Dr. Kent Hovind!
Creation Science Evangelism and Dinosaur Adventure Land
needs your help!
As you may or may not know, the building inspectors from Escambia County (led by Mr. Donald Mayo) have been trying for nearly two years to shut down our "building 5" science center and museum. I have been arrested twice and have been to court many times over this issue. Our ministry exists to win souls and teach others about the glorious creation. Those who know us can testify to this. Since my conversion to Christ 33 years ago, I have tried (most of the time) to obey the commands of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by bringing His word to others. The costs (approaching $100,000) of this legal battle have been staggering to our small ministry. Up until now, I have not asked for help. God has always supplied for us, but I feel it is now time to let others know what is going on. Please read my summary of what has happened and ask God if He would have you do one or more of the following:
1. Pray for us.
2. Write, fax, call or email Donald Mayo. He has always had the power to stop the county's proceedings against us at any time. Don Mayo (850) 595-3487, 3300 N. Pace Blvd. Pensacola, FL 32505, firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Write, fax, call or email commissioner Willie Junior. He voted to begin legal proceedings against us. (850) 595-4930 (w) or (850) 433-1002 (h), 3300 N. Pace Blvd. Pensacola, FL 32505 email@example.com
4. Write to Governor Bush. Fl_governor@myflorida.com, (850) 488-4441. He has followed our case carefully, seems to be sympathetic and has the authority to stop this at any time, and the county will be forced to leave us alone. Why he has not done so, we cannot understand.
5. Financially support our ministry. We are now nearly two years behind where we could be in the growth of this ministry. Four major building projects to improve and expand our outreach to the thousands who come here have been delayed due to the tremendous cost of our battle with the county.
Short summary of events in the battle between our ministry and the county:
On March 29, 2000 I, Kent E Hovind, was peacefully obeying the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator and Owner of the earth, by conducting the various aspects of our ministry when Escambia County building inspector Rene Pelotte and an assistant came onto our church property, in their official capacity, without invitation and in direct violation of our clearly posted "notice."
Rene and her assistant entered one of our buildings and proceeded to ask questions about whether we had acquired Escambia County's permission to build the science building on the property. One of our 30 staff members called me out to the building where I met with the inspectors. I told them we have nothing to hide and are doing nothing illegal or unsafe, but they were not to return in an official capacity unless they could prove they had jurisdiction over our church. I then gave Rene a copy of the posted notice, which explains the laws, and told her that we were a church ministry and that she had no jurisdiction on church property. When she indicated she disagreed, I told her that she would have to leave immediately unless she could prove she had jurisdiction. I explained to her that the Bible said Jesus was the head of the church and civil government had no authority. The first amendment to the Constitution of the United States and the Florida statutes are very clear on this matter also, as well as the Religious Freedoms Restoration Act.
I also told her that there was a long history of government rulers attempting to regulate the church of Jesus Christ and that since most churches in the last 100 years have become corporations of the state, (which does indeed grant jurisdiction) I could see why she may not understand how the county's regulations did not apply to a true, unregistered, unincorporated church.
I told both Rene and her partner that they were welcome to come anytime in their private capacity and we would gladly give them a tour and let any inspectors look at any work we do and even offer advice. We would value their expert opinion and experience. We have nothing to hide and are doing nothing illegal or unsafe. I further told them that they were talking to the wrong person in that Pastor Mooneyhan was the one they needed to talk with if they had any questions concerning this property.
A few days later Rene came back in spite of our clearly posted notice to issue a $50 citation to me. I told her I could not sign it since 1) she had no jurisdiction and 2) I was not the pastor. I also told her that she must leave unless she could prove jurisdiction. She said I must contact their office within 72 hrs. We sent a letter and called them within 72 hrs requesting a hearing on this matter, but our requests were ignored. The next thing I heard about the matter was the call from the Sheriff telling me that a warrant had been issued by Judge Patricia Kinsey for my arrest! I never did see a copy of the warrant, even though I asked for it several times. I went down to the jail and was booked like a criminal, posted bail, and went home the same day.
I have met with the county officials several times to try to resolve this conflict. I told them, "The question at issue is a simple one: Does the Escambia County, Florida civil government have jurisdiction over a Church of the Sovereign God of the universe?" We are not the aggressors in this case. We were simply trying to serve the Lord and the county stuck its nose where it has no business. (Churches that are 501c3 corporations cannot get out of the permitting process.)
Disney gets no permits and allows no county or state inspections. In 1967, the Florida Legislature granted Disney autonomy through Chapter 67-764 Laws of Florida. This information is also available in Chapter 163.167 Florida Statutes, and in particular, subsection 9, which grants Reedy Creek (i.e. Disney) the same powers and duties as any other Florida county or municipality. See www.state.fl.us/rcid/. The Amish never get permits or inspections of their buildings in any state, including Florida. They have a long history of maintaining their sovereign status, as do the Anabaptists. It seems like this same battle needs to be fought every generation so Caesar can be reminded where his power stops.
