Thank you Matt Blunt, you will be deeply missed
“For the God on the Mountain is still God in the valley.”
– The Mckameys
None of us who attended the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast hosted for the fourth and final time by former Gov. Matt Blunt on Jan. 8 should have been surprised at him quoting from The Mckamey’s Southern Gospel hit song “God on the Mountain.”
Blunt has made it clear on numerous occasions throughout his governorship that God is sovereign, unchanging and in control – through the good times as well as the bad. Those who know Matt Blunt know he believes that with all his heart.
John Marshall, senior pastor, Second Baptist Church, Springfield (where Blunt attends), had the honor of preaching on the day of Blunt’s inauguration on Jan. 10, 2005. He basically told Blunt to do four things: Be honest, be humble, be a husband and be holy. I think those who know the ex-governor will tell you he has tried to meet each one of the tenets offered by Marshall. It would be enough to say that Blunt has served Missourians with honesty and integrity, but he has done so much more. He has been the type of politician Christians must continue to elect to government positions if those who would enact pagan, unrighteous laws are to be thwarted and evil restrained.
Do not misunderstand me. Blunt was not infallible as demonstrated by his support for somantic cell nuclear transfer (cloning of a human embryo). Even though he differed with the state’s pro-life movement on that one issue, I believe he did so with a clear conscience and convictions that were simply mistaken. I say this because of his strong, pro-life record.
In fact, Blunt ended 12 years of pro-abortion policy in Missouri and nearly single-handedly ran Planned Parenthood, America’s largest provider of abortions, right out of the state. His cause to protect human life did not stop there. He led the fight for passage of numerous pro-life, pro-family bills:
• He signed new laws strengthening Missouri’s parental consent law, which was being evaded to take minor children to Illinois for abortions.
• He signed Missouri’s new law mandating that abortionists secure admitting privileges at a local hospital, or halt their business, helping ensure that expectant mothers have access to emergency care if needed.
• He signed legislation authorizing a tax credit to benefit pregnancy resource centers.
• He signed a bill barring Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from teaching sex education in public schools. This legislation also made permanent the Missouri Alternatives to Abortion Services Program and established the Missouri Alternatives to Abortion Public Awareness Program. These initiatives provided services and counseling to pregnant women and assistance to women caring for their children, or placing them for adoption. Blunt made it clear throughout his term that he believes taxpayer dollars should not be used to promote abortion as a form of “birth control,” in school classes, or anywhere else.
Even before he was elected, Blunt defended the institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman. He was vocal in his approval of a constitutional amendment that was overwhelmingly passed by voters in August 2004 that defines marriage as being solely between a man and a woman and bans same-sex “marriage” in Missouri. He reiterated his position with an editorial that was widely published after he became governor.
The fact that Blunt would defend life and the family is normal to him. By all accounts, he is a loving, caring husband to his wife, Melanie, and a devoted father to their young child, Branch. Some people close to Blunt say it is his desire to be a even better husband and father that led him to leave the often dirty world of politics.
Blunt’s attempt to live-out his faith was manifested in other ways. He championed faith-based initiatives, signing the Faith-Based Organization Liaison Act. He encouraged the participation of faith-based organizations in the state’s disaster relief operations and his representatives held several meetings with Missouri Baptist Convention disaster relief experts in an effort to enhance teamwork. He was a major supporter of the Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values, a forum for college-aged students to learn about leadership through the example set forth by Jesus Christ. Blunt was not shy about telling the students how his faith impacts his leadership ability. Oubieinique Greer, a senior at Lincoln University, attended the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast along with other 2009 forum participants and heard Blunt talk about his faith. “This will help me be a better leader and mentor to people on campus,” Greer said in response to Blunt’s testimony.
Blunt has been a good steward on behalf of Missouri taxpayers. For the past several years Missouri has been one of only about six states in the nation to stay “in the black” financially without tax increases. He inherited from Democrats a $1.1 billion deficit and turned it into three surpluses in a row without raising taxes. He enacted three major tax cuts and signed into law pro-jobs, pro-economic growth initiatives that resulted in more than 80,000 new jobs since January 2005.
Blunt’s character was also reflected in the people he hired. Perhaps no one better represents that than Larry Crawford, a member of Friendship Baptist Church in California, who was appointed director of the Department of Corrections by Blunt in January 2005. When asked what he would do after leaving office by the Jefferson City News-Tribune, Crawford replied: “I have a strong Christian faith, so while I have those (scary) feelings … I’ve trusted in the Lord this far in my life and He has always provided so I am trusting that will continue.” These are the type of people we need in public service.
I guess you have figured out by now that I think Matt Blunt has been a great governor. He has – and I had the privilege of telling him just that in person a few days ago. Missouri Southern Baptists are losing a governor who shares their values.
There is no better way to end this than with his own words spoken at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast.
“God is sovereign and in control. God has a place in our daily life … and in civic life,” he said, adding that our blessings are never by accident or coincidence, but through God’s providence. He went on to encourage government leaders and workers to seek God’s guidance before acting.
Let us pray they do, just like our most recent ex-governor.