Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Clinic Escort Discusses Details Of 1994 Pensacola Abortion Clinic Murders

In conjunction with coverage of the Kent Hovind trial, Jonathan Schwartz and Abigal Magginson interviewed Bill Caplinger to get background on the religious atmosphere in Pensacola in the nineties and early oughts as Hovind's ministry was growing and he was becoming prominent.

One of the most traumatic events of that period was the murder of Dr. John Maynard and Lt. Col James Herman Barrett USAF, Ret by anti-abortion activist Paul Jennings Hill as Barrett was escorting Maynard to the Ladies Clinic in Pensacola on July 29, 1994 just a little over a year after the murder of Dr. David Gunn.

Bill Caplinger also served as a clinic escort during that period.  Barrett, like Caplinger, was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pensacola.

In the interview Bill reveals details of the circumstances of the events of that day that he has previously not discussed.

Here is a link to the full interview.

Retired IRS Kent Hovind Critic Seeks To Debate Structuring

The trials, literally, and tribulations of Independent Baptist minister and young earth creationist Kent Hovind have spawned a support group, whom I have taken to calling Hovindicators.  You might compare them to the Dreyfusards.   Only the tend to be more right wing than left wing. They have not attracted a writer of the stature of Emile Zola and there are hints of Antisemitism among prominent Hovindicators such as Rudy Davis (a charge he denies).

And of course Hovindicators are mostly Americans.  Other than that they are just like the Dreyfusards.

JJ MacNab who follows the sovereign citizen movement, which is where the Hovindicators seem to have the most traction, is not that impressed with their efforts so far.  She wrote me recently

Hovind is a weird case.  Much of his support online seems to come from the same people who have registered for multiple accounts trying to set up a lot of smoke and mirrors.

Once you leave that core group of followers, he’s almost unknown.  Every now and then someone like Pete Santilli will pay attention, but the vast majority of wingnuts in the movement have never heard of him.

I take it that you’ve been communicating with the former IRS agent.  He’s been trying to get me to write about Hovind for years, but the tax protest movement is all but gone, other than some clean-up work by the IRS and a handful of gurus who still keep plugging away.

Tax protesting morphed into sovereign citizen schemes roughly eight years ago, and the SovCit movement is currently evolving from the paperwork phase into a more violent, rebellious, anarchistic group which is one of the factors behind the surge in militia numbers.

Hovind is like a tax protest dinosaur trying to remain relevant in a world populated with angry cavemen with semi-automatic clubs.
JJ's book The Seditionists: Inside the Explosive World of Anti-Government Extremism in America will be released in the fall.

The "former IRS agent" that JJ mentions is Robert Baty.  Bob finished a long career with the IRS as an appeals officer.  He seems to have a lot of time on his hand when he is not watching the grandchildren and has three major obsessions, two of which I share.  Those two are Code Section 107, which allows "ministers of the gospel" to claim exclusion from taxable income of amounts paid as housing allowances and the Kent Hovind case.  The third is something called presuppositionalism, which I have resolved not to try to figure out until I have mastered semiotics.

Bob administers a facebook site called Kent Hovind and Jo Hovind v USA - IRS .  The site includes some unfounded speculations and irrelevant personal attacks, but it is also remarkable for its thoroughness in covering every aspect of the case.  Hovindicators speculate that Bob Baty is a paid disinformation agent of the IRS.  Their "smoking gun" to prove the assertion is Bob's refusal to answer Don Bidondi's question in this interview.

I sometimes think that if Bob Baty did not exist, the Hovindicators would have to invent him. For the Hovindicators Bob Baty plays the role that Goldstein played for the Inner Party in 1984.

