Microsoft word - 3cf68827-0a9b-7846.doc

The New Holy War
By John Lyman
This article appeared in the April 18th, 2002 issue of Tacoma Reporter Newspaper Cover photo: Matthew Hale, leader of the World Church Of The Creator The New Holy War
By John Lyman
This article was previously published and appeared in the Tacoma Reporter newspaper. Contents of this article are
copyrighted and the property of John Lyman. This article may not be reproduced for public distribution without prior
The growth that our region experienced in the 1980’s and early 1990’s was a modern day
version of the California gold rush. In the Puget Sound region there were new
businesses, new jobs, new lifestyles, new coffee and new neighbors. But along with the
good came the bad and the ugly. We discovered that some of our new neighbors were
not the kind of people we’d want to go to Starbucks with. They wore white sheets over
their heads and burned crosses. They attacked our neighbors who were not white. The
Pacific Northwest had become a hotbed of hate. But recently after the Aryan Nations
compound in Idaho was closed and torn down, we began to breathe a sigh of relief. A
recent headline on page C2 of the Vancouver, Washington Columbian newspaper was a
sign of healing that residents of the pacific northwest wanted for so long: “Rights
Advocates Cheer As Hate Groups Leave The Northwest.” The article suggested that
many of the people involved in white supremacy groups in the northwest had either left
or gone to jail and the number of groups was either shrinking or at least was not growing.
But the truth is, white supremacy groups have not left the Pacific Northwest. They’re
still around, and they’re closer than you think. Organized white supremacy groups have
settled in the Puget Sound area and they’ve got big plans. If you’re not a member in their
ranks, you should be concerned because they’ve declared war on you-even if you’re
white. It’s a new kind of war-a “racial holy war.”
Mental images of white supremacists depict someone wearing a white robe and white
hood, riding on a horse. Yesterday’s racists were spooky looking and gathered in the
dark of night to burn a cross. It’s not disputed that yesterday’s racists were a threat to
society, but today’s hate mongers are more dangerous than their predecessors because
they don’t stand out in a crowd. They’ve learned to blend in and become a sort of
chameleon of the hate species. They look just like you and I and they word their beliefs
to not only make themselves look tame, but also to gain acceptance and sympathy from
the public.
Picture a young man with dark, neatly trimmed hair. He’s clean shaven and is often seen
with a white shirt and a powder blue tie. He doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke and doesn’t do
drugs of any kind. He won’t even take an aspirin. He looks like the kind of young man
who would have shown up on an episode of Leave It To Beaver, or might even belong to
a church in your neighborhood. He doesn’t belong to your neighborhood church, but he’s
starting churches in your neighborhood and many others around the world. His name is
Matthew Hale. He’s the Pontifex Maximus (supreme leader) of the World Church of the
Creator-possibly the fastest growing white supremacy group in the United States since
the Ku Klux Klan. World Church of the Creator’s teachings stem from the idea that the
white race is the only race meant to be living on this earth.
Although teachings try to separate WTOTC from Nazi-ism and Adolph Hitler, a thorough study of the teachings show that the only difference between Matt Hale and Adolph Hitler is that Hale doesn’t wear a mustache. WTCOTC’s name is somewhat deceiving, since Hale and his predecessors have taught that the Christian church as a whole is “a Jew-spawned deadly mind poison.” Hale has called his followers to take part in what he calls “RAHOWA,” or racial holy war. The subjects of this declaration include anyone who is not white, as well as whites who oppose their beliefs. As WCOTC’s teachings and history show, they mean business. WTCOTC was formed under the original name Church of the Creator in 1973 by Ben Klassen, a one-time Florida state legislator born in the Ukraine and raised in Canada. For almost a decade before establishing the group, Klassen drifted among far-right causes, first as a member of the John Birch Society and later as Florida chairman of George Wallace's 1968 independent presidential campaign. In 1973, Klassen formed the COTC with the publication of a book entitled Nature's Eternal Religion. The book was a call to "completely reject the Judeo-democratic-Marxist values of today and supplant them with new and basic values, of which race is the foundation." As his title indicates, Klassen believed that race had transcendent meaning. It embodied absolute truth; Christianity, by contrast, he disdained as a "suicidal religion." Over the next decade, Klassen appeared to attract few converts to his faith, and his contribution to the radical right consisted mostly of occasional propaganda pamphlets. In 1983, he began publishing a monthly tabloid called Racial Loyalty, from which he anthologized articles into a number of books, the best known of which is Rahowa! This Planet Is All Ours. In characteristic language, Klassen 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.” While extreme and bizarre, Klassen's battle cries attracted increasing numbers of white supremacists around the world. Enjoying active members in Sweden, Canada and South Africa, COTC became one of the few American hate groups with international followers. South Africa's COTC chapter drew particular attention in 