Sunday, July 16, 2017

Impertinent Pete, Domineering Deborah And Kent's Kult Kompound




Domineering Deborah


There is a new breed of Kent Hovind critic emerging.  Unlike many Hovindologists, they are not at all disturbed by the notion that the world is only 6,000 years old and that humans and dinosaurs must have existed contemporaneously.

The Anonymous Webmaster

Most vocal and surprising is Theodore Valentine, who anonymously ran freekenthovind.com. Theo, as Kent used to fondly refer to him,has produced an hour and three quarter documentary warning believers about Kent Hovind



The My Little Pony Fan

The one who gets the style closest to Rudy Davis award is Billy Summer of Whatever with Billy


On the other hand I don't expect Rudy will be covering My Little Pony anytime soon.



I don't have a sense of Billy's views on science and theology, but given that he was drawn to Lenox, Alabama by Kent's videos and his issues with Kent are about Kent's behavior,  I'm assuming that he shares some at least some of the young earth creationist viewpoint.

The Theologian

Joshua Joscelyn is the smoothest of the bunch. He was one of the few people from Pensacola on the street during Kent Hovind's trials in 2015








 He takes Kent on theologically calling him a damnable heretic.



The most colorful of the new breed is Deborah Henderson. I really like Deborah.  And in order to explain that, I need to tell you a bit about myself.


What Being A Hard Core Blogger is Like

I spend a lot of time on-line.  I've got three blogs going and a lot of research goes into many of my pieces.  It gets frustrating because sometimes it is the things that I knock out quickly that get the most traffic, but as it happens I don't make my living blogging, which allows my work to have, at least in my mind, a lot of integrity.  Regardless, someone who placed a tracker on me might think that I am not very sociable, as I can go for days seeing no one other than my partner (both business and life).  I do, however have quite a few friends scattered here and there.

And then there are my "blogging buddies".  My tax blogging is mainly based on my reading of original source material, but I end up contacting a lot of different people and then there are comments on the blog that sometimes lead to other communications and various blogs and facebook sites that I end up following.

Good Friends And Friends That Are Good

Of course, Hovindology is a "blogging buddy" phenomenon.  The only Hovindologists or Hovindicators that I have met in person are Dee Holmes and Jonathan Schwartz.  And, as it happens, I recruited Jonathan who I had known for a long time.  I challenge you to find a better video summary of the Hovind controversy than Jonathan's Dr. Dino: Creationism, Conspiracy, Conceit - The Politics of Wrath.






This is a long introduction to a concept.  "Blogging buddies" are like meat space friends in this sense.  They fall into two categories.  Some of them are, as far as I can tell, very likable people.  I would be very puzzled if somebody had a strong dislike for Kelly Erb, The Tax Girl,  or Joe Kristan, who recently hung up his keyboard and rode off into the sunset of an upstream merger or the Reverend William Thornton, the SBC Plodder.

There are others, however, that much as I like them myself, I totally understand why others might not.  I'm choosing not to name any names.  The self-aware ones know who I mean.

Domineering Deborah

To make a long story short, Deborah Henderson falls in the latter category.  Domineering Deborah has managed a remarkable achievement.  She got kicked out of Kent Hovind's work camp or whatever you want to call it which motivated the launch of a youtube channel, which has been quiet for about a month.




That got her invited to Robert Baty's Kent Hovind's Worst Nightmare! facebook site.  Not long after, Bob made the following announcement.
After receiving feedback from one or more members here, I decided to give Deborah Henderson a rest and removed her from the group.
Truly remarkable - both houses wishing a plague on her.

I think the main problem the Hovindology community had with Deborah was her tendency to lash out when people did not understand what she was about and her practice of giving people handles.  Mary Tocco was the unlearned Jezebel, Billy Summers was Boohoo Billy, Dee Holmes was Deiceitful Dee and I was Pansy Peter.

In Her Own Words

Unlike most others, I sought to get a better understanding of what Deborah's point was.  Also I tested what was behind her tendency to give people handles.  I asked her if she couldn't think of something a little better than Pansy Peter.  She responded with Impertinent Pete, which I kind of like.  I dubber her Domineering Deborah and she like that too.

DD seems to believe that her audience is not people like me who don't accept the King James Version of the Bible as God's revelation to the English speaking.  We are incapable of understanding her criticisms of Hovind which she frames as a warning to fellow believers.  I have learned to not attempt to restate her positions, since I will probably get them wrong and might end up being Poopyhead Pete.  So I had a bit of an email exchange to clarify where she stands on important issues.

Here is her response:

________________________________

KJB only in the English language, like Butthurt Baty would say...Affirm
YEC c. 6000.... Affirm
Vaccines.... BAD
Conspiracy Theories...GOOD
Income Tax IRS.... Don't care
Geocentricity..... Affirm
Flat Earth.... Hasn't tickled my fancy to investigate, as of yet...
Yankees vs Red Sox.... Conspiracy

_____________________________________________________

The Yankees/Red Sox thing was a little joke.  If you had lived in New England for a while, you would get it.  I really like her answer.

I also asked her to boil down her issues with Kent Hovind.  She gave me a bonus by also laying out her issues with the Hovindologists that she considers the Booho Buzzard crew.

