Steve Reuland posted Entry 156 on April 24, 2004 12:00 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/155
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.
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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