Thompson: Blunt is a Christian ‘7 days a week’
By Allen Palmeri
November 23, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY — Voters in rural Missouri who were motivated to go to the polls Nov. 2 because of moral values were the ones who elected Matt Blunt as governor, according to Blunt spokesman Spence Jackson. Greg Thompson of Humansville is one such voter.
“I know that we as a ministry probably put a voice out to over 100,000 people,” said Thompson, founder of Asleep kNOw More, a Christian organization dedicated to putting more evangelical believers into government.
“Here was a man (Blunt) who put God first, believed in the sanctity of life and believed in the sanctity of marriage. If we’re going to quit groaning as a country, we’ve got to elect such men and then stand behind them.”
Jackson said that the Blunt campaigns strategy was to turn out the vote in places like Humansville, a town of around 1,000 in Polk County, all over the state to counter massive Democratic advantages in Kansas City and St. Louis. The strategy worked. Evangelical Christian leaders like Thompson — as well as countless Missouri Baptist pastors in country churches — did precisely what the Blunt campaign hoped as they identified with Blunt, who attends Second Baptist Church, Springfield.
Jackson said one of the key issues for Blunt early on was when he embraced the cause of Thompson’s religious freedom as Humansville School Superintendent. Thompson came under attack during the gubernatorial primary season for hanging a Ten Commandments plaque in the school cafeteria. A parent sued to have it removed and eventually won a $45,000 settlement from the school district’s insurance carrier even as Thompson refused to sign on to the agreement. Thompson eventually lost his job over the incident because he told school officials he was determined to acknowledge God even if it meant risking another lawsuit over displaying Christian items in school.
In March, when Thompson first came under attack for acknowledging God, Blunt decided to call him. Thompson remembers picking up the phone in his office one day around 3:15 p.m.
“This is Matt Blunt,” the voice on the other end said.
“Matt, are you a Christian?”
“Absolutely. Born again.”
“Matt, are you a Christian seven days a week?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Matt, if you’ll put that out there, and have God lead your way, we’ll get behind you with everything we’ve got.”
As the two men continued to talk, they sowed seeds of a relationship based on mutual respect. Thompson, realizing that the Republican gubernatorial candidate had called him out of a sincere desire to defend the religious freedom of his fellow Missourian, did not hold anything back.
“We’ve got to stop these activist judges, Matt, that are doing ugly things to our children,” Thompson said.
“We absolutely do,” Blunt replied.
The immediate result was that the Blunt campaign, by supporting Thompson in the warm, personal manner that it did, forced the campaigns of Democratic Gov. Bob Holden and Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill to comment ever so reluctantly on the Humansville Ten Commandments issue. It also sent a signal to rural Missouri voters, the eventual key to victory eight months later, that Blunt was connecting with their concerns, Jackson said.
Through it all, Thompson feels as if he has gained a friend. Asleep kNOw More, a young ministry that is sponsoring a comprehensive conference in Branson Jan. 8, is determined to do its part to advance the kingdom of Christ. To that end, Thompson has invited his friend, the governor-elect, to join him that day as dozens of evangelical activists all seek God’s blessing at the start of the state legislative session.
“If he looks to the wisdom of God, and gets past any advisor who would want to bring man’s wisdom in there, I think he will be someone who can give the legislators strength on the top side as we build a base on the bottom side,” Thompson said. “He can give those legislators the strength to do what’s right instead of making concessions and compromises. I hope that he’s this strong. I pray that he would do what’s right even if he did not get re-elected.
“We’ve got to pray a hedge of protection around him because there will be people that will try to put him down, try to keep him from doing what’s right.”