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The Creativity Movement (TCM)

A history of violence

 SPECIAL NOTE:

Please be aware that this essay is NOT written by The Creativity Movement.  If you want to write a letter to that Church, send it to PMHale1@aol.com, not to us. 

This essay is on the ReligiousTolerance.org web site, which describes many dozens of different faith groups. We feel that the public needs to learn the full range of beliefs and practices of all major religious groups in North America. This includes religions based on racial hatred and white supremacy.

The church and violence:

Their founder, Ben Klassen, wrote: "We have a non-violent religious movement. We have a comprehensive plan as to how to achieve a Whiter and Brighter World. Every step along the way is legal, constitutional and non-violent..." 1

The Creator Membership Manual says that: "any member of the Church who either commits crimes (other than unconstitutional violations of our right to freedom of speech, assembly, etc.) or encourages others to do so, will be subject to expulsion from the Church." 2 They view illegal or violent behavior as counter-productive. It subjects their own members to arrest. They feel that the public is craving for order, security and stability; people will reject any group that appears to advocate anarchy. 

Although the organization itself considers itself non-violent, some of its members have allegedly engaged in racially an religiously-inspired criminal acts:

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1991: George Loeb was arrested for the killing of Harold Mansfield Jr., an African-American military veteran in Florida. Leob was found guilty and received a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. His wife was arrested and jailed on a lesser crime. Loeb was a minister in the COTC.
 

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1994: Some COTC members in California planned two bombing sprees that were designed to attack African-American, homosexual and Jewish institutions. Police thwarted the terrorists' plans.
 

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1997: Some skinheads (neo-Nazis) were distributing TCM pamphlets at a rock concert in Florida. About 11 of them attacked a African-American man and his son. Several  members were arrested, tried and sentenced for this crime. The police classified it as a hate crime.
 

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1999-JUN/JUL: The Sacramento (CA) Bee reported on 1999-AUG-20 that two brothers are suspected in the murder of a gay couple (Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder), arson at three synagogues, and arson at an abortion clinic at the Country Club Medical Center in Sacramento CA. The two brothers are Benjamin Williams and James Matthews. The newspaper commented "Authorities also have reportedly linked the brothers to the World Church of the Creator..." 3 (This is the former name of TCM)
 

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1999-JUL-3/4: A senior TCM member, Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, went on a shooting rampage through the mid-west, killing one African-American and one Korean-American. Six orthodox Jews and three African-Americans were wounded. Smith then committed suicide. He had earlier testified at Matt Hale's law hearing. When Hale was asked what he had to say to Smith's surviving victims and the families of the people who died, he commented: "We really just don't have anything to say to them. And that's part of our church. We do not socialize with the other races." 4

In an ironic twist of logic, on his 1999-JUL-06 episode of The 700 Club Pat Robertson, predicted that this type of violence will continue into the future. "There will be many more of them." He blamed Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) for the "violence, killing, mayhem [and] hatred." His rationale was that if the ACLU, the AU, and similar groups succeed in their goal of attaining true separation of church and state in the U.S., that the public will have have no religious influence to restrain them. Robertson said that in order to minimize racial assassinations, "...we must pull together to once again reestablish the Bible as our guidebook for faith and conduct." The AU requested an immediate on-air apology for these statements. 5 

The Federal Justice Department studied whether it has the authority to investigate TCM. The FBI is severely limited in its investigative powers of groups that teach hatred, unless there is an immediate link involving conspiracy to committing violence. 
 

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1999-JUL-15: Jim Ryan, The Attorney general of Illinois asked a court to decide whether the TCM should have status as a charitable organization. Their tax payments were also reviewed.

In the 12 months following Benjamin Smith's 1999-JUL-3 shooting spree, the W.C.O.T.C. added 35 chapters and about 100 members. According to Associated Press for 2000-JUL-4, Richard Hirschhaut of the Anti-Defamation League said: "All indications point to a stronger or a better-supported organization."
 

