Pharyngula

Pensacola hilarity

If you’ve been following the news from Florida, you must know that Kent Hovind’s trial has begun. We’ve learned how profitable it is to be creation science evangelist…

Heldmeyer said from 1999 to March 2004, the Hovinds took in more than $5 million. Their income came from amusement-park profits and merchandise — books, audiotapes and videotapes — they sold on site and through phone and online orders, she said. About half the money went to employees.

…and that the IRS doesn’t like him very much.

Hovind attempted to manipulate funds from the start of his ministry, she said.

In 1996, he filed for bankruptcy, a move Heldmeyer said Hovind designed to prevent the IRS from collecting taxes.

The IRS later determined Hovind filed under an “evil purpose,” Heldmeyer said.

She called Hovind a “very loud and vocal tax protester,” recalling a number of lawsuits he filed against the IRS over the past decade. Each was deemed frivolous and was thrown out, she said.

And on April 13, 2004, when IRS officials issued a search warrant for Hovind’s property, he resisted.

Some of his employees have testified about his wacky beliefs.

Popp testified that Hovind warned employees not to accept mail addressed to “KENT HOVIND.” He said Hovind told the workers the government created a corporation in his “all-caps name.” Hovind said if he accepted the mail, he would be accepting the responsibilities associated with that corporation, Popp testified.

He was kind of sleazy about forcing his employees to sign away their rights.

After the Dinosaur Adventure Land was raided on April 2004, Kent Hovind required his employees to sign nondisclosure agreements if they wanted to keep their jobs, she said.

“I was uncomfortable signing it, I guess, because of not having a full understanding,” Cooksey said.

Hovind also has an interesting approach to dealing with IRS investigators.

Hovind tried several bullying tactics against her, Powe testified. A recording that Hovind made of a phone conversation was then played. In the phone conversation, Hovind tried to make an appointment with Powe by 10 a.m. that day. When Powe said she couldn’t meet him because she had a staff meeting, Hovind threatened to sue her, which he did.

“Dr. Hovind sued me three times, maybe more,” Powe testified. “It just seemed to be something he did often.”

She testified that the cases were dismissed.

Now, in the latest news, we learn that Kent Hovind was too crazy for Pensacola Christian College, that bulwark of traditional religious thought. Testimony from Rebekah Horton, a PCC vice president, shows that he wasn’t very highly regarded by even the fundamentalist extremist Christians in his neighborhood, and she was advising people to stay away from him.

Horton said her first concern was that the woman was breaking the law. Horton also testified she was concerned about Pensacola Christian College students who worked at Hovind’s ministry.

“The day could come when you’re going to be in trouble,” she told the woman. “Because Mr. Hovind is going to be in trouble.”

Horton believed it was the college’s duty to report the misleading doctrine. Administration called the Internal Revenue Service and gave the tape to officials, she said.

“I didn’t want to see innocent people get led astray,” she said.

Pensacola Christian College then decided its students no longer were permitted to work with Creation Science Evangelism, Horton said.

I confess that I’m starting my mornings lately by turning to the Pensacola News Journal and searching for “Hovind” to pick up the latest stories about this creationist debacle. I do it even before I read my favorite web comics. And I laugh and laugh.

Comments

  1. #1 Peter McGrath
    October 20, 2006

    The Passion of Kent Hovind. It ha a ring to it. And he can always ask: ‘Truth, what is truth?’

  2. #2 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    October 20, 2006

    Oh this is going to be fun.

  3. #3 Michael Hopkins
    October 20, 2006

    Pensacola Christian College then decided its students no longer were permitted to work with Creation Science Evangelism, Horton said.

    While I would not recommend working CSE by any means, outlawing students from working at CSE is just another example of extreme rules that PPC uses to control their students. For example see a summary of their rules. Woman can’t even be in pants in their own dorm room.

  4. #4 fusilier
    October 20, 2006

    {To be sung in a basso profundo voice, while standing on empty scaffolding:}

    “He is LOOOOOOdicrous….”

    fusilier, flashing on 1973
    James 2:24

  5. #5 Kseniya
    October 20, 2006

    This is a prime example of the persecution of hard-working, righteous, honest Christians by the evil forces of secularism. *yawn*

    Meanwhile, here I sit, nodding approvingly over the policies at PCC. What a strange world.

