Winston Peters compares himself to famous fundamentalist politician


Last Tuesday, well known New Zealand politician Winston Peters compared himself to American politician William Jennings Bryan.

Bryan was a fundamentalist Christian. He was opposed to the teaching of Darwinist evolutionary theory, and in 1924 drafted legislation to prevent its teaching in Florida schools as well as in other states.

On Wednesday, NewstalkZB reported that Peters had compared himself to Bryan, who was described as a former US President.

A major force in American politics for three decades, Bryan was three times the Democratic party’s candidate for presidential election (in 1896, 1900 and 1908), each time without success.

Peters was later quizzed about his comment by another NewstalkZB host, Jamie McKay.

“Didn’t he say: ‘If you had to pick between science and religion, you should always pick a religion’? Mackay asked.

Peters answered: “Yes, and so do I.”

Asked if he meant that, Peters said: “Yes, I do.”

“I was trying to make the point out to Hosking, in the Bible, the day is like a thousand years. If you’ve got that sort of look, you realise the creation of the world in six days and the rest on the seventh is not about that exact time.”

Peters went on to say that many people around the countryside say grace before they eat and have respect for a higher being.

Giving evidence in the famed 1925 Scopes Trial (the “monkey trial”), Bryan’s testimony (in favour of the authority of the Bible as set against evolutionary theory) was ridiculed by defence attorney Clarence Darrow.

The press labeled Bryan a “pitiable punch drunk warrior.” Five days later, on 26 July 1925, he died in his sleep.

Darrow won the case but, in 1927, the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the verdict on a technicality, leaving the constitutional issues unresolved.

In 1968, the US Supreme Court overturned a similar Arkansas law on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment.

The 1960 movie Inherit The Wind was based on the court case. It starred Spencer Tracy and Fredric March.


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News category: New Zealand.

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