KenMar Shopping Center, Funded by Righteousness


Can the Lord’s work be funded by taxation? If you’re Reverend Kevass Harding, the answer is sure, why not? He might even think it’s his calling.

Never mind that at its fundamental level, taxation takes money from one person against their will and gives it to another.

Sure, some people will argue that taxes are “the price we pay for civilization” or something like that. Or they will say that since we all benefit from, say, police and fire protection, we all have to pay taxes.

Even if true, these rationalizations are a long way from using taxation to support private real estate development. At least these arguments don’t invoke the name of Jesus. But Harding does in order to accomplish through government, in the form of tax increment financing, what he couldn’t through voluntary action. Is this what Jesus would do?

The Wichita Eagle story KenMar part of pastor’s work in neighborhood tells us of Harding’s belief that “he is doing the Lord’s work, in part, in renovating the run-down KenMar Shopping Center at 13th and Oliver.”

The story also states “The project is a private, for-profit venture, he said, but it springs in part from his spiritual vocation.”

This taking of money, shrouded in morality and spirituality, is even more egregious than most. High atop his moral high horse, Harding believes he is doing good for the community. For the entire city, I’m sure he believes.

Here’s something from another man of religion, C.S. Lewis, reminding us about moral busybodies: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”


7 responses to “KenMar Shopping Center, Funded by Righteousness”

  1. Cybex

    The Wichita Eagle story about Rev. Harding’s altruistic motives made me barfed. He is making money while the going gets good. Oh yes, the children!

  2. Wichitator

    In the immortal words of that Tammany Hall politician, George Washington Plunkitt, “I seen my opportunities and I took ’em.”

    Mr. Plunkitt became a very rich 19th century version of what the 21st century’s Rev. Harding is now becoming. Government is a great way to enrich a certain segment of your community.

  3. ken

    I don’t have a problem with Harding being a front man for the real investors ie Key Construction and the developer. But for him to espouse this as part of his spiritual vocation is just plain BS. What would convince me of his motive would be if he planned on donating the money he makes back to his church.

  4. Rothbard

    Thou shall not steal.

    At the most basic level, taxation is theft; pay up or go to jail. The reverend should take another look at the Bible and get his spiritual house in order.

  5. Pat

    From Romans, Chapter 13 – 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

  6. Lynette

    If to revitalize the community is the goal, then why do everything you can to take away the businesses that have been in this community for over 20 years. what ever vision these people have they include their financial gain and not the interest of this community.

  7. wanda

    Kevass Harding should be ashamed of himself!! Allowing others to play him like a puppet just so he doesn’t have to pay to rent parking space on the kenmar property for his members. Why not build your own parking lot? with 800 members (lol) surely you can afford it! Oh but those are members in name—not attendance.

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