The above is a rather lengthy introduction to a debate challenge that Baty has issued which I am presenting below.
This is an invitation intended to remain open until such time as Kent Hovind or his designated representative are able to successfully complete a discussion of the differences between my representation of the structuring law applicable to Kent Hovind's case and the way Kent Hovind and his people have been representing the law since before Kent was convicted. 
Alternatively, no discussion will be necessary and the controversy resolved with Kent Hovind's clear, explicit, public and unambiguous acceptance of my representation of the law as applicable to his case, as stated below. 
Robert Baty’s Structuring Proposal for Discussion 
Withdrawing less than $10,000 in a single transaction
with the intent to evade bank reporting requirements
is a violation of the law and regulations and was at
the time of the Hovind withdrawals in question and
was the legal standard used to convict Kent Hovind
of “structuring”. 
Robert Baty - Affirm
Kent Hovind - Deny 
Recently, one of Kent Hovind's sympathizers, David Buzulak , and I had an exchange on the issue.  David eventually admitted his agreement with Kent Hovind on the proposition but would not engage in a discussion of the merits of our respective positions.  David preferred to evade the discussion and drone on and on about recent news stories regarding the IRS and certain enforcement policies regarding structuring which do not have relevance to the legal issues involved in the Kent Hovind case.
I have had similar exchanges with Kent Hovind sympathizers.  While once in awhile one of them might realize I am correct in my representation and Kent Hovind is wrong, for the most part they remain in denial. 
It becomes rather wearisome to have to deal with lesser lights amongst the Hovindicator movement while observing Kent Hovind and his leading promoters continuing to make false and/or misleading claims regarding the law applicable to the Kent Hovind case.
So, the time seems ripe to call out Kent Hovind, as Goliath called out the Israelites of old.
Will Kent Hovind come out to me?
Will Kent Hovind send his champion out to me?
Will Kent Hovind repent and admit that I am right?
Once Kent decides, if he ever does, to come out to me or send his appointed champion, we will endeavor to negotiate the appropriate logistical details to advance the conversation and resolve our difference on the matter.
Kent Hovind has recently claimed that understanding the structuring issue in his case is the key to understanding his legal problems.
I will accept that as supporting my effort and the importance of the the discussion proposed in this message.

You can duke it out in the comments section or you can send me guest posts.  Sending them in the body of an email works best as opposed to attachments.  If I choose not to post a guest post (something I have never done to date), I will let you know why.

Peter J Reilly CPA hopes to become the first tax blogger to give up his day job.  Soliciting free content is a key part of his business plan.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Kent Hovind And The Professors Of Pensacola

Independent Baptist Minister and young earth creationist Kent Hovind, nearing the end of a long prison sentence on tax related charges finds himself facing new charges.  The new charges relate to filings that were made on property seized as a result of Hovind's earlier conviction.  A jury found him guilty of contempt of court on March 12th but was unable to reach a verdict on more serious fraud and conspiracy charges. Retrial on those charges is scheduled for May 18th.

Kent Hovind has rallied a group of supporters who are waging a vigorous social media campaign on his behalf most notably on #FreeKent, the movement's flagship website and youtube channel LoneStar1776 which features regular calls from Doctor Hovind and passionate appeals from Rudy Davis, who has deferred his interest in geocentrism and questioning the legitimacy of the Obama presidency to totally devote himself to Hovindication.

Although Hovinidication has a strong internet presence it is difficult to judge how deep the movement really is. We actually now have two pretty reliably indices.  There is a petition to pardon Hovind and his codefendant Paul John Hansen on We The People .  As I write this there are 1,524 signatures, which is not too shabby, but there is a way to go to match the 166,265 registered on behalf of Edward Snowden.  Dave Daubenmire's Pass The Salt Ministries has established a Christian Legal Defense Fund, whose presumptive initial beneficiary is Kent Hovind,  As I write this the fund has raised $4,429 from 52 donors. I'd give them a couple of weeks, before commenting on how well they are doing.

One of the puzzles of the movement is why there seems to be so little support for Kent Hovind in Pensacola which Hoivnd in some ways helped put on the evangelical map.  The small group of supporters at Hovind's trial were overwhelmingly from out of town.  The Pensacola News gave the trial only sporadic coverage.

Documentary film maker Jonathan Schwartz was covering the trial, with my support.  He also took some time to study the deeper history of Hovind and the frothy environment of Pensacola evangelism in the nineties and onto the turn of the millennium.  Part of that project was an interview with Bill Caplinger.  hosted by Abigail Megginson, editor in chief of The Corsair.

