(Since Kent Hovind is in the news for tax evasion again, I thought it would be nice to bring this article over here to the shiny new site.)
Ah, the continuing saga of Kent Hovind’s criminal industries…Hovind is an inexplicably popular creationist who, in addition to his dedication to creationist absurdities, has this devout belief that as a minister of Jesus, he is a resident of a celestial, Christian nation independent of the secular government of the United States, i.e., he doesn’t have to pay taxes. Ever. On anything. And little things like zoning laws? Pffft. They don’t apply to him. Only Jesus’s law counts, and conveniently enough, Jesus says that Kent gets to keep all of his money. (Isn’t it funny how Jesus, when he was alive, preached about rendering unto Caesar what was Caesar’s, helped the poor and sick, and was sort of down on the wealthy and worldly? Now that he’s dead, he’s had a change of heart and tells all his best friends to stockpile the moolah. I guess slow torture and execution turns people into Republicans.) (Hey, you don’t think…nah. Couldn’t be. Is the answer to WWJD, “Abu Ghraib”?)
Anyway. Hovind. He’s a tax evader and con man. Don’t believe me? Think I’m making it up, distorting a few honest mistakes into a criminal conspiracy? Read Kent Hovind’s own account (pdf file) of his latest brush with the law.
1. On April 14, 2004 at about 7:40 a.m. I was going about my normal ministry duties at the property owned by the Church, located at 29 Cummings Road, Pensacola, Florida when about 20 armed foreign agents (see attached letter dated July 22, 2002, page 3 point #2) wearing military type uniforms marked IRS-CID swarmed onto the church property accompanied by about 12 deputies from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department. None of the men or women in IRSCID uniforms had any personal identification on their uniforms nor did they show me any identification when asked.
Notice how he describes the IRS agents raiding his base of operations as foreign agents. To Hovind, the US is a foreign country—in these xenophobic times when the right-wing is so ready to attack people’s patriotism, you have to wonder why this open denial of his country receives so little notice.
2. As they approached the office, I walked out and was confronted by a man who told me he was Scott Schneider from the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue and he was here to serve a search WARRANT. The following conversation followed: I said, “Scott, you never answered my letters or questions from over a year ago asking you to provide evidence of your lawful authority to demand property or information from me.” (See Attachment A) Schneider has never responded to any of these letters and continued to operate in want of any jurisdiction to do so. Scott knew full well that he had no authority to conduct this raid and the information in the attached Attachment A must have been intentionally withheld from the Magistrate when he applied for the WARRANT. “Why didn’t you simply answer my letters, Scott? You don’t need to raid this place with guns and bullet-proof vests, nobody here will hurt you. I have told you before, just answer the questions in the letters I sent you and demonstrate your lawful authority to investigate me and I will give you any information I am required to give. I intend to obey the law and expect you to do the same.”
Hovind is so disingenuous. He has already decided that there is no “evidence of lawful authority” by the secular government. He has decided ahead of time that he alone has the correct interpretation of the law, and has no intent at all to obey the interpretations of lesser authorities, such as police officers, lawyers, judges, or civil precedent.
Scott ignored my question and said, “I have a WARRANT to search this property.” I said, “May I see a copy of the WARRANT and attached affidavit?” Scott handed me a WARRANT to look at. I said, “Scott, this WARRANT is for entities that do not exist at this location. I am not a corporation named KENT HOVIND and everything here is property of the Church. The manager of the Church property is Glen Stoll and you will need to talk with him if you have any questions. You are trespassing and are expressly denied access. Please leave this Church property immediately!” Scott ignored my demands and said, “I have a WARRANT signed by a judge and I am going to search this property.”
Hovind goes on and on in this vein for quite a few pages. Read it yourself if you are sufficiently masochistic. I am tickled at the thought of Kent Hovind standing before an officer of the court, reading a warrant made out against him, and declaiming “The Hovind entity or corporation is not present.”
There are a few other little gems scattered throughout. Here, for a change, Hovind tells the truth:
29. Also, to point #6 where he falsely alleges that I offer amusements for a fee; I personally receive no fees and offer nothing to the guests that arrive at the ministry. The Church ministry, which has its lawful existence totally separate from me, does not offer amusements of any kind.
