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Extremism In America: Matt Hale

An admitted racist since the age of 12, Matt Hale became one of the most effective and best-known leaders of the far right after he became head of the World Church of the Creator (as it was then known) in 1996. Under Hale's PR-savvy guidance the group regularly gained publicity for its activities and for the violent incidents associated with its members. A 1999 decision by the State of Illinois to reject Hale's application for a law license, due to his past "conduct," is widely thought to have helped trigger a murderous shooting spree by his follower, Benjamin Smith, in which two people were killed and nine injured - all of them members of racial or religious minority groups.

In November 2002, the World Church of the Creator lost a trademark infringement lawsuit brought against it by the Te-Ta-Ma Truth Foundation, which had successfully trademarked the name "Church of the Creator" years before. A federal judge ordered Hale's group to stop using its name, to give up its Web addresses and to turn over all printed material bearing its name. Hale refused to comply. In January 2003, upon arriving for a contempt of court hearing, he was arrested for soliciting the judge's murder. During Hale's incarceration, special administrative measures were imposed to reduce his ability to communicate with his followers. In April 2004, Hale was convicted of one count of solicitation of murder and three counts of obstruction of justice. Without Hale's leadership, the Creativity Movement has fallen into decline.

Read the full report, Extremism in America: Matt Hale (PDF).

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