Bill Caplinger, now retired, was the Manager of Laboratories (Physics) at the University of West Florida.  He got to know Kent Hovind, because Kent as he was working on his videos, lectures and other material was regularly calling the professors at the university to discuss various developments that he saw as proving intelligent design.  Eventually they started referring him to Bill.  Here is the portion of the interview where Bill discusses his early interactions with Kent Hovind

According to Bill, there was one professor that Kent did not burn out.  That was Terry Prewitt, an anthropologist and expert on semiotics, which neither Bill Caplinger nor I understand, but Jonathan claims to.  Terry invited Kent to speak at the college.  It may well be that Professor Prewitt was the first Hovindoligist.

Here is a debate in which both Doctor Hovind and Doctor Prewitt participated. I have to admit that I did not invest the two hours into listening to it, but maybe after tax season.

The interview with Bill Caplinger also alludes to the anti-abortion demonstrations in Pensacola in the nineties.  There will be more on that in a future post.

Peter J Reilly CPA is striving to be the first tax blogger to give up his day job.

Here is a link to the full Bill Caplinger interview.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Will the real Kent Hovind please stand up? Dr. Dino gets outed by an ex-employee.

Independent Baptist Minister and young earth creationist, Kent Hovind, "Doctor Dino", nearing the end of a long prison sentence on tax related trial finds himself facing new charges related to filings on property seized as a result of his previous conviction.  Earlier this month, a jury convicted him on one count of  contempt of court.  The jury failed to reach a verdict on more serious fraud and conspiracy charges.  A new trial on those charges is scheduled for May 18th.

I have been following the tax travails of Doctor Dino since the fall of 2012 when I wrote about the Tax Court decision in the case of his wife, Jo Delia Hovind. Like many Tax Court decisions, I found that the story behind the story was more interesting.

I have found that Hovindology is a bit like archaeology.  The current prosecution and Tax Court decisions that caught my attention are like the ruins of an ancient city, that have other even more ancient cities below them.

I have provided some backing to Jonathan Schwartz, of Interlock Media, who has been covering the trial, while also digging deeper into the background of the Kent Hovind story,  In this piece he relates his conversation with a young evangelist, who by his account, was Kent Hovind''s right hand man for a while.

I have some thoughts on this piece that I will share at the end. PJR


Coffee Shops and Young Earth Creationism:
A clandestine encounter in a mall
We asked Daniel Johnson to meet us investigative types from Interlock Media at Panera in the main shopping mall of Pensacola, Florida. We needed an insider’s perspective on Kent Hovind. Johnson knew Hovind intimately, he’d worked for him for years.  

Many of the local preachers hold court with outsiders in another coffee shop, the Drowsy Poet. We figured we’d get more privacy by meeting Johnson elsewhere. Pensacola you see, is one very small town. Pensacolans do not forget much.
If you act out too much, they don’t forgive. It’s bad for beach tourism.  Tourism, the military, and retirees with medical needs bring in the money.


Was I becoming a conspiracy theorist by association?

Panera locked their doors just as we arrived to get situated in advance of our guest. They had suddenly closed for a special convocation of baristas.  Just what did Panera’s baristas have to meet about behind locked doors?  I was pondering some coffee servers conspiracy, obviously suffering from cloak and dagger disorder, muddled by the intrigue being dished up at Hovind’s aka Dr.Dino © Federal trial. Hovind stood accused of tax and real estate fraud, contempt and collusion. The sorts of charges known in street vernacular as lies and sleaze. I was clearly starting to see nefarious activity on every corner. Too much gruel in the courtroom.


