Monday, February 22, 2010

Die Weiss Rose and Public Opposition to Evil

"How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?"
-Last words of Sophie Magdalena Scholl before her execution by guillotine at the hands of the Nazi regime, she was 22 years old when killed.

The White Rose Society was a group of Germans who stood up against the Nazi regime in the form of leaflets denouncing the on going atrocities. These individuals represented true patriots as they saw the shame that the regime was bringing upon Germany. More importantly than being patriots the participants in the White Rose Society were Christians.

It was because the participants in the White Rose society held that man had dignity being made in the image of God that the society opposed the wars of aggression the regime engaged in as well as the slaughter of the Jewish people in Reich controlled territory.

The White Rose distributed a total of six leaflets denouncing the regime and attempting to rouse the German people out of their apathy. It was their opinion that there were many who agreed with them that what the Nazi regime was doing was atrocious, yet they simply would not publicly voice such an opinion. Sophie Scholl stated this notion precisely during her "trial" for treason as she declared:

"Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just do not dare express themselves as we did."

I believe this is often the case when it comes to national evils, I think of the abortion issue here in America particularly and how the majority of evangelical Christians would say that they oppose the slaughter of unborn children. However, where is the public outcry demanding that the practice be stopped?

I reflected in my latest podcast how when a group of us organized an abortion protest and told the local evangelical Churches in the town the time and place of the protest, how nobody came. I will never forget that feeling, that the Church by and large really doesn't care about this. I am certain that if I asked those Church going people who didn't come that the majority would say they are pro-life. Yet, when it comes to taking that message to the public square and calling for change, nobody came.

That's why abortions continue in America, the Church has failed to speak out sufficiently.

Upon distributing their sixth and final leaflet at a University, the White Rose group was found out as a custodian at the University saw them distributing the leaflets and dutifully notified the authorities.

"Jakob Schmidt, University handyman and Nazi party member, saw Hans and Sophie with the leaflets and reported them. They were taken into Gestapo custody. Sophie's 'interrogation' was so cruel, she appeared in court with a broken leg."
(from this blog)

Two things should be noted in the above quote, firstly, the punitive state thrives upon individuals labelled in the common vernacular "Narcs", or "Snitches". This population is expanded through economic incentives from the State in the form of rewards for tips on "crime". Such "crimes" often involve activities on ones property such as leaf burning, or being a plumber without government issued permits. In the case of the White Rose the "crime" needing to be reported by the dutiful lackey to the State was distributing a contrarian political opinion, or unlicensed speech.

(The righteous are honored after they depart, to the left is a German stamp with an image of Sophie Sholl)

The second thing to note in the above quote is the fact that the members of the White Rose received enhanced interrogation. Sophie's leg was broken during this process. This is no longer a practice that Americans can look at with moral reproachfulness as the regime that rules us now employs the same practices. One example of this comes from a man named Omar Deghayes, who was guilty of no terrorism or association with terrorist organizations, and has since been exonerated. Yet, Mr.Deghayes is now blind in one of his eyes as American interrogators in Guantanamo Bay dug their thumbs into Mr.Deghayes eye sockets to "make him scream". A Guardian article describing Deghayes' story can be read here.

Again, it MUST be noted Mr.Deghays was guilty of no crime, and thankfully although he suffered spending 5 years in American gulags he has been released. (Mr.Deghayes discusses his treatment in this video)

Shifting back to the White Rose, to give a flavor to the reader as to what was contained in the six leaflets, and what these young people were made of philosophically, I quote from the first leaflet distributed:

"Therefore every individual, conscious of his responsibility as a member of Christian and Western civilization, must defend himself against the scourges of mankind, against fascism and any similar system of totalitarianism.

Offer passive resistance - resistance - wherever you may be, forestall the spread of this atheistic war machine before it is too late, before the last cities, like Cologne, have been reduced to rubble, and before the nation's last young man has given his blood on some battlefield for the hubris of a sub-human. Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure."

