE HIS TAX EXEMPT STATUS REVOKED.

    ALSO, IN JUNE 2006 HE HAD KATHERINE HARRIS, WHO WAS RUNNING FOR US SENATE ON HIS SHOW IN 2 TAPED SEGMENTS. HE CLAIMED IT WAS NOT ABOUT POLITICS BUT ABOUT HARRIS’S FAITH. ON THESE SHOWS HE KEPT REFERING TO HARRIS’S OPPONENT FOR SENATE, BILL NELSON, AS A BABY KILLER.

    THEN HE BEGGED FOR MONEY.

    I’M SURPRISED HE DIDN’T RESPOND TO YOU KELLY, I’VE EMAILED HIM NUMEROUS TIMES QUESTIONING HIM ABOUT THE VALIDITY OF SOME OF HIS STATEMENTS AND HE ALWAYS RESPONDS, BY CALLING ME AN IDIOT AND A TOOL OF SATAN.

  6. Todd Thuss

    Perhaps I’m mincing words but Keller didn’t say “Don’t vote for Romney”. He said, specifically, “a vote for Romney is a vote for Satan”. While clearly on the hairy edge, I’m not fully convinced he violated the rules..yet.
    Again, attend most any large, predominately-black church during a presidential election year and you’ll witness dozens of infractions of this rule. Everyone present knows what the score is, if you catch my drift. This fact doesn’t make Keller right, but such violations happen often on both sides of the fence.

    As to the previous email, I seriously doubt Keller called anybody an “idiot”. I’ve called him out on several occasions on things he said and he’s always responded promptly and politely.

    A little secret with these evangelicals is that many of them are truly apolitical. They feel compelled to gravitate towards Republicans because abortion is such a stench to them. A new crop of evangelicals (e.g. Rick Warren, The Sojourners) are openly leftward-leaning and have implicitly endorsed folks like Obama. Times…they are a changin’

  7. Todd Thuss

    A message for Paul:
    I checked out your website. Quite a few of your examples of how Keller is a fraud don’t hold water. So what if he’s offering a compilation of free stuff for $10? That’s what Red Hat does with Linux. Several of his ventures haven’t panned out (e.g. the free book). Making poor business decisions or announcing things before they’re a done deal doesn’t make him a fraud.
    I suggest getting actual facts as to his cashflow before throwing stones. You’re substantiating your claims largely with innuendo. I’ve watched him for three years and have yet to uncover any evidence he’s scamming anybody. He comes and goes with the TV thing because he can’t pay the bill regularly. BTW…he supposedly has an advisory board. He should be more than happen to hook you up with them, for inspection of his books. If he doesn’t, THEN you have legitimate grounds for a gripe.

    The one thing I agree with you on is the way he represents the number of devotionals he’s written. He DOES recycle them and seems to inflate his numbers as to how many he actually does each week. However, the majority of the time he does write a new one, each day.

    Your website’s cute little snake caricature of the fine, accomplished Condoleeza Rice, and the whole “Bill Keller is gay” thing pretty much tanks your site as anything remotely valuable or edifying. Do you even KNOW anything of Rice’s values? Because she’s in the Bush administration that qualifies her as on par with an anaconda? Does that mean Norman Mineta was a reptile as well? Of course not! He’s a Democrat! What utter nonsense.

    When you run out of evidence or don’t agree with somebody, I guess it’s ok to personally demonize them, huh? And you have the balls to blast him for his comments about Romney’s cult? What hypocrisy.

  8. bob

    hey Paul..nice website…might want to post a copy of the lawsuit filed against you for slander..lible..and illegla use of copywritten materials…LOL!!!

  9. Diane

    I feel Mr. Keller is a money-hungry, anti-Mormon bigot who just wants publicity for his website, etc. His words are pure BUNK and I have no respect for his crazy, un-true, nonsensical words, as he is the one who will end up joining Satan — NOT Mitt Romney and other good Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) to be precise. He wants his name in the headlines and he seems to be getting some publicity but he’ll die a slow death and be gone before long — at least I pray he will be gone forever!!!

