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:
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.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.
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.
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.)I'm open to hearing more from or about Deborah, but I do prefer writing to video.
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.
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 madGo 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.
Peter J Reilly is anxiously awaiting Theo's mangum opus, but is prepared to be disappointed.