Thrivent: We Don’t Need Your Blood Money

Judas

“Think of the things you can do with that money,
Choose any charity – give to the poor.
We’ve noted your motives – we’ve noted your feelings,
This isn’t blood money – it’s a fee nothing,
Fee nothing, fee nothing more…”

So said Caiaphas to Judas as they enticed him to betray Jesus in the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.  We all know the ending of Judas’ story.  There’s a similar tragedy for the unborn lurking in the wings of the real life drama know as Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
BJS previously reported on Thrivent’s position allowing Choice dollars and the Gift Multiplier program to be used in support of pro-abortion organizations .  Thrivent has now had time to reflect on their policies and have issued a new “neutrality policy” which reads in part:

Thrivent Financial is a membership organization of Christians and works with many different members who hold a variety of – and at times divergent – views and beliefs. It respects the differences of its members and does not independently or on behalf of its members, advisors or employees provide outreach funding or support to organizations and issues that distract, or have the potential to distract, from its common purpose, which is to guide its members and society to be wise with money and live generously.

According to Thrivent, if I designate my Thrivent Choice dollars to go to an organization that protects the unborn (which they no longer allow) I would be distracting from their purpose “to be wise with money and live generously.”  I can’t think of a way to live more generously than by protecting another human being’s life.  Today my wife and I cashed in the remaining funds that we had with Thrivent – we want no part of your blood money.  Abortion is not “neutral.”

It’s likely that Thrivent’s decision will prompt Lutheran organizations to discontinue their acceptance of funds from the Thrivent Choice Program.  Please consider supporting these organizations in other ways.  For those organizations that continue to accept Thrivent funds, you might consider sending them a helpful note reminding them that there comes a time when principle overrides profit.  Thrivent, we don’t need your blood money.

 

Previous posts on Thrivent related to this issue can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

About Scott Diekmann

Scott is a lifelong LCMS layman. Some of his vocations include husband, dad, jet driver, runner, and collector of more books than he can read. Oh, and also chocolate lover. He’s been involved in apologetics for over a decade, is on the Board of Regents at Concordia Portland, and is a column writer for the sometimes operational Around the Word Journal. He’s also written for Higher Things Magazine, The Lutheran Clarion, and has been a guest on Issues Etc. as well as the KFUO program Concord Matters.

Comments

Thrivent: We Don’t Need Your Blood Money — 23 Comments

  1. I am happy to say that in less than ten minutes from initially learning of the “neutrality policy” I was able to cancel further automated payments from my account for Thrivent life insurance.
    We also cancelled our attendance at a Thrivent funded dinner at a posh hotel. I am perhaps going to pay more for my insurance elsewhere, or have none due to my age and health, but my wife, gift from God that she is, said she would be honored to be “the poor widow of a man with principles.”

  2. Within the neutrality policy, Thrivent states that its “common purpose” is to “guide its members and society to be wise with money and live generously.” If this is Thrivent’s idea of guidance, I’ll stick with Divine guidance. God hasn’t let me down yet.

  3. Thrivent needs to be driven out of our conregations just like Jesus drove out the money changers in the temple.

  4. I long ago cancelled and cashed out my Thrivent funds. Issues not only with the performance of their funds – they were certainly not thriving! – but also with the bilking of elderly into policies that profited Thrivent handsomely with causing the buyer to live pretty much penniless. Went in personally to discuss my reasons as I closed the account. My agent’s response? “OK.” Talk about a decision I did NOT regret!

  5. I never had a Thrivent account, and based off what is being done by Thrivent, I’m sure glad that I don’t.

  6. I have long since struggled with this issue. Not only have I looked extensively into it but I have called my Thrivent rep out on this issue and asked him to explain. When Lutheran Brotherhood and AAL merged we have the creature before us now. The issue I see here is multiple. The first being that Lutheranism used to be, Lutheran. The ELCA has become so far removed from any semblance of this that this abortionist ideal has crept in. Secondly, when the issue of adding non profits arose, (remember ELCA and LCMS groups are on the board) the congregations wanted to have a say and NOT have this decision made by the board. The power to add non profits was given by the individual congregations. This was the double edged sword that caused the issue.
    To call it blood money is a bit extreme, this would follow the same logic as teaching someone to shoot a gun is the same as training them to be murderers. There is a choice. No money had made it to Planned Parenthood. Zero. This had the potential to create and endorse great evil, but it didn’t happen. What then is worse? For a business organization to not do business or for a Christian to not continue supporting pro-life groups?
    This mentality is seen also in the military, one person does something stupid and it ruins it for everybody. Afterwards it’s called a safety brief. Is it better to give up, pull out of Thrivent and go with a secular organization, where funds are being given for abortions? Or to stick to your guns in spite of an organization?
    I could have gone with USAA, Navy Federal, or PenFed. I chose not to. I believe in the LCMS. I believe that choice dollars can still be used for good. I choose not to throw out the baby with the bath water.

