Steve Reuland posted Entry 156 on April 24, 2004 12:00 PM.
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Sorry, this one’s about a week late. But best to have it logged for future reference…

Our close buddy Kent Hovind is apparently in trouble with the law (yet again) for tax evasion. Hovind (or Dr. Dino as he prefers to be called, though his ‘PhD’ is from a diploma mill) is a popular, if totally wacky, YEC who runs a “ministry” down in Florida, complete with Dinosaur Adventure Land theme park. It’s basically a home-made obstacle course that seems to have nothing to do with dinosaurs, other than looking very dangerous.

The Death Trap Dinosaur Adventure Land has gotten Hovind in trouble in the past due to his apparent lack of concern with the local government’s requirements that he get building permits for the stuff he builds. His court date for charges stemming from his building permit violations is coming up on May 18th. We’ll be watching.

In the meantime, Hovind was raided by agents of the IRS last Wednesday for failure to pay taxes on any of his apparently large income. According the article linked to above, the IRS contends that Hovind has made bank deposits in excess of 1 million dollars per year during some of the last several years. Yet he has no business licenses for any of his ventures, nor are any of them registered as tax-exempt organizations. In the past, he has even denied having any income.

Representing Hovind is Glen Stoll of Remedies at Law, whose services seem to consist of crackpot schemes designed to facilitate tax-protestors. This is probably the same Glen Stoll who was involved with Embassy of Heaven, an anti-government militia group declaring itself to be its own sovereign nation. Stoll sums up perfectly the way in which he and Hovind tend to see the situation:

“This is based on misperceptions,” Stoll said. “They don’t understand how the church is created and registered, how it operates under church law, which is entirely separate from secular authorities.”

I’m not sure which is more amusing, the fact that they use this kooky argument, or the fact that they actually seem to believe it. For most people, an entirely self-serving argument that arbitrarily singles one out for special treatment is appealing only to one’s sense of greed, not one’s sense of fairness. But I think that Hovind and his ilk sincerely believe they are above the law. This is basically the deal with the building permits — Hovind’s argument is that he doesn’t need no steenkin’ permits because the government has no jurisdiction over his “church”. So when the government insists that Hovind follow the law like everyone else, he claims he’s being persecuted on religious grounds. So much for rendering unto Caesar.

Not surprisingly, this isn’t the first time the tax-man has had problems with Hovind. Several years ago he was ordered to pay back taxes after having failed to file with the Federal government ever. In an attempt to circumvent the ruling against him, Hovind tried to declare bankruptcy, claiming that he had no assets or income. The court ruled that his bankruptcy was filed in bad faith.

All of this is pretty funny if somewhat mind-boggling, but do keep in mind that just because a creationist is an obvious huckster, this is, for some reason, no barrier to him having a large following and a great deal of influence. In 2001 (yes, in the 21st century), the Arkansas state legislature invited Dr. Hovind to testify on behalf of an anti-evolution bill which he apparently helped draft. We know Hovind hates the government, but really, must he ruin everyone’s faith in representative democracy?

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Comment #1468

Posted by mithras on April 24, 2004 10:32 AM (e)

I have to say, I don’t care about this at all, except possibly the very last paragraph.

Comment #1475

Posted by Les Lane on April 24, 2004 5:28 PM (e)

Check out the law firm that’s representing Hovind as well as the law firm’s spokesperson Glen Stoll). You can find them on Google.

Comment #1478

Posted by Mike Hopkins on April 24, 2004 7:11 PM (e)

Minor nit: “…Arkansas state legislature invited Dr. Hovind to testify…” It is unlikely that the legislature as a whole would invite Hovind or anyone else to testify in a committee hearing for a bill. If appropriate person(s) on the appropriate committee wish to invite Hovind to speak then Hovind can speak to the committee. The person who introduced the bill was Jim Holt. He was the one who invited Hovind to speak. Holt and Hovind are friends by the way.

Actually I see nothing wrong with Hovind testifying. It could be an opportunity. After all if Hovind is the best the sponsors can find to testify in favor of their anti-evolution bill then that they are using a quack to support their bill can be pointed out. Furthermore if critical information about Hovind can be provided to a legislator friendly to science then there is a chance to ask Hovind some pointed questions while he is under oath.

To email replace “usenet” with “harlequin2”

Comment #1501

Posted by Steve Reuland on April 25, 2004 4:19 PM (e)

Mike, you’re absolutely correct. I shouldn’t have extrapolated the actions of one committee member onto the entire Arkansas state legislature.

