Columbia skinhead chooses King holiday to spread hate message 1,000 residents receive 'newsletter'

January 21, 1992|By Michael James

While many people had yesterday off in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, 18-year-old Christopher Lee Falk was busy into the early hours of the morning, delivering white supremacist newspapers to a community that takes pride in integration.

He delivered 1,000 copies to front lawns in his hometown of Columbia, where, the self-proclaimed "skinhead" says, people should realize that "racial equality and integration are brainwashing tactics that hurt the white race."

"I'm proud to be white and I'm letting people know that I am. It's not a crime," Mr. Falk said.

"Martin Luther King, and the people who built Columbia, preached that you should be tolerant of people's views and beliefs. So why can't they be tolerant of mine?"

He said that opposition to his messages have come in the form of bricks thrown at his house, death threats, and most recently, his parents ordering him out of their Wilde Lake town house, no longer willing to accept his role as an organizer of a religious hate group.

"We're not going to accept this kind of behavior any more. He's got to go," said his father, William B. Falk, chairman of the sociology department at the University of Maryland at College Park.

The newspaper, titled Racial Loyalty, is published by the Otto, N.C.-based Church of the Creator, which argues that blacks, Jews, Christians and "mud races" threaten the survival of whites. The church itself has been criticized by anti-hate groups for its violent messages and actions.

Columbia residents who received the paper were angry about the hate literature and the church group's efforts to distribute it in a community that prides itself on racial and religious acceptance.

"I realize this is a freedom of speech issue, but I don't think this kind of thing should be thrust upon people and left at their homes," said Linda Cronin, 50, a social worker who received a paper outside her home on Windmill Lane.

Ms. Cronin, a Columbia resident since it was built in 1967, said she called county police "just to register my disapproval."

John Hansen, who lives on Beatrice Way and who is the Columbia Council representative for Harper's Choice, also received a paper.

"Don't these people know they're fishing in the wrong waters? Don't they have any idea what Columbia is about?" Mr. Hansen said.

But Mr. Falk said he has received numerous phone calls from supporters, and police say they cannot do anything other than report Mr. Falk's name to state officials, who compile statistics on hate incidents.

Both the teen-ager and the newspaper itself are protected under the First Amendment.

Mr. Falk said he and about 20 other people who belong to the church distributed the papers throughout Harper's Choice and Long Reach villages in response to Dr. King's birthday.

"It's an inconvenience for a lot of white people who could be working, and not wasting time celebrating a black communist," said Mr. Falk, who has the word "skinhead" tattooed at the top of his forehead.

"Columbia is our main target because it's so liberal and brainwashed."

Mr. Falk, who is the organizer of the Baltimore chapter of the Church of the Creator, said his group distributed 100 of the papers in Columbia on Nov. 15 and another 400 on Jan. 10.

The newspaper, which contains articles and editorials containing incendiary messages about ethnic groups, is labeled the "Spearhead of the White Racial Holy War" and encourages whites to adopt a militant role in preserving their rights.

Among the items included in the issues distributed Sunday night was an editorial written by the church's founder, Ben Klassen, who argued that it is the "Manifest Destiny" of the white race to conquer other races.

Also in the issue was a cartoon showing a cowboy firing pistols at an Indian and a Mexican, with a caption saying "Cleaning up the territory for the white race."

In May, a Jacksonville, Fla., church member, the Rev. George David Loeb, was charged with fatally shooting a black Persian Gulf war veteran.

Mr. Falk, who dropped out of both Wilde Lake Middle School and Howard High amid disciplinary problems, said he first became interested in the white supremacist cause while he was an elementary school student.

"We were living in Baton Rouge at the time, and I saw how bad integration was. I saw a lot of black people attack white people, and I knew I had to try and put a stop to it," he said.

Mr. Falk, who is unemployed, said he hopes more people will join the church and that Columbia residents will find tolerance for what he calls freedom of expression.

"Our weapon is truth," he said. "We plan to continue distributing the papers. It's become the most important thing in my life."

Mr. Falk's mother, Geraldine Falk, said she and her husband had given their son an ultimatum after the last time he distributed the newspapers: Either stop or get out of the house.

"We're among the people who moved to Columbia for equality and integration, and we think this is despicable," she said. "We still love him, but we just can't go on living with that garbage in the house."

Mrs. Falk said the family has been attending "Tough Love" counseling to try and overcome some of the problems caused by her son's involvement with the church, but nothing has worked, she said.

"We haven't been able to change him. You hate to have to put your kid out of his home, but I don't think we have any choice anymore," she said.

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