Salad & Chops
The story of an acolyte who drops everything to evangelize
Creationism at Dinosaur Adventure Land.
I spotted Romano’s Marconi Grill halfway up the strip, as an alternative venue to replace the coffee shop, and a message was relayed to Johnson. This new meet location was more upscale than Panera. Evidenced by the fact that the waiter, in some sort of Romano’s Grill routine, wrote his name with crayon on the paper tablecloth as part of the fancy shtick. It was a nice touch, in theory, but his handwriting was illegible, so I asked and his name was Nick. From time to time Nick tried to do good waiter things and be solicitous, but not too insistently, as even our waiter got it that Johnson had a story to tell that wouldn’t keep.

All the others who had worked closely with Kent Hovind were universally reluctant to say much about “ a brother in Christ” . This further elevated the importance of  Johnson’s recollections. He’d decided, after much thought and prayer, to share his recollections on Kent Hovind, his former boss, travel companion, and mentor whom he had left Colorado behind to serve. I had the sense that he was glad to share his feelings, I imagine they had been weighing on him.


Eagle Scout

Johnson was slim, just a bit awkward, albeit in a practiced way as a street preacher like him has to get very real with total strangers in an instant. All Adam’s apple and kind, slightly lonely eyes, a young looking thirty-four. He proudly sported a simple Philmont fleece jacket. Philmont is the New Mexican mountain Mecca of all Boy Scouts. Johnson told me he’d spent four of the best summers of his life there. It’s a finishing stop on the path to Eagle Scout. Of course he was quick to add that he did not endorse the “new Boy Scouts”, referring to their recent reluctant policy of semi-acceptance of homosexuals.


Daniel Johnson Tells All

We ordered. I had decent veal chops, Daniel something slightly Italian. As for Abigail, our homeschooled journalist savant and her ebullient mom, I don’t remember what they ate. The two of them had sourced, and encouraged, Johnson in the first place. As far as I was concerned, that could order anything they wanted.

So here, mid-way through Kent Hovind’s recent trial, Johnson delivered a startling look into Hovind’s personality and the dysfunctional management of the Creation Science Evangelism (CSE) ministry and Dinosaur Adventure Land (DAL) , Hovind’s personal sandbox.

Clearly, Johnson’s total disillusionment with Hovind’s meddlesome mismanagement of Dinosaur Adventure Land, to which he had devoted five years of his life, the disintegration of its communal, family-like living structure, which he had enjoyed, and the subsequent public disgrace and arrest of its leader, Kent Hovind, all this had been traumatic.



Johnson shakes off his frustration with Hovind by walking from Maine to LA

After it all fell apart in Dinosaur Adventure Land, and Eric Hovind, the heir apparent, was slowing starting to get his legs under him and reboot the Ministry while Kent Hovind was adjusting to life in lock-up and continuing to try rule the roost like a Capo, Johnson decided to head out on his own. He was understandably bitter. So off he went, on foot, coast-to-coast from Maine to Los Angeles, preaching and blogging and posting Youtubes on his take on Jesus. On the way he took a massive detour to hike across the rugged mountains of Philmont, the Boy Scout basecamp. Johnson was like that, super organized and quiet but intensively driven, precisely why he been recruited by Hovind. The solo march had taken him two years, arguably still not enough time to purge his disappointment with Dinosaur Adventure Land and the Hovind debacle.


Johnson had become a Christian at twenty-four years of age. Before that he helped out at bars in his hometown, Dallas, and did odd jobs. He wasn’t real clear about his pre- Christ days. Oddly enough, he’d became born-again watching Christian television, then enrolled in Colorado Bible College until Creationism caught his interest via the internet.

He had looked into joining one or the other of the the superstars of Young Earth Creationism, either the Australian-born, Kentucky-based Ken Ham or Kent Hovind. Each promoted a vision of a six thousand year old earth with Dinosaurs tromping around the Garden of Eden and cavemen underfoot. Hovind’s Creation Science Evangelism proved a bigger draw for Johnson, he was captivated by Hovind’s rebel stand on anti- tax and government issues set forth in Video Lesson Six on the  “Dangers of Evolution”.

Johnson’s half-decade at Dinosaur Adventure Land

Johnson was thrilled that the iconoclastic minister brazenly challenged the practice of paying social security and most kinds of taxes -- all that appealed to the young Johnson. Rather than mail his resume to Hovind, Johnson drove straight from bible school in Colorado to Pensacola, and handed his credentials to Hovind personally.

