Hi and welcome back! The other day, we took an introductory look at a relic of Creationism’s heyday: Kent Hovind, who styles himself ‘Dr. Dino.’ Hovind got arrested right at the end of July on domestic violence charges against his newly-estranged third wife. He also didn’t respond well to her decision to end their relationship. Indeed, his behavior lately reveals that he suffers from some major problems with anger and control-lust. Today, I want to show you how Kent Hovind has responded to these events — and what they tell us about his breathtaking hypocrisy.
Quick Biographical Note on Kent Hovind and His Many Wives.
As we often find with fundagelical leaders, Kent Hovind has been a very busy boy with regard to wives and marriages. Remember Kim Davis, the bigoted county clerk? She might have the only messier matrimonial career than Kent Hovind does.
Kent Hovind was married to Jo Hovind from 1973-2016. The marriage dissolved after he got out of prison for fraud and tax evasion. I’ve seen rumors that he manipulated her into leaving him. See, he’d set his sights on someone new, which makes sense. His next relationship began with lightning speed.
Mary Tocco, wife #2, is a high-level anti-vaxxer. She married him in 2016 and quickly dumped him in 2017 out of fears of getting caught up in his sleazy business endeavors. In 2018, Tocco spoke out publicly on the reasons behind the breakup. Because her ex is an ultra-authoritarian who just can’t NOT respond to any and all challenges to his power, he replied.
Very quickly after the breakup with Mary Tocco, Hovind moved in on Tocco’s friend Cindi Lincoln. They claim to have gotten married in July 2018.
This past February 2021, Hovind watchdog Robert Baty revealed that Lincoln was no longer in the picture. Predictably, Hovind may have moved in on a fourth woman. He refers to her as “Debbie.”
As we’ll discuss shortly here, I don’t think Kent Hovind was ever legally married to Lincoln — or to “Debbie,” for that matter. He might not even be legally divorced yet from Tocco. That may be why Wikipedia has deleted his marriage info.
Kent Hovind, Arrested Again.
Now that that’s out of the way:
Gosh, Kent Hovind just can’t keep out of trouble, can he? Religion News Service brought us the story just a few days ago: He got arrested for domestic assault against his newly-estranged third wife, Cindi Lincoln.
As we saw just the other day, Hovind — like all other hardline Christians ever — finds ways around all the commands that Jesus supposedly gave his followers. He’s never met a divine command in the Bible that he actually cared about following. They’re all boring to him. And that attitude particularly includes his Lord’s orders against divorce, unapproved nookie, and remarriage. So yes, he’s on his third wife and then some by now.
It’s entirely possible that his 3rd marriage is what fundagelicals call a spiritual marriage. And no, I don’t mean that the spouses themselves are spirits! This phrase just means they’re not legally married. They’re just cohabiting. But they had a religious ceremony sorta like a wedding, so they think that clears them in Jesus’ eyes.
Of course, my first pastor would have disagreed. Then, he’d have tanned the hides of the Christians who said that. A lot of evangelical leaders mightily disapprove of spiritual marriage. Luckily, the law in that state still considers assault on a cohabiting partner to be a serious crime. Thus, Kent Hovind got arrested — and hit with a protective order.
The Alleged Crimes of Kent Hovind.
This arrest warrant accuses Kent Hovind of throwing Cindi Lincoln to the ground back in October.
Friendly Atheist provided the legal paperwork in readable size, along with a disturbing recording Kent Hovind inexplicably released. On it, he has a vicious fight with Cindi Lincoln. He thought it would completely exonerate him of accusations of physical abuse, I guess.
(By the way, in that recording we hear a truly sterling example of the sweet love of a TRUE CHRISTIAN™ marriage. Wow, this reminds me of fights with my Evil Ex Biff. We’ll talk about why in a minute. It seriously sounds like Hovind clocks her around 2 minutes in. Also, the recording features a lot of screaming, profanity, and name-calling. Be aware, please:)
In addition to the abuse accusation, Lincoln filled out a form asking for judge to issue her a protective order against Hovind. She accuses him of sending an associate to her door to threaten her with a gun in January, possessing guns as a convicted felon, trespassing on her rental property and conspiring to damage the place, and defaming and slandering her. On the order request, she wrote that she “fear[s] he will kill me to shut me up.”