Don’t believe he’s a tax evader? He hasn’t even filed a return in ten years!
31. To point #7, where Schneider complains that neither I nor my wife “have filed personal income tax returns in the past ten years;” I have had no personal income, there have been no taxes due and no filing required. In addition, I have made diligent search of the Internal Revenue Code and have paid for tax professionals to tell me if I am liable for any tax. See Attachment B. They have instructed me that I have not been made liable. It is Schneider who needs to study the law and obey it.
And here’s some language I’m surprised never made it into the King James Version.
32. To point #7, where Schneider says, “…none of these business entities are currently, or have been, incorporated, indicating that they are currently sole proprietorships for income tax purposes.” The Church is not a sole proprietorship of anyone, and our ministries are the business of the Lord Jesus Christ, duly licensed and registered by His Church, incorporated into His Body as a Ministerial Trust, with its trustee being a corporation on file with the Secretary of State of the State of Washington as identified in the affidavit and letter from Glen Stoll, Attachment C.
There’s a benediction I never heard in my church-going youth…”our ministries are the business of the Lord Jesus Christ, duly licensed and registered by His Church, incorporated into His Body as a Ministerial Trust…”. Jesus Christ, MBA, CPA.
43. To point #32 where Schneider says, “an organization such as CSE, conducting the sale of books, videos and other materials… should have filed state sales tax returns…” Schneider has no jurisdiction over the church ministry nor is he responsible for collection of state sales tax. He is impersonating a judge by interpreting the law.
What, exactly, is Hovind doing?
Hovind does have a few specific recommendations about what should be done in redress. Since he apparently doesn’t accept that civil law thing, his suggestions come straight from the Bible.
12. Both Scott Schneider and the Escambia County Sheriff’s department should be required to publicly apologize for their wrongs, return stolen property and pay damages to the church ministry. Exodus 22 and Leviticus 6 give fair guidelines for restitution.
I’m no bible scholar, so I had to look these up. Exodus offers a number of relevant penalties: “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged and has sexual relations with her, he must surely endow her to be his wife. If her father refuses to give her to him, he must pay money for the bride price of virgins.” There is some ambiguity about the fair market price of virgins, so I’m not sure how to apply this suggestion in this case.
Exodus 22 also tells us that “You must not allow a sorceress to live” and that “Whoever has sexual relations with a beast must surely be put to death.” I wonder what exactly is going on in Dinosaur Adventure Land when the doors close.
Leviticus seems more applicable. “When a person sins and commits a trespass against the Lord by deceiving his fellow citizen in regard to something held in trust, or a pledge, or something stolen, or by extorting something from his fellow citizen, or has found something lost and denies it and swears falsely concerning any one of the things that someone might do to sin — when it happens that he sins and he is found guilty, then he must return whatever he had stolen, or whatever he had extorted, or the thing that he had held in trust, or the lost thing that he had found, or anything about which he swears falsely.”
Hey, now that is sensible and appropriate! I think Hovind ought to obey that biblical law.
Though I hate Dr. Dino, and believe him to be a big-ol’ pile of bovine feces, I must agree with him here. There is no need to “send in the troops”. Just walk up and arrest the guy, hand him the warrant, and make your case before a judge.
This attack tactic will only elevate Kent into a hero to the Christian Right, and, by way of this, make him seem a respectable person to the general public. If you doubt me on this, you should really get out more often and actually meet Americans…
If we think of some of the scum that has been attacked by ATF before (racists, …cults that have sex with children, ect…) only to appear to be folk heroes to a wide sampling of Americans later-on because of this, one would know this is not what you want to do to deflate such a scam artist. Such attacks only bring fame and compassion for these people from the general public.
If one thinks this will get rid of Dr. Dino or even harm his reputation, they need to seriously rethink who the American people are.
Joseph O'Donnell says
That’s utterly hillarious, thanks for reading through that crap. You must be a masochist!
