Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Finally Something About The Baby Holm Controversy

I met Bob Baty thanks to my coverage of the fight over the dubious constitutionality of Code Section 107 the parsonage exclusion.  He became my most constant commenter and I dubbed him "bane of the basketball minister". 
Then in 2012, there was the Tax Court decision in the case of Jo Hovind.  This was my entry into the world of Hovindology, the study of the trials and tribulations of independent Baptist minister and young earth creationist Kent Hovind, who spent nearly a decade behind bars on tax related charges and was tried on new charges in 2015.  Bob has devoted much effort to exposing what he calls Hovind's false legal narrative.
Bob Baty is a retired IRS agent who spends a lot of time tending to a few internet sites. Hovindicators - the supporters of Kent Hovind's narrative - tend to believe he is a paid government agent.  I don't think so.
At any rate, Bob has been intensely following another controversy that has connections, however tenuous to Hovindology.  Bob has been after me to cover the Baby Holm controversy, but I have resisted not wanting to dedicate the lifespan necessary to form an opinion.  As an alternative I have invited him to do a guest post on the subject.
This venue will be open to those with other opinions subject to fairly minimal standards of decorous communications.  

Making Noise & Shining Light in Cleburne County, AL
The Baby Holm Story (developing)
By Robert Baty
April 8, 2017

C. Clarke Holm (age 37) and Danielle Holm (age 32) were on foot. Danielle was 8-9 months pregnant. They were camping in a tent they carried with them to Cheaha State Park, AL.  They were planning, reportedly, on having the child born in the tent and then moving on to parts unknown.

The reality that developed was that they simply couldn't pull that off, and maybe they never intended that result.

An emergency was declared and numerous responders were called to the campsite.  The couple was transported from Cheaha State Park, AL to the Regional Medical Center and "Baby Holm" made his appearance.

It would ultimately be determined by State authorities that the parents could not demonstrate that they had the appropriate means for proving  proper and reasonable care of the child and on the second day in the hospital the State took custody of the child.

And so the stage was set for what might have been the parents plans all along.

It seems there is a nationwide movement, well organized and financed, that specializes in promoting an anti-government, anti-child welfare agenda; characterizing State custody claims as kidnappings and accusing child welfare agencies of baby selling and child trafficking, among other things.

It was October 10, 2016 when the baby was born, October 11, 2016 when the State of Alabama took custody.  A required 72 hour hearing was held about 2 days later and the judge determined that the State should retain custody pending a resolution of the issues involving the parents ability to properly provide for the child.

The parents, as if it had been planned before they arrived at Cheaha State Park, were quickly able to marshal anti-government, anti-child welfare forces and begin a publicity campaign accusing the State of kidnapping,  child trafficking, and other such things, and the responders of rape/sexual assault.

Darkness had fallen over Cleburne County, AL as the parents were able to promote their side of the story and control the narrative.   Due to the privacy which surrounds such cases and limits the State's ability to respond, the Cleburne County, Al child welfare agency (DHR), was taking it hard as the attacks upon it and the handling of the case were unrelenting; coming from the parents and those called in to help with promoting an anti-government, anti-child welfare agenda.

The parents use their personal FaceBook page and a FaceBook group to promote their narrative.  Those pages can be found at:



A great noise, however, was heard in Cleburne County, AL around the middle of December 2016, and the light began to shine upon what has now become known as the False Holm Narrative.

In an obscure YouTube broadcast by Rudy Davis (aka LoneStar1776) on December 13, 2016, Ernie Land, announced that Brady Byrum, a known "sovereign citizen"/"patriot" promoter and leader of Kent Hovind's legal team (though he is not a lawyer or paralegal of any sort), had been secretly working with the Baby Holm parents for weeks, under cover, secretly, in their effort in fighting Cleburne County, AL DHR.  

