World Church of the Creator Leader Matt Hale Builds National Presence

Picnic at the Coliseum
Indeed, quite apart from hatred of Jews, blacks, gays and many others, WCOTC frowns upon drug use of any kind, even legal drugs. (Klassen wrote often of the merits of "salubrious living" — eating uncooked organic foods and abstaining from the use of drugs, alcohol, medicines, vitamins or refined sugar.)

Members are exhorted to follow the "16 Commandments," which are often read at Creativity Sunday "services." These services amount to group readings of the commandments (including a reminder that "the inferior colored races are our deadly enemies"), the 18 precepts of "what we believe" and the five "fundamental beliefs of Creativity," along with a "sermon" drawn from Klassen's writings.

But in truth, Creativity can be summed up in a single sentence: Whites are the creators of civilization, and all others are its destroyers. Creativity reviles Christianity as a Jewish plot and is essentially atheistic, seeing God as a phantom "super-spook."

Klassen's writings often were explicit in their encouragement of racial violence. In his magazine, Racial Loyalty, examples of racial violence were offered and members were encouraged to emulate them.

Klassen even rated racial violence according to the "Enemy Toll Effectiveness Factor" (E.T.E.F.) — the ratio of white supremacist lives lost to the total number of lives taken by each violent act. The lower the ratio, the better the act.

"Creators" revere ancient Rome as the chief example of white greatness — a fascination that is reflected in the titles, like Pontifex Maximus, of the group's leaders. In the words of Klassen, whose writings are treated by members as the Holy Writ, Rome "reached dazzling heights of accomplishment because of the excellency of her racial stock."

Reading through Klassen's materials, it's easy to picture the ideal Creativity outing: a day at the Coliseum, watching Christians, Jews and others being thrown to the lions.

Supporting Sociopaths
Today, WCOTC suffers from internal divisions related more to its youthful membership than to the collapse of the Roman empire.

On one side are the "rockers," mainly racist Skinheads fascinated with racist and other rock music. On the other are the classicists, of whom Hale — who plays classical violin — is clearly one.

As ludicrous as it may sound, in the youth-oriented world of WCOTC these are important matters. Some have joked that what Klassen didn't wreck, Hale will — with his violin.

Despite that, this is a group that has left a trail of blood across America for much of its 26-year life. In the case of Smith, Hale provided a home — a group that justified and condoned Smith's violent attitudes, along with providing him with a ready-made set of friends.

Similarly, after two men in California were arrested in late July in connection with the murder of two gay men (see Odyssey of Hate), authorities found that they possessed WCOTC literature. Although it's highly unlikely that they were members — their philosophy was clearly distinct from Creativity — WCOTC's materials provided moral support.

In the past, the organization has suffered with leaders who have not always effectively promoted their cause. Although Klassen, unlike Hale, did have contacts with other key racist leaders, he was something of a loner who was letting the group fall into disarray well before his death.

One of his would-be heirs was a pizza delivery man, and another, Richard "Rick" McCarty, was principally an entrepreneur who hoped to turn WCOTC into a moneymaker (he embarrassed many members with his lukewarm racism).

It remains to be seen whether Matt Hale, a man who counts his successes in newspaper clippings, can do better. He has managed to revitalize an organization that in 1995 had virtually disappeared, bringing the number of chapters it counted from 14 in 1996 to 46 at the end of 1998 — far more than Klassen ever had.

Although the group is small in absolute numbers, that may not be the most important measure of its danger. It doesn't take many Ben Smiths to leave a trail of bloody carnage, broken lives and smashed dreams.