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The Billings Gazette recently profiled a recruiter for the Montana Creators Assembly, the most recent incarnation of The Creativity Movement in the state. The article served up a human-interest piece about a white supremacist who recruits youths into the movement. There was no background on The Creativity Movement, its history of violence or its previous activities in Montana. Instead, the article portrayed "Creators" as harmless advocates for white people. We'd like to fill in some important information.

Florida's Ben Klassen founded The Creativity Movement (formerly known as the World Church of the Creator) in 1973. The racist ideology driving the group was based on his writings. Klassen named his theology "Creativity" and appointed himself "Pontifex Maximus," or "highest priest." The Creativity Movement would become one of the most notorious white supremacist groups of the 1990s.

Creativity boils down to worshipping the white race. It teaches that white people are the "creators of all worthwhile culture and civilization." It views the white race as nature's finest creation, while "racial treason," which encompasses practically any interaction outside the white race, "is the worst of all crimes." Those following Creativity are called "Creators." What they deem beneficial for the white race is viewed as the highest virtue, and "what is bad for the White Race is the ultimate sin." Creators view Adolph Hitler as a religious prophet.

The Gazette article focused on the clean-cut image of the local white supremacist, noting that he didn't have a shaved head and wore dress clothes. A recent national leader of The Creativity Movement, Matt Hale, emphasized this tactic. A law school graduate, Hale kept his hair short and usually wore a suit and tie in public. He was educated and articulate. Where is he now? Serving 40 years in federal prison for trying to have a federal judge assassinated.

Books advocate race war

The Gazette article reported that the Montana Creators Assembly was ordering books and literature as part of its efforts. Klassen's foundational texts have titles like "The White Man's Bible," "On the Brink of a Bloody Racial War" and RAHOWA: This Planet is All Ours." RAHOWA stands for "Racial Holy War," an idea that there will be a worldwide race war that will leave the white race as the planet's only inhabitants.

These books outline a clear campaign to exterminate Jewish people and people of color. I should know. I've had the misfortune of reading three of them.

The Human Rights Network has been researching the Billings' Creators for a year and is well aware that they are targeting youths. By doing no research, The Gazette gave the Montana Creators Assembly a fluff piece that made it look similar to other youth groups. The Gazette made the hate group's job easier with its one-sided portrayal and by providing contact information for the local Creators.

Standard tactics

The literature drops and bias-based vandalism that have happened in Billings over the past year are standard tactics of white supremacist organizing. Now, the Billings' Creators have gone public. The next move belongs to the community as a whole.

On multiple occasions during the 1990s, Human Rights Network staff worked with citizens in Superior and Missoula to organize rallies and other public events to demonstrate that a formal Creativity chapter based in those communities did not represent the communities' values.

Billings has a long, proud history of mobilizing against white supremacy. In fact, the Not In Our Town campaign has served as a blueprint for communities across the country. A similar campaign of community education and mobilization is needed now.

Travis McAdam is research director for the Montana Human Rights Network, P.O. Box 1509, Helena, MT, 59624.