Regardless of your views on his message, what do you think of the latest problems that Kent Hovind finds himself? Having taken a vow of poverty– giving everything to the ministry– and labeling those that come and work at his Dinosaur Adventure Land as missionaries instead of employees, Dr. Hovind has run himself afoul of the IRS.
He is accused of failing to pay $473,818 in federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes for his workers between March 31, 2001, and January 31, 2004.
This is a weird position for a person to be in, with implications that are far beyond this one scenario. The reason for this problem has to go back to another good idea.
Shortly after our nation was declared independent, and accepted our Constitution, there were different missions that were federally funded– bringing the Gospel to the Indian tribes of the land (I know this will shock you Separation of Church and State people to find out that the church was actually paying preachers, paying for Christian churches to be constructed, and paying for Bibles to be printed– but sometimes a good shock is good).
The government, also believing that it was good for the people to have a strong moral root (even Machiavelli believed that his leader must at least claim to be religious), granted exemptions to churches from property taxes, etc. I’m sure that they originally thought that this was something supporting religious endeavors, but it has been abused and has actually served to hamper some freedom of religion and speech due to the regulations and codes that have grown up around this first exemption.
Churches can lose their exemption for supporting a candidate in an election. First off, this is definitely a biased rule, since there are plenty of candidates in one political party that use churches as campaign platforms! But why should a church not be able to say that a certain candidate stands for one thing or another and urge their people to vote one way or another. What are we afraid of?
In some ways, I’d almost prefer that churches were not exempt, because then they would not have to be afraid to say what they thought about issues, instead of worrying about obeying the authority over them more than making a difference in an election. (Of course, we can save the topic of Fair Tax vs. Income Tax for another day…)
Should this man be taxed or pay taxes on people that work at his place and get compensated? Without much background in law or knowing the case, I’m probably going to have to say yes. Should the government concern itself more with all the undocumented workers that are not being paid taxes? Absolutely.