Peter, you have arrived late in the game and I do not consider you to be part of the Boohoo Buzzard crew. These people initiated insults, name calling, false accusing, then when I hit back they get all offended. This does not seem to be your character. I haven't checked my email for a while and just got to this. Give me a minute and I will do my best to sum it up, I will say, this I have repeatedly stated to them swarm of buzzards, this is not about attacking the Kult Kompound Klan, it is about Biblically exposing a flase teacher, a wolf in sheeps clothing. I did not speak a word until Billy Dolls decided to attack me in a video for speaking truth, now he plays the innocent. 
I do not know where I ever gave the impression that I was hurt or angry at their decision to kick me off the property, I was having a time there, but once again I remind y'all, the 3rd night I was there, the first night after my Husband left, I texted him and clearly said "This is officially a Kult," Kult and his jezebel knew I knew. Once again these buzzards will cherry pick their lies and use their lies to attack those who call them out, such as believing the unlearned jezebels lies about me, but then discredit other lies they told. 
Here is an Open Letter I sent to Butthurt Baty and Them....
May 2, 2017 An Open Letter To Robert Baty And Them: Part 1 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Matthew 7:6 The hypocrisy of this group is exactly the babel I was hoping for, to gather the evidence needed to point out the insanity that you poses is equal to that of Kent Hovind. The main goal of climbing into a snake pit to conspire with snakes was to confirm all snakes are  of their father the devil, an enemy of Christianity, an enemy of the Gospel. Lowering myself to climb into this pit of snakes, has been of great concern by some of my fellow Christians due to God's warning.... 2 Timothy 2:16. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. God himself, whom through His infinite wisdom, has warned us to not do such things, Due to my experience in this world by being King James only and enduring the backlash of so-called Christians that attack me more then any other group, I have developed thick skin on matters of religion. God has blessed me with a wicked sense of humor and discernment to bring truth out to the open. With full support of my husband, I found it not only necessary but beneficial in my testimony exposing Kent Hovind for the false prophet he is, is to mock the mockers and expose the pure hatred for Christianity you and Hovind have in your hearts. Most of you people here are after Hovind for personal reasons for derailing your egos, you must, at any cost, including your own sanity, prove him wrong in his theology of the Young Earth to justify the misguidings you have been taught and indoctrinated into. The Bible is crystal clear on the earth being being c. 6000 years young, that is the one reason most followers of Hovind have blinders on and cannot discern truth of his deceitful ways. A quote from Hitler “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” My goal is to share my testimony and experience on his compound. To warn others of the ungodly ways of the happenings there. I am doing my Biblical duty to expose a false prophet. 1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called. One must honestly ask the question, which claim about reality is likely to produce a more harmonious world, if carried out faithfully to its logical end? The assertion "God created man in his own image," representing the Judeo-Christian tradition, or the manifesto by atheist/evolutionist Richard Dawkins, representing the ideological epitome of the atheist movement, "the universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pointless indifference." 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Other Comments

I asked my favorite Hovindicator, Rudy Davis, for his view on DD.
I don't really know her nor have I ever talked to her. All I heard was that she was living at Dinosaur Adventure Land for free and was asked to leave and got upset and now she is devoting a large portion of her life to helping Theodore's smear campaign against Dr. Hovind.  Other than that, I don't really have any further comment. When I asked Erin if she had anything to say regarding Deborah, she simply said "No Comment". 
Maybe after this post Erin will have something to say on DD's choice of accessorized armament.

 Ernie Land, Kent's consigliere and long time friend wrote me:
Very seriously, I only met her once for maybe 2 hours at a luncheon. That is where she took her photos of me. A volunteer, handicapped and on crutches, had ridden in the passenger seat of my car to the restaurant. This lady moved in front of him insisting she get a ride back and that ladies up front. She started on Kent’s wife calling her a jezebel and asking lots of questions. When we got back to the campus, I told Br. Kent we had a problem in her we were not equipped to handle. Days later I moved to the Board with a request from myself and another Board member to ask her to leave and yes, we graciously offered her bus fare. It was me who speed dialed our Sherriff once they notified me we had an issue. I did so from 80 miles away. It got ugly quick, but it was her rebellion that made it so. She insisted she was a resident, while having signed our terms saying she was not. She wanted hours to pack her 1 small bag of possessions. That’s it, so why is this so important in the scheme of things? It seems to me this is all about spreading lies and gossip on a Ministry that is winning souls and doing a Kingdom work.

Bob Baty wrote me:
Deborah Henderson and her husband Randolf remain mysteries to me.
They appeared, seemingly, out of nowhere with no visible means of support and traveling the country and getting their pictures taken with celebrity, fundamentalist Baptist preachers; while Deborah has accumulated 4,995 "friends" on her FaceBook page.
Deborah has been accused of having a rather "seedy" history, but has not been inclined to actually detail her life story in any meaningful way that might be corroborated to some extent.
Her husband Randolf plays the shy, silent type and, allegedly, was in prison for 20 years or so and, at times (once or more), was transported with Kent Hovind.  Neither Deborah or Randolf, to my knowledge, has made an effort to document that history and I have been unable to find any record of a "Randolf Henderson" with such a history; leading me to the conclusion that "Randolf Henderson" may be a contrived name of some sort to hide his past from scrutiny.
They have become bit players in the Hovind story, and the bit they have played has yet to be fully developed.  Deborah and Randolf, despite my entreaties, have not been inclined to fully explain their involvement in Conecuh County, AL with regard to their efforts, while supporting Kent Hovind, to engage in a seemingly well-orchestrated attack on local publisher of The Monthly View, Jim Allen.
Like others, I wait and watch for the Hovind story to further develop and what, if any, further involvement there might be from Deborah and Randolf Henderson.

