A Washington state court has handed down a ruling that could presage a bad result for Kent Hovind in Florida (yes, I know it doesn’t apply in another state, but the logic is perfectly applicable to both states and the Federal level). In the case of In re Didier, the husband in a divorce proceeding tried to claim a free exercise defense for not paying child support. He made the same claim that Hovind makes, that he is employed by God, has taken a vow of poverty, and has no income. He also claimed, like Hovind does, that the court has no jurisdiction over him.
Michael Didier is a member of the Embassy of Heaven church, which has almost identical views to Hovind’s. They claim to be citizens of heaven on earth rather than citizens of the US. They actually print their own driver’s licenses and license plates, which of course gets them put in jail a lot. Like Hovind, they are usually represented by Glen Stoll (who gets a lot of clients despite a miserable record of losing because of his loony views of the law). These people are just plain nuts, as I wrote over 2 years ago.
The Washington court ruled against Didier, saying that the law on child support is “neutral and of general applicability” and therefore does not violate the free exercise clause. Even an RFRA claim would fail here, as the state obviously has a compelling interest in requiring fathers to support their children after divorce, and there’s no other means of doing that than requiring them to do so.