Johnson started by volunteering at Dinosaur Adventure Land in 2002 doing maintenance on the park. A squat fifth-wheel trailer was his living quarters, and he grabbed the occasional shower in the main house. He befriended one of Kent Hovind’s sons, Eric,who was being groomed for the ascension, as well as the head carpenter. Those two, as Johnson tells it, seemed most capable of at least occasionally commanding Kent’s attention, if only in bursts.


When Johnson was first settling in to daily life at Dinosaur Adventure Land, Hovind appeared to be leading an amazing ministry with a huge national following. Before he was hired full-time, Johnson gladly served as a volunteer. Hovind would sometimes open his wallet and hand him some cash for his efforts, walking-around-money. He was generous that way, and enjoyed, as people do who are impulsive and require an entourage, rewarding Johnson with ready and random amounts of money as an incentive.

Ego and Pride got the best of Dr.Dino

According to Johnson, as Hovind gained popularity in the Christian community, there were more and more people telling him how great he was,and all he was doing for God. Johnson speaks of a different Hovind--a man with crippling, self-defeating character flaws.


Johnson hadn’t always felt so negative about Hovind.  He spent five years working his way up the ranks to acting manager at Dinosaur Adventure Land.   For two years, Johnson traveled with Hovind to his seminars. He spent over 100 days on the road with him. As often the sole member of Hovind’s road crew, Johnson was valued by the team for being super-organized, tireless, and a grounding force for Hovind during his speaking tours of the Southeast.

Six days on the road and I am gonna make it home tonight

When outstation, Hovind would suddenly get a strong urge to get back to home, family and Adventure Land. Johnson would barely have time to make their goodbyes. Hovind would have left paperwork scattered everywhere. Johnson would dutifully pack it up. Hovind by that time was already in the van, sleeping or writing. Often Hovind would have picked up something from the road, such as an idea for a new model to build at the park, an artifact to help him demonstrate the tenets of creationism, or some sort of odd apparatus depicting intelligent design.

Sometimes, all that he brought home from the road, was just another conspiracy theory that he adopted.

Tunnel Vision and Messianic Delusions

Hovind’s decline, as Johnson tells it, was caused by rampant ego and unchecked pride. He guesses that given all the constant criticism and ridicule Hovind received for his beliefs, he developed a deaf ear to shut out the naysayers and continue firmly in his Ministry. Eventually, his deaf ear was not just reserved for the critics. Hovind began to disregard anyone who disagreed with him, including family and friends. Johnson contended that Hovind came considered himself a “prophet, and that others were there to hold his arms up”.


Increasingly, Hovind surrounded himself with “yes-men” and shunned all those that opposed him. He did things his way, justifying his reasoning with scripture, implying his way was also God’s way. Hovind, Johnson insisted, has always seen himself as an Old Testament prophet, essential if you want to understand the man and his actions.


Johnson went on to insist that everything Hovind has endured through all these years, including the eight behind bars, is self-inflicted. By only allowing people into his confidence who agreed with him absolutely, and by only taking the advice from those same people, he had sealed his fate. If Johnson felt any sympathy, I couldn’t detect it.

“I feel bad for anyone that goes to Glen Stoll for Advice”

Glen Stoll, trustee of the Creation Science Evangelism Trust ( a loose entity at best)  and (dubious) source of legal advice for Hovind for long time, was one of these “yes-men.” When told that Stoll was still in the business of consulting, Johnson was shocked.

Hovind’s version of Swap Day.  
Slip on my theology, I sport your brand.

If someone praised him or showed especially keen interest during Hovind’s talks,  Hovind would often bestow courtly favor. He would gush. Then he might adopt parts of their ideology or whichever  conspiracy theory they were touting. Johnson recalls a group of supporters of the  “The Pink Swastika,” theories at Hovind’s talks on creationism. Johnson explains that they basically believed that Hitler and the Nazis were all a bunch of homosexuals. After Hovind’s presentation, they made appreciative comments. Hovind, like a school boy with a bad crush, immediately put their books in his Creation bookstore and started mentioning the Pink Swastika theories in casual conversations and even in his preachings. Johnson just had to shake his head.