1992 when two members of an undercover police unit reported that they had been instructed by superiors to join COTC in order to recruit South African racists into a "dirty war" against the African National Congress. On May 17, 1991, George Loeb, a COTC reverend with a history of racist harassment, murdered a black Gulf War veteran, Harold Mansfield Jr., in a Neptune Beach, Florida, parking lot following an alleged dispute between the two men. Loeb was sentenced to life with no possibility of parole for 25 years. In March 1994, the family of the murdered sailor, represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a lawsuit against COTC seeking $1 million in damages and the dissolution of the organization for vicarious liability in the murder. In the wake of the lawsuit, Klassen’s Church of the Creator went through a series of leadership changes in a short time, ending with Klassen appointing Richard McCarty, a telemarketer previously unknown in hate group circles. Klassen's letter introducing McCarty to COTC members was virtually the last public act he performed in connection with the organization: on August 6, 1993, Klassen committed suicide, at the age of 75, by swallowing four bottles of sleeping pills. Soon after the W (for world) was added to CTOC. Today’s leader Matt Hale (and his subordinates) when publicly questioned about acts of violence take an approach that violence is not their primary aim, or will simply try to avoid a direct answer on the subject. But documented history and a thorough examination of WTOTC’s teachings show that acts of violence are not random and in fact are acceptable and local. In July of 1993, police in Salinas, California, arrested two skinheads on shoplifting charges. One of them, Jeremiah Gordon Knesal, described himself to the F.B.I. as the Washington State director of COTC. Wayne Wooten, the son of a Tacoma Police officer, was also arrested. During a search of the suspects' car, officers uncovered a cache of weapons and ammunition, hate literature and a page from a Portland, Oregon, telephone book listing Jewish agencies and synagogues. During questioning by federal agents, Knesal confessed to his involvement in the July 20, 1993, firebombing of an N.A.A.C.P. office in Tacoma. A search of an apartment in Auburn where Knesal, Wooten and several others lived revealed a large stash of white supremacist literature, paraphernalia, weapons and ammunition. Authorities stated that the Tacoma bombing was part of a larger conspiracy to attack Jewish and African American institutions, military installations, gay and lesbian gathering places and radio and television stations. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Tacoma, Seattle and Lynnwood are all home to local branches of the WTOTC. Local branches are hard to track down because the church’s teaching emphasizes the formation of small, tightly knit groups to insure secrecy. But the Puget Sound groups have not been quiet since 1993. Several incidents of WCOTC literature showing up in local neighborhoods have been reported. Members often distribute copies of Facts That The Government And The Media Don’t Want You To Know, which is filled with lies and mis-quotes from our founding fathers to make it appear that white supremacy has it’s roots in the founding of our country. Such flyers exploit the normal frustrations that all American’s have. By pushing the correct mental buttons, white supremacist authors lull the reader into an agitated state where often-ludicrous conclusions and misinformation are more easily accepted. In July of 1999, a public recruitment gathering in Enumclaw brought on loud public protests. Since then, flyers have shown up in Tacoma, Puyallup and West Seattle. The Tacoma distribution of The Facts flyers was followed by threatening calls made to the home of Allen Correll, Tacoma’s executive director of Human Rights and Human Services. WCOTC’s teachings instruct members to admit nothing and deny everything when cornered by the media or law enforcement officials. True to form, when asked about the flyer distribution and threatening calls in Tacoma, church leadership was playing ignorant. Jason LaRue, a regional leader of the WCOTC, denied any knowledge of the circular. He also said he knew nothing of the harassing phone calls. LaRue’s excuse was “A lot of people who order our booklets make their own fliers and put our address on it.” Why should you be concerned? Because the teachings of WCOTC are very clear that anyone who is not associated with the church is an enemy. When questioned, church leaders will generalize such statements in their literature (such as The White Mans Bible) and claim that they’re only wishing to make the United States a better country, or to provide proper rights for the white race. But their literature doesn’t generalize and in fact is very specific. In literature written by the founder Ben Klassen (which Matthew Hale upholds), the reader is constantly bombarded with the idea that white is right and everything or everyone else-including whites who oppose the WCOTC-is the enemy and there is justification for eradicating them from the face of the earth. According to Klassen: “It is our goal and purpose to root out and destroy the Jews and the niggers before they destroy us.” In this context, Jews and niggers can include anyone who is non-white. And if anyone who is white feels safe, Klassen says “We mean to hang the traitors of our own race that give aid and comfort to the enemy.” But Matt Hale is careful not to say this publicly. Instead, he takes advantage of his own problems (such as his unsuccessful battle to obtain a lawyers license in