Always Remember

I'm not sure what to make of all this and I've got work to do, so I am wrapping it up.  The most important thing that you should keep in mind in all this is that whatever your belief on a particular issue and however misguided you think people with a different belief are, if there should be a disaster in your community, there will be an outpouring of generous support from across this great country of ours.  A significant portion of that support will be from people who believe the opposite of what you believe on creation versus evolution or geocentrism or whatever.  And a significant number of people who agree with you will ignore your plight for a variety of reasons.  Always remember that and try to be kind.

________________________________________________________________________________

Peter J Reilly CPA has been following the Kent Hovind story since 2012 and much to his chagrin has lost money doing so.
























Saturday, July 1, 2017

Theodore Valentine's Hovind Documentary - Reactions

When Independent Baptist minister, young earth creationist, convicted felon Kent Hovind (Doctor Dino) was nearing the end of a long prison sentence for tax related crimes, the federal government prosecuted him again.  This time for actions that he had taken with respect to property that had been seized as a result of the first conviction.

A movement to free Kent Hovind arose in response.  Along with some sharp conventional legal work and a bit of juror nullification, the prosecution was foiled and Kent was released on time nearly two years ago.  

The Hovindication movement had two strong pillars on the internet. Rudy Davis put aside other matters, such as questions about the legal qualification of President Obama to serve as President, and made his Lonestar1776 youtube channel all Kent Hovind, all the time.  



The other pillar was the website freekenthovind.com.  You need to go to the wayback machine to see it in all its glory. I tend to look at it as full of Nazi imagery, ridiculous conspiracy theories and logical inconsistencies.  Maybe it is personal because the site one time characterized me as traitor who should be exiled to China - just saying.  Whoever was running freekenthovind.com remained anonymous during the struggle.

On the other hand, I really appreciated Rudy Davis as a spokesman.  He reminded of Fred Ward's portrayal of Gus Grissom in the Right Stuff.



The administrator of freekenthovind.com has stepped forward.  It is Theodore Valentine, the mysterious Theo that Kent would sometimes refer in his post release youtube videos.  Kent Hovind has been going great guns on youtube, since his release.  The medium seems to be perfect for him, making me think it could be used as evidence for intelligent design.



Freekenthovind.com now points to liesofthedevil.com, which is now something of a Kent Hovind attack site.  Theo has been promising us a documentary exposing Kent Hovind and he finally delivered today with something just over an hour and forty five minutes.





I can't recommend the lifespan investment.  Interlock Media's ten minutes will give you a lot more coherent content.




Overall, I am quite disappointed in Theo's video.  It is really not much better than his website work complete with some Nazi imagery thrown in.  There are some intriguing things about Ernie Land alluded to and matters concerning Kent's alienation from his family.  Theo devotes a lot of time to business issues between himself and Hovind that are typical of the type of disputes that a vendor might have with a difficult customer.

Deborah Henderson tells me that the video is not directed to people like me, but rather to believers who need to be warned about Kent Hovind.  That might account for the emphasis on Kent as unworthy to be an elder particularly in the light of his marriage to Mary Tocco, who Deborah considers an "unlearned Jezebel".





All this is by way of introduction to Rudy Davis's comments on Theo's video.  So one pillar of Hovindication remains firm.

____________________________________________________________________________
Rudy Davis on "Beware They Are Ravening Wolves"


Peace Peter,

   My wife just returned from Canada and we had a Schaeffer Cox call this morning. From what I saw of Theo's Magnum Opus, I see a bitter man. Theo’s first sentence in the propaganda piece is a lie and it just gets worse from there.  Dr. Kent Hovind is an elder and I believe his efforts are part of a ministry that wins souls for Christ.  Truth does not need Hollywood video and sound effects.  That is what happens in our federal courtrooms when they play slow motion video of exploding grenades and sten machine guns that was never used by Schaeffer Cox.  Hollywood video effects are a magician’s trick to bias and beguile the simple minded.  The Romans 13 quote is completely misapplied and shows Theo’s willingness to bow down to a fraudulent authority which has now resulted in him becoming the spokesman for the devil.  Our authority in this country is not an oppressive government but is “We the People” and our US Constitution.  In Theo’s  lame efforts to “take down” Dr. Hovind, Theo trashed a popular Kent Hovind facebook page administered by my wife which could have been used to advocate for other innocent political prisoners or as a permanent reminder of Christians actually coming together, which in this day and age is extremely rare. Theo also redirected traffic from freekenthovind website to liesofthedevil for his own benefit and then likely changed the name of  his Free Kent Hovind youtube channel as well to Lies of the Devil.  All of this traffic was siphoned from those interested in Kent Hovind, not Theo.  The fact that Theo doesn’t see any problems with this behavior speaks volumes to his character or lack of it.

  I am also grateful for the video plug showing my anger at Obama’s forged birth certificate (Hot or Cold, Rev 3:16). I wish everyone had the same level of anger as I and then Obama would have been held accountable for his proven forgery which landed Lt. Col Terry Lakin in Ft. Leavenworth prison for six months, separated from his children, and the loss of his military benefits after a distinguished career (see: www.TerryLakin.com).  Let’s put this in perspective….  Obama’s birth certificate has been proven a forgery in two forensic labs on two continents.  Now given that I believe that this is an undisputable fact, I find it very puzzling that people would look at me in bewilderment of how angry I was and how accepting of Obama’s forgery everyone is. Rather than attack my message, Theo tries to discredit me by showing my outburst. That is typical of this world that when you cannot attack the message, then resort to attacking the man.  Rather than get upset that our Commander in Chief is a fraud and has committed a felony, Theo wants to point out how angry the redneck is in the truck?!  That is typical of our apathetic society. The bible said that times would come when they will not endure sound doctrine.

