Stonyford, CA (PressExposure) September 12, 2008 -- The IRS has expanded its investigation into Florida internet evangelist Bill Keller of Live Prayer to include a review of comments Keller made questioning the faith of senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
In February of this year, the IRS launched an investigation to determine whether or not Keller had violated his ministryâs tax-exempt status when he declared "a vote for Romney is a vote for Satan."
Keller responded to the investigation by stating that he has never told anyone who to â or who not to â vote for, nor has he ever endorsed a candidate. Rather, Keller explained, he used the now famous phrase in a legitimate context to warn people that following the teachings of the Mormon cult would inevitably lead a person's soul to hell.
Clearly frustrated by the expansion of the IRS's investigation, Keller recently stated that he and his attorneys have complied fully with the IRSâs request for an extensive list of documents, as well as clarification of his comments about Romney.
Keller had anticipated getting a clean bill of health from the IRS since, he believes, the issue to be straightforward â they either believe he did or did not violate his exemption by making those comments. Instead, however, the evangelist received yet another package of requests for documents, as well as a list of questions to be answered, from the IRS who explained it had been unable to resolve the question as to whether or not Kellerâs comments put his ministry in violation of its status. The new questions all had to do with comments Keller made regarding the faith of senators Obama and Clinton
"Senators Obama and Clinton have been in the public aggressively promoting the fact that they are people of faith,â Keller points out. âObama especially has had a clear strategy to promote himself as a Christian. I have every right, as well as a responsibility, under my exemption to deal with their statements, and to educate the public on these issues. We certainly can't expect a biblically illiterate press to hold politicians accountable when it comes to issues of faith, especially when they lie to the public about their own beliefs.
"The fact is, I have also spoken about Senator McCain's statements regarding his faith,â adds Keller. âBut this fact has been conveniently ignored. The problem the IRS really has is that I have been consistent in speaking out on these spiritual issues regarding all political candidates who have chosen to make their faith an issue."
The expansion of Keller's activities comes in the wake of efforts by Christian advocacy groups to test Americaâs legal prohibition on clergy endorsing candidates from the pulpit. The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) maintains that the ban is unconstitutional, and that it plans to try to make its point by having several pastors violate the Internal Revenue Service rule on September 28.
Ironically, Keller has made it clear that he does not agree with the ADFâs strategy. He does, however, believe that pastors have every right to speak out on the spiritual issues of the day, even when it comes to dealing specifically with political candidates.
âIt is not only acceptable, but utterly desirable for spiritual leaders to critique our political leaders,â he adds. âAnd it is possible to do so, as I have done, without telling people who to, or not to, endorse.â
Availability: Bill Keller is available immediately for nationwide radio and television, and would be happy to speak to the following questions:
1. How is your statement, "a vote for Romney is a vote for Satan" not telling people they should not vote for Mitt Romney?
2. Is this recent investigation an effort by the IRS to prohibit clergy from speaking out on anything to do with politics?
3. Why do you feel you are being investigated when churches have regularly invited political candidates to speak to their congregations?
4. What will you do if the IRS rules against you?
5. What do you think of the ADFâs effort to challenge this law?
ABOUT BILL KELLER The news media has crowned Pastor Bill Keller the next big thing in mass media religion. Keller is the host of Live Prayer with Bill Keller, the nation's only live call-in faith and values-based program airing exclusively on the internet. Live Prayer deals head-on with issues ranging from divorce, homosexuality, abortion, sexual abuse, pornography, drug addiction, radical Islam, race relations, spousal abuse, false prophets and more, from a conservative, biblical world-view. Unscripted and unedited, Live Prayer is a fresh and totally spontaneous approach to problem solving. The program can be seen live, Monday through Friday from 10 PM to 11 PM EST, and 24/7 through programs archived on LivePrayer.com.
MORE ABOUT LIVEPRAYER.COM In 1999, Keller launched LivePrayer.com, which has become the most successful online faith outreach in history. Since its inception, LivePrayer.com has responded personally to more than 60 million online requests for prayer. Additionally, Keller's Live Prayer devotional is received daily by over 2.4 million email subscribers, making Keller's devotional one of the most read e-communications in the world. For information on where to watch Live Prayer in your area, visit http://www.liveprayer.com.