Apostolic Epistles from prison

Kent Hovind, the self anointed, evangelical apostle of Young Earth Creationism, is currently in prison for tax evasion. For a long time he has been pointing his followers toward the writings of an imprisoned tax dodger named Irwin Schiff as well as promoting the Citizens Rule Book, a popular standard in the Christian Patriot movement. Using these fringe teachings, Hovind has been encouraging Christians to stop paying taxes and assuring his followers that they can't be prosecuted for refusing to pay. The teaching is too convoluted to encapsulate here, but rest assured that anyone who elects to follow these odd ball ideas are likely to also land in jail.

From his prison cell, Hovind is blogging to his flock, preaching from behind bars, sharing his holy adventures of bold evangeliztion and discipling of the prison population. At the close of each epistle, he writes, "Remember my bonds."

OK, so what! We all know Hovind is a whack-job fanatic. Who cares?

Frankly, I don't care. What caught my attention wasn't his usual inane blathering, or the fawning comments posted by his faithful sycophants, it was his signature: "Remember my bonds."

When I read that, I wondered if Hovind imagines that he's being persecuted for his faith, and envisions his present circumstances as the mark of martyrdom, comparable to Paul the Apostle, perhaps. It seems clear to me that Hovind’s imprisonment has nothing to do with his religious beliefs, but rather with his quirky, quasi-patriotic tax evasion. There is nothing I know in the Bible that can be interpreted as a mandate to avoid paying taxes. In fact, I think the opposite could be effectively and easily argued from statements attributed to both Jesus and Paul concerning rendering to Caesar and obeying the government.

Well, arguing about anything with someone who thinks the universe is only 6,000 years old is probably a complete waste of time, anyway, so I prefer to leave Hovind and his minions to their delusions. However, I have to thank him for signing the way he did, because it opened up something for me.

His admonition to be remembered brought me back to when I was a Christian and I would read Paul's writings, and would read the words "Remember my bonds" (Colossians 4:18). Back then my mind would be filled with romanticized images of a great man who was suffering unjustly for the sake of Christ; he was under persecution for his relationship with the risen Jesus Christ. Now, thanks to Hovind, I’m thinking something completely different: Could it be possible that Paul wasn’t imprisoned because of his apostolic faith, but for something else altogether? Could it be that Paul wasn’t being persecuted for being a Christian at all, but for something much more innocuous, such as disturbing the peace?

Well, OK, disturbing the peace might be an understatement. Paul's reported actions were more akin to inciting riots. Think about a riot for a minute. Doesn’t law enforcement primarily focus on quelling a riot when it occurs and capturing any culprits who might have instigated or encouraged the violence? Do they say, "Well, this is a religious riot, so we should let it alone."? Quickly scanning through the New Testament, I find Paul stirring up strife everywhere his feet take him. He even picks fights with the original disciples of Jesus, even with Jesus' own brother! Paul's not just preaching the Gospel, he's annoyingly disruptive. He gets beat up in the middle various scenes of anarchy he's stirred up. He's subsequently imprisoned, and then he asks everyone to "Remember me in my bonds." He also goes on a tirade about all the suffering and sacrifices he's made for the cause of Christ, claming to have labored "More abundantly than they all" (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Maybe Hovind and Paul have more in common than I originally realized. I wonder if we will soon be reading that Hovind is rejoicing that he in his being called to suffer and that he is laboring "more abundantly than they all" for HIS name's sake.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Eik Bocere, Says,

"Remember my bonds." This is a statment made by a real Apostle by the nanme of Saul-"whos name was changed by "God" to: Paul.
Hovind is not. Saul was in all probibility the most intelligent human who ever walked the ground of this earth, and Hovind cannot be classed, with one as he Paul.. The term Apostle (means) one called and commissioned personally by (Deity) God. Hoving must have commisioned himself. which is no commision at all. I have communicate directly with the man, and really he ain't to bright in the upstairs room, I think its empty. Even at best He is onlyb a human and tha ain't much to start with. Humans are just dirst balls living on a larger dirt ball floating in space, and hanging on nothing. The earth is just a speck of matter, and is un-noticable as far as the Universe is concernmed it is very un-important in the whole scheem of things.

As the earth turns in space

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous
but then aren't we delving into the whole issue of epistomology? How does one get "commissioned"? What difference do we have Hovind believing himself to be commissioned versus what we read in the bible?

If a person was destined to be an apostle, but given the choice to make a bad decision and landed in jail, how can you possibly categorize him as someone who isn't worthy of worship? This a contradiction on multiple levels of bestowed freedom of choice, and the dichotomy of Paul/Saul and Hovind. We could potentially swap the two and named "Hovind" in the bible instead of Paul.

Anonymous said...

"Saul was in all probibility the most intelligent human who ever walked the ground of this earth"

You have got to be joking....While I have no knowledge as too Saul's IQ, I am fairly certain he was not eh smartest person who ever lived...

At the very least, he seemed to think that Jesus would return in his lifetime and urged his followers to not marry or have children because of this...hardly a rational position

Besides, considering all the extra writings stuck in most of his letters after the fact, its hard to even know exactly what he believed or thought.

If I had to pick a person to award with the title of most intelligent person of all time I would be probably pick Socrates or Confucius since they laid the foundations for western and eastern philosophy respectively.

Anonymous said...

C'mon guys atheism has more holes in it than christianity ever will. Atheism and evolution are a joke. Your not an accident and I'm not an accident. The only accident I see is this joke of a website. There is a designer behind the design. Atheism has more holes in it than your webmaster's underwear! Get real people! JESUS IS LORD! PRAISE GOD AND MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU!

Anonymous said...

To Mike

Rants like that might make you feel good, but will not have any influence on us here.

