Cult's hateful rhetoric leads to murder

Cox News Service/July 7, 1999
By Howard Kleinberg

Leader of white supremacist 'church' says they don't advocate killing, but that's an odd interpretation of the word 'destroy.' A man who identifies himself as Rev. Matt Hale Pontifex Maximus was distancing himself from Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, the lunatic who shot blacks, Asians and Jews in Indiana and Illinois.

As head of something called the World Church of the Creator -- which I will no further identify as a church as it would be a gross insult to Christianity -- Pontifex Maximus admitted that Smith once belonged to his organization but that it does not advocate violence or illegal activity.

Pontifex Maximus may say that, but anyone reading the sect's manual or other documents on the Web would easily come to a conclusion that violence is exactly what it prescribes and can assume that Smith paid close attention to it while gunning down people.

How else would you interpret this: "Destroy and banish all Jewish thought and influence from society. Work hard to bring about a White world as soon as possible."

That's Commandment 8 of the order's 16 commandments; note the use of the word "destroy."

Commandment 7 tells the members, "Phase out all dealings with Jews as soon as possible. Do not employ niggers or other coloreds."

But most significant is a contrast in proclamations. The cult says in one place that "Nowhere in our book do we suggest killing anybody." That's likely the part Smith didn't read. What he might have read, however, was this: "Whereas Christianity says to 'love your enemies' and to hate your own kind, we say just the opposite. We say that in order to survive, we must overcome and destroy those that are a threat to our existence."

There's that word again: destroy.

Perhaps I am being too literal, but the dictionary definition of "destroy" is to tear down; demolish; bring to total defeat; crush; do away with; kill.

By its own written admission, the coven is a hate group. In its manual, it says that a person joining this organization "recognizes both love and hate as the two most powerful driving forces in life; that both emotions are healthy and essential to life, and to possess only one and to be deprived of the other is to be as crippled as a bird with only one wing."

Thus, the manual commands, a member "hates his enemies, namely Jews, niggers and mud races." This is what Smith had read, and it no doubt influenced him.

It is clearly stated in the manual that any member of the cult who commits a crime will be subject to expulsion. The call for the destruction of the Jewish, black and mud races, to them, is not a crime but a passive crusade.

But Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, as an alumnus of the organization, gave literal attention to the "destruction" part of it.

Likely Pontifex Maximus does not hand out .380-caliber handguns to his disciples, but the creed he asks them to follow is tantamount to creating a time bomb. Smith's bomb went off over the Fourth of July weekend.

Don't some of those "commandments" have a familiar ring to them, such as something you might read in "Mein Kampf" or the Nuremberg Laws of 1935? Well, yes, the cult admits in writing, but "whereas Hitler's program was similar to what we are proposing, we have learned from his failures and have made some significant changes."

To hate as fanatically as the group does only can lead to violence, no matter how often a passive caveat is written in. What Pontifex Maximus advocates, the economic embargo and destruction of Jews, blacks and others not deemed to be "white," is the very way Hitler started. First put them out of business, then ship them off to the camps, then "destroy" them.

Smith took his cue from his hateful alma mater and did what he felt he had to do. Now Pontifex Maximus is distancing himself from the horrible crime. It seems to me he'd be better off reading his manual and other documents, and recognizing that their hate-inspiring, violence-inducing language was just as responsible for the crimes of Benjamin Nathaniel Smith as was Smith himself.

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