Each Wednesday I publish one of my earlier columns that I hope will be interesting, informative, inspiring, and sometimes infuriating. The following column was published in 2006, and Kent Hovind is still in prison! I have no doubt that he was a target of leftist tyrants in the IRS and other totalitarian agencies.
In my recent column dealing with my friend Dr. Kent Hovind who is probably the most effective creation/evolution apologist in America, I compared his problems with some early Americans who opposed British-imposed taxes on the thirteen colonies. While there is no question that both Hancock and Hovind actions were similar in that they were tax-related, they were not the same.
From the Escambia County Jail Dr. Hovind told me on Dec. 10 that he is “not a tax protester”; he simply insists on the Federal Government enforcing the laws as they are written. Some will say that he is trying to pin a nicer label on himself; however, I don’t think so. He told me “The tax laws very clearly give some ‘exceptions’; and some ‘exemptions’ for certain individuals and certain ministries, including 508 (c) (1) (a) church ministries.” He told me “I have corresponded with the IRS on numerous occasions asking them exactly what laws apply to 508 (c) (1) (a). However, they never responded to any of my letters. The agents themselves testified that they did not ever respond to any of my letters.”
That is astounding and outrageous! Repeatedly he sought clarification and received no help! Do IRS officials think they have no obligation to correspond with lowly peons who pay their salaries? Is this arrogance, defiance, or obstinacy? Or all three? This fact is not known by Kent’s critics. Some critics are so filled with loathing and hate that it will make no difference. They are very pleased to see a creationist in jail whether he deserves it or not! Yet, many Christians take the same position!
So the Hovind case involves a taxpayer who disagrees with Federal authorities (not a Federal crime) and requests clarification of those laws. And it should be added that many attorneys and tax experts agree with Hovind! So, why didn’t the government answer his questions and why didn’t the trial judge speak to the exceptions in the code?
Furthermore, he told me that he never boasted about beating the tax system. Then either David Gibbs was wrong because that is what the papers reported or maybe the news accounts were wrong. Even if he did boast about beating the system, that isn’t a crime in itself. It is not a Federal offence to boast, belittle, or even beat tax laws (as long as beating the laws is done legally by use of legitimate tax shelters, trusts, etc.) I have heard Kent say two or three times that he pays all taxes that he owes. He does not recommend tax protesting.
Kent told me that he “believes that everyone should obey the tax laws—including the government.” Do Gibbs, Horton, and Kent’s other critics see anything wrong with that statement? Why not hold the feet of Government officials to the fire? Haven’t they been aloof, arbitrary, and arrogant long enough? Why not chain them down with the laws they are supposed to obey? Or is it now a one-way street where only citizens are held accountable?
It is interesting that in Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer’s closing argument, she said, “Nobody likes to pay taxes, but we do because it’s the law, and he is not above the law.” I want to remind that attorney that Federal officials are also required to obey the laws! Too often, government officials, in a desire to put another notch on their gun will deliberately skew the facts, lie, manufacture “evidence,” misquote an innocent victim, etc. since after all, “he is obviously guilty.” While we don’t have any evidence that happened with Kent’s trial, it has happened many times.
Most Americans have an innate sense of fairness, and don’t like seeing an ordinary citizen mistreated, especially when some rapists and killers walk away with probation! Surely if violent felons can walk free with probation then it is only reasonable that Kent receive the same consideration. Just last week, a black entertainer was charged with tax fraud–12 million dollars, yet he is still free on bail! Kent is in jail. It is also interesting to note that the entertainer still has his passport and is free to travel. It is such imbalance and unfairness that make so many American citizens critical of the judicial system.
I do not question Hovind’s motives. I do not believe he has ever been motivated by greed. After all, for many years he has permitted people to duplicate his videos and pass them on to other people! Obviously, avarice is not part of his nature.
He did not try to hide what he was doing about taxes. I understand, in tax matters, intent is very important and while no person on earth can always ascertain another person’s heart, I am as certain as possible that Kent is genuine.
Assuming he is correct about the IRS code, I think he was unwise to risk his and his wife’s freedom as well as his ministry. However, there is a possibility he will be considered a hero in a few years for standing for proper enforcement of laws. Some of the very people who are critical of Dr. Hovind think Henry David Thoreau was a highly principled man!
Thoreau, in 1846, was arrested in Massachusetts and spend some time in jail for refusing to pay a poll tax. His friend Ralph Waldo Emerson visited him, and peered through the bars, and asked, “Henry, what are you doing in there?” Thoreau replied: “Waldo, what are you doing out there?” I wonder if Kent feels that way? Maybe in a few years some of us on the outside today may realize that we should have been on the inside with him.
Thoreau took a stand against slavery and what he considered an unjust war with Mexico. He wrote, “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.” Maybe, just maybe some of us should be on the inside looking out rather on the outside looking in.
One thing is sure: State and Federal officials had better understand that they are not above the law and must start enforcing laws equally. Moreover, they should be more concerned with what is right rather than what is legal. “Right” never changes while man-made laws are in constant flux.
Fair minded citizens are getting weary of seeing celebrities walk free or getting a slap on the wrist while Christians are punished with glee, often when there is no guilt!
Yes, Lady Justice is blind but it is outrageous that she is also bigoted.
Copyright 2013, Don Boys, Ph.D.