See: https://youtu.be/x2dA_eIItvs?t=24m25s

(Note it is not until after the twenty six minute mark that Baby Holm comes up. I love to listen to Ernie Land and Rudy Davis, but it is an acquired taste not shared by everyone.  PJR)

In subsequent broadcasts, Rudy Davis announced Brady Byrum's continuing involvement with Kent Hovind's implicit endorsement.  Brady Byrum had earlier completed work on a scheme to promote what has become known as Kent Hovind's "False Legal Narrative" and anti-government promotions which can be found at the following website:

Part of the secrecy that surrounded the Baby Holm case before the middle of December involves a 25-page letter that the parents had repeatedly sent to various DHR and State officials as well as elected State representatives, including Jeff Sessions, who has since become the new United States Attorney General.

The parents refused to publish that letter or otherwise discuss its contents.  It has only recently been revealed, and reveals clearly the anti-government, anti-DHR influence in the course the parents have taken; a course which can reasonably be said to have guaranteed that a resolution of the custody issue would not be any time soon.  In fact, in one report sympathetic to the parents, it was reported that the letter was the cause of DHR determining to suspend the parents visitations with the child for several weeks.

The 25-page letter may be accessed now through a link found in the article about it at:

In further consequence of Ernie Land's announcement, a FaceBook group was established to allow for the "rest of the story", the real story, to be told regarding the Baby Holm case.  That group has been, since its founding, effectively used by Cleburne County, AL residents and others interested in the case and interested in the truth to follow the case, present facts, provide rebuttal to the False Holm Narrative, and provide opinions, informed opinions.  

The light has come to Cleburne County, AL.
The noise is being made.

It's coming from the "Understanding The Baby Holm Case" FaceBook group found at:

The local, state, and national media would do well to give serious, investigative attention to the Baby Holm case as it bears on a continuing problem with anti-government, anti-child welfare promoters (i.e., "sovereign citizen" and "patriot" groups and individuals and those falsely representing such cases for purposes of seeking a change to child welfare operations of government).

Robert Baty is either a retired IRS agent with a number of obsessions that he follows closely and documents or an agent of the New World Order depending on who you ask.

Peter J Reilly likes the idea of people providing him with content hoping to become the Tom Sawyer of blogging.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Argument For The Constitutionality Of The Parsonage Exclusion

One of the issues that I have been following since the beginning of my blogging days is the Freedom From Religion Foundation's quixotic seeming quest to have the parsonage exclusion (Code Section 107) declared unconstitutional.  My devotion to this issue has reaped a huge dividend as it now provides a distinguished guest post. 

Edward Zelinsky is the Morris and Annie Trachman Professor of Law at the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.

I asked Professor Zelinsky to comment on The Parsonage Exemption by Adam Chodorow, which I am covering on forbes.com. His comments were a little too extensive to incorporate in the post, so I am reproducing them here.

Prof. Chodorow’s article helpfully highlights the areas of disagreement between those who conclude that Internal Revenue Code Section 107 is unconstitutional and those of us who conclude otherwise. Speaking for myself, I see in this area debatable trade-offs and plausible choices where others tend to see absolutist decisions.

     Consider, for example, the relationship between Section 107, limited to “ministers of the gospel,” and Code Section 119 which provides a general income tax exclusion for employer-provided housing. I have argued that striking Section 107 will not eliminate the church-state entanglement about which critics of Section 107 complain. If Section 107 is stricken, much of the controversy will migrate to Section 119 as churches shift from providing cash parsonage allowances to furnishing in-kind housing.

      Section 119 raises “similarly entangling questions” as does Section 107. Among these entangling inquiries under Section 119 are determining whether a minister is an “employee” eligible for Section 119's housing-based exclusion, whether housing is provided to the clerical employee for the church’s “convenience,” what is the church’s “business” for purposes of Section 119 and what constitutes the church’s “premises.” Since both Sections 107 and 119 raise “similarly entangling questions,” it is plausible (though not compelled) for Congress to prefer the church-state entanglement inherent in Section 107 over the similar church-state entanglement flowing from the application of Section 119 to clergy and church-provided housing.

