Blunt to speak at MBC annual meeting
Governor will address messengers during Oct. 25 afternoon session
By Allen Palmeri
September 20, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY– Listed next to the 2:45 p.m. slot on the Oct. 25 schedule of the 171st annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) at Second Baptist Church, Springfield, is the simple word “Testimony,” which means that messengers will be hearing from a layman.
It will be a layman, all right. A layman named Matt Blunt.
“I think it’s an honor to have the highest elected official in our state to speak at our convention,” said MBC President Mitchell Jackson.
The governor has agreed to speak about some of the moral values that he shares with the messengers, Jackson said. He will be speaking in a familiar venue, since the governor has been attending Second Baptist and sitting under the teaching of Pastor John Marshall for quite some time. It is no great secret, Jackson said, that the governor enjoys articulating most of the key points in the Missouri Southern Baptist conservative agenda.
“One of the reasons we invited him is because he supports biblical morality,” said Jackson, who emphasized that Missouri Baptists will not be playing party politics Oct. 25 or engaging in any kind of partisan Republican rhetoric in connection with the governor’s appearance. Jackson said the news should simply be that the governor is speaking.
“I think it will be good for the convention and good for him. I’m just glad he’s coming. He’s our governor, whether you voted for him or not.”
MBC Executive Director David Clippard has been working along with the members of the MBC Committee on Order of Business to secure the governor’s appearance.
“He is obviously very concerned about the things that Missouri Baptists are concerned about—the moral issues of the day,” Clippard said.
The chairman of the Committee on Order of Business, Mike Green, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Republic, noted that Blunt, 34, was “basically raised down in this area” and will be warmly received.
“We look forward to what he has to share with us about the future of Missouri,” Green said.
While it is fair to say that Missouri Southern Baptists will applaud Blunt if he brings up abortion, biblical marriage or judicial activism, there will be some in Springfield who will be adopting a wait-and-see attitude, according to Rodney Albert, chairman, MBC Christian Life Commission.
Albert has been taking note of a series of recent news releases that celebrate the governor’s cozy relationship with the Missouri life sciences community. For example, on Sept. 13, Blunt received the national Biotechnology Industry Organization Award for Leadership Excellence for his support of bioscience industry development in Missouri.
“He does embrace the appropriate moral stand on most issues, and for that he deserves to speak to our convention,” Albert said. “However, our governor’s position on embryonic stem cell research has the capacity of negatively altering the moral climate of this state. My enthusiasm is somewhat tepid because of that.
“Our governor, I believe, has been blinded by his quest for campaign contributions, and the life sciences lobby, and has turned a blind eye to clear, Scriptural teaching that innocent human life is always worthy of legal and moral protection despite its stage of development. Frankly, our governor does not share the Missouri Baptist ethic as it relates to the developing child on that issue.”
Blunt plans to use his testimony time to strengthen the existing bond between himself as a Southern Baptist and who the messengers are as representatives of their churches, according to his spokesman, Spence Jackson. Messengers help churches play a vital role in Missouri, he said.
“The governor looks forward to the opportunity to thank his fellow Southern Baptists for their prayers and words of encouragement through what has been a historical time in state government,” Jackson said.
This will not be the first time Blunt has attended an official MBC event. The governor, members of the General Assembly and the Missouri Supreme Court attended a special prayer service and breakfast in their honor at Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City, just prior to the start of the 2005 legislative session in January.