|"Farmer Bill" Massey|
He was also a 'true believer' in British Israelism, one of the most high profile advocates of his age, and a patron of the British Israel World Federation.
Down the road from where I live is Massey Park and Massey Avenue, both named after the great man. Massey University, with campuses in Palmerston North, Wellington and Albany, likewise commemorates the man who led New Zealand through World War 1, and is widely believed to be responsible - perhaps unfairly - for introducing the influenza epidemic to the country in 1918.
But it's Massey's BI influenced views on race that have risen to bite his reputation as researchers dig up his on-the-record statements.
"A racially-charged debate is igniting over research that has revealed "white supremacist" comments made by the prime minister Massey University is named after.Two quotes: "New Zealanders are probably the purest Anglo-Saxon population in the British Empire. Nature intended New Zealand to be a white man's country, and it must be kept as such"; and, "I am not a lover or admirer of the Chinese race. I should be one of the very first to insist on very drastic legislation to prevent them coming here in any numbers, and I am glad such is not the case."
"Now, almost a century on, a top academic is calling for the university to consider a name change.
"The controversial call comes from Massey lecturer and recent PhD scholar Steve Elers, who was startled to uncover blatantly racist comments made by William Ferguson Massey." (Source)
Elers doesn't specifically mention BI - it's an increasingly obscure topic that almost nobody would would be aware of today - but he does say "he was surprised to discover Massey's beliefs".
Even granted that these were jingoistic times, Massey's BI-fueled racism stands out. I'm not sure I agree with Elers about expunging his name, we've arguably had worse individuals in that office. But for those who plead and whine that BI is not implicitly racist, exhibit A is at hand. Men's sins, it seems, follow them well beyond the grave.
That's a reality that those currently in the leadership of the various Churches of God, woefully clinging on to this bitter and hateful historical construct, might well consider.