Last month, one of my “favourite” creationist kooks, “Dr” Kent Hovind (also known as Dr Dino) has finally had his lies and arrogance over many years catch up with him: he’s been sentenced to 10 years in prison for various tax offenses.
See, Hovind argued that not only did the church he founded not have to pay taxes (fair enough, and legal) but that his “evangelical ministry” organisation to promote creationism was also exempt from paying taxes, and as the president of the church and ministry he did not have to pay any personal income tax either (not legal), nor did he have to put aside the withholding-tax portion of the income of ministry organisation employees, even denying that they were really employees at all (very not legal): in other words, as a religious leader he was exempt from all tax laws, not just the ones applying to property held by the church.
Also, Hovind’s Creation Science Evangelical Ministry has not applied for registration as a non-profit organisation, and it is doubtful whether its current accounting procedures would allow it to gain such registration, neither do the people working there nor the IRS regard it as a church. The organisation is adminstered via various trust documents that are of questionable legality, supplied by a known promoter of tax avoidance schemes who argues that the IRS is an unconstitutional body that is not in fact empowered to collect taxes at all, that taxes are an unjust imposition and legally invalid.
From answers.com: At the time of the indictment, Hovind’s defense appeared to be that although there were 30 people working for him, all of whom receive remuneration in cash, none of them were employees. According to Hovind, “Nobody’s an employee, and they all know that when they come. They come, they work … The laborer is worthy of his hire — we try to take the purely scriptural approach. We do the best we can with helping people with their family needs. There are no employees here.” Hovind has also claimed that he is not liable for taxes and his ministry does not have to “render unto Caesar” because it is not working for the government.
Hovind tried to test those arguments in court, and failed miserably. Does he blame those who supplied him with the trust documents for giving him misleading information? Does he blamed himself for not seeing through them, for being blinded by greed?
Via PZ Myers at Pharyngula, The Atheist Experience (out of Austin, Texas) some recordings of Hovind’s phone calls from prison to family members etc. Honestly, the man has no idea when to stop digging. He’s still arguing that the IRS, the prosecutor, the judge, all law officers who refused his instructions to lock the IRS guys up instead: they’re all breaking the “real” law and they’re all going to pay. As the TEA article says:
This guy sure does love listening to his own bluster. In the first clip you will find yourself actually feeling sorry for his wife, listening to her say, with a notable tone of despair, that “I’m just hearing things [from you] that sound all the same.” Hovind’s cold reply, “Well, maybe I need to change…or maybe you need to change and accept it…Your hope is always that I will change. Maybe the hope ought to be that you will advance.”
Wow. Talk about a prison of horrible narrative for his wife in that marriage (she also has been found guilty of various tax offenses and awaits sentencing).
There’s a lot of stuff online about Hovind [Recommended: Talk Origins Hovind FAQ]. His church is mostly his children, grandchildren and their spouses, and although I know religious organisations always grow from a small initial kernel, in this case it’s a matter of walking and quacking like a cult: Hovind wields all control and is hugely vindictive towards any children who leave the church.