That last line is tremendously powerful. It reflects the White Rose's attempt to rouse people from their apathy and oppose the evils currently occurring in Germany. Most individuals throughout history seem to go along to get along. Sadly, this is more often than not the case with the Church. It was the minority of Christians (like Wilberforce) that opposed slavery and fought to end it, it was the minority that stood up against the Roman Catholic Church and it's heresies and control of society during the Reformation, and today it is the minority in America that are opposing America's wars of aggression and the institution of torture.

It is frustrating to me to see the Church in America fail to stand for what is right and even endorse the evils of the Regime that rules us. Yet, I find it encouraging as I look over Church history to take note that it always was a faithful minority that stood for justice, we see this in the Old Testament clearly with Jeremiah, and Elijah who seemed to be the only ones standing on the truth.

For those failing to speak out against the evils the second White Rose leaflet has this to say:

"It seems to be so, and will certainly be so, if the German does not at least start up out of his stupor, if he does not protest wherever and whenever he can against this clique of criminals, if he shows no sympathy for these hundreds of thousands of victims [referencing the Jews]. He must evidence not only sympathy; no, much more: a sense of complicity in guilt.

For through his apathetic behavior he gives these evil men the opportunity to act as they do; he tolerates this "government" which has taken upon itself such an infinitely great burden of guilt; indeed, he himself is to blame for the fact that it came about at all! Each man wants to be exonerated of a guilt of this kind, each one continues on his way with the most placid, the calmest conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he is guilty, guilty, guilty!"

Put into one sentence what the White Rose stated is that men and women become accomplices to the very evils they fail to oppose.

All of the member of the White Rose group were executed for treason. As of right now in America there is still a window where the Church can effect change, yet, we should admit it is closing. Right now I can publish blog posts like this calling what the government that rules us is doing what it is, evil. Individuals are not arrested for their opinions and opposition...right now.

It must also be noted that such arrests HAVE happened in our nations history, so this isn't some wild idea I am describing, the most popular instance was Eugene Debs' imprisonment for speaking in opposition to the US involvement in WWI. Granted, I don't have any sympathy for Debs' political philosophy, however his opposition to the war was commendable and he suffered for it. You can read the Wikipedia write up here.

With the growing police state in the United State(s) I believe such a scenario is on the horizon IF we do not speak out sufficiently and demand real change. As, the State will always exercise the the authoritarian power the people let it exercise. It is up to the Church, which alone has an objective moral standard to call evil what it is, if the Church fails to do this such a prospect is not only possible but certain.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Growing Authoritarianism

"We live in an age of Hegelian synthesis and relativism; men don't believe truth exists. How do we expect a world to take us seriously when we say we believe truth exists and then live in a relativistic way?" (Dr. Francis Schaeffer, Death in The City)

Consistency, I am day by day more convinced, is a rarity in our relativistic culture. This inability to integrate ideas into a consistent worldview is no doubt the product of our postmodern age. The most bothersome leaps into relativism to myself are those made by people who should know better, namely Christians.

Not a few times in discussing matters with Christians have I seen this leap into relativism, with a waterfall of "Well I feel..." and "Who are you to say..." or "You have no right to judge (X)..." or "The Bible says judge not..." These phrases are products of the relativistic culture, not a Christian worldview.

One thing a good Christian worldview will be is consistent. If something is immoral, it remains immoral regardless of the actor. I have been commenting a good deal lately about the Christian and the State, as I think this is one of the most compromised areas the Church in America has in its thinking.

That being the case, I firmly believe that the issue of torture is the moral issue of our day, and sadly the church is not being the church.

Christ has called us to "Love our enemies", applying this command to the issue of torture no doubt causes many Christians to roll their eyes and snort in disgust. My question then is simply this, when DO we apply Christ's command? I honestly don't think many in the church take these things seriously, and tend to view "enemies" as people like homosexuals (who have been the brunt of some of the most obnoxious behaviour from Christians).

To show that I am not arguing against phantoms, but that in reality Christians have not only failed to speak out against torture but actually endorse it, I refer the reader to an email I received today from the Christian Law group the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice). The ACLJ is a christian lawyer group established to be a counter to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and stand up for the 1st amendment of Christians. This is a laudable occupation.

