Meet the Wingnut’s Wingnuts

Meet the Wingnut’s Wingnuts January 2, 2013

If you thought the Tea Partiers were loony, wait till you meet the sovereign citizen movement. Winston Ross has a profile of these nutters, who count among their members, or at least sympathizers, imprisoned young earth creationist Kent Hovind and his former attorney, Glen Stoll. Their home base is the Embassy of Heaven church in Oregon, led by a pastor who calls himself Paul Revere.

His name is Craig Douglas Fleshman, though he won’t answer to that, just as he no longer carries a driver’s license or pays taxes. Pastor Paul Revere doesn’t recognize the authority of the State of Oregon, the United States of America, or anyone else that presumes to have some command over him. He answers only to God.

“We believe there’s only one sovereign,” Revere told The Daily Beast. “And it isn’t us. Jesus said to render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and render to God that which is God’s.”…

They are “sovereign citizens,” inspired by any number of complicated and cockamamie theories that all draw the same conclusion: we are not subject to your “laws.” And they are becoming an increasing headache for cops, public defenders, prosecutors, bailiffs, and judges all over the U.S., because when they inevitably land in court for driving without a license or failing to pay taxes, they clog up the system with reams of nonsensical paperwork. Their obfuscatory filings are so inundating that harried prosecutors often drop the charges against them—a victory for the sovereigns’ otherwise quixotic cause.

Members of this group refuse to get driver’s licenses or any other documentation from the government, instead carrying meaningless ID cards declaring themselves to be citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. They also refuse to buy car insurance. Their attorney is Glen Stoll, who used to represent Kent Hovind. It was on that basis that Hovind refused to pay taxes, claiming that all of his income belonged to God and the federal government had no authority over him. He’s currently finding out otherwise in a federal prison.

Browse Our Archives