Illinois) by making himself look like a martyr, which continues to play on the emotions of frustrated white Americans and attract more followers. Another flank of the white supremacy movement is just as deceiving and dangerous. The term Christian Identity may not ring a bell with some people. It refers to part of the white supremacy movement that wishes to label itself as “Christian” and uses a mis-interpretation of the Bible as it’s guide to obtaining white supremacy. Christian Identity as an organized movement, was founded by Wesley Swift who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. In forming Christian Identity, he combined a virulent anti-Semitism with a “Christian flavor.” Christian Identity interprets the Bible from a racial standpoint. According to their interpretation, people who are of northern European descent are the true Jewish people, or “God’s chosen people.” Those claiming to be Jews today are actually descendants of Cain (from the Bible’s book of Genesis) who are the spawn of the seed of evil. Identity followers consider African-Americans and all other non-white races to be sub-human. Pastor Lawrence Blanchard is an energetic, soft-spoken man, who, along with his wife and fellow teacher, Sandi, has lived in the south Puget Sound area since Aug. 1997. Tall, handsome, polite and articulate, Pastor Blanchard has a subtle charisma and he’s also the “Pastor” of New Covenant Bible Church; a church that teaches hate and white supremacy. Like Matt Hale, Lawrence Blanchard feeds on a persons frustration about government and society. But unlike Hale, Blanchard adds his own twisted interpretation of the Bible for sweetness. Blanchard is somewhat unique among Identity believers and teachers in that prior to his "conversion" to the Identity doctrines, he earned a Master of Divinity degree from Denver Theological Seminary, a seminary affiliated with the Conservative Baptist denomination. He also served as a missionary to the Philippines and pastored churches in California and Washington. When confronted by mainstream Christian church leaders, Blanchard points to his Master of Divinity degree and politely explains that he is indeed a Christian leader, but with a slightly different viewpoint. Blanchard is careful about what he publicly proclaims. He saves his blatantly racist messages for his church’s “secret” gatherings and only those who are “invited” to the church. Those who want to take part in his church’s meetings must send a request to Blanchard's post office box in Port Orchard. The church meets at various places on the Kitsap Peninsula, but always in secret. And no wonder. Blanchard's teachings that non whites are sub-human, that the U.S. government is a threat to whites and his defense of Slobodan Milosevic are not something a leader of a “Christian” church would be sharing in public. Mark Downey is a well known artist and painter of wildlife scenery. He was born and raised in Washington state and has spent most of his time in the Puyallup area. He served in Vietnam and spent time as a professional magazine illustrator. His artistry has earned him a spot among the prestigious Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters and the Western Heritage Artists. He has served as president of the Rainier League of Art. Unfortunately, it’s likely that some people who invest in Downey’s paintings don’t realize that they’re financing a white supremacist. Downey is a follower of, and teaches the same Christian Identity racist beliefs as Lawrence Blanchard. Although Downey hides as much as possible from the public, the public headquarters of his “Kinsman Redeemer Ministries” is actually a rented mailbox inside the Mega Foods grocery store on South Hosmer Street in Tacoma. A member of Washington’s Populist Party, Downey obviously has high hopes for his “church,” as he ran for office in Washington’s 25th legislative district in 1994 and 1996. Like other white supremacists, Downey tried to appeal to frustrated residents of Pierce County with promises of election and education reforms. In 1996 he only received 2% of the vote, but he did get just over 1,000 votes. What does that number of votes say about white supremacy in Pierce County? Did he get that many votes from uninformed, frustrated voters? Or are there that many more white supremacists in our midst? Or could it be a combination of both? When a form of cancer strikes its victim, the attack is silent and unseen. If the person isn’t checking their health on a regular basis, the cancer will grow out of control and become untreatable. Like a cancer, white supremacy is purely destructive. Its sole purpose is to suck the life out of living cells that walk, talk, go to school and go to work each day. And when we’re not paying close enough attention to its poisonous ideals, it can spread very much like a cancer too. It’s a cancer that hasn’t gone away, no matter what the headlines of mainstream newspapers say. Tom Leyden is a former neo-Nazi skinhead recruiter who has renounced his former beliefs and now speaks on behalf of civil rights groups. During a visit to Tacoma in 1997, he told the audience at a hate crimes conference that white supremacists are now going after young people. “They need new blood,” he said. “Your children are the new blood. They will do anything they can to get ahold of them.” The only way to make hate go away is to expose it and call it what it is. Headlines like “Hate Groups Leave the Northwest” don’t help matters. A more accurate headline, although belated, would at least keep us on our toes: “WHITE SUPREMACISTS DECLARE WAR.”


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