The judge rescheduled Lincoln’s request for protection. She and her legal team must still establish that she was legally married to Hovind. Otherwise, she can’t use that kind of protection order. Also, the judge might decide that the threat occurred too long ago.
But the accusations are out there now.
The Galaxy-Brained Response of Kent Hovind to the Arrest and Protective Order Accusations.
As I mentioned earlier, Kent Hovind is quite the authoritarian. He just can’t not respond to any and all challenges to his power. He’s completely incapable of just walking away from any kind of fight. (So much for turning the other cheek, eh?)
Instead of wisely staying out of a potential legal problem-and-a-half, he went another way. He decided it’d be a great idea to talk about the whole situation on a YouTube stream:
I’m not about to ask anybody to sit through a 40-minute video of this belligerent wingnut pounding his chest, lying for Jesus, and screeching about how awful reality is for not bending to his will. So I’ll recap the relevant bits here:
- 1:06. He screeches about mudslinging, declaring that he is the pig that loves it when people sling mud at him. Then he hints darkly about “right now there’s some people slinging mud at me.” He knows this because reporters are calling him to ask about his recent arrest.
- 1:22. He claims that he banned two men, Mark and Aaron, from his property. I’m assuming this is his weird Creationism compound in Alabama, which contains a huge Jonestown-style cult full of fundagelicals who serve him — including a lot of unmarried young women [see also: this earlier video, 3:48, where he says he needs “12 single women” for his bachelors]. He blames one of these two banished men for stirring up trouble against him.
- 1:50. He relates his legal situation to the Apostle Paul getting unjustly thrown into prison in Acts 16.
- 2.23. He keeps jabbering “guilty till proven innocent” over and over again throughout this section.
- 2:36. He insists that “we’re going to come out squeaky clean; there’s nothing to be concerned about.”
- 3:02. The charges. He claims Cindi Lincoln “told her son to lie to the police or she was going to beat him up.” This alleged lie got Hovind “kicked out of my house for three months, just for a false accusation.” More jabbering of his favorite catchphrase. He keeps going on and on about how meeeeeean America is to arrest TRUE CHRISTIAN™ men like himself with no evidence at all.
- 5.26. Gosh, he even got convicted of fraud without testifying at all in court! SEE? SEE?!?
- 7:03. Repeats that weird thing about being “squeaky clean.”
- 7:35. Denies having paid bond at all. Someone thought he’d paid a $1000 bond, but he said no. Then jokes smarmily: maybe the court system will be paying him a grand for his trouble. It is painful.
- 7:50. Compares himself to Jesus facing his accusers.
Then Kent Hovind finally gets into science denialism, which is what that show is supposed to be about in the first place.
What Kent Hovind Didn’t Say.
I now want us to look back at what Kent Hovind has said about the arrest and accusations against him. And I want us to consider what he never said even once.
Here are all the on-record responses I could find of his regarding his arrest and Cindi Lincoln’s accusations against him:
Reached by telephone, Hovind, who is out on bail, told Religion News Service he could not comment in detail on the arrest, saying the matter would be resolved in court and that there was “nothing to it.” [. . .] In a video posted after his July arrest, Hovind asked supporters to pray God would protect the ministry from outside threats. “Lord, build a hedge of protection around us as we’re being attacked,” he prayed. [Source]
“Guilty till proven innocent, so we’ve got to wash the [slung] mud off just real quick here tonight. We’re going to come out squeaky clean. There’s nothing to be concerned about.” [Source, 2:30]
“It’s going to be fine. It’s going to be fine, okay? I’m squeaky clean.” [Source, 7:03]
When I realized that I could find no evidence at all that he’d ever denied harming his ex or threatening her, it was like a thunderbolt echoing through my whole body.
That is exactly how my Evil Ex Biff used to talk when he wanted sympathy from people without flat-out lying about what he’d done wrong.
How Narcissists Handle Accusations of Wrongdoing.
My ex shared a lot of traits in common with Kent Hovind. In particular, he was a complete black hole of egocentric narcissism and an authoritarian who couldn’t just not respond to accusations and challenges. And here’s how Biff handled the frequent accusations of wrongdoing leveled against him:
He’d complain about feeling very hard-done-by. And I’m sure he really did feel like sudden outside scrutiny was very unfair and mean. Everything he did was perfect in his own eyes, and it bothered him enormously that others might not agree.
