Nothing too strange there, just another day in Ron Paul's America.
However, this story leads down paths that are far, far weirder.
Snipes, according to the Times, has had an 'association' with a group called the 'Nuwaubians', which it describes as 'a quasi-religious sect of black Americans who promote antigovernment theories and who set up a headquarters in Georgia in the early 1990s.' (The 'association' allegedly extends to Mr. Snipes having sought a permit to build 'a federal permit for a military training compound on land next to the Nuwaubian camp' in 2000.)
That rather bland summary was interesting enough to make me want to know a little more about this curious-sounding corner of American madness.
I wasn't disappointed: a quick check at Wikipedia brought up a description of the Nuwaubians that is so dense with esoteric weirdness that I thought I might present it complete and with all of its very helpful references intact:
Nuwaubianism borrows from a wide range of sources which include Theosophy-derived New Age movements such as Astara as well as the Rosicrucians, Freemasonry, the Shriners, the Moorish Science Temple of America, the revisionist Christianity and Islam of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the numerology of Rashad Khalifa, the ancient astronaut theories of Zecharia Sitchin, the works of Richard Shaver (a proponent of the Hollow Earth theory), David Icke, the UFO mythology of greys and reptilians, the political and legal theories of patriot mythology, modern scientific and pseudoscientific legends like those of Area 51, the Philadelphia Experiment, Project Blue Book, Montauk Project, and MJ-12, popular conspiracy theories such as those about the Illuminati or the Bilderberg Group, and even a paperback on fortune-telling.
A 'wide-range of sources' indeed.
Along with some intriguing racial theories (Caucasians, in one myth, were 'originally created as a race of killers to serve blacks as a slave army'), the movement believes that Saturn is not a planet and that the Earth is hollow.
And...Yoda is apparently part of their cosmology.
According to the Wikipedia entry, the founder of this charming movement is apparently Dwight York, though his most common alias appears to be 'Dr. Malachai Z. York'. He has, however, also been known by dozens of other names. Many of them are very creative, such as 'Imperial Grand Potentate Noble: Rev. Dr. Malachi Z. York 33°/720°' or 'Chief Black Thunderbird Eagle'.
It also turns out that Mr. York (or whatever) is currently serving time in a maximum security prison after being convicted of multiple child molestation counts. He's due for release in 2119.
For Oxford American, A. Scott narrates his photographic slideshow of the Nuwaubian's (now mostly demolished) ancient-Egyptian-themed 'Tama Re' compound in Putnam County, Georgia (and he refers--among other things--to a ceremony involving 'hundreds of men in red fezzes who were parading around one of the huge pyramids '.)
An earlier story on Snipes, 'tax resistance' and the Nuwaubians appeared in December in Radar magazine.
And if you're wondering, it seems that Nuwaubians, as a rule, vote Republican.