However, most of the emails I receive from the ACLJ are of the neo-conservative Zionist variety, I received one a little while back giving an apologetic for attacking Iran. The email I received today was titled, "No Special Rights For Terrorists!"

Immediately, just from the title I knew it was an apologetic for torture and indefinate trial-less detention. What are "special rights" anyway? What they really mean is, NO RIGHTS FOR TERRORISTS. The reason they didn't just say that is that such a statement is so obviously immoral. So, they have to play with the terms a bit, now giving a man a trial is something special, unusual, innovative, foreign, pick your synonym.

The body of the email clears up any ambiguity, it begins:

"Dear Robert,

Imagine you caught Osama bin Laden in Pakistan or Afghanistan - what would you do?

Handle him with kid gloves?
Give him the right to remain silent?
Make sure he has a lawyer ... or buy one for him?"

These guys are supposed to be Christian lawyers, and they use a phrase like "Give him the right..." rights are not given, they are recognized. This notion that our rights come from the state is historically the most deadly philosophy on human rights. That is the position that EVERY authoritarian government had on human rights, rights are given to the individual by the generosity and beneficence of the state. It is this position that leads directly to the Gulag and Concentration camp, because if the government "gives" rights to individuals, then it can take them away.

The Christian perspective is that our rights come from God, every man has rights because every man is made in the image of God. The 10 commandments (Exodus 20, Deut 5) are a good picture of some of these rights, a right to life (6th commandment), a right to property (8th and 10th), and a right to an honest trial (9th commandment). Our rights are inherent, we have God given rights, the government's job is to recognize these rights, they don't "give" them.

Christians should be the first to say this, and that is what makes this email from the ACLJ so despicable.

So to answer the questions in the email, yes, he should get a lawyer and yes he does have a right to be silent. Furthermore, I don't find it at all humorous to throw jokes into this matter as they did. The email continues:

"This is how civilian courts handle common criminals all the time. But it's not how we handle enemy combatants taking up arms against America in wartime!

It's incredible - but President Obama has ordered his Attorney General to release the mastermind of the 9/11 massacre, the Christmas bomber, and other terrorists from military tribunals ..."

Given the Bush Cheney "Military Commissions Act" individuals that the State arbitrarily labels "enemy combatants" have no rights, they are un-persons. Therefore, they can be held indefinitely without trial and tortured. The ACLJ now acts like this is normal. Furthermore, UNTIL Khalid Sheik Muhammad has a trial he is the ACCUSED mastermind of 9/11, again this is another perversion of justiceon the ACLJ's part. I, as a side note, also highly doubt KSM was the mastermind of 9/11.

Again, it is supposed to be seen as abnormal to try "terrorists" in a court rather than a tribunal. Well, that's what we did with the 1993 WTC bombers, that's what we did with Tim McVeigh in the OKC bomb, why can't we do the same thing here? Again, they want us to think this is something strange and out of step with the norm.

On another side note, I wonder how many "massacres" the ACLJ would say occurred by the hands of the US government? It's only a massacre when its against our team...just like fans of the home sports team always boo when a penalty is called on their team no matter how warranted. Just look at the titles given to the conflicts between the US government and the plains Indians. Every time the US was defeated by the Indians it was a massacre, when unarmed Indians were butchered it was a battle. The same mentality continues on today.

The bellicose screed continues:

"... bring them to U.S. soil - and give these terrorists the most effective platform they've ever had to spew their venom, recruit new jihadists, and try to humiliate America."

So here they throw a little fear in to scare you, somehow by giving them a trial will lead to more jihadists. I am failing to connect the dots in this logic...seems a little specious. We're supposed to assume these guys are like the Greek sirens drawing men to themselves hypnotically by their presence and radicalizing them.

I assure I have left nothing out of this email, this next part is somehow connected with the rest:

"And that's not the only troubling security threat facing America today - there are serious reports that Iran has begun enriching uranium to levels capable of making an atomic bomb.

It's time for President Obama and the United Nations to respond accordingly: Impose crippling sanctions - and then ensure that those sanctions are clearly enforced."

