CHICAGO, June 28 (JTA) Jewish leaders here are praising the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear an appeal of a decision denying a law license to a white supremacist leader linked to last summer’s shooting rampage in the Midwest.
Matthew Hale, the leader of the World Church of the Creator, passed the Illinois state bar exam, but was refused a license because state officials said he lacked “good moral character.”
“Anything that limits Matt Hale’s ability to earn income and to be validated in a profession as important as the law is important,” said Jay Tcath, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council in Chicago.
“At the same time, he’ll use this setback” to rally his “troops, portraying himself yet again as a martyr, as a victim of the system, which he believes is controlled by Jews.”
Hale said his license is being denied because of his beliefs. The Anti-Defamation League originally agreed with him, saying denying him a license would set a dangerous precedent, but changed its position following the shooting spree.
Hale’s Web site maintains that the “World Church of the Creator neither condones violence or unlawful activities nor do we promote or incite them.”
But Hale glorified last summer’s violence, said Richard Hirschhaut, Chicago regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.
“He doesn’t condemn it. He’s led an effort to portray Benjamin Smith as a martyr. He sold T-shirts glorifying what Smith did,” said Hirschhaut.
The World Church of the Creator, according to its Web site, promotes the religion of the white race. It’s “part and parcel of [the] religion to hate the Jews, blacks and other colored people,” according to the site; “hate for your enemies comes natural and is inevitable.”
Last July, Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, a church member and apparent Hale protege, went on a shooting rampage in Illinois and Indiana, killing two and injuring more than 10 others before taking his own life.
The Illinois State Bar Association, a private association, turned Hale down on the grounds of poor moral character.
Hale had taken his appeal to the Illinois State Supreme Court last November, but the court also refused to hear the case.
Shortly after the committee’s recommendation against Hale, Smith drove through a densely Jewish neighborhood in Chicago at the beginning of Shabbat during the July 4 weekend and began a shooting spree that would last two days long.
Smith eventually turned his gun on himself when police caught up with him. Zipple.com