  Also, I still wholeheartedly believe that Kent’s son Eric Hovind did wrong and deceptively raised funds in Dr. Hovind’s name and these funds were not used for their intended purpose. I even have a sworn affidavit from Jeff Utzler regarding this.   In regards to the video my wife Erin and I made about Eric Hovind, I didn’t see any refutation of the content that of that video.  Also, Theo’s playing of looney tunes clip shows that Theo doesn’t understand the difference between the words talk and text.  I highly suspect that Theo was concerned that after Eric saw my video, that Eric would get mad at Theo and either kick him out of DAL or lock him up in the garage.  So, it was from a place of self-interest that Theo was mad that we made that video, not concern for the Hovind family.  Theo likes to paint himself as the guardian of the Hovind family who has abandoned Dr. Hovind, which is laughable.

  It is ironic that I came out long ago against the book “The Shack” before this open feud of Dr. Hovind and Theo.  The book promotes “unconditional forgiveness”, which I do not think is biblical. The main theme is that a parent forgives the murderer of a child without the murderer asking for forgiveness.  Erin and I even did a video on the topic of “unconditional forgiveness” and how this is unbiblical.  Luke 17:3 clearly says that there is a condition upon forgiving our brother which is never brought up in the book “The Shack”.  So, while Kent and I disagree on whether the book is good or not, I don’t feel the need to tear down his ministry because of our difference. We also strongly disagree on the topic of geocentrism, but again, I don’t claim that Dr. Hovind is “evil” because he doesn’t share my world view.   I refuted Jen Fishburne a long time ago regarding her statements about “worse than rape” so I have no further comments on her or her credibility.  All the innuendos and creepy music about Jaworski is so baseless that it doesn’t require a response for the simple minded and immature people who are beguiled in this low-grade propaganda video.
 The idea that somehow Brady Byrum made a financial killing off Dr. Hovind is absurd.  Brady can speak for himself but I stand behind my friend Brady and know Brady to be a man of the highest integrity.  Also, there is nothing wrong with Hovind wanting to get paid millions for his wrongful conviction and incarceration and to have his case overturned and to have the judges and prosecutors held accountable for their wrongdoings.  I admire that Dr. Hovind is still fighting for this to happen and the evildoers to be held accountable and pray that he never gives up that fight until he achieves victory.   Knowing Dr. Hovind, that money from the lawsuit will be used to the glory of God.

   In closing, I will say that God worked a mighty miracle to free Dr. Hovind from prison after 9 years of being wrongfully incarcerated. He sat in a prison cell year after year with little to no attention from the body of Christ and abandoned by even some within his family.  It is also obvious to me that Kent was threatened by an anti-Christian judge with another 20 years for simply mailing a letter.   God used a few selfless souls to come together to make noise and shine light to free Kent and now we are grateful to the Lord to have his unrestrained voice again in the world and speaking up on Kingdom issues instead of muted behind prison bars.  Nothing Theo or any of the bitter, jealous, simple-minded, immature, poodle, snowflake, millennial, moocher, looter or government boot licker can take glory away from God for that victory.  Kent is now free and we will not let you losers put him back in prison.  Get used to Dr. Kent Hovind being a free man once again because I believe the Lord has mighty things in store for the future of Dr. Kent Hovind and his new wife. And praise the Lord God Almighty that the good Lord has blessed Dr. Hovind with a beautiful woman who loves and supports him.  Also, I am no longer puzzled at why such a popular teacher like Dr. Hovind sat year after year after year in a jail cell with little to no public interest.  The body of Christ simply did not deserve the blessing that is Dr. Kent Hovind when we chose to remain silent about his wrongful conviction.  Let us all keep fighting for other innocent political prisoners.  Dr. Hovind is not the only one and we must not allow the losers to slow down our efforts free other unjustly incarcerated brothers and sisters in Christ and give glory to Jesus Christ in the process.
Faithful to Jesus until death,

Another County Heard From

Just as I was getting ready to wrap this, I heard from Robert Baty, Kent Hovind's most indefatigable critic.  Here is what Bob has to say


My comments, for what they are worth to you, are limited in scope.  Others, including yourself, have a lot more professional insight into such things and will/have offered evaluations.

I think that Theo's documentary is a valuable addition to the continue Hovind story, and one must realize, to some extent, the sort of people that will be attracted to work for Hovind, such as Theo.  We have to accept the baggage they bring with them if they should "flip" as Theo has.

I think there is a certain "consciousness of guilt", on some level, in the way Theo has been prosecuting his cause against Kent; without regard to the merits of his criticisms of Kent.

As far as I can tell, Theo remains very much a "mystery" man because he has yet to fully present his own history and that of his wife.  

He seems to be the same as Theodore Valenzuela who was extensively discussed in my former FaceBook groups.

Did he legally change his name to Valentine?
What's the story on that?

So many details are missing from his resume.

He seems to have traveled freely with Kent as Kent tried to set him up with Russian/Ukrainian women, with some success but only, apparently, temporarily.

Same goes for Lenae?
What's her resume look like and just how did she get hooked up with Theo?

It is also my opinion that no documentary on Kent would be complete without an adequate discussion of my part in his evolving story.

I did not hear/see anything in Theo's documentary that proposed to present my part in the Hovind story.

