Racist Church Needs Converts
Hale Not Hardy

Matt Hale and his creepy little racist World Church of the Creator have lately been depicted as the potential source of some gigantic terrorist plot. Hale, who was arrested on January 8 for allegedly conspiring to kill a federal judge who had ruled against the church, is actually a nonentity.

Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center counters the received wisdom on this self-styled patriot. "It is simply untrue that the group has thousands of members," says Potok, or that it is rapidly growing. As Potok points out, Hale's church has been falling apart for more than a year. Its leader claims a membership of 80,000, but the real number is more like 150. Now the feds appear to have hard evidence for allegations that Hale threatened the judge who decided against the group in a copyright case.

The racist right has suffered one body blow after another over the last few months. The Aryan Nation is defunct. William Pierce, the most important supremacist and head of the National Alliance, died on July 23, making his grand exit with a deathbed speech in which he lambasted his own skinhead followers. David Duke, who ran a hard-nosed Klan in the 1980s and got more than 40 percent of the vote in races for the Louisiana state senate and governorship, is facing more than a year in federal prison for mail and tax misdoings. And Mark Cotterill, head of American Friends of the British National Party, has been deported.

Additional reporting: Josh Saltzman and Rebecca Winsor

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