The Creativity Movement, previously known as the World Church of the Creator*, is a non-Christian white supremacist group based in Riverton, Wyoming, and is one of the most notorious hate groups of the 1990s.** They gained widespread publicity for their fast growth and associated violence. Their membership is primarily composed of young white males (many of whom are incarcerated), though they are trying to "reach out" to women and children. One notable aspect of the membership of the Creativity Movement is that they are one of the few American hate groups with international followers; they list contacts in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Poland, Russia and Switzerland.
Their highly-recognizable church symbol consists of the following three images placed on a white background. From top to bottom, they are: a halo, which represents the race is "unique and sacred above all other values"; a red and black crown to symbolize the group's elite status; and a large black letter 'W' which stands for the white race. Their flags consist of the church symbol on a blood-red background. The blood-red color symbolizes their "struggle for the survival, expansion and advancement of the White Race." A white triangle at the right side of the flag symbolizes the emergence of a "Whiter and Brighter World." Aside from the laundry-detergent-commercial-esque "A Whiter and Brighter World", their slogan is "RAHOWA" (RAcial HOly WAr).
The Roots of the Tree That Bears Bad Fruit
The Creativity Movement was founded in 1973 by Ben Klassen as the Church of the Creator*. Klassen, born in 1918 in the Ukraine and raised in Canada, was a one-time Florida state legislator. Before founding the group, Klassen was a participant in a variety of far-right causes, including the John Birch Society (which he later denounced as a "smokescreen for the Jews") and as the Florida chairman of George Wallace's 1968 presidential campaign. Klassen founded the group by publishing a book entitled Nature's Eternal Religion (1973). The book demanded that people "completely reject the Judeo-democratic-Marxist values of today and supplant them with new and basic values, of which race is the foundation". Obviously, he felt that race had transcendent meaning and embodied absolute truth.
After gaining a few converts over the next decade and distributing propaganda to the radical right, Klassen began a monthly tabloid, Racial Loyalty. Articles from Racial Loyalty were anthologized into several books. The most famous of these books is Rahowa! This Planet is All Ours (1987). In Rahowa! he declared:
"Rahowa! In this one word we sum up the total goal and program of not only the Church of the Creator, but of the total White Race, and it is this: We take up the challenge. We gird for total war against the Jews and the rest of the goddamned mud races of the world -- politically, militantly, financially, morally and religiously... We regard it as a holy war to the finish -- a racial holy war. Rahowa! is INEVITABLE. It is the Ultimate and Only solution."
With this sort of propaganda, Klassen and the group attracted white supremacists from around the world. He also attracted hard-core bigots, the activities of whom eventually led to the group's breakup. George Loeb, a reverend in the Church of the Creator, was convicted of murdering a black Gulf War veteran, Harold Mansfield Jr., and was sentenced to life with no possibility of parole for 25 years. In March 1994, Mansfield's family filed a lawsuit against the group for $1 million in damages and the dissolution of the group for "vicarious liability" in the murder.
In the short time before Klassen's death, he attempted to find a successor to lead his group. He first decided upon Rudy "Butch" Stanko (who was serving a 6-year prison sentence for selling tainted meat to public school cafeterias), changed his mind and settled upon Charles Altvater (a pizza delivery man), changed his mind again and selected Mark Wilson (a.k.a. Brandon O'Rourke, a Milwaukee skinhead leader). After Wilson ran the group for six months, Klassen decided he was too reckless to control, and replaced him with Richard McCarty (a telemarketer). Klassen committed suicide on Aug. 6, 1993, at 75, by swallowing four bottles of sleeping pills.
Under McCarty's poor leadership and following a series of extremely violent crimes related to the group, the Church of the Creator floundered. Then the lawsuit from Mansfield's family, aided by the Southern Poverty Law Center, was brought to court and the group was found guilty. The Church of the Creator was dissolved.
However, in 1996, a young and ambitious white supremacist neo-Nazi named Max Hale resurrected the dissolved group, renaming it the "World Church of the Creator". Hale had been an avid white supremacist and was fascinated with Nazism since the age of 12, when he read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and Hitler's Mein Kampf. After participating in a variety of racist organizations through his adolescence and through college, he was anointed "Pontificus Maximus" ("highest priest") of the World Church of the Creator.
Hale is currently serving time in prison, for conspiring to murder the federal judge who convicted the group of trademark infringement.* Though he has a degree in law and has passed the bar exams, Illinois has denied him a license to practice law because of his radical and racist views. The group's activities are currently being led by the "Hasta Primus", Thomas Kroenke, from their headquarters in Wyoming.
