COTC and creativity, the ostensible theology of the church, were the inventions of Ben Klassen, a one-time Florida state legislator born in the Ukraine and raised in Canada. After drifting among many far-right causes, Klassen announced the formation of his church in 1973. Klassen's announcement was coupled with the publication of a 511-page screed titled Nature's Eternal Religion. In the book, Klassen writes, "We completely reject the Judeo-democratic-Marxist values of today and supplant them with new and basic values, of which race is the foundation."
Under Klassen's leadership, COTC grew slowly, but steadily, over the next 10 years attracting several hundred neo-Nazi skinheads and other white supremacists from the U.S. and around the world. With active members in Sweden, Canada, and South Africa, COTC became one of the few American hate groups to gain an international audience.
South Africa's COTC chapter drew attention in February 1992 when two professed members of an undercover police unit reported that they had been instructed by superiors to join COTC in order to recruit South African racists in a dirty war against the African National Congress.
Next: Steady Decline