Deconstructing the Hovind Hair58v acronym

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Rudy Davis has come up with an acronym, Hair58v, to describe the current arguments Kent Hovind’s supporters should be using to present Hovind’s case. I have transcribed Rudy’s discussion of the acronym from yesterday’s meeting and am deconstructing them here (emphasis added).

Let me cover seven points that everyone needs to remember as we talk about the Kent Hovind story and if there’s other points, let’s talk about it and flush it out. We want to make sure that we can get the points across in a way that’s convincing, as opposed to, “well he cheated on his taxes, he deserves what he gets.” We gotta battle that mindset.

So there’s an acronym that’s come up with. It’s Hair58v. It’s hair, the things that are usually on people’s heads, and it’s heinous crimes committed by other people, that’ H, heinous crimes, like Al Sharpton, Wesley Snipes, what else? Child rapists, child murderers. Right? They get less time than our brother Kent Hovind, who is an innocent man in prison. So we gotta remember that. Heinous crimes by others get a lot less time than our brother has already spent.

As part of the testimony at Kent Hovind’s trial, it was elucidated that Hovind was pushing anti-tax ideas by distributing an anti-tax video. Bekah Horton testified to that occurring in 1997 (trial transcript, volume 3, pages 49 ff). Daniel Nelson, a former employee of Creation Science Evangelism, testified that Joe Sweet taped a video at CSE about taxes (trial transcript, volume 3, pages 78 ff).  Nelson testified (with sidebars omitted):

Q. At some point in time, prior to January of 1998, did you attend a videotaping event?
A. Prior to ’98?
Q. Prior to 1998. Let me throw out a name and see if this means anything to you. Joe Sweet.
A. Yes, I know Joe Sweet.
Q. Did Joe Sweet give any talks or lectures at CSE?
A. Yes.
Q. What was the subject matter of his talks or lectures?
A. I think it was Good News, was the title of the speech.
Q. What was the subject matter?
A. Taxes. (page 78)

(skipping to page 80)

Q. Mr. Nelson, we were talking about this tape recording of Joe Sweet. Do you have an approximate time frame for this particular tape recording?
A. No. You threw me off when you said it was prior to ’98,because I don’t remember it being before I even came there.
Q. You don’t remember one way or another?
A. No.
Q. All right. Tell me about the circumstances — before you tell me about what Mr. Sweet was saying, tell me about the circumstances surrounding the taping, who was there, who was doing the taping, where was it.
A. It was on the gazebo at the headquarters. Mr. Sweet wanted a video copy. We had the equipment to be able to do that for him, and Mr. Hovind offered to allow the recording to happen so that he could have it for his own ministry. Several of — friends and family and stuff like that were invited, just so that there would be an audience for audience shots.
Q. Who actually did the videotaping?
A. I don’t know
Q. Was Mr. Hovind in attendance?
A. I don’t know the answer to that.
Q. How about Mrs. Hovind?
A. I believe Mrs. Hovind was there.
Q. And you were there?
A. I was there.
Q. Any of the other people who worked there at CSE?
A. I don’t remember.
Q. Do you know how big an audience there was?
A. I would doubt that it was probably more than 10, 12 people.

(page 84)

Q. Thank you for your patience, Mr. Nelson. I was asking about generally the subject matter of the lecture that Mr. Sweet gave that was recorded.
A. It was about taxes.
Q. And what position was Mr. Sweet taking on taxes?
A. That it was not necessary to pay them.

Note that title, Good News. In 2002, the United States got an injunction which states the following:

4. Both EDM and Sweet (either individually or doing business thorugh any entity) and their representatives, agents, servants, employees, attorneys, and others acting in concert with any of the, are immediately and permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly:

(a) Organizing, promoting, marketing, or selling the tax shelter, plan or arrangement entitled “GOOD NEWS for FORM 1040 Filers:  Your Compliance is Strictly Voluntary! BAD NEWS for the IRS! Everything You Ever Needed to Know About the Income Tax That the IRS Is Afraid You’ll Find Out” or any other abusive tax shelter, plan, or arrangement that incites taxpayers to attempt to violate the internal revenue laws of the United States or unlawfully evade the assessment or collection of federal tax liability; [emphasis added]

Also, Joe Sweet is currently a guest of the Federal Bureau of Prisons as he was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2010 for (as the appellate opinion put it):

conspiracy to defraud the United States by advocating the intentional disruption of the assessment, ascertainment and collection of federal income tax, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. Defendant Sweet was also convicted of corrupt interference with internal revenue laws, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a), and two counts of criminal contempt, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 401(3).