Yet, he mentioned you, Peter, Rudy Davis, Jen Fishburne, Wyatt Mickas, Billy Summers & Mark Hill.

Why does Theo not want to talk about me and my part in the Hovind story?
Is it because of his own part in the Hovind attack on me?

________________________________________________________________
Peter J Reilly CPA has been following the trials and tribulations of Kent Hovind since 2012.









Sunday, June 25, 2017

Kent Hovind Update - Waiting For Theo's Other Shoe To Drop

This post is written with the assumption that the reader has some familiarity with the trials and tribulations of Independent Baptist Minister, young earth creationist, convicted felon Kent Hovind (Doctor Dino).  If he is new to you, you might want to read this piece first.
____________________________________________________________________________


When Kent Hovind, nearing the end of a long prison sentence, was facing the prospect of another long sentence for actions taken in response to property seized as a result of his first conviction, one of the primary outlets of the Hovindication movement was freekenthovind.com,

The Good Old Days

You have to go to the wayback machine to see the site in all its glory. In my view it was chock full of hysterical nonsequiturs, odd ball conspiracy theories and lots of Nazi references.  I don't think they knew about Godwin's law.

Thanks to my role as a critic of Kent Hovind's innocence narrative, I was mentioned

EDITORS NOTE: Peter Reilly of Forbes.com and IRS agents running a Kent Hovind defamation page are working side by side with the Atheist organization, Freedom From Religion Foundation, to target Christian Churches. We are doing an investigation into these individuals and have very strong evidence that the IRS and specific individuals are committing treason in America – stay tuned.
Knock on wood, the treason hunters have not come for me yet. And then there was:
EDITORS NOTE: This country was founded by Christians. Don’t like it? Go to communist China – I’ll pay for your move. Peter Reilly, IRS agents and atheists from the Freedom From Religion Foundation are working together like Hiter’s Gestapo. A treasonous offense against our Christian Nation. These domestic terrorists want to be a bunch of puny g-ds running America… they want Government to be a puny g-d they can run. These people gnash their teeth at the fact America was founded as a Christian Nation by Puritans. For heaven’s sake, Congress printed KJV bibles for schools in the late and early 1800’s! The Bible was the school’s foundation for education and moral development!

At any rate, I have to work on forgiving myself for experiencing a bit of schadenfreude based on what has happened with the site.  Freekenthovind.com now points to "lies of the deVil". Theodore Valentine, who remained anonymous when he was calling me a traitor who should be exiled to China, has turned the site, at least for the moment, into a Hovind attack site.

Oddly enough, at least so far, the attack against Hovind seems to be as silly as most of the freekenthovind.com attacks on Hovind critics were.

Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop

Theo has been putting out teasers trailers on a lengthy Hovind exposure documentary that is soon to be released.  Hovindologists are on the edges of their seats listening to the popcorn pop.  Here is the most recent and purportedly final teaser.



So far Theo's revelations have been pretty disappointing.  His teasers are trying to build a greed case, but that is very weak.  I have tailed off on watching Hovind videos, but I have to say as Christian evangelical preaching types go, his fund raising is pretty low key.  And the snippets Theo shows of Kent sitting on a tractor or evidence that a long term board member has her own room while volunteers sleep barracks style is entirely without scandal.

Theo's most dramatic release so far is an audio recording of what appears to be a counseling session that Theo had to go through (That is my inference of the context, anyway).





What is amazing about this is that Hovind in the secret recording is exactly like the public face of Kent Hovind.  He makes it quite clear in public pronouncements that he runs things at the site in Lenox, Alabama and that he expects people to come there to work and that if they don't like the way he runs things, they can just leave.

The only thing I noted that might be "scandalous" (though not really) was that he made it clear that he expects the ministry to make money from his innocence videos and that he is not interested in helping Brady Byrum help others. I ran that by Rudy Davis who did not think much of it:

It does not surprise me that people get disturbed that Kent feels financially responsible for his projects and wants to look for ways to make a profit.  I believe wholeheartedly that Kent was targeted by a bias judge with an anti-Christian agenda and spent 9 years in prison as an innocent man.  If Kent wanted to engage in a mutually profitable business relationship with Brady to produce videos proving Kent was innocent, then that is between Brady and Kent.  I wouldn't care to speculate on the details and whatever agreement that they had should have remained private between them and not published from a secretly recorded conversation by an infiltrator turned traitor.   There is nothing wrong with Kent looking for ways to make money to further his ministry based upon efforts to prove his innocence. I suspect that Brady wanted to take his time and be very thorough and Kent was pushing for completion of the project. 

My inquiry prompted Rudy to contact Brady who put out a ringing endorsement of Kent.





This prompted a written response from Kent to Rudy that includes a threat of legal action against Theo. Erin Davis read Kent's response on another video.




Theo Was Still A Mensch When He Was In Kent's Corner

I suggested to both Rudy and Ernie Land that maybe they should consider taking a look at what Theo put up on freekenthovind.com back in the day and distance themselves from some of that.  Kind of like something to the effect of "Gee, even though we don't agree with Pete Reilly's analysis of Kent's legal situation, we don't think it was kindly to suggest he was a traitor who should be exiled to China".  I didn't have much luck.  Rudy responded:
Hi Peter,
Kent can speak for himself but I would guess that from Kent's perspective, freekenthovind.com was helpful in the effort to make noise and shine light so Kent could be a free man once again.  
The analogy I would give is the following:
A man is stuck in a burning building. The building has been on fire for 9 years and there is a threat that the fire could go on for another 20 years.  A supporter decides to help the man in the burning building and drives a tank through the neighborhood and into the building and helps to rescue the man.  Now in the process of driving the tank through the neighborhood, the man runs over some people's fences.   Your fence got ran over but ultimately the man was released from the building which was going to burn for the next 20 years.  So it is natural that Kent would be thankful to the man driving the tank and not be held responsible for the broken fences.  The man who drove the tank should be responsible for the broken fences. 
Just my $0.02.  You always give me interesting things to consider.  I pray all is well with you and yours.
What was really amusing about Rudy's response is that the freekenthovind.com link in his email was live and we know where that points.

