Monday, June 01, 2009
The Ballad of Non-Reading Gaol
Only WingNutDaily would think to publish a long, somewhat favorable story on Kent Hovind and his legal troubles. I have some little interest in Hovind, I must admit, so I was prompted to wade through the effluvia.
The article amusingly wavers between all but declaring Hovind a tax protester evading the law and portraying him as an innocent waif and dupe. Even his son, Eric, now heading the ministry, seems rather ambivalent about his father:
But Eric Hovind acknowledges his father has espoused principles and beliefs shared by leading tax resisters. ...
Eric Hovind said he can see how "the majority of people would look at my dad and say, 'Hey you're refusing to pay a tax that you owe.' The question is do you owe that tax?" ...
Eric Hovind told WND his father sent numerous letters to the IRS, asking exactly which laws apply to a 508 (c) (1) (a) church ministry, but he received no response.
"Now the government would look at that, just to be honest, as probably a tax protester-type stance," he said.
Matt Staver, chief counsel of the Florida-based evangelical legal advocacy group Liberty Counsel, told WND he hasn't closely examined the charges but thinks Hovind was led astray by people with wrong ideas.
He said Hovind is somebody who is "honest and wants to do the right thing."
"I hate to see him in this situation, because he had done a tremendous amount of good through his creation seminars that he did around the country," Staver said. "I think a real strong voice has now been somewhat silenced because of this tax situation that has taken him out of circulation and ultimately hurt his ministry, when in fact I think it could have been avoided if there had been some additional guidance given to him about how to do his tax matters."
"I sincerely believe that I am not a person required to file a Federal Income Tax Return," he said. "This belief is a result of extensive research that I have done."
Asked by the judge where he lived, Hovind replied, "I live in the church of Jesus Christ, which is located all over the world. I have no residence."
Kent Hovind's position on taxes was reported to the IRS in the mid-1990s by an official at neighboring Pensacola Christian College, which barred students from any connection to the ministry.
The college's senior vice president, Rebekah Horton, testified in the Hovinds' 2006 trial, "'We know the Scriptures do not promote (tax evasion). It's against Scripture teaching."
Horton said it was the college's duty to report Hovind, because she "didn't want to see innocent people get led astray."