Jean Carnahan became a Senator after her husband, Governor Mel Carnahan, was killed in a plane crash while campaigning for the office. She was a member of the U.S. Senate from 2001 to 2002. Her son, Russ Carnahan was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2005. Jean Carnahan's husband Mel Carnahan was a Baptist deacon, and her son Russ Carnahan was a member of the United Methodist Church.
From: "BCE Plans Conference on Faith, Politics", in Baptist Briefing, 2 March 2005, page 1 (http://www.ethicsdaily.com/BB_PDFS/BB_mar02_2005.pdf; viewed 9 November 2005):
People of faith who feel at home neither with the religious right nor the secular left will gather May 2-3 in Nashville to carve out a third way in bringing their moral values to bear in public policy. Former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan, University of Alabama law professor Susan Pace Hamill and author and ethicist Miguel De La Torre are among confirmed speakers headlining the conference, "Living from the Big Bible: Reshaping American Politics," sponsored by the Baptist Center for Ethics [BCE].From: Kate Miller and Lauren Shepherd (State Capital Bureau), "Jean Carnahan is no stranger to politics", in Missouri Digital News, 24 October 2000 (http://www.mdn.org/2000/STORIES/J.HTM; viewed 9 November 2005):
The purpose of the gathering is to provide a forum for the religious center that gets left out in the false choice between politics of the left and right, said Robert Parham, executive director the Nashville-based BCE.
Much was made in the last election of the "religion gap," between conservative voters who believed elected leaders should allow faith to inform their policies and liberals who preferred that candidates keep their beliefs separate from their politics.
Parham says the problem with the religious right is not that they appeal to the Bible but with the parts of it that they choose to ignore. They read a "small Bible," he says, speaking only to a few issues, like abortion and gay marriage. The "big Bible," he says, addresses both personal morality and social justice, speaking to an array of issues.
Clergy and political leaders from a variety of faith traditions will be featured, including Church of God, Church of Christ, Methodist, Baptist and Jewish. Former Sen. Jean Carnahan, a Baptist, is the former first lady of Missouri who served two years in the U.S. Senate to fill a vacancy created by the death of her husband, Gov. Mel Carnahan, who was elected posthumously in 2000. A Democratic Party leader and author of Don't Let the Fire Go Out, her 2004 memoir, she is scheduled to speak on "Living My Faith Through Politics."
Friends say Jean Carnahan was active in her own four children's lives, acting as homeroom mother, cub scout den mother and girl scout troop leader. She was involved in her church and in many civic activities including campaigning for tax levies aimed at public schools and libraries.
"Whatever she puts her hand to she will do well," said Rolla friend Jamie G. Anderson.
Jean and Mel Carnahan have been partners since meeting at a Baptist youth group when she was 15 years old. The two courted through high school and attended George Washington University together, both earning bachelors' degrees in business admininistration and marrying in 1954.