|Matthew F. Hale (born July 27, 1971), more
commonly known as Matt Hale, was the third Pontifex
Maximus (Latin for "highest priest") of the
white separatist religion,
Creativity, and the founder of the group formerly known
as the World Church of the Creator and now known as The
Creativity Movement. The organization's headquarters
were based in
East Peoria, Illinois. In 1998, Hale made headlines when
his application for an Illinois law license was denied due
to his religious beliefs in White supremacy, described as a
"gross deficiency in moral character".
On April 6, 2005, Hale was sentenced to a 40-year prison
term for soliciting an undercover
FBI informant to kill
He is currently incarcerated in the
Administrative Maximum facility in
Florence, Colorado as Inmate number 15177-424.
Hale was raised in East Peoria, Illinois, a city on the Illinois River. By the age of 12, he was reading books about National Socialism such as Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, and had formed a group at school.
In August 1989, Hale entered Bradley University, studying political science. In September 1989, Hale began writing editorials in the college newspaper, the Bradley Scout, espousing his views of White Separatism. A student at Bradley, Robert Bingham, also a political science major, began a debate in the college newspaper editorial about civil rights and the Ku Klux Klan. Upon coming out to give his surname, Matt Hale invited the Ku Klux Klan to the campus of Bradley in the spring of 1990; the same year, he was expelled from Bradley. At the age of 19, Hale burned an Israeli flag at a demonstration and was found guilty of violating an East Peoria ordinance against open burning. The next year, he passed out racist pamphlets to patrons at a shopping mall and was fined for littering. In May 1991, Hale and his brother allegedly threatened three African-Americans with a gun, and he was arrested for mob action. Since he refused to tell police where his brother was, Hale was also charged with felony obstruction of justice; he was convicted of obstruction, but won a reversal on appeal. In 1992, Hale attacked a security guard at a mall and was charged with criminal trespass, resisting arrest, aggravated battery and carrying a concealed weapon. For this attack, Hale was sentenced to 30 months probation and six months house arrest.
In 1993, Hale graduated from Bradley University and received a degree in political science. In 1996, Hale founded the New Church of the Creator, a revival of Ben Klassen's religious group, that believes that the white race are the creators of all worthwhile civilization. The church believes that a "racial holy war" is necessary to attain a "white world" without Jews and non-whites and to this end it encourages its members to "populate the lands of this earth with white people exclusively".
After Hale was appointed "Pontifex Maximus" (supreme leader), he changed the name of the organization to the World Church of the Creator. The name was again changed to the Creativity Movement when a religious group in Oregon (the Church of the Creator) sued Hale's group for trademark infringement. Hale ran the church from the basement of his father's two-story house in East Peoria.
Controversy over law license
Hale graduated from Southern Illinois University School of Law in May 1998 and passed the bar in July of that same year. On December 16, 1998, the Illinois Bar Committee on Character and Fitness rejected Hale's application for a license to practice law. Hale appealed, and a hearing was held on April 10, 1999. On June 30, 1999, a Hearing Panel of the Committee refused to certify that Hale had the requisite moral character and fitness to practice law in Illinois. Two days after Hale was denied a license to practice law, a World Church of the Creator member and college student named Benjamin Smith resigned from The Church and went on a three-day shooting spree in which he randomly targeted members of racial and ethnic minority groups in Illinois and Indiana. Beginning on July 2, 1999, Smith shot nine Orthodox Jews walking to and from their synagogues in Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood, killed two people, including former Northwestern University basketball coach Ricky Byrdsong, in Evanston, Illinois, and a 26-year-old Korean graduate student named Won-Joon Yoon who was shot as he was on his way to church in Bloomington, Indiana. Smith wounded nine others before committing suicide on July 4. Mark Potok, director of intelligence for the Southern Poverty Law Center, believes that Smith may have acted in retaliation after Hale's application to practice law was rejected.
After Smith's shooting spree, Hale appeared on television and in newspapers saying, "We do urge hatred. If you love something, you must be willing to hate that which threatens it." He also referred to non-whites as "mud races." According to Hale, America should only be occupied by whites. During a television interview that summer, Hale stated that his church didn't condone violent or illegal activities. Meanwhile, Hale was distributing thousands of copies of the White Man's Bible. In public, Hale continued to speak out against violence, but according to the Chicago Tribune, his church's bibles expressed the opposite sentiment: "You have no alibi, no other way out, white man! It's fight or die!"
On January 8, 2003, Hale was arrested, charged with soliciting an undercover FBI informant to kill Lefkow.
On February 28, 2005, Lefkow's mother and husband were murdered at her home on Chicago's North Side. Chicago Police revealed on March 10 that Bart Ross, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case that Lefkow had dismissed, admitted to the murders in a suicide note written before shooting himself during a routine traffic stop in Wisconsin the previous evening. The murders and suicide had no connection to Hale or Creativity.
On April 6, 2005, Hale was sentenced to a 40-year prison term for his conviction for attempting to solicit the murder of Lefkow.
Hale's projected release date is December 6, 2037.