There are so many things wrong here it is staggering. Firstly, there already are sanctions on Iran. Secondly, sanctions only hurt the people and unite them against the outside aggressors. Thirdly, sanctions are an act of war, just think how we would react if a bunch of countries got together and enforced a naval blockade keeping us from importing and exporting goods.

Also, I thought these guys were "right" wing? Now they want the UN to act aggressively against the main country the Zionists hate. Whatever happened to the get out of the UN talk?

The email concludes:

"Please give an immediate, generous online donation today. Empower our legal research and legislative efforts as we continue to apply pressure in Congress and the White House and at the United Nations on these crucial national security issues.

For the sake of our nation, I thank you in advance."

So all of this authoritarian jingoism is supposed to get my heart thumping with desire to give to the ACLJ, "For the sake of the nation." how disgusting. I read this email and I realized afresh that many of the Christians in the United States would behave no different from the Christians in 1930's Germany. I honestly believe that. I believe that because we are seeing a similar thing take place here in the US rife with human rights violations.

In my latest podcast I cover Glenn Beck's call to "Shoot him in the head!" in reference to the #2 in the Taliban being caught. He unambiguously argues that we need to shoot him in the head right now because if we don't he might get a trial. Obviously that would be disastrous in Beck's mind. Again, if righteousness is on our side why do we fear the courts?

All of this is despicable, and the worst part of all is the question that nags me, "WHERE IS THE CHURCH?" The church has failed to speak out sufficiently against these atrocities, and just like the Church in Germany in the 1930's the American church also has become a lackey to the authoritarian regime. That last sentence should be obvious with emails like I get from the ACLJ.

Rather than standing on the truth, standing for justice, and standing up for man's God given rights, the Church by and large has made a relativistic leap and agreed with the regime saying "Some people have rights, others don't."

Thus, the church has become an accomplice to the very evils it has failed to oppose.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Ballad of Kent Hovind

Ol' Smokey's got them ears on and he's hot on your trail.
He aint gonna rest 'til you're in jail.
So you got to dodge 'im and you got to duck 'im,
you got to keep that diesel truckin'.
Just put that hammer down and give it hell.

West bound and down, eighteen wheels are rollin' ,
we're gonna do what they say can't be done.
We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
I'm west bound, just watch ol' "Hovind" run.

(From the theme song of Smokey and the Bandit)

Kent Hovind was at one time a prominent figure in the creation science movement, and dubbed himself "Dr. Dino". He always struck me as a interesting guy and a lot of the information he put out in his lectures is worth some thought. Hovind was a hardcore 6 day creationist with a strong stance on a 6000 year old earth, I personally am rather agnostic on all of this I just know God did it, I don't claim to know the mechanics. I do however agree with the Hovind inspired slogan that "Evolution is Stupid!" it is true on a number of levels.

Hovind has engaged in numerous debates with Darwinists and Atheists, one that I saw a while back was between Hovind and Micheal Shermer one of the big dogs for Atheism. Hovind really took Shermer to the cleaners, Shermer ended up looking like a buffoon muttering incoherent sentences in favor of evolution theory. You can watch the debate HERE.

There of course was Hovind's Smokey and the Bandit side of his life, Hovind held to what most people would call "conspiracy theories" which I would define as "Holding to viewpoint on a certain topic/event that goes against the 'official' version of events", and thus I suppose I myself hold to "conspiracy theories" as government by its very nature is fraught with intrigue corruption and attempts at power grabs.

People who reject conspiracy theories out of hand seem to forget that historical fact, and have a rather naive view of government corruption, and probably think the only conspiracies are those by guys like Pete Rose betting against his own baseball team. Because people in government would never do something like Pete Rose did, like say shorting stocks and using their power to drive the stock down...that sort of thing never happens in government, Martha Stewart yes, government no.

One such theory Kent held to had to do with taxes, on this he staked his defense.

Well, Kent Hovind didn't get too far with his defense and now sits in the Edgefield Federal Correctional Institution. His crime? The government deemed that he owed over $400,000 in income taxes from his "Dinosaur Adventure Land", a creationist theme park Hovind built in his backyard.