The Creativity Movement is not a "church" in the conventional sense of the term; they do not believe in God, spirits, heaven, hell, or any sort of afterlife. They do not believe in life after death; the afterlife is "a fantasy," though they do not use the word "atheist" for themselves. The group remains agnostic on the beginning of the universe and world. Their only religious belief is in the superiority of the white race. They believe the white race to be the "nature's highest creation" and maintain that "white people are the creators of all worthwhile culture and civilization." Therefore, individual members are known as "creators". Their slogan, "RAHOWA", derived from "RAcial HOly WAr", illustrates their belief in the necessity of ethnic cleansing, to protect the white race from what they see as huge conspiracies against them.
The Creativity Movement hates Jews, Christians (though they don't mention it as often, because they are attempting to court disaffected young white Christian males in particular), homosexuals, Asians, African-Americans and other persons of color. They call Jews and nonwhites "mud races" and consider them the "natural enemies" of the white race.
The group reviles both Christians and Jews. According to the group, Christians are a violent religion, having killed 1000 fellow Christians for every Christian killed by a Roman; they deny Jesus' very existence, citing a lack of evidence; the group believes that one's enemies should be hated, not loved; and they reject the Christian "Golden Rule". The Creativity Movement expresses their "Golden Rule" as, "What is good for the White Race is the highest virtue; what is bad for the White Race is the ultimate sin." Their anti-Semitic beliefs include the idea that Jews started World War II and that the Holocaust never occurred. According to the group, a massive Jewish conspiracy exists: the Jews control the United States federal government (which they call the J.O.G. -- "Jewish Occupied Government") and the United Nations.
Reach Out and Harm Someone
The Creativity Movement is actively recruiting members, and are attempting to win converts beyond the standard young white male neo-Nazi demographic. Many members are also incarcerated: approximately 30 percent of the U.S. contacts are prisoners, many of whom committed violent crimes. Through the distribution of massive amounts of propaganda pamphlets, the proliferation of Creativity Movement-associated web sites, newsletters, books, magazines, a cable show--"White Revolution"--which aired on public-access in three states, and public meetings.
Going a step further than most hate groups, the Creativity Movement makes an effort to reach out to women. Two women's groups exist (The Women's Frontier, and The Sisterhood of the World Church of the Creator), each with its own newsletter and web site. Of course, the WTOTC does not consider men and women to be equal, but women are allowed to become leaders in the group.
The Creativity Movement also targets children. Their WCOTC Kids! web site (subtitle: "Creativity for Children") makes it fun and easy to learn blind hatred by utilizing "games and stories and stuff" instead of going in-depth about the group's racist beliefs. For example, crossword puzzle clues include: "The _____ are the deadliest enemies of the White Race" and "_____ was the greatest White Leader that ever lived". The answers, "Jews" and "Hitler" are provided on a separate page.
Much of the Creativity Movement's propaganda is through print. Their "Holy Books of Creativity" include Nature's Eternal Religion (Klassen, 1973), The White Man's Bible (Klassen, 1981), Salubrious Living (Arnold DeVries & Klassen, 1982), On the Brink of a Bloody Racial War (Klassen, 1993), and other works by Klassen. The group publishes a monthly periodical, The Struggle.
Their ultimate goal is world domination by the white race by any means necessary.
"We of the CHURCH OF THE CREATOR are not hypocrites. We openly state that some people need killing, that killing has always been with us and will always be with us... Killing our enemies, too, is under certain circumstances a necessary measure for the survival of our own race. Therefore we condone it, and it, too, is no sin in our religion."
-- Ben Klassen, The White Man's Bible (1981)
* The Creativity Movement was sued by an unrelated Christian organization, the Oregon-based Te-Ta-Ma Truth Foundation (their self-proclaimed goal is "the family unification of mankind") for the use of the name "World Church of the Creator", which infringed on the foundation's trademark, "Church of the Creator".
"U.S. District Judge Joan H. Lefkow ruled in 2002-NOV that the TCM violated the copyright of a Christian organization in Oregon, the Church of the Creator by copying their name. The TCM leader, white supremacist Matt Hale, is suing Judge Lefkow because of her decision. On 2003-JAN-8, Hale was arrested and accused of conspiring to kill Judge Lefkow. Judge Lefkow ruled on 2003-APR-24 that the TCM had failed stop using the name World Church of the Creator and should be fined $1,000 a day until it complies."
The official website of the Church of the Creator is at: http://www.churchofthecreator.org/
Though I don't think I particularly need to say it, I do not, in any way, support or condone white supremacists or other hate groups. I do, however, think that the best way to fight back against the spread of these hate groups is to be educated about them, especially in my hometown. The battle is for your mind.