Appleton Wisconsin is a small city, about half an hour South of Green Bay, almost two hours North of Milwaukee. It is a relatively peaceful community in the Fox River Valley. So, it was unusual to have a case of felony property fraud in Winnebago County, the first in over five years. Even more surprising is Erik Hudson's planned defense of religious rights to the property he stole. The counterfeit property transfer is best explained by the Northwestern.
The document, in which Appleton resident Erik Hudson claimed to transfer ownership of property at 312 E. Cecil St. to the Moorish Science Temple of America, also contained pages outlining the religious beliefs of the temple, which is based in Washington, D.C..
That aroused suspicion, which led to the discovery that Anchor Bank had purchased the property in a January 2011 sheriff's auction and Hudson had no legal claim to it.
Hudson, who also uses the name Kabir Karim Bey, was charged in October with criminal slander of title, which carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison and a $10,000 fine. In its criminal complaint, the state of Wisconsin claims that the deed Hudson filled out is "false, a sham, and frivolous."
After filing the bogus deed, Hudson began to rent the property to a Neenah woman, according to Winnebago County Circuit Court records.
Court documents filed in October state that Hudson, who claims to be a representative of the Moorish Science Temple of America, "admitted he had filed the document, and had various unusual political and legal theories that he believed supported his conduct."
Among these theories is Hudson's belief that "the Americas" are under possession of the Moorish Science Temple of America and that the church has lawful authority to exercise this jurisdiction through its members, including missionaries, Grand Sheikhs and sheikesses.If one truly believes that religious law must supersede American law, then Mr. Hudson, Sheik Bey, must prevail. One must ask to what degree religious liberty warrants protection from the government. The First Amendment could be interpreted to mean that Winnebago County and the State of Wisconsin should not interfere with the Moorish Science Temple of America.
Or we could come to our senses and respect religion under law, and not the other way around.
6 February 2012: Original Pedantic Political Ponderings post.
28 February 2012: FollowUp 1.