We are not asking for an "exemption." This would imply the state has jurisdiction. We are simply asking them to admit they have no jurisdiction over the Lord's church. As a church of the Lord Jesus Christ, we answer to a much higher authority than Escambia County. We are not lawless. We believe everyone, including the government, should obey the laws of the land unless they are in violation of God's Laws. Our buildings are safe. At our expense we hired a state licensed electrician to inspect our electrical system to insure it was safe and would meet or surpass the county's electrical codes. We think the state's electrical codes are an excellent standard to insure safety and we read and follow them. We also had two certified engineers inspect our building. They stated in writing that the building is safe. If the inspectors were truly concerned about safety, they would have accepted our invitation (extended five times) to come in their private capacity and look at our work. It!
is obvious that safety is not the issue. The real issue is one of the state controlling the Lord's church.
For nearly 2000 years, it has been the conviction of Christians that Jesus is the head of the church and the state has no jurisdiction over the Lord's church. Millions of Christians in the early centuries died rather than submit the Lord's church to Caesar. See Foxes Book of Martyrs! It has only been in the last 100 years or so that many have bowed the knee to make Caesar the head of their church. See: www.hushmoney.org or order the book, In Caesar's Grip ($15) from CSE for more. The Amish object to (and never obtain) building permits for similar religious reasons and Disneyworld in Florida never gets county permits. We are a peace loving people who simply wish to serve the Lord. We cannot ask a lower authority like the civil government for permission to do what God has called us to do. If we did, how could we object later if Caesar asked to approve our teachings or make us hire people who violate clear scriptures? Our buildings are safe and built up to or beyond the code.
We are not looking to do anything illegal. Ever since 1999, when this property was given to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have not knowingly submitted God's church to any lesser authority. Our decision to build without permits from the county was based on our understanding of the Bible and, to a lesser degree, the constitutions of the united States and the State of Florida.
The history of government trying to regulate people peacefully trying to obey God's commands is a long and bloody one. Pharaoh tried to tell Moses how, when and where he could obey God in Exodus 8:28 "And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away" (attempting to regulate): "entreat for me." Ex. 10:11 "Not so: go now ye that are men," (attempting to regulate) "and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire." Ex. 10:24 "And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed:" (attempting to regulate) "let your little ones also go with you." After much frustration to Moses and great cost to himself and his domain, in Ex. 12:31 Pharaoh finally got the message and let them go. Then he changed his mind again! (slow learner!)
Ever since Jesus established His church the civil magistrates have resented not having authority. The followers of Jesus have been persecuted, tortured, and burned by the civil magistrates to attempt to make them surrender the authority of the church to Caesar.
The disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ were constantly harassed by government officials who tried to regulate their lives as they obeyed the Lord. From Acts 4 through 28, all but 3 chapters record examples of this. We see from Acts 16 how we are to handle ourselves when this happens. In verse 19 the leaders saw they would lose money (just as county officials see permits as a source of income), so Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned. In verse 37, we see that Paul and Silas demanded a public apology from the rulers and magistrates for their illegal actions. We have filed our own suit against the county to force them to admit they have no jurisdiction, leave us alone, pay for the damages they have caused our ministry and apologize for their treatment of God's servants.
Even though most other "churches" in the county and Pensacola Christian College see nothing wrong with bowing to Caesar and asking permission of the heathen to obey God's commands we cannot and will not. Just as there are two types of churches in Russia (the state regulated church and the free church), so it is in America.
The record will show that the property at 29 Cummings Road has been built on several times in the past and the proper permits and inspections were obtained while the property was not owned by Faith Baptist Fellowship. In 1999, the entire property was given to Faith Baptist Fellowship, which is not a creation or corporation of the state of Florida or any other state. Since that time, this ministry has never asked for any permits from the state or county.
If it is the money they want for the permit fees, we are willing to give that if needed. If it is control they want, we are not permitted by our Lord to grant this.
I do not wish to be in a legal battle. I only wish to serve my Lord Jesus Christ and preserve my rights, and those of our church, as our Anabaptist forefathers fought and died to preserve for us. Some have said, "Wouldn't it be easier just to pay the $50 permit?" Ask that question to the three Hebrew children who wouldn't bow to the Babylonian idol. Read your Bible and see how much was written from jail for reasons like this. Control is the issue.
We praise God for sending us Maury Adkins to help us in the bewildering world of legalese. Please pray for him, as his health situation is not good. An old injury to his stomach in a car accident years ago has now become a cancerous hernia requiring special surgery in the next few weeks.
When 7000 of the best and brightest young men were taken captive into Babylon in Daniel's day, only three refused to bow a short time later. See Daniel 3:12. I'm sure the 6997 had good excuses for why they disobeyed the first of God's ten commandments they had been brought up with and I'm sure they thought the three not kissing the dirt that day made a bad choice, but we only know the names of those three today. They were right and the 6997 were wrong! My job is to study God's Word, try to obey it and leave the results up to God. Just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not know what would happen when they were thrown into the furnace, we do not know the outcome of our stand. Please pray that God will turn the hearts of those involved. Governor Bush is very involved in our case and may rule in our favor.
We have already spent a small fortune defending ourselves in this costly legal battle. We have no intention of ever giving in. We are convinced that we are on the side of both the Lord and the law. Brethren, pray for us. What the king does or threatens to do I cannot control. I only know I cannot bow and I pray I will not burn! The battle has been costly and we would welcome any support from those who love the Lord's work and freedom.
Please help us by praying for us and writing or calling the three men who can turn this around for us: Don Mayo (850) 595-3487 firstname.lastname@example.org, Willie Junior (850) 595-4930 email@example.com, or Governor Bush (850) 488-4441 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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