“He traveled the road constantly, yet it seemed he was always at the park, meddling”

When Hovind would return from his travels having seen something interesting and say, “We should have that.” So he would interrupt the work crews, once again, and get them to rush on some home cooked carpentry to illustrate a point in creationism, or to build a bigger swing or higher climbing wall. He was always getting in the way of Johnson and the building crew, yanking them off one job and rushing them on another, classic crisis management.

While vowing to be hands-off on the operational side, but always meddling, Johnson characterized Hovind of having a mix of  “micromanagement and ADD”. Johnson said Hovind’s management style left much to be desired. He  constantly redirected people to different projects. His disorganization was polar opposite to Johnson’s keen sense of order. If a maintenance employee was working on a theme park ride, Hovind would tell them to go push kids on a swing or work on another project on his agenda.
Kevin Myers, the park’s caretaker, was one of those that could talk Hovind out of his plans for a while and convince him what he wanted wasn’t feasible, only to find out later that Hovind turned to someone else to complete the project for him.  He was everywhere, knew everything that was going on, and always interrupting the work flow. Employees took to avoiding him so that could get something done.


Dr Dino follows no social norms, feels no shame, and isn’t afraid to be himself

“He never did have a regular sleep routine,” Johnson would be dreaming soundly in his hotel room only to be awakened by Hovind typing away on his computer at 2 a.m. An hour later he’d be in the shower, then typing again.

Hovind had “no social awareness, and regularly fell sound asleep sprawled out, his head on his suitcase smack in the middle of the airport gate boarding area with everyone having to walk around him. He’s wake up just up three minutes before flight times”.

Johnson compared him to Michael Scott of “The Office” for his socially oblivious ways.

IMG_0429.JPGJohnson kept remembering, but he wasn’t laughing. When some Hovind fans took them out to supper at Applebee’s during a tour, Kent slept soundly at the table. Johnson had to  wake him up when the food arrived, Hovind then fell deeply asleep after consuming the meal. Johnson was left to entertain the group as Hovind caught some “z’s.”  

“It was like he had a vaudeville act every time he met someone”
He would show people how to “scientifically” eat popcorn, start on the same retinue of stunts, like a comic telling the same jokes every night like a wind up doll. When Johnson and Hovind had occasion to share a meal alone while on the road, after a few attempts to explain to Johnson for the 200th time how to “scientifcally” eat popcorn, if Johnson wouldn’t play along Hovind would find himself at a loss for words and had a hard time coming up with conversation.

“It was like he was a disarmed robot when he was out of his routine”

Johnson and the DAL staff found entertainment in triggering responses from Kent Hovind.
“If you said the right thing, you would automatically get specific response, an old saying or action on Hovind’s part, dead-on predictable” Johnson said.

He was constantly missionizing, and would often break away to lead a tour, interact with visitors, or give away DVD’s from the store for free.  Hoving wasn’t much fun for the person keeping inventory or handling the bookkeeping. Hovind saw himself as running a ministry, not a business.

“ I was offended that Hovind didn’t always practice what he preached.”

Johnson says Hovind fought against using Social Security numbers and health insurance, yet his children had SSN’s and he had insurance.
Hovind used to say, “Just because a dog can beat a skunk, doesn’t mean he should,” implying it wasn’t worth the trouble to challenge the government on certain issues. He was full of such witticisms, push a button, and out he would come with one idiomatic declaration or another.
To this day, he hasn’t taken his own advice.


“Reality TV has nothing on us”

Johnson and other employees would often joke that there should be a reality television show about DAL.
Although staff often jokingly called DAL the “compound,” Johnson says DAL wasn’t cult-like. Rather, it was light-hearted and welcoming. The staff would have a party at the end of the month to celebrate birthdays; they were like a family.

