Embassy of Heaven

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The Embassy of Heaven is a Christian based organization based in Stayton, Oregon that seeks to separate from secular government. Its members profess themselves to be literal citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven and reject any ties to what they refer to as "worldly governments". The organization issues its own identity documents (including passports and drivers licenses), business licenses, motor vehicle title certificates and license plates. The group's leader is Craig Douglas Fleshman, a former Oregon state computer systems analyst who goes by the name "Pastor Paul Revere."

The Anti-Defamation League has identified the Embassy of Heaven group as being part of the sovereign citizen movement.[1] Federal authorities have asserted that the organization is set up to avoid paying taxes. Though its leaders refer to themselves as lawyers, none has any education in law nor have they passed the Bar exam.[2] The organization has run afoul of tax codes because it does not recognize the authority of the United States. In 1997, Sheriff's Deputies raided the group's property and seized it for non-payment of taxes. Pastor Revere insisted the taxes were not owed because the property was "a separate nation".[3] Several members have been arrested for driving cars with "Kingdom of Heaven" license plates and showing similar driver's licenses to law enforcement officers.[4][5][6]

In 2012, Minnesota state insurance regulators ordered the Embassy of Heaven Church to stop making what the regulators called misrepresentations, using the name "Mutual Assurance," in connection with the sale of insurance in Minnesota. The regulators asserted that a type of auto insurance promoted by the group is bogus, and that the group had no license to sell insurance in Minnesota. Embassy of Heaven spokesman Paul Revere responded, asserting that the group does not sell insurance. Revere was also quoted as saying, "We don't operate in Minnesota.... We operate in the Kingdom of Heaven."[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sovereign Citizen Movement," Anti-Defamation League, at [1].
  2. ^ Heckman, Candace (2005-02-17). "Two Snohomish County men accused of anti-tax scheme". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2007-02-04. 
  3. ^ Embassy of Heaven evicted in tax case
  4. ^ Licensed By Heaven
  5. ^ Going to Jail - First Police Encounter
  6. ^ Orland, Calif.
  7. ^ Jennifer Bjorhus, "State: Embassy of Heaven 'insurance' is far from divine," Oct. 10, 2012, Minneapolis Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minn.), at [2].

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