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An Illinois Neo-Nazi Calls on the Law

Would-be lawyer and World Church of the Creator leader Matt Hale has been busy trying to get the law on his side.

Would-be lawyer and World Church of the Creator leader Matt Hale has been busy trying to get the law on his side. After being denied a law license by the Illinois Bar Association, the East Peoria neo-Nazi recently petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

His crusade to keep his group's tax-exempt religious status got a boost when a judge threw out a state suit alleging that it was really an unregistered charity. And now, Hale is promising to sue Northwestern University near Chicago if he isn't allowed to start a white supremacist group there after collecting the required signatures.

As part of that last effort, Hale and a small coterie of supporters appeared near the Northwestern campus outside Chicago in January. Meeting with 150 angry protesters, Hale was swept up in a scuffle and emerged with a bloodied lip. Riot police escorted him away under a barrage of snowballs.

Hale's appearance was seen as a stick-in-your-eye outrage at Northwestern, adding insult to the fatal injuries that one-time "Creator of the Year" Ben Smith — a longtime Hale deputy — inflicted on a former Northwestern basketball coach.

Smith also killed another man and wounded nine people, all of them Jews or other minorities, during a Fourth of July weekend rampage. Then Smith killed himself.

Ever hungry for publicity, Hale has found his World Church of the Creator (WCOTC) in the headlines in other ways, as well. Recent developments:

  • A home security salesman and WCOTC member is running in the March 21 Democratic primary for Illinois' 3rd Congressional district. R. Benedict Mayers' platform: repeal the right of blacks to vote; prohibit interracial marriages; send black prison inmates "back to Western Africa"; redraw city lines to exclude blacks from city services; and undertake an "investigation" of international Jewry.

  • Florida WCOTC leader Jules Fettu, who police say was slated to become the national group's second in command, was sentenced to five years in prison for the 1997 beating of a dark-skinned Cuban man. At least six other WCOTC Florida members have recently been convicted or pleaded guilty to charges in connection with this incident and others, including cases of armed robbery and witness tampering.

  • A spate of some 30 hate letters sent to historically black colleges, the naacp and 16 offices of the American Jewish Committee included WCOTC catchphrases: "Hail Ben Klassen," referring to the group's founder who committed suicide in 1993, and the word "RAHOWA," shorthand for the group's motto, "Racial Holy War!"