    Also, I hope the IRS catches up with him and puts him back in prison where he belongs!

    Diane
    Yes, a very devout LDS member!

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  11. Phil

    Bill Keller is a con-artist, a fool and a bigot. It’s all about money and fame for him. His god is money, though at this point he has likely thoroughly deceived himself into thinking that he is really following “God’s will”. I will give him some credit that he is doing some good, but for all the wrong reasons, since his heart is not in the right place. Most evangelicals know him as such and therefore have nothing to do with him.

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  13. stan

    I “serviced” (to keep anon) 6660 46th Avenue North – he’s a real prick, in my opinion. 6660 on 46th ave is the donation address for liveprayer.com – st. petersburg FL 33710 – It is also the site of a used car lot…. hmmmmph

  14. craig

    I am a member of the LDS church and was appalled at the remarks he made. The following is an email conversation between me and him.

    Dear Bill Keller,

    I am very saddened at your belief that you must speak against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I think it is a little confusing as one claiming to be Christian would speak against others trying to pursue a course in line with the teachings of Christ. Perhaps you are not truly familiar with our beliefs and that is why there are so many falsities and misconceptions published on your websites and in your videos. If this is the case, I am truly sorry that you feel that myths hold the same validation as the Word of God. If this is not the case, I am appalled at the lack of respect you show for others and their beliefs. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Because as Christ so beautifully put it, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” As I was watching some of your videos, I noticed that you constantly attack the Church saying it is a cult and that we will all go to Hell. I understand that is the stance you must take. For there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” It makes sense that you fight against our church, but I don’t understand why you don’t fight against other churches. Perhaps, you could write me back and explain. Well, to continue. It seems your definition of salvation is too easy when Christ himself says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” I understand that you believe that we say that we are the only true church. The truth is we are the only true church. You yourself stated perfectly the dichotomy we have. If we are right, then you are wrong. If you are right, then we are wrong. That is all there is to it. It is a fundamental of truth — if something is not true, it must be false. That is what we claim because it is true. We cannot, and will not, take any position opposite to that. Any church must take that same stance. If they say that two conflicting doctrines are true, then they become false because “if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” I would think that more Christians would try to exemplify the Godlike attribute of Mercy. Even if you truly believe that we are going to Hell, wouldn’t it be merciful to “love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you”? I know I will pray tonight that you may have peace in this life and may one day come to know the truth. I would that God may prolong your days and turn away His wrath that you may find joy at least in this life if not the Eternal World to come. But I guess, if you decide not to pray for us or if you continue to fight against the saints of God, I will find comfort in the Scriptures. “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” I do want you to know that I know that God loves you and is appreciative of your zeal in studying the Scriptures and in trying to preach the Gospel. I know that God will bless you for those things that you do right and will ever have his arm reaching out for you. “Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.” God does live and He has sent His son, Jesus Christ, to save us, “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” And, as James said, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? . . . Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. . . But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? . . . Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” My last exhortation also comes from the General Epistle of James. He says, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” And later, “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” May you have a great day and may the Lord grant you mercy because of his infinite love.

    -craig

    To which he responded:

    save your garbage..you are part of a satanic cult..dreamed up by a whackjob tool of satan Joey Smith..funny..you cult members love to quote the bible..but your final authority is NOT the bible..but that book of fables the BOM..go away..and spread your lies some place else..you will burn in the flames of hell
    Know that I am praying for you, be richly blessed,
    Bill Keller
    Founder, http://www.liveprayer.com

    I just think it is interesting.

  15. Kat

    Wow! He tells the guy from the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints to “…go away..and spread your lies some place else..YOU WILL BURN IN THE FLAMES OF HELL…know that I’m PRAYING FOR YOU? BE RICHLY BLESSED? This Goober talks out of BOTH sides of his mouth! Maybe he should take his own advise and …”go spread your lies some place else”. He’s a typical ex-con who reads up on how to get rich by getting the tax exempt status of having a church when he gets out of the joint! HE’S A JOKE! Any man of “god” who keeps company with Howard Stern is only in it for the facetime and the $$$$$$!

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