Wow PZ, you sure are a misinformed angry, bitter man. Is this an attempt at humor – if so I suggest you quit before you look any more ridiculous. Your historical rants lead me to conclude that you actually believe this to some degree – maybe all of it. And that is what they call a cryin’ shame.
[quote]Wow PZ, you sure are a misinformed angry, bitter man. Is this an attempt at humor – if so I suggest you quit before you look any more ridiculous. Your historical rants lead me to conclude that you actually believe this to some degree – maybe all of it. And that is what they call a cryin’ shame.[/quote]
Can you explain where he was “misinformed”?
PZ Myers says
The clue is the phrase “historical rant”. I’m apparently completely wrong on the nature of Jesus. Jesus actually was a l’aissez faire capitalist who preached “every man for himself” and thought government sanctioned torture was a good idea. To believe that Jesus was an egalitarian and humanitarian is just outrageous, and I have to excuse myself — it was probably those years of indoctrination in a Christian church as a child that led me to that false assumption.
It’s not an absolutely ludicrous idea, actually. I was also brought up to think that Martin Luther was a good and sensible man.
As I’ve said elsewhere, you can’t fool the IRS.
There is a subset of right-wingers who insist that the entire income tax system, and thus the IRS, has no legal basis. You can find all sorts of sites supporting this premise by googling “income tax illegal.” No doubt Hovind is one of them.
Also there are several lawyer-types out there who suggest that an individual can protect himself from personal income taxes and personal lawsuits against one’s assets by incorporating, as in “Kent Hovind, Inc.” I’m not clear about the veracity of such claims, since I’m not a lawyer, but I never found the arguments convincing.
Hovind also does not understand the process of law. As anyone who watches TV crime shows knows, the cops can arrest you if there is probable cause to suspect you have broken the law. You might be innocent, but that’s what trials are for. So Hovind will get to repeat his arguments before a judge, and perhaps a jury, who will decide whether he is right or just blowing air.
tags or perhaps you are offended by the quasi-blasphemy, but you clearly did not understand his meaning. Hovind is not rendering unto Caesar (the IRS) his due. He does not live in monkish poverty, despite his claims that he has no income. And setting Hovind aside for the moment, many of the country’s loudest, most influential Christian preachers (Falwell, Robertson, et alia) are also very well off. So, if they profess to follow the Lord, why do they emulate the very behaviors He rejected?
Maybe PZ needs to enclose his remarks with
As I recall, Luther had the same objections to the behavior of the Roman Catholic Church in his day.
Ah, well, I have educated myself. Hovind’s legal advisor is Glen Stoll, who also pushes the incorporation-asset protection shpiel. If Stoll is his only attorney, then Hovind is in big trouble when he gets to court.
Sorry for the double post.
PZ says: “Jesus actually was a l’aissez faire capitalist who preached “every man for himself” and thought government sanctioned torture was a good idea. To believe that Jesus was an egalitarian and humanitarian is just outrageous”
Where does Jesus say this? I’d like to check it out.
PZ Myers says
I don’t know. Ask Lurker.
Oh, of course. Satire. I didn’t get where Lurker was coming from, either. Unless that also was satire. Sometimes those annoying “emotion” faces that I don’t usually support are helpful afterall.
C.E. Petit says
What I find funniest about the “income tax is invalid” groupies (including, or perhaps especially, the lawyers among them) is that the courts have specifically rejected every one of their theories of which I’m aware (sixteen by my count, although some are probably just variations). This is amusing because Hovind (et al.)that is, the branch relying on the purported “religious entity” exceptionis thereby refusing to accept the definitive interpretation of the “scripture” in question by those who have devoted their lives to studying that “scripture”… although the rest of us are supposed to defer to Hovind (et al.) for the meaning of that “scripture.”
We won’t get into arguments about the Council of Damnia and similar bodies, or the Apocrypha and Pseudopygrapha. After all, we’re not supposed to pay much attention to purported “missing links,” because the theory must stand or fall based solely upon what we know today.
(For those who don’t get it, there are a lot of <sarcasm> tags that HTML just doesn’t display in the preceding paragraph.)
For those of you that asked, this is the part I have a problem with….