Ernie was even more discouraging:

You got to know all of us American patriots believe the entire IRS, 14th amendment, Federal zone and Judicial are treason of the US Constitution perpetuated upon the real America and it’s people. We feel you and 90% or more of America have been lead like sheep. I often make fun of their legalize with facts like Attorneys as a requirement in Court, when that fact can not be argued with any promise because the Constitution and in fact a free man by Constitution can choose their council of choice, the Bar did not even exist when the Constitution was written, so in fact a licensed Attorney could not be a fact. Things like speedy trial, trial by jury for any value over $20, these are all Constitution that have been abridged. Marriage being redefined was unlawful and treason by a Supreme Court. So those who adhere to and do not stand against such acts in reality are committing treason, most unknowingly, just as unknowingly as is argued that each of us commit 3 felonies each day by legal standards.

I guess your affiliation with the likes of Baty and friends is why Theo places you in that category. And given a Court room type setting in which we could debate it, I sincerely believe 12 jurors would be a confused hung jury or come back with a like verdict. Just saying! I also feel the system and our colleges have brainwashed most American’s into a sheep like trance. My 2 cents!

Wow, I just need somebody else to send me a penny and I'll have a nickel.

Other Critics

Somehow closely related to the falling out with Theo is Deborah Henderson.  I have not invested enough lifespan into Deborah's videos to sort out what her issues are.  Fellow Hovindologist Dee Holmes took a shot:

1) Hovind remarried after his divorce. Hovind claims that he had a bunch of pastors say it was OK because he didn't instigate it, but Deborah apparently believes that you shouldn't marry after divorce. That's why Deborah calls Mary Tocco a "Jezebel," because she's leading Kent astray. I cannot put enough stress on how Independent Fundamental Baptists don't think you should remarry after a divorce.  (For the record, some of the earliest Christians thought that you shouldn't remarry after a spouse dies, either, but that was by no means universal, not at all.)
2) I think Deborah really likes Theo and she's defending him in the Theo-Kent battle.  I think it's also because I've gotten the very strong impression that Theo's views on Kent's remarriage are similar to that of Deborah.
Keep in mind, though, these IFBers will separate over any little thing. Deborah and Theo may be allies on this but they could separate over something else that we outsiders would find terribly insignificant. 
I'm open to hearing more from or about Deborah, but I do prefer writing to video.




Then there is "Whatever With Billy"




Billy's beef with Kent has to do with a difference of opinion about the nature of the crime committed by someone that Kent wanted Billy to "have fellowship with".  I don't think I want to get into it, but you can check it out if you are curious.  I kind of like Billy's style of presentation.

It's About The Theology

You'll have to forgive me here as I explain something that you and I both know, but you need to consider other readers.

Most Christian doctrine is based on the notion of original sin which creates a need for salvation.  God is infinitely just and infinitely merciful, which created kind of a dilemma.  All human beings deserve to be tortured for all eternity and are incapable of changing that.  So God being merciful sent his only son (Who is also God.  That's the trinity thing.  Don't try to figure it out.  It's a mystery.) to pay the price for our sins by suffering and dying on the cross.

When this was explained to us when I was a kid, we were told that when we commit a sin, it's like we are driving one of the nails a little deeper into Jesus on the cross.

At any rate much of modern history in the West has been people arguing about the fine points of how you can take advantage of the mercy that God granted by having Jesus get tortured for us and, somewhat incidentally, whether somebody else has done what they need to do to, as they say, be saved.

People who were raised in a very secular way are unable to appreciate how and why such disputes are of overriding importance.  The big divide is about faith versus works.  I'm reminded of W.H. Auden's poem September 1, 1939:
Accurate scholarship can 
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad
Go ahead and yell at me that the poem has nothing to do with this discussion.  Sorry, those lines haunt me.

At any rate, Joshua Joscelyn was one of Kent's strongest supporters during the trial, one of the few people from the Pensacola area who were out on the street during the trial. Here he is talking to Hovindologist Dee Holmes




And here he is being interviewed by filmmaker Jonathan Schwartz








Joshua, who seems to be in some way aligned with Theo is now advising Christians to stay away from and not support Kent Hovind, because he is a "damnable heretic". It has to do with the relationship between faith and repentance.




Kent's marriage to Mary Tocco has also cost him Christian support.  George Lujack, who was there for parts of the trial came out against him on that ground back in September.

What Does Theo Have On Kent?

As a tax geek, the thing that I worry about the most for Kent Hovind (I have this odd affection for him that would like to keep him out of trouble) is that his new ministry will be viewed as an alter-ego, which is the source of most of his problems with the IRS the first time around - that and him being stubborn and enthralled with crackpot tax theories.

Kent remains enthralled with crackpot tax theories, but he may be getting that out of his system with Brady Byrum's innocence narrative project.  Don't get me started.  Ernie Land has assured me that the ministry is being run to be conventionally tax compliant.  The alter ego problem is very serious, because Kent must still be living under a huge civil liability for income taxes.