He’d blame his accuser of being mean to him for no reason at all — or of being jealous of his awesomeness somehow. Likewise, I’m sure he really did feel so entitled to mistreat others that he felt it was extremely mean of them to push back in any way against him. He also thought that if he could just negate the accuser enough, that took care of the accusation.
He’d whine about how unfair it was that people considered those accused of wrongdoing already proven guilty without him giving his side of the story. This meant two things: first, that he thought his input would significantly diminish the accusation to match his own low estimation of it, and second, that he thought his bluster and persuasive wiles could overcome whatever goods his accuser might have on him.
And he’d insist that nobody could or would ever prove anything against him. That just meant he thought he’d covered his tracks enough to evade justice.
In Biff’s eyes, nothing he was saying was a direct lie. He wasn’t saying he hadn’t done the stuff people accused him of doing. Instead, he was making some complaints about how he felt and allowing his audience to think he was innocent.
And Suddenly, This Sudden Episode of Weird Passivity.
Burn me once, shame on whoever did it. After Biff burned me a whole bunch of times, though, I learned eventually not to trust anything a narcissist says — and to zero in quickly when they’re not saying something very important.
I mean, even if Kent Hovind outright said that his ex’s accusations against him aren’t true, I’d still have trouble believing it. He’s always seemed to me to be a typical evangelical man with anger-management issues. In his “Whack an Atheist” video series, he delights in violently hammering away at effigies of atheists. He delights in the fantasies he conjures up of his enemies getting what he thinks should be coming to them. He’s basically one of the most arrogant, prideful, and downright combative evangelical leaders I’ve ever encountered.
But he seems to have pointedly avoided saying he never laid a hand on Cindi Lincoln. When I noticed that, it got my attention in a major way.
And, too, that audio recording was something I’d have expected Biff to have done — controlled his temper to try to seem like the sane, clear-headed person in the argument, then deliberately goaded me into a rage blackout like Hovind did his ex so he could get this strikingly different argument on a recording. You can even hear Lincoln figuring out immediately that he has in fact been recording their argument — and I wonder if she realized it because he was acting so different from usual.
Because, as awful as he does behave during that recording, Kent Hovind probably was acting downright weird during that fight.
Jesus Doesn’t Change Anybody: Kent Hovind Edition.
I’ve known for many, many years — since I was fundamentalist, even — that Jesus does not, in fact, change any of his followers through magic.
In fact, I’ve come to realize since deconversion that people tend to sort themselves into the flavors of Christianity that give them permission to act the way they like best and that feed their needs the most effectively. As much as their leaders might hate this truth, Christians are above all consumers of religious culture. They shop for what flavor will suit themselves best, and they do so in the same religious marketplace as everyone else.
That’s not always bad. Some people really do want to serve humanity and make the world a better place, and they label their altruism and kindness as the love of Jesus. Other people ache for divine levels of correctness, or for unconditional love, protection, comfort, and security. Good people try to do their best in whatever flavor of whatever religion they end up in.
Terrible people operate in the same way, unfortunately. And lots and lots of flavors of Christianity appeal to them for the very worst reasons imaginable. Biff was a frustrated, control-hungry narcissist. In Pentecostalism, he found the perfect way to achieve the kind of unilateral, unquestioned power he ached to wield.
Kent Hovind sorted himself into the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) flavor for similar reasons, I’m sure.
Jesus Doesn’t Change Christianity, Either.
As a group, fundagelical men tend to be angry, controlling, and entitled. And fundagelical culture allows them to act like that. In fact, it often rewards them for doing it, if they play their cards right. And on those rare occasions when accountability and repercussions creep too close to one of them, they have lots of ways of handling that, too.
None of this stuff requires a god. And because no gods are involved in Christianity, nothing will change within it until someone forces it to change.
Since that won’t happen any time soon, Kent Hovind won’t stop doing all the awful stuff he does until very real people make him stop — preferably with another lengthy sentence for this convicted felon.
NEXT UP: How evangelicals try to corral and control forbidden emotions like anger — and how and why these attempts fail.
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