I must add as an aside that Hovind also refused to pay a $50 permit to build his theme park, this shows that it wasn't really about the money in Hovind's mind but the principle. The principle in the case of the $50 permit is that if you have to pay the state $50 to do something on your own property in what sense is it your property? The permit adds nothing to benefit the property and the construction process, it is simply a Marxist invasion of property rights.

This is the same sort of principle in play in a recent story about a man whose castle has been ordered destroyed because the government deemed his property not zoned for such a construction. Again, if you have to get permission from the state to do what you want on your property, and they further can tell you to destroy buildings you built on your property because they didn't give you permission to build them, given all of that in what way can it be said to be YOUR property?

Back to the income tax issue, Hovind refused to pay this tax claiming that as a citizen of heaven all he has belongs to God, he is not a united states citizen and thus is exempt from being taxed.

Well, I must admit this logic is a rather wild stretch and my initial reaction to hearing of Hovind's arrest and incarceration was, "Kent, give to Ceasar man!"

However, disregarding the goofy I'm citizen of heaven and thereby exempt from earthly taxes argument, I think Hovind is right in principle. What right does the government have to take what is your honestly earned income? Understandably there can be taxes on goods, tariffs, etc, these are all constitutional (Article 1 section 9), as they are indirect and apportioned taxes. Indirect simply means you can avoid them by not purchasing said goods, and apportionment means it literally goes toward infrastructure.

Yet, the income tax is neither of these, that's why they had to cobble together the 16th amendment to get the income tax in the U.S. this effectively destroys the 4th and 5th amendments the founders crafted.

My point is the government doesn't even follow it's own crummy constitution.

The primary problem in my mind is the sort of herd mentality that guys like Kent Hovind or Wesley Snipes have done something wrong. What wrong have they done? There is no moral violation occurring here, no persons or property were damaged so what did Hovind do wrong?

Reading articles on this matter I found myself discouraged as usual with the popular views of the State and tax paying. Comments like the following should illustrate why I am not too optimistic about America's future:

PZ Meyers writes:
"And finally, Hovind and his wife made a whole series of bank withdrawals that were just slightly under the $10,000 limit that would trigger reporting of the activity. They knew. They knew very well what they were doing.

[...] That con artist has received the punishment he deserves;"

They "knew what they were doing"? Trying to withdraw their money without the state getting involved implies guilt of some sort of crime? I missed the place where it is a crime to do what you want with what is yours, and to attempt to avoid the snooping eyes of unwelcome bureaucrats trying to steal from you.

Also, to call someone a "con artist" necessitates a victim of the con, which in reference to the tax issue there are none, unless you invoke some wild socialist delusion making society the victim. Furthermore, how is Hovind's sitting in prison for 10 years just deserts for not allowing the state to rape him?

These kind of statements betray a rampant statist ideology.

Another blog in attempting to make Hovind appear as crazy as possible in an essay entitled "Render unto Caesar Reverend Crazy Pants!" has a few choice puerile quotes:

"He says, “I love my country, but fear my government. And you should too.”

The man now sits in prison after doing no harm to any person or property and this statement is supposed to show that he's crazy? All it shows me is that most people fail to give the state the due skepticism they give to common citizens like Hovind.

"And of course, he’s a gun nut. Whom would Jesus shoot?"

Ah yes, Hovind owned firearms, that right there again shows he is crazy. I wonder if the author of this article would call the swat team that raided the Hovind "compound" a bunch of "gun nuts"? Oh that's right they work for the government so we don't have a problem when it's the State that's armed, just when a gun is in the unhallowed hands of a mere citizen.

Lastly a blogger that sympathizes with Hovind also can't escape the false maxim that Hovind did something wrong:

"This, of course, was wrong on his part, and I think he is paying the price for it (and probably with lots of penalties and interest)."

Again, to use moral words like "wrong" in regards to failing to send your earned income to the state do not apply. I think the problem is people have this mindset that illegal=immoral. A few moments of reflection on the part of the reader should clear up this false association. I will help, seat belt enforcement, permits to build a shed on "your" property...has anything immoral occurred if one does not abide by these laws?