Consequently, Kent Hovind is being punished like other tax protesters, evaders and hucksters with whom he’s worked with, supported and promoted.

The A is the atheists want to shut Christians up. Anybody with half a brain and one eye can see that in our society. They’re tearing down the Nativity scenes, they’re taking down the 10 Commandments in the courthouses, they’re putting up billboards that are mocking Christianity. So that’s another aspect of this.

I can think of nothing better than to quote Judge Rodgers on this, from the Kent Hovind sentencing transcript, pages 105-106:

All right. Let me make a few things clear before I impose sentence in the case. First, I want you all to understand and be clear on the fact that this case is not and has never been about religion. It was Mr. Hovind, not the government, who injected religion into this case during this trial. And I know the courtroom is full today, it’s packed. And most, if not all of you were not here for the trial, I do not believe. Some of you may have come in and out, but we certainly didn’t have this number of individuals in the courtroom every day listening to the evidence as those of us involved in the trial did here. Churches are not exempt from the withholding and payment of taxes on the wages of employees. Pure and simple. That is the law. That is the law in this country, and it is the law that has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court, who in this country has the final word on matters of law and the Constitution.

Additionally, the elements of the crimes Kent was convicted of (tax evasion, structuring, and obstruction of the Internal Revenue Service) do not include a “must be a Christian to be convicted of these laws” clause.

The I is that Kent Hovind has maintained his innocence from the very beginning. OK. The man has not compromised. There are many that believe, and I’m one of them, that if he had compromised and said he was just a little guilty, the government would have let him out a long time ago. But because he’s standing on his biblical principles, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did and not compromising, they’re not letting him out because they want to shame him. But yet he’s not admitting any guilt. And rightfully so.

Kent Hovind was found guilty of all the charges presented by a jury of his peers (see trial transcript volume 9). Certainly they did not believe he was innocent.

But let’s dig deeper into this for a moment. The reason Kent Hovind believes he is innocent is because he does not believe he owes any taxes whatsoever because he is a minister. During the trial, it was brought out that Hovind had not been paying personal income taxes since at least 1989.  This is why agent M.C. Powe got an order to seize vehicles at the Hovind home/CSE business, because Hovind had not paid income taxes from 1989 to 1994 (see trial transcript volume 2).

Kent Hovind also did not believe he should pay for any permitting required to construct or run Dinosaur Adventure Land. The Pensapedia article states the following (internal references omitted):

On June 5, 2006, Hovind pled nolo contendere as charged to three counts: constructing a building without a permit, refusing to sign a citation, and violating the county building code. Hovind was ordered to pay $225.00 per count. The plea brought to an end the 5-year criminal (misdemeanor) court battle over a $50.00 building permit. In June 2006 Hovind complied with the county law. Hovind estimates he spent $40,000 in legal expenses on this case. On June 19, 2006, the delinquent 2003-2005 property taxes/penalties for Dinosaur Adventure Land were paid in the amount of $10,402.64.

Note that Hovind also was not paying his local taxes for his business as well.

The R is Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers, that’s Rodgers. She’s a very anti-Christian judge. I recommend that everyone go read her sentencing transcript, that I read aloud into a YouTube video or get the trial transcript and read it yourself. Kent Hovind was blamed for everything under the sun, not being appreciative of the people in the military that protect him, not being appreciative of the farmers who put food on his plate and not being appreciative for the people who build his roads. If you listen to her speech, it’s political garbage. It’s absolute rubbish. It’s full of anti-Christian bias. Not only that, but Kent Hovind has stuck to his guns and said that her statement, which is not in the court records that I’ve been able to find, that she claimed that his crimes were worse than a rapist. We’ve had discussions about this and Kent Hovind is absolutely sticking to his guns and saying that she said that. Dr. Greg Dixon has got on the phone and reaffirmed Kent’s story and I’m working to get even additional people to reaffirm that. But I’m going with Kent and I wanted to say that as well.