I asked Johnson about Hovind’s oldest son, Kent Andrew Hovind.  Eric Hovind, who took over the ministry, and had offered important testimony at the trial. Kent Andrew it seems is someone who doesn’t do a lot of public work and would rather stay behind the scenes working the audio and video side of the CSE ministry.

When Johnson first arrived at DAL he wanted to bring more of a spiritual aspect to it, but he soon realized things weren’t going to be changed so easily.


Dinosaur Adventure Land: What is all the fuss about?

Johnson describes a typical day at DAL as chaotic yet entertaining. Some days, they would have to manage seven birthday parties, no easy task with more than 20 kids at each birthday bash. Johnson often felt that he and the high school and college volunteers were glorified babysitters. Hovind would sometimes leave what he was doing and go join the children or their families and give them a tour.
DAL reached its prime between 2003 and 2005, at time when it employed more than 40 staff members. A theme park dedicated to teaching creationism to its visitors, DAL featured simple rides, exhibits and educational tours, buildings full of fossils, bones, rocks and specimens of all sorts.
Many of the tour guides at DAL were highs schoolers from Pensacola Christian Academy eager to learn about creationism. Some were trained using VHS tapes Hovind had made, often spontaneously when he thought he was on a godly talking streak. He would ask a staffer to point a camera at him and he would just start talking and give a tour, as he wanted his volunteers to give a tour.

The tour guides, of course, had different theologies, influenced by the Brownsville Assembly of God or Peter Ruckman, but it rarely interfered with the tour’s teachings.


Hovind is a hot Potato and his fellow Christian educators duck and cover

Some people assume Pensacola Christian Academy (PCA) and Pensacola Christian College students (PCC) made up the majority of the tour guides. This wasn’t the case, Johnson told us,however, but if they did work for CSE, it was very secretive, they had to hide their college stickers while in the parking lot. Although PCC and PCA were physical neighbors with DAL, students were discouraged from any association with him and his ministry for several reasons.


One reason was that DAL was a tinderbox tax wise, and PCC had gone through their own tax issues and did not want more trouble. Then there was the fact that PCC was expanding and Hovind owned desirable land in their path. Another was that Hovind had become a big powerhouse, and big egos were at play. At one point, Johnson mentioned, Hovind held seminars at PCC and PCA, but the PCC founders, the powerful and eccentric Mrs Horton and her morosely silent husband, basically took the stance of “Who does he think he is?” They felt he was doing things illegally and getting away with it, and they didn’t want their name associated with Hovind’s.


Johnson says the creation store at parent week was packed with parents of PCC students because, naturally, Christians were attracted to it. However, during the school year students were banned from working or visiting the park and having any association with Hovind.


Perhaps the folks at PCC had a point, insists Johnson, Hovind was a loose cannon and a potential menace.  Johnson had a first-hand experience with the “bust” when federal agents came onto DAL property. He had just taken a shower and was headed back toward his trailer when he was stopped by the cops and told he couldn’t go back.
“They wouldn’t even let me go back to the trailer to put my shoes on,” Johnson said.
The agents took the DAL staff to the gazebo, where agents interviewed each of them one by one. Although the staff had never expected anything like this to happen, they took it all in stride and were surprisingly cooperative with the agents and all the questioning. They had their usual staff devotion that day and continued their day as normal. Hovind wasn’t arrested yet, and the ordeal seemed to have no impact on him whatsoever.
When Hovind was later arrested, he was in his office talking with Myers. The officers went and got Jo Hovind, Hovind’s wife, out of bed and didn’t even allow her to change out of her night gown.
Hovind’s arrest, however, didn’t keep him from DAL. He still managed to call different departments from prison to micromanage and run the theme park. The staff was actually discouraged from accepting phone calls from Hovind, in order to keep the park running smoothly.

Hovind had no demonstrable self-awareness.  Johnson remembers Hovind pointing out pride and mismanagement in other ministry leaders, yet he wouldn’t own up to the same flaws in his own life.
After Hovind’s arrest, many people assumed DAL was closed because attendance at the park started to dwindle and began closing for the winter months.

