Sunday, 21 March 2010

George Michael, "Theology of Hate: A History of the World Church of the Creator" (2009)

George Michael, Theology of Hate: A History of the World Church of the Creator (University of Florida Press, 2009).

Michaels’ history of the World Church of the Creator is the only one written to date. Having studied the group as one among a spectrum of American white supremacist organizations, Michaels is in a good position to elaborate on the groups’ origins, evolution, and place among its peers. In some respects, this book accomplishes such functions. Certainly, Theology of Hate does a good job of establishing where the WCOTC fits within American far right thought and activities. His survey of far right activity is sensible, well thought out, and touches on the major groups, figures, and concepts.

His survey of the history of the WCOTC, however, leaves some things to be desired. For instance, much of the information pertaining to the background of the organization, and the personal history of the WCOTC’s founder, Ben Klaasen, is drawn directly from Klaasen’s writings without challenge or criticism. Aside from the fact that much of the material in Klaassen and the WCOTCs writings can and should be challenged on the basis of its representation of facts, that Michaels would not at least check Klaasen’s version of events against other sources or through interviews is surprising. That he does not point out to the reader that the history he is telling essentially the history as he read it from Klaasen’s books is irresponsible.