Rudy doesn’t mention it here, but the reason he calls Judge Rodgers “anti-Christian” is due to a hearing that was held back in 2009 for a potential contempt violation of an agreement between the ACLU and the Santa Rosa (FL) school district.  This, and Kent Hovind’s sentence, are the only things he brings forward. I could spend a lot of time parsing the Santa Rosa case, but I won’t here. Judge Rodgers was a Bush appointee in Florida. I think that’s all that needs to be said.

So that’s h, a, i, r. Atheists trying to shut Christians up. Kent has maintained his innocence and Rodgers is a very anti-Christian, biased judge.

The Five (5). One of the most dangerous positions from Kent, I would say dangerous and true, is that he believes churches should not be 501(c)3, indicating that they’re state-controlled. A perfect example of that is in Houston, they subpoenaed the pastors’ sermons so that they were speaking out against homosexuality. Right. So Kent doesn’t want that to happen. He doesn’t think the state should be between the churches and God and the preachers should be able to say what they believe as the Bible says and not being controlled by the state. That is a very important point and it gets a lot of people nervous and upset when Kent starts talking about that issue.

This was an overbroad subpoena issued by a law firm doing pro bono work for the city of Houston. The subpoena was withdrawn. However, there have been questions raised about the involvement of Houston churches in the gathering of signatures to overturn Houston’s new anti-discrimination ordinance. Debunking site Snopes.com gives an overview of the story and discusses it in better detail than I can here.

This statement is also of a piece with the fact that Kent Hovind doesn’t believe he should pay taxes because he’s a ministry. It’s perfectly fine to be a non-501(c)3 church, knock yourself out. But if you’re bringing in money for your organization, you need to file a tax return, even if you end up paying nothing.

As for the “worse than rape” comment, the sentencing transcript does not have this language in it. Neither Kent’s nor Jo’s attorneys filed a motion with the court to strike the language. The Pensacola paper and Christian blogger Jen Fishburne failed to mention it in their recaps of the sentencing. The earliest account I (Deana Holmes) can find on the Internet comes from 2009. Rudy and Kent have talked about having eight affidavits, including a statement from Greg Dixon.  These statements have not been submitted for review, nor have the affiants been cross-examined on them. And, it should be noted, even if Judge Rodgers had said that, it was not raised on appeal and is time-barred.

The eight, the number 8, I’ll finish up in a second because I want Ernie to talk, we’re blessed with Ernie’s presence, but I want to finish this point. The eight, if anyone says, “well, he’s guilty,” and they’ve got a mindset “well, he’s guilty and he didn’t pay his taxes”–if they believe that he is guilty, which I don’t believe even for one second do I believe that, but if someone else does, we need to come back with, “even if you believe the man is guilty of the crimes they said he did, he spent eight years in prison already. Enough is enough. Let him out.” So that’s another point.

Please see the heinous point above for a rebuttal of the notion that Kent Hovind is being excessively punished.

The last point I’ll make is that, let’s consider the fact that our brother spent eight years in prison and confinement, not being able to sleep in a bed with his wife, not been able to spend time with his grandchildren and children, not being able to go out and eat a cheeseburger and have a vanilla milkshake–what has he done? It’s a victimless crime. There’s no victim in Kent’s crime. Right? The government was not robbed of any money, there’s no victim that you can point to, all the money that was seized was money that the ministry built up by hard work of the people who worked in the ministry with Kent as a member of that ministry. So nobody has been robbed and there is no victim. He spent eight years in prison for a victimless crime. That’s very important to keep in mind as well.

The fact of the matter is that the 12 counts of tax evasion were not victimless crimes. For three years–12 quarters–Kent Hovind failed to pay federal income taxes and Social Security taxes for his employees.  Hovind unsuccessfully argued that his employees were ministerial workers and he didn’t have to pay taxes for them. However, testimony from former employees as well as the results of the 2004 raid presented at the trial made it clear that the people working at CSE and DAL were not volunteers or ministry. They punched timecards, they were docked pay if they spent too much time on the phone, they had paid vacation time.

Because Kent Hovind did not pay their taxes as he was supposed to do as an employer, the CSE and DAL employees would either have to pay the taxes themselves out of their wages or not pay the taxes at all. Some people paid the taxes, others didn’t. But it was ultimately Kent Hovind’s responsibility to pay the taxes and he did not, as a jury of his peers found on November 2, 2006.

In conclusion, Rudy’s HairV58 is just another attempt to obfuscate from the truth that Kent Hovind was found guilty by a jury of his peers and was sentenced in accordance with the federal sentencing guidelines.