Some things did improve though. Now that Hovind was gone, management could now be amended. Eric, his son, took over the management, and although at first he had a similar management style to his father given that was all he knew, he improved steadily. Eric started running the ministry the right way, eventually creating the 501(c)(3) DBA God Quest.  


Eric did receive some backlash for running things differently, such as being less strict on using only the King James Version Bible. He also stood by the fact that people are sometimes called to submit to society and its rules as long as it doesn’t interfere with God’s rules.

Venom Fang X
As God Quest took over, they offered an internship for Christian YouTuber’s. Johnson and a well known Christian YouTuber, Venom Fang X, worked together. Venom Fang X had come to Christ through Hovind’s videos, and at the time he had over 20,000 followers. But Johnson and X were frustrated as they saw their own ideas pushed aside their ideas and the Ministry made them work on projects for their own agenda, projects like curricula and Bible studies. Johnson and Fang were more interested in teaching truth as they saw it through YouTube videos.

Johnson believes the CSE ministry and DAL would have been much more successful had they been managed by someone else and Hovind had been left to teach and stay the visionary of the ministry. Johnson is disappointed at the lost potential of DAL.

“People love Hovind because they don’t really know him.”

Hovind and his beliefs have attracted many conspiracy theorists, and they all support each other. Hovind has always been into conspiracy theories and his fans on picket lines rooting for his freedom attest to that.
A website called www.freekenthovind.com was created by Hovindicators to raise funds to help Hovind in his battle with the government. When asked about the Hovindicators, Johnson smiled as he said, “People love Hovind because they don’t really know him.”
Johnson says Hovind is right in some respects. The government enforces the laws it wants to and Hovind is trying to make the government obey their own laws. But Johnson is confused at Hovind’s choice to fight the government on this issue.
“[Kent Hovind] picked a strange hill to die on,” Johnson said.
Johnson says Hovind used to preach that it was not the kingdom’s job to invade the cultural laws of America. With that, Johnson has seen that every ministry has flaws because they are run by imperfect humans.
Currently, Johnson volunteers at the creation store on Mondays. He’s been working on the Genesis movie, a CGI film created by Sevenfold Ministries, rough cutting the interviews. Money for the movie was raised through a crowdfunding campaign.

Johnson also does some window washing in Destin, unless he’s driving buses for Save the Storks, a pro-life ministry that has 12 buses nationwide. These mobile medical units camp out at abortion clinics and offer ultrasounds to pregnant women, along with other medical care and of course advice.
The last words from Johnson about Hovind were the strongest.
Johnson quoted 1 Peter 2:13-15, which says, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s Sake: whether it be to the king as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.”
Johnson says Hovind hasn’t followed this scripture and hasn’t silenced the foolishness of ignorant men. He’s tarnished the reputation of his ministry and taken the focus off of God and put it on himself.  
Today, people will come into the creation store not asking about God and creation, but how Hovind is doing.


Johnson says, even though Hovind’s family and fellow believers in Christ have pleaded with him, he won’t give up the fight. He’s on a mission, a mandate from God. His friends and family had hoped time in prison would give him a chance to relax and meditate on God’s word, but he’s never stopped fighting.
Johnson said he’s intrigued to “see what Kent Hovind does to himself.”


A lot of Johnson's observations about Hovind and his management style remind me of the classic founder/grounder disputes that are common in dynamic organizations. People who start things tend to drive people who want to run them in an organized fashion a little crazy. Jonathan Schwartz, himself, as the executive director of a not for profit may have fallen into the trap himself from time to time. I was hoping to get the co-administrator of this blog to do an expose on what it was like being an intern at Interlock Media, but my son William is too nice a kid for that type of thing. PJR

Rudy and Erin Davis discussed this piece with Kent Hovind beginning around the 4:17 mark

They made me realize that I may not clearly indicate that this is my blog (me being Peter J Reilly CPA) and that this was mostly a guest post from Jonathan Schwartz. I'll have to work on that.