If Hovind did something wrong then so did they guy who built the castle on "his" property. Or less extravagant the guy who builds a shed without state permission. I suppose we must remember, that those in the state simply know better than us. We need to be told what we can and can not do with "our" property because the zoning bureaucrats are endowed with the foresight the rest of us lack.

I recall when I lived in community in Northern CA one of the things that hindered us from renovating the property was the fact that due to a massive flood about 50 years ago the area was deemed by some bureacrat to be a "flood plane" and thus the only houses legally allowed to be put on the property were either pre-existing or ones that could be moved. This law left a town called Meyer's Flat with a giant trailer park as it's only recourse for it's inhabitants, thus attracting numerous tourists to gape at the prime river front property.

(pictured to the left is the local zoning regulator)

Given the above quotes and views that Hovind did something wrong as I said I don't have much hope for the future of America. Unlike the wildcat forefathers most modern Americans have been house broken like a dog and just roll over and take it from the State to the point of even wagging their fingers scoldingly at those with more principle and backbone.

We need to get to the point where we understand that if the state signs something into law or does something that would be immoral for any individual to do, then it is equally immoral when the collective individual of government does that thing. People just aren't there philosophically and this is most unfortunate as it allows the state to run roughshod over all that is decent. That said, I would state that most taxation is simply legal plunder. Augustine gives a wonderful example of this in his work "The City of God" as he states:

“Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a vast scale? What are criminal gangs but petty kingdoms?

A gang is a group of men under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. If this villainy wins so many recruits from the ranks of the demoralized that it acquires territory, establishes a base, captures cities and subdues peoples, it then openly arrogates to itself
the title of `kingdom,’ which is conferred on it in the eyes of the world, not by the renouncing of aggression but by the attainment of impunity.

For it was a witty and a truthful rejoinder which was given by a captured pirate to Alexander the Great. The king asked the fellow, `What is your idea, in infesting the sea?’ And the pirate answered, with uninhibited insolence, `The same as yours, in infesting the earth! But because I do it with a tiny craft, I’m called a pirate; because you have a mighty navy, you’re called an emperor.”
(City of God book 4 ch 4)

Now, I must make this clear, I do not advise anybody to not pay your taxes. Pay your taxes! I say this not because I see any moral imperative that we must do so, but because the Government can hurt you. Like the cop that comes into your restaurant and says, "Nice place you have here, sure would be a shame if it burned down...I can make sure that doesn't happen for $1000 a month."

I would advise you pay such a man, not because of some moral imperative requiring you to do so but because he can hurt you worse than loosing $1000 bucks.

I honestly think that is Jesus reply to the tax matter. Firstly, lets look at the Pharisees' tax dilemma posed to Christ

"Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his talk.
And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.

Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?"
But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, "Why put me to the test, you hypocrites?
Show me the coin for the tax." And they brought him a denarius.

And Jesus said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?"

They said, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
(Matt 22:15-21)

The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus here, if He answered "Yes" He acknowledged the illegitimate Roman rule over the people of God, if He answered "No" He was preaching insurrection, either way He would have somebody at His throat.

But Jesus splits the horns of their dilemma with His response. Notice He doesn't give a lecture on submitting to the state, nor does He give a insurrectionist lecture, He essentially says "What is money? Something created by the state, therefore who cares about money? Have your mind and heart fixed upon eternity and God."

It is worth noting that He doesn't give the modern socialist lecture about the moral virtues of taxes.

Another and unfortunately overlooked teaching of Christ on taxes is His exchange with Peter:

"When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to Peter and said, "Does your teacher not pay the tax?"
He said, "Yes." And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?"

And when he said, "From others," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free.
However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself."
(Matt 17:24-27)

"Not to give offense" is the biblical rationale for paying your taxes.

That said, men like Hovind haven't done anything morally wrong, they have simply offended the powers that be. Should Hovind have payed his taxes? I think so, I don't think that's the best hill to go down on although in principle he is right.

However, should Hovind sit in prison as though he were some threat to society and thereby needing to be removed from society allegedly for rehabilitation? Absolutely not. That's a waste of tax dollars :) In reality Hovind is simply a political prisoner incarerated for failing to show jelly fish like docility in response to the states infringement on his property.