7 July 16
Dr. Dino Lands In Lenox
Opinion By: Jim Allen
LENOX, ALABAMA-I’ve been putting this off, but I guess it’s time I wrote something about Kent Hovind, aka “Dr. Dino” and his recent arrival in Conecuh County.
Having never heard of this gentleman before, I’ve now spent about two months researching Hovind and his group of Creation Science Evangelists, along with several of his ardent detractors – and his devout followers.
(That “detractors” link above is to this page, http://kehvrlb.com – RLBaty)
They are an interesting group of individuals.
Quite frankly, “the Hovind Effect” is so strange and bizarre, I don’t know where to start. Although this might read like a National Inquirer exposé, it’s not. Unfortunately, everything you’re about to read is Public Information, most of it widely available across the Internet for everyone to see. You just have to look.
I’m using the term (Hovind Effect) to describe and include all of the many circumstances both positive and negative, the beliefs, the drama, the infighting, the clashes between opposing points of view, and the zeal of the people who both surround and oppose Kent Hovind and his beliefs. I use it to describe the whole package – with all it’s ramifications and consequences.
In my view, Kent Hovind is certainly entitled to his own views on religion and government. He is highly intelligent, charismatic, and presents his beliefs in a way many can follow. He comes off as a likable guy. He’s what we used to call a personality.
However, just because he convincingly states his views, doesn’t mean everyone accepts his message.
Hovind is highly controversial and brings a train load of baggage with him to Conecuh County.
For those who aren’t familiar with Kent Hovind, he’s a fundamentalist Christian evangelist who believes in the literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis and the creation of the Earth.
He believes the Earth is only some 6,000 years old, that dinosaurs and Mankind walked the Earth at the same time, and that dinosaurs were part of the animal kingdom saved by Noah on the Ark.
He claims evolution is a religion, and Darwinism led to the creation of Communism, Socialism, Nazism, liberalism, and the New Age Movement.
Hovind often paints himself a martyr, prosecuted and persecuted for his religious and political beliefs, and not for any wrongful actions he might have made against government authority that may have made him a target for prosecution. In all instances, he proclaims his innocence.
Hovind has a dedicated group of followers from around the world who, on a daily basis, keep up with his every move. He has 54,000 reported subscribers to his Youtube channel and averages about 10,000 views on his daily videos. What’s not clear is how many of those viewers are his “followers,” and how many are his “detractors,” of which he has many, some to the point of obsession.
The result is an almost daily Internet battle of opposing opinions and beliefs between competing websites and Youtube videos in a tit-for-tat drama that could best be compared to “Days Of Our Lives” on steroids.
There is also a faction of followers that vehemently defend and rigorously retaliate against anyone who disparages Hovind or openly disagrees with his teachings.
Some in this particular group embrace the Sovereign Citizen movement, a loose organization of individuals who claim full autonomy from our federal and state government. They also claim the judicial system has no authority over them as a group or as individuals.
This is the movement our federal government claims is just as likely as Islamic extremists to conduct domestic terrorism within the United States.
One trail of Hovind’s most ardent supporters leads to the 2014 Cliven Bundy standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada, with the Bureau of Land Management; and the militia occupation earlier this year at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon led by two of Bundy’s sons, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, where one militia member, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, was killed by federal authorities.
These supporters include Youtube personality Peter Santilli, who remains in jail as part of the Malheur occupation, and hardcore Conspiracy Theorists such as Alex Jones of INFOWARS, who rails about every Conspiracy Theory from UFOs to the New World Order.
In April, Hovind’s group, Creation Science Evangelism Ministries, Inc., purchased the property formerly known as Pearl Lane Hangout. The property is approximately 127 acres in size and is located in the Lenox community in southern Conecuh County.
Since the purchase, a small group of individuals from across the United States have come to Conecuh County to help build housing suitable for several dozen people, and facilities that will reportedly be used as an operations center for Creation Science Evangelism Ministries.
Hovind apparently has an almost endless supply of books and DVDs for sale, and promotes them during his Youtube videos while repeatedly asking for volunteers and donations to, “help build the new Dinosaur Adventure Land.”
What is actually being built now is a compound to house and feed dozens of people, and a warehouse to store and ship Hovind’s books and videos.
