Earth to 'Dr. Dino': Please pay your taxes and start facing reality

Pensacola News Journal/January 20, 2007
By Mark O'Brien

He's been in jail for 10 weeks, but Kent Hovind hasn't learned the first lesson of being a criminal: "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."

Translation: You got caught, so quit whining and take your punishment like a man.

Instead, Hovind is sniffling in court, dabbing tears from his eyes and comparing himself to Jesus and Job. He urges the judge to let him go home rather than do serious time for bilking the government.

This same government guarantees "Dr. Dino" freedom of religion and freedom of speech so he can denounce the theory of evolution, promote "creation science" -- an oxymoron to many -- and operate Dinosaur Adventure Land and Creation Science Evangelism.

In court, Hovind offers the judge a deal: Release him and he will stop suing the government.

Hovind blames his problems on lawyers, another pastor, the Internal Revenue Service. His own sins are minor.

"I forgot to dot some i's and cross some t's," he said.

Hovind's talk sounds good to the courtroom full of sympathetic spectators. It has the ring of "truthiness," Stephen Colbert's term for stuff that sounds good but isn't factual.

Unfortunately, few attended the trial, which showed Hovind's extensive maneuvering with a claim that he was exempt from income tax because he's a minister working for God.

Today being Sunday, ask your minister or priest if he or she pays income taxes, just as the government requires.

You would think that Hovind, who claims a doctorate, would have figured this out.

But he's been fighting the IRS for years, with passive-aggressive behavior and alternately macho and whiny voices.

He talked tough in telephone conversations from Escambia County Jail, where he was held while waiting to be sentenced Friday on 58 charges.

Although phones include warnings that conversations are recorded, he didn't mince words as he ran up eight hours of calls per week.

He vowed to "make life miserable" for the IRS, keep suing the government and promote his cockamamie theory that he's tax-exempt.

The one to feel sorry for is his wife, Jo, who is to be sentenced March 1.

"I'm sorry, but I don't get it," she says on tape as her husband of 34 years rants about taxes. She just wants to find an accountant who can help them make peace with the IRS and enjoy life with their children and grandchildren.

Judge Casey Rodgers listened to the tapes and then to Hovind, who didn't help his case by refusing to accept any responsibility for the mess he has made. Instead, his words just aggravated his legal situation.

"You dishonor your fellow Americans" by dodging a fair share of taxes, Rodgers said.

She sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

Even then he resisted reality.

"I sure would like to go home," he told Rodgers.

She nodded and said, "I have to follow the law."

If only Kent Hovind followed the law, too.

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