The Creativity Movement

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Founded: 
2004
Location: 
Zion, Ill.

The Creativity Movement is the latest of several incarnations of the racist group (and religion) originally known as Church of the Creator. Founded in 1973 by Ben Klassen, a one-time Florida state legislator and the inventor of the electric can opener, the movement promotes what it sees as the inherent superiority and “creativity” of the white race — about the only tenets there are (aside from an obsession with healthy foods) to its supposed “theology.”

The Creativity Movement rose from the ashes of the World Church of the Creator (WCOTC), a post-Klassen version of Church of the Creator, after WCOTC’s leader was sent to prison to serve a 40-year sentence in 2003. The logo of the group, which is concentrated in Montana, is the letter “W,” standing for the white race, topped by a crown and a halo. The crown symbolizes the claim that so-called Creators are the elite, and the halo is meant to signify that adherents “believe that our white genes are our greatest treasure and [that] we should safeguard our gene pool zealously.”

In Its Own Words

“By any yardstick, the White Race is the most creative, productive and intelligent creature Mother Nature has produced in the 2.3 billion years that it is claimed [it] has existed on this planet Earth. Strangely, however, Nature’s Finest in the last half century has become a highly endangered species, whose demise and extinction is at most only a few generations away.”
—  Prologue from Klassen’s autobiography, The Life of Ben Klassen

“We are racists because we believe in Race. We are anti-Semites because we oppose the Jews.”
— Creativity Alliance website, undated

“A CREATOR is not interested in the future or welfare of the mud races, and shuns race-mixing or any social intercourse whatsoever with the inferior mud races.”
— Creativity Movement website, undated

Background
The Creativity Movement is the latest incarnation of the Church of the Creator, which was established by Ben Klassen in 1973. Its adherents believe that race, not religion, is the embodiment of absolute truth and that the white race is the highest expression of culture and civilization. Jews and non-whites —  “mud races” — are believed to be intent on subjugating whites. By the late 1980s, increasing numbers of white supremacists were drawn to Klassen’s Nazi-like belief system, which he spelled out in a series of books, most importantly The White Man’s Bible.

 Over the years, some so-called Creators have acted on their group’s calls for RaHoWa — “racial holy war” — and been arrested and imprisoned for violent, race-based crimes. In 1992, for example, George Loeb, a Church of the Creator “reverend,” was convicted of first-degree murder in the slaying a year earlier of Harold Mansfield, Jr., an African-American Gulf War veteran, in a parking lot in Neptune Beach, Fla. Loeb was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

After Klassen committed suicide in 1993, the Church of the Creator teetered on the brink of extinction. But in 1995, Matt Hale of East Peoria, Ill., resurrected the group, changing its name to World Church of the Creator (WCOTC) in the process and giving himself the title of Pontifex Maximus, meaning “high priest.” Composed largely of racist skinheads, the Hale-led group grew from 14 chapters in 1996 to 88 by 2002, making it the neo-Nazi group with the largest number of chapters in America at that time. In 1999, the group came into the national spotlight after a key member, Benjamin Smith, went on a three-day rampage, apparently enraged that Hale had been denied his law license on moral grounds despite passing the bar exam. Smith killed an African American and a Korean American and wounded nine others. Hale initially denied knowing Smith, but he was lying. As it turned out, Hale had just months earlier named Smith the “Creator of the Year,” the group’s top honor, and, moreover, had spent many hours on the phone with him immediately before the rampage. Although Hale was never charged in connection with Smith’s murder spree (Smith killed himself as police closed in), many officials felt that he had been involved but evaded responsibility.

But Hale did finally get in serious trouble, being arrested in January 2003 during a federal court battle over the name of his group. A non-racist church in the Pacific Northwest had sued WCOTC, saying it had trademarked the name and demanding that the neo-Nazi group stop using it. Eventually, the judge hearing the copyright case ruled in the non-racist church’s behalf, which apparently infuriated Hale enough to suggest to the group’s security chief (who turned out to be a federal informant) that he murder the judge. The following year, Hale was convicted of one count of solicitation of murder and three counts of obstruction of justice and received a 40-year federal prison sentence. Once again, the church almost collapsed. What loyalists remained became the Creativity Movement (this name change was forced, of course, by the outcome of the federal trademark trial).

After Hale went to prison, the Creativity Movement was plagued by schisms and a lack of centralized leadership. A Florida leader, Adam Jacobs, appeared to take the reins as acting national boss in 2004. But the following year, Jacobs was charged with viciously beating a fellow Creator over a period of 11 hours because he suspected the other man was a snitch. One more time, the Creativity Movement nearly disappeared.

Despite this rocky start, the Creativity Movement eventually saw modest but surprising growth. The Montana Creativity Movement began doing literature drops around Montana and staged rallies in Kalispell and Bozeman in the fall of 2009. This helped the organization to reach 14 chapters in 2009, an increase of three from 2008. Eight of those chapters were in Montana, but as of 2010, the group was led by James Logsdon of Zion, Ill.

The Creativity Movement generated news in 2009 and 2010 when a Billings member, Allen Michael Goff, was charged with felony assault with a weapon and a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon after he allegedly shot a Hispanic teen in the leg after a party. Although Goff was 17 at the time, he was charged as an adult by prosecutors who said the shooting was racially motivated. They tried to introduce at trial evidence of Goff’s affiliation with the Creativity Movement, but the judge denied their request, saying the evidence didn’t show that the shooting was racially motivated.

Goff — who was named “Creator of the Year” in a Creativity Movement Internet forum in 2009 — pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge, and a jury acquitted him of the felony charge in May 2010. The following month, Goff was sentenced to six months of probation and fined $150. Two days later, he confronted Travis McAdam, executive director of the Montana Human Rights Network, who was presiding over an exhibit featuring the literature and beliefs of the Creativity Movement. Goff accused McAdam of ruining his life. “We’ve always felt he was one of the ringleaders,” McAdam told the Southern Poverty Law Center. “I think what that encounter showed everyone is that he’s going to feel more emboldened now.”

 In January 2007, a spin-off calling itself the Creativity Alliance was formed. It’s composed of individuals from Klassen and Hale’s former groups as well as new members, but has no affiliation with the Creativity Movement. Like the Creativity Movement, the Creativity Alliance views Klassen as its founder. In many other ways, however, it differs from the Creativity Movement. It has a more informal organizational structure than the older organization, with individual members expected to find at least one receptive white person to join them in the formation of a local chapter.

The Creativity Alliance claims to eschew a future racial holy war and it has a policy of “non-participation in the ‘White Power’ social scene.” It is hardly a benign organization, however. One of the articles featured on its website is a screed from 2008 by “Brother A.V.W.” In it, the author repeatedly makes slurs against “niggers” and “the hideous Jews.” He ends the piece, “White man fight! White man fight! White man fight!”