 He never really discusses that.  Perhaps that is because many people can sympathize with him on the structuring conviction (Taking his own money out of the bank), but probably even most of his followers appreciate that if you go decades without filing individual returns, brag about it on video and encourage other people to not file, it is not unreasonable for the IRS to take an interest in you.



(Long video but the money shot is early around 00:02:17 ("I have not filed any income tax in 28 years")).

Independent of Kent's criminal conviction, he has a huge ($3 million plus) civil liability.  While he was in prison he likely would have been classified currently not collectible.  And there is a good chance that collections might not be interested in him at this point.  They probably have until 2023 though.  At that point at which collections picks up his file, it will be intriguing as to whether it is handled conventionally, in which case we might never hear about it or as Kent handled things in the past.

If I were really cynical I would believe that Kent knew he was being taped by Theo and that Theo would release the tape.  The reason I say that is that Theo's tape helps make the case that Kent is running things about as straight and narrow as is possible.  A number of financial matter are discussed and rather than making the type of bottom line I'm the boss type of rulings that he is fond of, Kent concludes that there needs to be a board meeting to sort those matters out.

 The verbal picture presented in Theo's tape is one of Kent as a strong manager, who wants the staff to follow orders and mind their own business, but one who is ultimately accountable to a board when it comes to major issues, particularly financial ones.

More From Rudy

As I was working on this I got another message from Rudy.  He is particularly upset that Theo's last teaser video indicates that Kent was funding Rudy.  Rudy puts it as only Rudy can:
Theo put out a public video implying that Kent Hovind  is funneling me money. Just so you know, that is a lie. We have never made a dime off Kent and actually the opposite is true, it has cost me dearly but it was worth it. I just wanted to share that. Theo can't imagine that someone wants to help without any financial benefit. Theo is a barking poodle on the train tracks and the train is coming.
I've been at this while and I have a fairly well developed BS detector and I have to say I think Rudy Davis is a very honest guy. He believes many things that I find preposterous, but he believes them sincerely.

Kent Hovind, on the other hand, reminds me a lot of our President.  I'll leave it at that.

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Peter J Reilly is anxiously awaiting Theo's mangum opus, but is prepared to be disappointed.








Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Theodore Valentine The Hovindicator With Buyer's Remorse

When Independent Baptist minister and young earth creationist Kent Hovind, nearing the end of a long prison term for tax-related crimes, faced a trial on new charges related to actions he took with respect to the property seized as a result of the earlier conviction, a hearty band of advocates resolved to shine light and make noise to "Free Kent Hovind".

The Open Hovindicators

Among them were Coach Dave Daubenmire, George Lujack, Wiley Drake and Pete Santilli.  Kent's long term friend and consigliere, Ernie Land coordinated legal strategy.  And most outspoken was Rudy Davis, whose Lonestar1776  became for the duration "All free Kent Hovind, all the time"  including sometimes twice daily jail interviews with Kent and weekly strategy meetings.

Behind The Scenes

The most "vocal" Hovindicator, however, was behind the scenes managing the #FreeKent website. To see #FreeKent in all its glory you need to go into the Wayback Machine, because the URL freekenthovind.com  now points to a website called "lies of the deVil" which features "New Documentary: Kent Hovind Official: Fraud, Huckster and False Prophet"
Kent Hovind aka Dr. Dino of CSE and DAL is a liar and a fraud – exposed by insider, Theodore Valentine, who helped lead the Free Kent Hovind campaign that influenced Kent Hovind’s early release from prison. 
Kent Hovind and Mary Tocco are frauds trying to build a Christian Ministry dynasty (a.k.a Dinosaur Adventure Land/Creation Science Evangelism) on lies and deceit. Is Kent Hovind a false christian? Is it all an act?
Theodore Valentine has become alienated from Kent Hovind and has more or less gone on the attack.

Investing more lifespan than I really wanted to I watched Theo's three videos.  Only the first one has anything that I find interesting.

Kent Hovind Is A Tax Protester.  It Is As Simple As That.





That was the conclusion that Theo reached after a discussion starting around the ten minute mark.  He chides himself for not doing enough research.  Frankly it does not seem like he has gone research crazy now.  The damning evidence he cites is from a post on a site called Epsilon Clue from 2006.  The big revelation was that Hovind required his "missionaries" to punch a time clock.

Ironically one of the best pieces of evidence that Kent Hovind was a tax protester were the letters from - to use the term loosely - tax professionals that were highlighted on #FreeKent.  Right before Kent's second trial I did an analysis of the letters.  I am self absorbed enough to quote myself.  Here is what I imagined I might have said to Kent about his letters.

Kent you got those letters from a lawyer, a tax consultant (not a CPA, but let's not quibble) and an enrolled agent in 1996.  Nearly a decade later the IRS is up your ass much of it about stuff that is not even addressed in the letters.  There are something like 1.2 million attorneys, 600,000 CPAs and 50,000 enrolled agents in the United States.  Did it not ever cross your mind that you might not have taken the sharpest knives out of the drawer?  I just googled Pensacola CPAs and five firms popped up.  Would it have killed you to take your letters and some of the notices that you had gotten from the IRS and sit down and talk with a couple of working CPAs in your community?
If this topic is of interest you might also want to check out my "Looking At Kent Hovind's Innocence Claims" and Is Kent Hovind A Tax Protester?.

At any rate, Theo took a few potshots at me on #FreeKent, so I guess I was hoping he might make amends by citing some of my analysis of the Kent Hovind innocence narrative, but that was probably too much to hope for.