A clear misrepresentation of what christianity believes. Also note the political slap. From what I’ve read here, PZ is very good at painting with broad brushes because it gets the troops all lathered up.
Clearly Hovind was wrong to do what he did so why not just leave it at that and avoid the gross generalizations about christianity that are simply not true?
From what I can tell PZ enjoys doing this because he doesn’t care about mischaracterizing the ‘enemy’ because it furthers his cause. Am I wrong??
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being ‘well off’ per se so long as you are using your wealth to make other people’s lives better. I agree that there are some influential christians that are sending the wrong message. Fortunately there are far more ‘regular’ christians actively making other people’s lives better. I’d rather you focus your energy on these people.
PZ Myers says
Ummm, that was a gross mischaracterization of Republicans.
Well, maybe not so gross, or so much of a mischaracterization — the majority of them voted for that wretched creature in the White House.
speaking of questionable ethics, this Hovind guy reminds me of the painter Kinkade.
Actually not. The doctrine is found within the teaching of Calvin (and Calvinism) and is a core tenant of many “main stream” Christian faiths, including most of the evangelicals, who use material gains as examples of God blessing them.
You are confusing what the Bible says with American Christianity which has, by-and-large, shoved Jesus in the dumpster for hate, profit and intollerence.
Once again, what mis-characterization? The majority of today’s American Christians are far closer to Pharisees and Sadducees than they are to Jesus’ Essenic way of life. By following the Biblical guidelines set forth by Jesus and the Apostles, a “true Christian” would support welfare and socialized medicine. A “true Christian” would more likely to identify with Communism than Capitalism. A “true Christian” would speak out about the “War on Terror” and not vote for a war-monger President. A “true Christian” would be show tolerence and cultivate a non-judgemental attitude and would be far more concerned with the plank in his eye and not worry about the mote in his gay neighbor’s.
While it’s a fair thing to say, maybe someone should remind you that Mr. PZ’s running a science blog here, not a religious one. So naturally the subject of his blog is bad science (ie. ID, creationism)- while it’s true that not all christians are creationists, most all creationists are religious. As such, he’s not really going to be talking about people who use their religion in a more positive way, it’s just not really being discussed. (personally, i like this blog the way it is!)
Ah for once the IRS does something I like.
Why must these insufferable ego types exist? This guy sounds like a one-man right-wing militia member when he starts talking about how he owes nothing to the state. Hovind is one half-step from being a David Koresh-type sect leader. He’s just backed by more idiots than Koresh had.
Wow, this article was pathetic, no offense. All I see is that Kent Hovind is being attacked as an individual. NO one else has a right to get into his business. He knows what he’s doing- he has a brain. BTW this article is completely BIASED.
Wow, Pilgrim, you say I can commit any crime I desire as long as I am an individual and I know what I am doing and I have a brian. Funny that?
Interestingly enough it seems the reason they agents brought down the heavy end of the hammer is that Mr Hovind has enough weapons and followers at his “Church” that the authorities fear a Waco style incident. E.g. Armed Standoff with a tragic ending.
The Income Tax law exists? Show me please.
Why does the IRS refuse to show the law on Income Tax?
Is it because the law doesn’t exist?
Did you know that funds from the Income Tax is used to pay the national debt to the Federal Reserve? Not one cent is used to fund any government project.
And if you are going to quote a Bible verse at least quote it in full.
They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. Matthew 22:21
And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him. Mark 12:17
And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s. Luke 20:25
Also has it not occured to any of you that the charges might be false?
I take it you think evidence can’t be faked? Witnesses can’t be brought to lie? The system isn’t so corrupt? Tell me what happens to people who get too close to the truth? They will either assassinate you or assassinate your character. The Freemasons are pretty good at destroying your life if you double cross them.
Steve LaBonne says
Do trolls exist?
Does it really matter what he is getting charged for? I think the most important thing is that he is preaching the truth when he talks about creation. If you really think about it, creation has been proven as much as evolution has. If you disagree with this statement ask yourself has evolution ever been proven right infront of your eyes? The answer is no if your answering truthfully. All this says is that those who believe in evolution have alot of faith, just like those who believe in creation.