     Prof. Chodorow now writes that I have gotten this subject “exactly backward,” that Section 119 is “far less” entangling than is Section 107.

     In contrast, I see no easy metric for determining whether the church-state entanglement inherent in Section 107 is greater than or less than the entanglement flowing from the application of Section 119 to church-furnished housing. The entanglement is similar which is why the ultimate decisionmakers in this area should be democratically-elected legislators, balancing the offsetting concerns.

     I likewise have noted that the argument that Section 107 unconstitutionally entangles implies that other provisions of the Code also unconstitutionally entangle church and state. In particular, the regulatory standards for determining who is a clergywoman are the same under Section 107, FICA and the ACA. If those standards entangle unconstitutionally in the context of Section 107, they similarly entangle in the context of FICA and the ACA.

     Prof Chodorow seeks to distinguish ACA and FICA from Section 107 on the grounds that the FICA and ACA religious exemptions “are purportedly necessary to ensure that government does not force people to take actions that violate their religious beliefs.” But this characterization of the FICA and ACA exemptions does not address the issue of entanglement: If it is too entangling to define a “minister of the gospel” under Section 107, it is also unacceptably entangling to undertake the same inquiry under FICA and ACA.

     One of the pleasures of being a law professor is that I spend my days debating important issues with my colleagues. Prof. Chodorow’s paper helps to clarify the issues involved in the constitutional status of Section 107. At the end of the day, I respectfully conclude that Section 107 is a constitutionally-permitted, though not constitutionally-compelled, means of managing the church-state tensions which are inevitable when the modern government meets the modern church.

     As a matter of tax policy, I conclude that cash parsonage allowances should be taxed. However, as Chief Justice Burger noted in Walz, under the First Amendment, there is “room for play in the joints” to manage the relationship between contemporary tax systems and the contemporary church. Within that room, Congress can constitutionally adopt Section 107 and its income tax exclusion for church-provided housing and housing allowances.


I actually think that not too many people really care all that much about things being constitutional.  Activists and advocates use the Constitution like a drunk uses a lamppost - more for support than illumination.  You can tell Professor Zelinsky cares, because of his nuanced view.  He believes that excluding cash housing allowances is both a bad idea, as a matter of tax policy, and constitutionally permissible.

Peter J Reilly loves guest posts.  Why don't you send one in?



Sunday, February 5, 2017

Transactivist Comments On Article About O'Donnabhain Decision

When I asked Toni D'Orsay, Executive Director of the Trans 100 to comment on an article about the O'Donnobhain decision, which recognized gender confirmation surgery as a deductible medical expense, I got a bit more than I could fit into my forbes post.  Here is her full response.

This case represents an excellent opportunity to examine the ways in which those who are opposed to the rights of Trans people -- and, by extension, gay, lesbian, and bisexual people -- operate in a setting of law, where their exhortations towards public defamation are much more limited by the demands of law.

That it took place in tax court was, in the first place, entirely because of their aversion, anxiety, and animus towards trans people, and, as this particular review notes, with a shocking disregard for precedent and settled case law. To have first had success and then have that reversed by a public outcry and pressure, is common among cases that involve LGBT persons.

Here, we have a government office, which does not have competence or training, impugn the very experts who do have competence and training as fake, and effectively arguing that no one involved except them knew what they were talking about or had the capacity to argue the case.

Which is shocking, as, by that standard, even their own expert witnesses were failing. It was akin to the arguments in the much more well known California civil case around marriage equality.

This became a case of the IRS, under orders, acting as an Agent of those who have aversion to or Anxiety about trans people, even though the IRS itself did not originally have the problem as an organization.