Your straw man arguments show that you have absolutely no idea who any of us are or what we are about

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

Maybe you can help me to understand the "designer" argument a little better. When I look at a watch, or a computer, or an automobile, I know it had a "designer" because I've seen how such things are designed. I can follow the argument that far, but I'm having some difficulty after that. Can you help me to see how we can then say that biological organisms and quasars and physical laws have a "designer"? I get that there's a lose analogy, but I'm having trouble with the logic. You know, I really don't want to go around with a bunch of gaping holes in my worldview.

Thanks in advance for your help.

boomSLANG said...

C'mon guys atheism has more holes in it than christianity ever will.

So let's see, now..... by your own admission, Christianity has some "holes", or will have some "holes" in it, but just less than Atheism. Perfect...juuust perfect. I like you already. But of course, Atheism denies all gods, not just Jebus. In other words, Atheism---which is "full of holes"---denies "Allah".... yet, Mike denies "Allah", too. So, again, by his own bumbling admission, the process by which Mike Godfreak denies the existance of "Allah", is "full of holes". I love it!

Atheism and evolution are a joke.

Viola!....then your non-belief in Allah, Zeus, Poseiden, and thousands more, is a "joke". And evolution?... evolution is a fact, so if you'd like to call it a "joke", then fine, there are a lot of "funny" facts, in life. George Bush is President: Fact. This fact is a "joke"...i.e... a funny fact...i.e..a "joke". Thanks for playin' along, Handsome!

Your not an accident and I'm not an accident.

That's right, you're not an accident... a penis doesn't end up in a vagina on "accident". Your parents put a lot of hard work into procreating you. You obviously didn't do the same in getting an education.

The only accident I see is this joke of a website.

Wow!...a thoroughly convincing argument. Yes, it's such a strong argument for the existance of Jebus, I think I'll re-convert tomorrow.(he's the one with holes in hands, and purple flip flops, right?)

There is a designer behind the design

There is a designer behind the "designer", behind the "designer", behind the "designer", behind the "designer".

It's called "CIRCULAR". Stick it between your two brain cells.

Atheism has more holes in it than your webmaster's underwear!

Huh! huh! FanTASTic joke! 'You been peekin' haven't you? lol



Hurry back, Handsome!

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to bet that Hovind does feel persecuted, but has also no doubt decided that God wanted him in prison to minister to the inmates. Too bad he'll probably have at least some success there.

Anonymous said...

Mike Godfrey said...
C'mon guys atheism has more holes in it than christianity ever will. Atheism and evolution are a joke. Your not an accident and I'm not an accident. The only accident I see is this joke of a website. There is a designer behind the design. Atheism has more holes in it than your webmaster's underwear! Get real people! JESUS IS LORD! PRAISE GOD AND MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU!

Actualy christianity is nothing BUT holes, and atheism has no holes that I can see,

Neither atheism nor evolution are jokes, One is a rational phiosophical position, the other is an observed biological process,

Actualy I am an accident, My parents were using contraception at the time, (the pill), but this is neither here nor there, you are mindlessly slurring atheism and biology, not commenting on my parents sexual habbits.

which joke of a website please?

i know nothing of any webmasters underwear, and would like to keep it that way,

I have real people,



Anonymous said...

Why do you think they call it "The Hole-ly Bible Mike?

Anonymous said...

Anyone else think that maybe mike is a Troller? Just seems to me that not even the most rabid, bible-puching, fire and brimstone fundy could possibly sound like such an utter brain dead whack-job (phelps family excluded, of course).

Anonymous said...

" Anyone else think that maybe mike is a Troller?"

Heavens, no! He is an angel sent from above to save our pitiful souls from eternal torment at the hands of our all loving and merciful god.

That is why he makes such irrefutable arguments such as "JESUS IS LORD."

It's in all caps, so it has to be true, and only someone with half a mind times two could possibly fail to see the irrefutable logic in it.

Dog Dress, Mike! And a Happy Annual Gift-Giving Day to all!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mike! It's a sin to be smart and use your brain. It says so right in the bible. Only people who think like little children can go to heaven! All of you rational people out there who are trying to stop people from having faith in the magic and miracles in the bible, stop it!

Smart people who have dissected the bible verse by verse and use mere logic and reason to show how silly and dangerous it is to believe a bronze age mythology, written by people who thought the earth was flat and disease was caused by evil spirits, are going to the very same hell, that they say was invented by pagans.

If rational thought takes hold, we would not be able to absolve pedophiles of their sins, we would have to start holding preachers accountable for every last cent put into the collection plate. What reason would we have to go to church. God would be up in the sky waiting for our worship and praise, and there would be silence. God may be omniscient, impotent, omnibenevolent, and omnipresent, but he needs our praise, he desires our praise. If we do not praise our loving God, he will be sad and not like us.

What makes you smart people think that we would know right from wrong, if everybody quit believing in the totally irrational story about the blood sacrifice of Jesus?

So you better start hating your mother and your father and your little sister or anyone else who doesn't believe it, quit using you brain, and buy into some kind of religion before its to late, and the God who loves you, throws you into a lake of fire, and makes sure you suffer excruciating pain forever!!!
Dano (I believes, cause I was blessed with ignorance)

Anonymous said...

Webmaster states that he knows of nothing in the bible that would encourage one to avoid paying taxes. I want to suggest that you visit the website, www.jesus-on-taxes.com, and download (free) the essay, JESUS OF NAZARETH, ILLEGAL TAX PROTESTER. It just might change your mind about what the bible does or does not say regarding Jesus' take on taxes, tax collectors and other related issues. The essay is the first comprehensive examination of the issue.

webmdave said...

Oh goody. New previously unknown truth! Newly released revelations! Hidden mysteries finally brought forth!


Romans 13:6 (New American Standard Bible): For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God...

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