    I bet at least one or two Republican congressmen are wishing that Hovind were as important as Foley — that is, important enough to help squeeze Iraq off the front page for the next couple of weeks.

    In other news, National Geographic steps up this month with a cover story on the Dikika baby, and an article titled “A Fin is a Limb is a Wing: How Evolution Fashioned Its Masterworks.”

  6. #6 Michael Hopkins
    October 20, 2006

    In my last comment I meant PCC and not PPC.

  7. #7 John Pieret
    October 20, 2006

    The decision in Hovind’s bankruptcy case is at the Talk Origins Archive:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hovind-decision.html

    The bankruptcy judge was fairly blunt:

    The debtor having failed to file his federal income tax returns for at least the years 1989 through 1995, having resisted collection efforts by the IRS, and having provided false information [under oath] in his schedules and statement of affairs in connection with this case, I find that the debtor filed this petition in bad faith and as such the petition is subject to dismissal for cause …

  8. #8 rlrr
    October 20, 2006

    For example see a summary of their rules. Woman can’t even be in pants in their own dorm room.

    PPC is a school my daughters will absolutely be forbidden to attend.

  9. #9 PZ Myers
    October 20, 2006

    Woman can’t even be in pants in their own dorm room.

    I know some of the Christian cults view women as baby-making machines, but demanding that they must strip off their clothes in their homes seems a little extreme.

  10. #10 A.H.
    October 20, 2006

    [i]For example see a summary of their rules. Woman can’t even be in pants in their own dorm room[/i]

    I think I saw that movie on Cinemax the other night.

  11. #11 Stephen Erickson
    October 20, 2006

    Dr Dino updates are always entertaining. Thanks for making my morning, PZ.

  12. #12 Joshua
    October 20, 2006

    And yet, PZ, I have a hard time disagreeing with that policy. 😉

  13. #13 John Bode
    October 20, 2006

    I find it amusing beyond all reason that Hovind was considered too wacky for PCC. Also interesting was how Horton referred to him as “Mr.” Hovind, not “Dr.” Hovind. Even the people at PCC don’t respect his diploma-mill doctorate.

  14. #14 derek schumacher
    October 20, 2006

    “the kool aid for our guest is almost ready, hon”

  15. #15 Russell
    October 20, 2006

    Just so PZ can keep his criticisms against these wackos as sharp as possible, I’ll point out that non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are a fairly standard business requirement these days. In the high-tech world, NDAs are even exchanged between businesses prior to meetings that discuss internal workings or product technology. I would not be surprised if some real museums made use of them.

    Of course, it’s pretty funny to see them used by a scam like Hovind’s outfit. From a legal viewpoint, though, I would expect that to be viewed as one of the more ordinary things he did.

  16. #16 Spoony Quine
    October 20, 2006

    ` Yeah, I always thought he was scary. I like some of his comments about light being sound and dinosaurs being lizards and not knowing how the sun could burn in space with no oxygen, and saying that cyanide is actually vitamin B-17 and protects you from cancer… he is so hilarious and he doesn’t even know it!!!
    ` He’s so paranoid and distrustful of everyone, he gets what he deserves for not paying taxes!!

  17. #17 tiredoftheright
    October 20, 2006

    If anyone can comment on the article http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?

    They should state the actual factual details of Hovind’s bankruptcy case such that was Chapter 13 not Chapter 7 as the hovind supporter claims. Heck demolish the hovind supporters claims. Show that in courts that employee has been defined. Seriously these tax dodgers need to be shown how retarded they truly are.

  18. #18 Stanton
    October 20, 2006

    As much as this scum of the earth deserves it, isn’t ridiculing Mr Hovind for his self-inflicted legal woes like laughing at a one-legged guard dog?

  19. #19 GD
    October 20, 2006

    Next gig for Kent……Prison Creation Ministry

  20. #20 Mark
    October 20, 2006

    That list of rules is one of the funniest yet scariest things I’ve ever read.

    My favorite part:

    No apparel with other colleges or high-schools is allowed.

    Apparently their college is a jealous college which tolerates no other colleges before it.

  21. #21 Mark
    October 20, 2006

    Oh, and

    You may not allow the end of your belt to hang down from the belt-loops resembling a phallus.

  22. #22 Kristine
    October 20, 2006

    In his bankruptcy forms, Hovind wrote that he had no form of income, that he rejected his Social Security number and that his employer was God, Beard testified.