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2002-AUG-16: Patrick John O'Sullivan, the leader of TCM in Victoria, Australia, was convicted of bashing and stabbing a man. According to evidence given in the court, he was chanting "white power" with a group of people at a house-warming in 1999-MAY. Another guest started to talk to O'Sullivan about his white supremacist views. They started to debate whether O'Sullivan can be considered a Nazi because he did not have German blood. According to the Herald Sun newspaper: "The jury found he then either butted or punched the victim in the head before stabbing him in the abdomen. The victim received a 5cm-deep (2") wound." 6
 

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2003-JAN-8: U.S. District Judge Joan H. Lefkow ruled in 2002-NOV that the W.C.O.T.C., as the TCM was then known, violated the copyright of a Christian organization in Oregon, the Church of the Creator 7 by copying their name. 8 The TCM leader, white supremacist Matt Hale, launched a lawsuit against Judge Lefkow because of her decision. The church web site blasted the judge, using anti-Semitic and racial slurs to urge its white supremacist members to "show the k--- and n----- - loving judge that the jailing of . . . Hale will not stop our Church of the Creator!" On 2003-JAN-8, Hale was arrested and accused of conspiring with another individual between 2002-NOV-29 and DEC-17 to kill Judge Lefkow. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said: "Freedom of speech does not include the freedom to solicit murder. The conduct alleged in this indictment is disturbing on many levels, but particularly so because it targeted a judge, whose sworn duty is to apply the law equally and fairly to all who appear before her." 9
 

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2005-FEB-28: Judge Joan Lefkow returned to her home to find her husband Michael Lefkow, 64, and her mother Donna Humphrey, 89, dead in her basement. They had been shot to death. The murders came one month before Matt Hale was scheduled to be sentenced for trying to have the judge killed because of her handling of the 2003-JAN trademark dispute. Authorities are investigating whether the multiple murders were a work of revenge by white supremacists. Hale said on MAR-03 that: "There is no way that any supporter of mine could commit such a heinous crime. I totally condemn it and I want the perpetrator caught and prosecuted...I only hope they sincerely wish to apprehend the animal instead of railroading the innocent. Only an idiot would think I would do this." 10 Police later determined that the mass murders were unrelated to Hale and the Creativity Movement. They suspect a man who was angry at Judge Lefkow's decision in a malpractice case. 11
 

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2005-APR-6: U.S. District Judge James Moody sentenced Matthew Hale to 40 years in jail for soliciting an undercover informant to murder Judge Lefkow. Judge Moody said that this "strikes at the very core of our system of government." 11

Conclusion:

Unless another charismatic leader surfaces in the TCM, the movement might be finished.

Although TCM professed non-violence, its white supremacist, anti-semitic, anti-gay teachings appear to have inspired some of its members to commit homicide and other serious terrorist acts. The membership will probably drift away to join other hate groups.

These are good groups to stay away from.

References:

  1. Ben Klassen, "On the Brink of a Bloody Racial War," (1993), Page 375.

  2. Rev. Matt Hale, "The Creator Membership Manual," Edition 2 (1999), Page 8

  3. "Report: Abortion fire investigation focused on brother suspects," Associated Press, 1999-AUG-20, at:  http://www.tampabayonline.net/news/news100o.htm

  4. "The hate crimes question," 1999-AUG-11, PBS NewsHour on 1999-AUG-11, at: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/july-dec99/ 

  5. Americans United press release at: http://www.au.org/pr7899.htm. See also AU spokesperson Barry Lynn's letter to Pat Robertson, at http://www.au.org/7899let.htm, and transcripts of Pat Robertson's on-air comments, at http://www.au.org/7899tr.htm

  6. Jeremy Kelly, "White supremacist guilty of knifing," Herald Sun, at: http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au

  7. According to TCM's web site at: http://www.churchofthecreator.org/,  "CHURCH OF THE CREATOR?, DIVINE RIGHT ORDER? and URI? are registered trademarks of TE-TA-MA TRUTH FOUNDATION - FAMILY OF URI? INC. ? 1977-2002. All Rights Reserved."

  8. "Supremacist disagrees with ruling, sues judge," 2002-DEC-27, Peoria Journal Star, at:  http://www.pjstar.com/news/local/

  9. Steve Warmbir & Scott Fornek, "White supremacist arrested in plot to kill judge," Chicago Sun-Times, 2003-JAN-8, at: http://www.suntimes.com/output/

  10. "Jailed white supremacist disavows slayings. 'Only an idiot would think I would do this,' Matthew Hale says," Associated Press, 2005-MAR-03.

  11. Natasha Korecki & Frnk Main, "Hale gets max: 40 years in prison," Chicago Sun Times, 2005-APR-07, at: http://www.suntimes.com/

Other Internet sites about TCM:

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The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has a brief guide to the TCM at: http://www.adl.org/special_reports/hate_on_www 

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"My fianc?wants me to be a racist!", transcript of a 1997 Jerry Springer Show featuring the TCM is at: http://www.salonmagazine.com/

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ChurchFliers.com is a web site containing TCM activism news, booklets and other materials. They also have reports on various meetings.

Copyright © 1999 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-NOV-08
Author: B.A. Robinson

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