People need to understand that should Dinosaur Adventure Land ever be built, it would not be a “conventional amusement park,” like Six Flags or Disney World, but a large scale vehicle to promote Hovind’s religious views – and it’s construction and opening would be years down the road. Dinosaur Adventure Land is far from a reality, and presently, only a memory Hovind hopes to one day recreate.
How Hovind wound up in Conecuh County is a Soap Opera in itself.
He was released from federal prison last year having served most of a 10 year sentence from a 2007 conviction on a 58 count indictment that included charges for willful failure to collect, account for, and pay federal income taxes and FICA taxes in connection with the CSE operation, and 45 counts of “structuring” cash transactions just below the $10,000 limit that would require banks to report the transaction to federal authorities.
Hovind’s former wife, Jo, was also convicted and spent a year in jail.
Hovind has had problems with the IRS dating back to the 1990s, reportedly owes the IRS $3.3 million in fines, penalties and back taxes, and in 1998 filed paperwork in Escambia County, Florida Circuit Court renouncing his United States citizenship and Social Security number stating he was “a natural citizen of ‘America’ and a natural sojourner…”
Both of these actions follow a Sovereign Citizen philosophy.
While in prison, Hovind’s son, Eric, reportedly acquired most of his property to settle a $430,000 forfeiture claim by the IRS, which included parcels of the approximately five acre property in Pensacola where the original Dinosaur Adventure Land was located.
According to several accounts, upon his release from prison, Hovind returned to what had been his home in Pensacola only to be ostracized by his family. His wife filed for divorce, and he was provided a single room in his former home for which he had to pay rent to his son, who recently presented him with an eviction notice.
The eviction notice coincided with his move to Conecuh County.
In response to a claim by Hovind that his wife and son had conspired to take everything he owned and that they should be put under public pressure, his devout followers pounced on his son, Eric, in vicious attacks across the Internet.
Today that battle between father and son continues to be played out in public as they oppose each other over their Creation Science ministries.
After reading dozens of websites and watching hours of video concerning Hovind and his followers, I have to say I am a bit concerned about Dr. Dino’s arrival in Conecuh County.
His followers are just that – his followers – who bask in his charisma and celebrity as a leader of the Young Earth creationist movement. Many have placed him on a protective pedestal and view him as a martyr – a role he himself often plays in his personal videos, while others are full of Nazi visualizations and anti-government propaganda.
Not surprisingly, he’s even managed to get the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The concern is that at it’s core, this “Hovind Effect” mixes fundamentalist Christianity with an anti-establishment message that appeals to the extreme from both sides of these issues, and calls them to rally to his side in order to obtain Salvation – and to fight the evils of Satan he sees in our society and our government. It also clearly embraces a Sovereign Citizen philosophy, and supports members of that movement who have run afoul of the law.
All the while, this package of odd circumstance that is the Hovind Effect, is camouflaged behind a marketing strategy promoted to the general public and the Christian community using the “kid friendly” cheerful smiles of innocent children on slides and swings, and plays upon their natural fascination of dinosaurs.
It’s only when you dig a little deeper that things don’t appear so kid friendly.
This conflict between these two opposing sides has already sent ripples across Conecuh and Monroe counties and has the potential to fester and continue to grow to the point it eventually effects the local community around Lenox, involves our local law enforcement, and our local government.
With the baggage Hovind brings, you can bet the federal government will also have Lenox – and Conecuh County – under a magnifying glass as they too watch every move he makes and everyone he makes contact with.
Odds appear high that somewhere down the line Hovind will once again butt heads with our federal government.
The ultimate question is will Lenox, Alabama become another Bunkerville, Nevada, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, or aWaco, Texas? Or nothing at all?
All of the ingredients are in place. Only time will tell.
* At press time this website was temporarily shut down by Facebook
(That page FaceBook shut down has been replaced by one found at: https://www.facebook.com/HovindvBaty/ – RLBaty)
UPDATE: KENT HOVIND/JOHNNY ANDREWS RESPOND 08242016
UPDATE AUGUST 30, 2016
Peter J. Reilly, Forbes Contributor, covers the Hovind – Allen Dispute via his personal blog at:
The following comment below the article is from Jonathan Schwartz of Interlock Media who covered the Hovind-Hansen litigation in 2015:
“Kent Hovind was in deep with ex militiamen, who tampered with a jury in a federal tax case according to research conducted by Interlock Media…let’s at least put him in the potentially toxic category.”
I’d like to hear that story!