Is Calling Romney Satanic Religious Or Political?

The title of this post is actually a serious question, with potentially major consequences for national politics.

Religious leaders are not allowed to specifically endorse candidates from the pulpit -- well, actually, they may do so but their churches would lose their federal tax exemption. Tax-exempt religious organizations, like other non-profits, may not participate in partisan political advocacy under IRS rules.

Since last year, the Christian right has been talking about challenging that rule in '08. But their carefully laid plan of attack has been snarled by the wonderfully loopy Bill Keller -- "world leading Internet evangelist." Keller has insulted many famous people, from Oprah to Obama, but he is most famous for his classic line: "A vote for Romney is a vote for Satan."

The IRS is now investigating whether that statement pushed Keller over the line, and outside the rules for tax exemption. Keller argues that he was merely making a religious statement about the tenets of Christianity vs. Mormonism. But it sure sounds like a political statement against voting for a specific candidate. Where's the line? And what about Keller's more recent assertion that Barack Obama is an "enemy of God," complete with Biblical explanation for his use of the phrase?

Who knew that insulting Mitt Romney could be so complicated?

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