  7. My concerns/disagreements with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans have now escalated! I desire to financial support a company that aligns with my Lutheran confession of the Christian faith. However, is there one that does that? Is there a life insurance company that is brave and bold enough to publicly stand against immorality, indecency, and decadence. Is there one that has publicly adopted and continues to be guided by Biblical principles? I have already “bought into” a secular life insurance company for part of my total plan … but even it isn’t free from the burden of unscriptural policies and practices. The difference, as I see it, is that it doesn’t hypocritically claim to be a Christian company as does Thriven and then adopt antichristian policies. Frustration!

  8. In addition/enhancement to my previous post, are not all LCMS congregations unabashedly and unashamedly pro-life organizations since they all constitutionally confess allegiance to God’s Holy Word as He has communicated it to us in The Holy Bible, through the person and work of Jesus Christ, and the normative confessional documents contained in the Book of Concord of 1587? That results in identifying all LCMS congregations as definitely pro-life … as well as non-neutral on other theological/social issues such as sexual orientation and same-sex relationships. As such, doesn’t Thrivent’s recently adopted/published neutrality policy therefore make all LCMS congregations ineligible to receive Thrivent Choice dollars? Or, coming at it from another perspective, how can LCMS congregations, organizations, and other related entities in good conscience accept proceeds from Thrivent since doing so at least indirectly links us with and gives support to all of Thrivent’s adopted policies?

  9. @Rev Thomas Handrick Sr. #11

    That results in identifying all LCMS congregations as definitely pro-life … as well as non-neutral on other theological/social issues such as sexual orientation and same-sex relationships.

    And if there were any doubt about that LCMS biblical fidelity, Matthew Harrison has rather unequivocally removed it.

    ” . . .By the love of God the Father, who chose a young woman to carry out His plan of salvation, a young woman who knew what it is to be confused by an unplanned pregnancy; by the grace of Christ, who while still in the womb was greeted by the “leaping,” yes, “rejoicing” John the Baptizer, himself unborn (Luke 1:44); by the strength of Him who healed every disease and cared for every life He encountered (Mark 1:34); by the mercy of God the Father who sent His Son, mercy incarnate for all (Luke 1:78); by the knowledge of our eternal God and Lord who knows and loves every child formed in the womb (Jer. 1:5; John 3:16); empowered by the Spirit of life who gives me life (Job 33:4; Rom. 8:10), I–a sinner no better than the next (1 Tim. 1:15)–shall speak (Jer. 20:9). I shall intervene (Luke 10:33). I shall love all and treasure God’s gift of life, womb to tomb (1 Tim. 6:18). For Jesus experienced it all, sanctified it all and redeems it all (Gal. 3:13). He has redeemed me that I may no longer live for myself (1 John 4:9; 1 Pet. 4:2).”

    http://blogs.lcms.org/2013/gods-gift-of-life-1-2013 — God’s Gift of Life

    Thrivent, you might want to be paying attention.

  10. If you’re considering no longer “partnering” financially with Thrivent, perhaps you should consider no longer “partnering” financially with the LCMS.

    Why?

    For consistency’s sake.

    If you believe that you cannot in good conscience be involved with an organization that supports abortion, perhaps you also may believe that you cannot in good conscience be involved with an organization that supports Left-wing progessivism, such as Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a pet of LCMS President Harrison and Atlantic District President Dave Behnke.

    Just take a look at the LIRS blog roll. See who they’re aligned with. See who they support: American Civil Liberties Union, National Council of La Raza, the George-Soros-funded Sojourners organization. http://blog.lirs.org/

    Then realize that the money you put in your local LCMS offering plate, the part that makes its way through your district all the way to St. Louis, is funding this organization. http://lirs.org/press-inquiries/press-room/131016newsrelease/

    See also how the LCMS IC colluded with LIRS, the CTCR, and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, to manufacture faux “doctrine,” a biblically unsupportable view on immigration, and got it passed at the 2013 synodical convention. http://blogs.lcms.org/2013/framework-for-addressing-immigration

    Finally, ask yourself, do I really want my congregation, or even my Synod, to celebrate Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Sunday, June 22, 2014? http://blog.lirs.org/national-lcms-convention-resolution-recognizes-75th-anniversary-of-lirs/.