I’m not sure that Hovind’s testimony is a net positive though. One could argue that Hovind’s extremism helps to legitimize more “moderate” creationists and make them look mainstream by comparision. So it’s kind of a complicated issue.

At any rate, it’s depressing that Hovind can be considered a credible witness by anyone in government.

Comment #1503

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on April 25, 2004 4:44 PM (e)

The bill actually “won” on a 48-44 vote, but didn’t get the 50 votes it needed to pass. (The numbers are probably not the actual ones.)

Comment #1580

Posted by Nick on April 26, 2004 11:20 PM (e)

I don’t believe this came up, but I’ll have you know that I have visited Heaven, Oregon. Way back in 1994, the summer after we graduated from high school, five of us in a van went on a Road Trip. Our first stop was Heaven, which was a couple of acres of woods near Salem, Oregon, that Paul Revere had declared to be an independent nation. It had been in the news at the time because they were issuing license plate and drivers licenses, which the state troopers found quite funny (I guess the plates were collectors items among the troopers).

Anyway, at the time it seemed much more like a (small, like 4 people) hippie commune, not a militia. We jumped on the trampoline, we listened to Paul Revere ramble for awhile, and we took some video. I figured Heaven wouldn’t last the year because the state would shut them down for tax evasion, false documents and plates, etc., but I guess I was wrong, according to that webpage.

After an hour or so at Heaven, we left to continue the Road Trip. The next destination was, of course, Hell’s Canyon. You can guess what we named the video of the Road Trip…

Comment #1738

Posted by Clever Penny on May 1, 2004 11:06 AM (e)

An article about Hovind’s Theme Park appeared in today’s New York Times.…
(registration required, but free)

Feel free to send a letter to the Editor commenting on any of the bogus Creationist “science” that is presented in the article without much disclaimer.

At least the article was perfumed somewhat (towards the end) with references to Hovind’s snake-like theories regarding taxation.

Comment #1762

Posted by Michael on May 2, 2004 7:22 PM (e)

For an intelligent skeptic’s assessment of creationism, try…. Sample: “Evolution is not a fraud being perpetrated upon the public, but it is a theory that has far too many problems to be treated as something that everyone is obliged to believe in on pain of being classified as a fool, as if it were the claim that the earth goes around the sun. Its credibility will continue to wane (or wax) with additional developments in biology over the coming years, but the absolute prerequisite for solving this intellectual puzzle is for free debate on the issue to be permitted again. I am quite happy to change my position if new facts come out, and I urge my readers that this is the only rational view.”

Comment #17170

Posted by messenger on February 21, 2005 8:07 AM (e)

Freedom of Religion is denied in most of the world!!!!!!! Your goddess has no right to judge us. If you serve your goddess thats fine. But do not force us to worship yours!!!!!!!!!

Currently the largest cult religion on the planet earth worship of her laws literally engulfs the whole planet. Her name is Justice from the current world empire, Ma’at from Egyptian empire, Ikhnaiê from Thessalia northern Greek empire, and formerly commonly known as Themis or Dike from the Greek empire, Justitia from Roman empire, She is also called Astraea (starry), for she is the constellation of the Virgin (Virgo). She bears the graven image of a woman with a sword and a scale sometimes blindfolded which is the common symbol and graven image of the CULT OF THEMIS the largest world wide religion on the planet earth. And now “Justice” in the modern world.
This goddess Justice is most commonly portrayed in the U.S. as a blindfolded woman carrying a sword and a set of scales. She symbolizes the administration of civil law. The idea of a woman portraying Justice dates back to at least ancient Egypt.
America claims to build upon the foundation and principles of God but what God? If I open my eyes I see one of the most recognized legal symbols in the world is that of the goddess Justice.
I see the image of Justice everywhere State Seals, Flags, Paintings in State buildings and courts, stationary for State court judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement law firms. The Statue and image of the goddess Justice is everywhere and her image can even be seen in three places on the Supreme Court building of the federal Sate in Washington, DC which is the highest court of the land.
1. The Contemplation of Justice statue (a seated female figure in a shawl) studies the smaller statue of Justice. This Justice is blindfolded and cradles a set of scales in her arms. This marble statue of Justice is about 4.5 feet high.
2. At the base of the lampposts is a bas-relief of Justice. This Justice is also blindfolded and holds scales in her left hand and a sword in her right.
3. Justice appears without a blindfold on the west wall in the Courtroom. This Justice is based on the story of the battle between Good Versus Evil. Her eyes are fixed on Evil to her right, and she is ready to protect the forces of Good with her sword.