This, in particular, makes the case important in referencing other federal aspects that touch on the lives of trans people, and acts as a strongly settled precedent, even though it has limited applicability.
Of note, to me, is that under the current standards of care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People, Version 7, there are several sections where aspects of this case are directly addressed, and well documented with explicit rationales -- a marked change from the Version 6 that was in use at the time the case was litigated -- although the case itself did not have direct bearing on the decision to do so beyond the familiarity of these questions when trans lives are examined in the public sphere.

The case is one that will likely be made into a "lifetime" movie one day -- fictionalized, no doubt, but the basics of the story are quite compelling and the way that things happened is very dramatic.

The most important aspect of the case, however, has nothing to do with trans persons directly -- it lies in the impact to persons who are not trans as a direct result of the way this case was argued. Had the trans woman lost, t would have significantly altered the way that other people were able to make claims for simple, routine exemptions that they had been getting all along, and given rise to an even greater challenge down the road in order to "restore" that basis.

Trans people, despite their being different, are still people. When you attack them, you invariably attack people who are not trans people, because of this simple truth.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Rudy Davis And The Prisoners He Looks Out For

When Kent Hovind was facing another conviction last year that would have meant much more time in federal prison, a fair analysis might be that his liberty was saved by sharp legal work orchestrated by Ernie Land and a bit of jury nullification by the jury foreman Don Camacho

It is hard to believe though that the Hovindication movement did not play some role, if nothing else in keeping up Kent Hovind's spirits.  I think it is fair to say that the most vocal and passionate of the Hovindicators was Rudy Davis, whose youtube channel LoneStar1776  was pretty much "All Doc Dino All The Time" for the duration.

What I find interesting is that Rudy's concern for Kent Hovind has, if you will forgive the expression, evolved into a larger concern for prisoners and conditions in prison.  I like to look for area of agreement with people from whom I sharply differ.  Frankly, I think Kent Hovind and some of the other people that Rudy champions have largely created their own problems, but overall, I have to agree with Rudy and Kent that imprisoning people is a really dumb way to punish them.  That I don't agree with them on re-instituting flogging and much more liberal use of the death penalty is neither here nor there.  Actually, I don't know where Rudy is on flogging.  He is big on the death penalty though.

Regardless, I would like to share without editorializing the prisoners that Rudy is currently looking out for.

Francis S. Cox #16179-006
USP Marion
PO Box 1000
Marion, IL. 62959

Lonnie G. Vernon #16172-006
PO Box 33
Terre Haute, In. 47808

Karen L. Vernon #16176-006
FCI Waseca
PO Box 1731
Waseca, MN. 56093

Daniel Riley #14528-052
FCI Danbury
Federal Correctional Institution
Route 37
Danbury, CT. 06811

Edward Brown #03923-049
FCI Cumberland
Federal Correctional Institution
PO Box 1000
Cumberland, MD. 21501

Elaine Brown #03924-049
FCI Aliceville
Federal Correctional Institution
PO Box 4000
Aliceville, AL. 35442

Charles Dyer 659682
LCCC Unit 5 H-2-H
PO Box 260
Lexington, OK. 73051

Peter T. Santilli #79401065
Nevada Southern Detention Center
2190 East Mesquite Avenue
Pahrump, NV. 89060

Audio link

The Bundey's and All of the Oregon Patriots

Russell D. Landers #05177-046
PO Box 33
Terre Haute, IN. 47808

Blackwater River Correctional Facility
Shawn Stuller DC# P43632
5914 Jeff Ates Rd.
Milton, FL. 32583

FCI Allenwood Low
P.O. BOX 1000

You may be dismissive of Rudy's concern based on the views of those he is supporting, but what I would challenge you to do is think of people in prison for civil disobedience that you might approve of or just wrongly there and see how you might do something to help them.

I'll leave it at that.
Peter J Reilly CPA is an occasional viewer of LoneStar1776, He thinks Rudy Davis is wrong about a lot of things, but admires his spirit.