Matthew F. Hale

Matthew F. Hale
Matthew F. Hale
Religion Creativity
Nationality American
Born July 27, 1971 (1971-07-27) (age 40)
Senior posting
Title Pontifex Maximus
Period in office 1996-2005
Predecessor Richard McCarty
Successor Cailen Cambeul[citation needed]
Education Bradley University (B.A.); Southern Illinois University Carbondale (J.D.)[1]
Occupation White separatist; religious leader
Years active 1983–2005
Known for White separatism; conviction for soliciting murder of a judge
Home town East Peoria, Illinois, United States
Parents Russell Hale and Evelyn Hutcheson

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 Creativity, described as a "gross deficiency in moral character".[2] On April 6, 2005, Hale was sentenced to a 40-year prison term for soliciting an undercover FBI informant to kill federal judge Joan Lefkow.[3] He is currently incarcerated in the Administrative Maximum facility in Florence, Colorado, as Inmate number 15177-424.[4]


Early life

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.[1]

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.[5]

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".[6]

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.

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.[7] 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.[8]

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."[citation needed] He also referred to non-whites as "mud races." According to Hale, America should only be occupied by whites.[citation needed] During a television interview that summer, Hale stated that his church didn't condone violent or illegal activities.

Federal convictions

Conviction(s) Soliciting an undercover FBI informant to kill Judge Joan Lefkow
Penalty 40-year prison term
Status Incarcerated at ADMAX prisoner number 15177-424

In late 2002 Hale filed a class action lawsuit against Judge Joan Lefkow, the United States district court judge presiding over his trademark case. Again in late 2002 and prior to his arrest, Hale denounced Lefkow in a news conference, claiming that she was biased against him because she was married to a Jewish man and had grandchildren who were biracial.

On January 8, 2003, Hale was arrested, charged with soliciting an undercover FBI informant to kill Lefkow.[9]

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.[10]

On April 6, 2005, Hale was sentenced to a 40-year prison term for his conviction for attempting to solicit the murder of Lefkow.[11]

Hale's projected release date is December 6, 2037.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Matt Hale and The Creativity Movement (formerly the World Church of the Creator)". Extremism in America. New York City: Anti-Defamation League. 2005-04-06. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  2. ^ Committee on Character and Fitness at the Wayback Machine (archived April 9, 2008)
  3. ^ Wilgoren, Jodi (January 9, 2003). White Supremacist Is Held in Ordering Judge's Death. The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Locate a Federal Inmate: Matthew F. Hale". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  5. ^ "Youth, Hate and Crime". Southern Poverty Law Center. Summer 2004. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  6. ^ A History | Southern Poverty Law Center
  7. ^ "Committee Files With Illinois Supreme Court Objection to Matthew F. Hale's Application for Law License" (Press release). Illinois Supreme Court. 1999-10-29. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  8. ^ Wilgoren, Jodi (March 2, 2005). Haunted by Threats, U.S. Judge Finds New Horror. The New York Times.
  9. ^ "Race extremist jailed in plot to kill judge". CNN. January 9, 2003. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  10. ^ (March 10, 2005) Police: Wisconsin death has Lefkow tie Chicago Tribune
  11. ^ "Matthew Hale gets maximum 40-year sentence". Southern Poverty Law Center. April 7, 2005. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  12. ^ Federal Bureau of Prisons

Further reading

  • Swain, Carol M.; Russ Nieli (2003-03-24). Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism in America. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521816734. 

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