    Holy crap, could this lunatic be more accomodating to his financial demise?

    You know, Mr. Hovind, you wear a watch and that leads you to believe that this watch had a designer, but I have a tax form. And being that this tax form is both complex and intelligently organized, I be a fool not to believe that this tax form didn’t also have a designer. And a purpose. To be filled out by you.

    Gee, come to think of it, there are prison cells as well. And they didn’t come about by chance. Those prison cells must have had a designer. And they must have been designed for a purpose, just as you, Mr. Hovind, claim to have been designed for a purpose. Now, what could that purpose possibly be? You–designed. Prison cell–designed. Do you think that you could possibly fit just nicely in that prison cell? Hmmm?

    Yep, Intelligent Design! Hovind in a cell! With all of the bars, clogging toilets, cement-brick walls, and creaky bunks that Michael Behe sees in the majestic workings of the cell. Bacterial flagella galore in a prison cell! And road signs to nowhere! Yes indeed, the prison cell is the work of an intelligent designer, all right, and your destined place in the cosmos, Hovie, my boy. Hallelujah!

  23. #23 Jim Wynne
    October 20, 2006

    Woman can’t even be in pants in their own dorm room.

    I presume that there’s also a proscription against breathing in short pants.

  24. #24 Jeff
    October 20, 2006

    Pensacola is a beautiful town. Please recall that we are home to the University of West Florida and Pensacola Jr. College, both fine, if lower-tier, schools. Also, the fishing is so much freaking better there than in stupid Morris.

  25. #25 Sastra
    October 20, 2006

    Thanks, Kristine. That was hilarious. I thought including the “cell” was an especially nice touch.

    Poor guy. I’d almost feel sorry for him, if he hadn’t gone out of his way to be such a smug, arrogant, braying, boasting, gleeful little pinhead.

  26. #26 DF
    October 20, 2006

    Apparently their college is a jealous college which tolerates no other colleges before it.

    +1 violent expulsion of caffeinated beverage through nasal passages.

  27. #27 KeithB
    October 20, 2006

    And you *know* that Kent is champing at the bit to testify in his own defense and his attorney is *pleading* with him not to do it.

    I would *love* to be a fly on the wall during those discussions.

    Maybe we should get a group outside the courtroom to shout “Speak for yorself, Dr. Dino, Testify!”

  28. #28 Paula Helm Murray
    October 20, 2006

    Is there some sort of whacko finishing school? This guy sounds like he’s cut from the same piece of cloth as Fred Phelps of the “Westover Baptist Church.”

    Yikes.

  29. #29 Steve Watson
    October 20, 2006

    Westover Baptist Church

    Since Phelps’ church is complete joke (even by fundamentalist standards), it would be difficult to create a parody of it.
    (I think you confabulated “Westboro” and “Landover”, only the latter of which is intentional satire).

  30. #30 lo
    October 20, 2006

    we are laugthing with you. This whole story is too funny…

  31. #31 snoey
    October 20, 2006

    The all caps bit is priceless – right out of the “contracts of adhesion” and “sovereign citizen” anti-tax nutters handbook.

    Did he check the courtroom flag for fringes?

  32. #32 hinschelwood
    October 20, 2006

    “this tax form is both complex and intelligently organized [etc]”

    That is one of the funniest comments I have ever read.

    I’m just loving the coverage of this trial. I have the same feeling of inevitability that I had when following the Dover trial. Looking forward to the verdict.

  33. #33 Torbjörn Larsson
    October 20, 2006

    “Yep, Intelligent Design! Hovind in a cell!”

    🙂

    I do hope they remember that a cell is irreducibly complex, so they can’t remove even a single bar without loosing function.

    But I wonder why Hovind wasn’t frontloaded when the cell was created?

  34. #34 Grayman
    October 20, 2006

    This cruelty toward another human being is totally unwarranted and completely unbecoming. And furthermore…

    Aw heck, I just can’t do it. This cruelty is totally funny and just what the unctuous swine deserves!

  35. #35 SEF
    October 20, 2006

    I’m starting my mornings lately by turning to the Pensacola News Journal and searching for “Hovind” to pick up the latest stories about this creationist debacle.

    Perhaps this going to be like the farcical Dover trial which was so excellently covered by the York Daily Record, and particularly by Mike Argento (although I later found many of the pages had unfortunately vanished, at least from their former URLs).