Theo went on to say that he had encouraged Kent to work out his back tax problems with some sort of collection plan.  He has not really done much research there either but it is a good point.  Independent of his criminal conviction, Kent generated $3 million in civil liability for income and self-employment tax.  Given the brokenness of IRS collections, he might not be getting any attention from them right now, but give them time, which they have.  There is a ten year statute on collections. The ten year clock probably starts no earlier than 2013 when the Tax Court ruled.

And The Rest

Theo's three videos are not really tight logical presentations. He is very emotional and rambles a bit.  He brings up his concerns about Kent's endorsement of The Shack



He also gets into Kent's marriage to Mary Tocco and Kent's treatment of his family.  There are fairly petty things about what has been going on in Lenox.  The latter is the type of stuff that you will encounter if you look under the hood of any intentional community or family for that matter.

In the first two videos Theo promises to unleash damning evidence, but in the third he indicates that he on reflection he has decided to let it go.  At one time he flashes a folder that he indicates is full of emails. He indicates in the final video that his purpose was to warn believers not to support Kent Hovind.  If they are not able to figure that out just from listening to Kent Hovind, I doubt that many will be swayed.

I think the most likely scenario of what is going on in Lenox is that Ernie Land is struggling mightily to keep Kent out of future trouble with the IRS while Kent is probably shooting himself in the foot.  Likely, Theo has some of the shell casings in that folder.

Kent's Response

Kent Hovind has, as you might expect, responded in kind on youtube.  You can judge that for yourself.



It is very important that you know that Kent did not kiss Mary until he got the word from whoever was doing their marriage ceremony. I'm glad that is settled.

Reactions

I reached out for comments on the situations and this is what I got.

Bob Baty, the Hovind critic most attacked on #FreeKent wrote me:

Wow!
Where to begin!
How about something like, "I told you so"???
Otherwise, meaningful comments might require, at least for me, some more specific guidance as to specific subject matter.
I think Theo is a poor quality critic of Kent, but he is "the man of the hour" with the personal experience and testimony for consideration.
Hopefully, things will get better as possibly more and more come out on all sides to deal with the issues.
I have long claimed that the Hovind story needs a lot more qualified, investigative reporting.
Maybe the latest developments will result in some of that
Maybe not.
Maybe more later.
Peter, I'm looking forward to your unique and creative way in dealing with such matters.
Rudy Davis wrote me:
Theodore's channel name is "Lies of the Devil". Could it be more aptly named? I haven't spoken to Theodore since the day Kent Hovind was released from prison. There is a lot of drama that goes on behind the scenes and Theodore has long ago revealed himself to me to be immature, self-aggrandizing, controlling, manipulative, selfish and lacking discernment. Theodore lusts after fame, recognition and a bigger ministry and he has revealed his true nature for all to see in an attempt to grab his 15 minutes of fame in his so-called "exposing" of Dr. Hovind. Dr. Hovind has a long history of dealing with jealous haters and Dr. Hovind will no doubt weather this little tiff from a disgruntled employee.  Theodore suffers from tall poppy syndrome and/or crab mentality and there is no substance to his envious and bitter railings against Dr. Kent Hovind and his wife Mary.  I have witnessed a pattern of betrayal of prominent Christian patriots by those closest to them. The Lord knows the motives of the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Proverbs 21:2 says Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts. Does anyone really think Theodore's heart is motivated to protect fellow Christians from the evil and wicked Dr. Hovind? It would be laughable if it wasn't so sad. Let the chips fall where they may, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 
Ernie Land wrote:
I have to say Br. Kent discerned Theo’s pridefullness, and desire for fame, much sooner than I. Anyone who watches his videos sees immediately how little Theo gives God any glory, instead opting to tell the world the he, Theo, did everything. I saw his great talents and stood in for him until December of last year. In the end his once superior work became inferior, causing the Ministry to replace a lot of it, at a loss to the Ministry.  Those who came to our recent open house see right through Theo’s claims of extravagant spending. I invite all to come form their own decision. We saw many come to the Lord, even having baptisms at Dinosaur AdventureLand. We are about the Kingdom work, which is why people support this Ministry. Theo seems to be pridefully, taking credit, drawing attention for his fame, as he tears down the Kingdom works with deception, and many utter and complete lies. All I can say is one will reap what they sow.
Baty followed up with some comments from a source familiar with the situation who observed "Theo was too unhinged to make an impact"

That may well be the best observation on this particular tempest in the Hovind teapot.

Kent Hovind's People Problem?

It may just be a sampling problem but it does seem that Kent Hovind has a gift for alienating people who get close to him.  Ernie Land is, of course, a notable exception.  Somewhat comparable to Theo might be Daniel Johnson, who Jonathan Schwartz interviewed in the wake of Hovind's 2015 trial.  And then there are Jo and Eric.

Someone who knows about intentional communities will be able to tell you about the problem of founders versus grounders.  It looks likely that Hovind's ministry will not outlive Hovind, which might not bother him that much since he thinks it likely that the world will end in the next decade.

Keeping Up

Regardless, Hovindologists will keep the popcorn out as this particular drama unfolds.  Bob Baty's facebook site will give you close to real time coverage if you want to follow along.  I've got a tax blog to run, so I might give this a rest for a while.

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Peter J Reilly CPA hoped his Kent Hovind coverage would be his ticket to fame and fortune.  So far he has been disappointed.



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:


and

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1826254040954882/

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.

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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?