    Then ask yourself, “Just how far down the rabbit hole do I want to go?”

  11. For anyone interested, there is a book called “Promises Kept” written on the 100th anniversary of AAL. Interestingly enough, it was written the year they announced their merger with Lutheran Brotherhood. It is a fairly good history of the company. I saw used copies on Amazon for about five dollars. I will still argue that the LCMS needs to repent of mixing the two kingdoms in this matter. This company started with good motives, but good motives do not sinless actions make. The moment AAL/LB was invited into congregations to promote their agenda/products, a line was crossed. This argument can also be applied to the LCEF and the Foundation, in my humble opinion. And I have always maintained that the Concordia Plan could have been better run by securing bids from secular organizations because free enterprise would ensure competitive rates and offerings. Instead another level of bureaucracy was created, and pastors have seen their rates skyrocket. Hmmm – sounds a little like society at large, doesn’t it?

  12. @Robert #13

    Robert, as a political conservative, I find that LIRS blog roll scary.

    As a Bible-believing Christian, though, I need to ask you two questions:

    What is the biblical position on immigration? (More importantly, is there a straightforwardly articulated, unambiguous biblical position on immigration?)

    What is anti-biblical about LIRS’ position? (I confess I don’t know what it is yet. I just became aware of LIRS via your post.)

    The Bible speaks clearly to several issues on which the devil is mounting unceasing attacks on the moral fabric of society: abortion, sexuality/marriage/the family, and religious freedom. In each of these areas, the LCMS has taken biblically consonant positions. (I could supply you with links if you like. For example, Matthew Harrison has written about sexuality and marriage in a recent issue of The Lutheran Witness, and his testimony on the HHS abortifacient-contraceptive mandate before a House committee was biblical and powerful.)

    On other issues (taxation, welfare, size of government, Social Security privatization, pensions, EPA regulations, immigration, and the like), I’m not sure there are unambiguous Bible injunctions.

    James Lamb of Lutherans for Life has explained the subject better than I can:

    “. . . God speaks to some of the political issues of our day but in a way that gives the Christian plenty of “wiggle” room. For example, God speaks about taxes. He tells us to give to “Caesar” what is his.

    “However, He does not talk about tax structures or the IRS. Therefore, Christians may debate about how much they think ” Caesar” should be taking or about how he should be taking it.

    “God speaks about salvation but not about how to save the Social Security system. Therefore, Christians may debate about the pros and cons of privatization.

    “God speaks about caring for the elderly but not about Medicare. Therefore, Christians may debate about the best way to help the elderly pay for prescriptions.

    “God speaks differently, however, about destroying innocent human life, and there is no “wiggle” room. He says: ‘You shall not murder. . .’ ”

    http://www.nrlc.org/archive/news/2000/NRL10/lamb.html — IS ABORTION JUST AN “ELECTION ISSUE” FOR CHRISTIANS?

  13. No one wants me to get wound up on politics. I have foresworn politics for many months, and I confess my Old Adam is itching for a real “get down to it” . . .

    But I shall refrain.

    Robert – that you compare abortion to immigration says all that you/I need to say.

    And it was way too much. Consistency? Hoo, Lawdy!

    Pax – jb

  14. Great piece, Mr. Diekmann. Thanks for confessing the truth of God’s word in matters of our life together as Christians. As a matter of conscience, guided by God’s Word, our church has withdrawn its investments with Thrivent and members of the congregation are also doing the same. There are other options such as local banks, investment companies, and life insurance companies. It is time to leave Thrivent and do better.

  15. I cashed out the meager life insurance policy my folks took out for me after the announcement of the result of the vote last summer. I have not regretted it.

    Despite philosophical grounds, the policy was simply a bad product and better value for the money can be found in multiple alternatives. I have no first-hand experience with any of their other financial products but none of them were inspiring enough for me to buy into them.

  16. @Nate Bargmann #19
    I strongly suspect that your action, Nate, will represent a significant exodus from Thrivent, and for precisely the same reason. People will say, “There is no good reason to keep my money in Thrivent. I was willing to accept a lesser return on my investment, because I believed good things were happening with the money for the sake of the Gospel, etc. Now, *especially* now that they have put in place this “neutrality” policy, they are simply another financial investment corporation, and there is *no* reason not to do better with my money somewhere else, if I can find it.” If Thrivent investments really do compete well in the general marketplace, fine and dandy. But they need to compete on a level playing field–“not-for-profit”? Really?

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