  36. #36 Ichthyic
    October 20, 2006

    Westover Baptist Church

    Since Phelps’ church is complete joke (even by fundamentalist standards), it would be difficult to create a parody of it.
    (I think you confabulated “Westboro” and “Landover”, only the latter of which is intentional satire).

    oh… I dunno, I think a rather tasteless parody could be whipped up rather quick-like..

    Bendover Baptist Church, headed by Fred “Phelcher” Phelps.

    oh yes, a distinct parody that would hit right at the core of ‘ol Freddy and his extreme homophobic paranoia.

  37. #37 Kristjan Wager
    October 21, 2006

    I just recently read David Neiwert’s In God’s Country where he explains the North-Western Patriot movement. Now, reading this, I realize that Howind shares many beliefs with people from the Christian Identity movement – could it happen that he is one? Does anyone know if he ever has been connected to them?

  38. #38 PZ Myers
    October 21, 2006

    Hovind has referenced his ‘lawyer’, Glenn Stoll, for his views on taxes. Stoll is based in Seattle. That’s as far as the chain of connections goes, as far as I know. Wouldn’t you love to see Stoll’s client list, though?

  39. #39 Kristjan Wager
    October 21, 2006

    Oh my. Stoll? My, my, my….

    He is part of the Patriot movement, and connected to the Washington State Militia and Justus Township (run by the Freemen).

    The Freemen were very much Christian Identity people.

  40. #40 Kristjan Wager
    October 21, 2006

    And when I say connected, I quote from In God’ Country:

    Two weeks later, Kirk – who actually lived with his wife, Judy, in the southern Seattle suburb of Tukwila – presided as the “Referee/Magistrate” of the first recorded session of “our one supreme court Common Law, Washington republic.” According to the document itself, the court was convened on Mercer Island at the home of James Gutschmidt, a Patriot who was attempting to starve of foreclosure on his property. Gutschmidt claimed in the document he was “not a Fourteenth Amendment citizen or subject … not a resident, but a Citizen as described in the Holy Bible and in the Constitution prior to the Fourthteenth Amendment.”

    Sitting in as “jurors” for the case was a virtual “who’s who” of the Patriot community in the Central Puget Sound area:

    Skipping a few people, until our friend shows up

    Glenn Stoll, a longtime associate of Don Ellwanger’s who was present during the standoff at Ellwanger’s veterinary clinic. Stoll was designated “Clerk of the Court.”

    David Neiwert: In God’s Country -The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest, p. 283.

    Isn’t this just perfect?

  41. #41 Kristjan Wager
    October 21, 2006

    And when I say connected, I quote from In God’ Country:

    Two weeks later, Kirk – who actually lived with his wife, Judy, in the southern Seattle suburb of Tukwila – presided as the “Referee/Magistrate” of the first recorded session of “our one supreme court Common Law, Washington republic.” According to the document itself, the court was convened on Mercer Island at the home of James Gutschmidt, a Patriot who was attempting to starve of foreclosure on his property. Gutschmidt claimed in the document he was “not a Fourteenth Amendment citizen or subject … not a resident, but a Citizen as described in the Holy Bible and in the Constitution prior to the Fourthteenth Amendment.”

    Sitting in as “jurors” for the case was a virtual “who’s who” of the Patriot community in the Central Puget Sound area:

    Skipping a few people, until our friend shows up

    Glenn Stoll, a longtime associate of Don Ellwanger’s who was present during the standoff at Ellwanger’s veterinary clinic. Stoll was designated “Clerk of the Court.”

    David Neiwert: In God’s Country -The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest, p. 283.

    Isn’t this just perfect?

  42. #42 j.t.delaney
    October 22, 2006

    I thought that Hovind was a mainstream creationist, and the Christian Identity movement was fringe. So, how long will it be before the Discovery Institute and Answers in Genesis implode?

  43. #43 M
    February 20, 2007

    Anyone interested or know of these people? Timothy S. Wickstrom, Marnie McGregor-Wickstrom and Steven Hardebeck. Tim is CEO of “Changing Lives Ministries”, a corporation sole, in Maple Valley, Washington.

    http://www.zoominfo.com/Search/PersonDetail.aspx?PersonID=1003642799

  44. #44 D
    April 25, 2007

    I know plenty about Mr Wickstrom and his operations and envolvement with Glen Stoll. Ive seen the list of people and business him and his business have ripped off.

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