Great Stuff — An Open Letter to Thrivent CEO Brad Hewitt & the Thrivent Board of Directors

February 6th, 2014 Post by

From Daring Lutheran

 

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Dear Mr. Hewitt and Board Members,

I’m publishing this open letter to you with the hope that many will bring it to your attention, and in so doing give you the courage to do what is right.

Thrivent Choice
Thrivent made a mistake in 2013. Due to a decision to make Thrivent Choice giving “neutral”, you allowed an affiliate of Planned Parenthood to be approved as a recipient of Choice dollars. Thankfully, when there was an outcry from the faithful Christians you have as Members, you removed that organization from the program. Unfortunately, you also temporarily suspended 53 (or so) pro-life organizations. In doing all this, you have so far failed to address the root of the problem: your insistence on being equitable in what sort of organizations are allowed in the Choice program. This equal-treatment ideology can only go so far. The world demands “neutrality” in toto, but God limits it to only those things which truly serve your neighbor. You are a Christian organization, after all, and ultimately “must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

Please restore pro-life organizations to Thrivent Choice. Please establish rules that disallow pro-abortion organizations that operate contrary to God’s Word. The world – and even some of your Members – will clamor that it’s not fair to let pro-life organizations receive Thrivent Choice dollars while pro-abortion organizations cannot. But you are Christians, so I urge you to do what Christians ought to do. Allow money to go to the organizations that are doing the mercy work of Christ – that is, pro-life organizations – and bravely take a stand against those pro-abortion organizations doing the work of the devil, who is “a murderer from the beginning.” (John 8:44) The 5th Commandment is not an open question, nor is it neutral. You may lose some Members, but you will be doing the right thing.

Gift Multiplier
Thrivent has been making some other mistakes since at least 2006. You have been matching donations given by your employees to pro-abortion organizations through your Gift Multiplier program. This has resulted in Thrivent providing matching funds to pro-abortion organizations in the amount of at least $8484, for a total of $16,968 when the original employee donations are included.

From the perspective of the entirety of Thrivent’s giving, this is a very small amount. In fact, by reviewing Thrivent’s 990PF forms from 2006 to 2012, I can confidently state that there are a very small number of Thrivent employees who have been requesting matching funds for their giving to these pro-abortion organizations. Also, based on my study I can assure you that a vastly larger number of your employees give to pro-life organizations and ask Thrivent to match those gifts. This one-sidedness in terms of employee numbers is reflected just as one-sidedly in total dollar amounts given. This is not to mention the very large amounts given to pro-life organizations such as crisis pregnancy centers through your various Chapters (I have the last three years of Group 990PF forms, so I’ve seen the numbers).

It may be painful, but nevertheless I urge you to do this: Please establish a rule in your Gift Multiplier program that disallows matching for organizations that operate contrary to God’s Word. You may anger a small minority of your employees; they may even quit. But again, you are a Christian organization and you all are likewise Christians. Take up this cross, embrace this opportunity to confess the value of life in both God’s eyes and your own, and rejoice that you have been deemed worthy by God to suffer in this way.

Thrivent’s Aid in Christ’s Mercy Work
Thrivent has been doing much good for Christ’s Gospel and mercy in the world. Thrivent has been doing much for mothers and children, both born and unborn, through your charitable giving programs. You can do even more by taking a clear and definitive stand for life.

I hope that you will listen and take this to heart. Please understand that I’m not alone in desiring these actions from you. I hope you will hear from many, many more concerned Christians. I will be praying for each of you by name, that you will do the right thing and support Christ’s work of mercy and reject supporting the devil’s work of murder and lies. Please, in your Choice and Gift Multiplier programs, as well as in all of your Chapters, allow for funding of pro-life organizations and disallow funding of pro-abortion organizations.

Thank you, in Christ.
Rev. Michael Schuermann

Daring Lutheran


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  1. LadyM
    February 7th, 2014 at 08:00 | #1

    “Thrivent is a Christian company.” Wow, since when? Did the Church establish it? All this time I thought it was a fraternal insurance company. And “Thrivent has been doing much good for Christ’s Gospel and mercy in the world” is another erroneous statement. Actually, people who own policies in this company have been directing their dollars for mercy acts in the world (and, apparently, evil acts as well). I think there are a lot of LCMS pastors who have their two kingdom theologies mixed whenever it comes to Thrivent, as I alluded to in another post. I abhor abortion, but the fact is Thrivent does nothing but provide products for life, health, and investments. Everything else, including the percentage of monies available for charitable works, is required by government mandate to maintain their fraternal status. Just as mutual companies must pay dividends, Thrivent must show they are a non-profit by dispensing money. This is the means they have chosen to do this and they have set (wrong) guidelines to do so. I have no problem with members forming an outcry against their policy, but I do not agree with some of the above statements.

  2. Jason
    February 7th, 2014 at 08:55 | #2

    Thrivent lost its way a while ago, at least since the time of the merger. With the majority of e_ca people there is little hope they will get any better. Now with the ‘for Christians’ tag, who do you think will swell the ranks? The Catholics? They have a tendency to do their own thing. WELS? They kinda act isolationist, so I don’t really see them joining in. But how about the e_ca’s ecumenical partners? Well, absolutely. They will be the first to come on in. Demographics: Thrivent will only get more liberal, as they search for more mammon. LC-MS can write more letter of concerns, but we should really just cut loose form them.

  3. Mary Kruta
    February 7th, 2014 at 10:02 | #3

    Here is the new (as of Feb 6,2014) Financial Neutrality Policy for Thrivent:

    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.

    Under this policy, certain organizations are not eligible to receive outreach support or funding. This includes, but is not limited to, organizations with a primary purpose of providing services for or advocating positions either supporting or opposing certain social, politically partisan, or health and human services causes and issues, such as abortion, sexual orientation, or guns. Decisions regarding the application of this policy and the eligibility of specific organizations to receive outreach funding or support are made at the sole discretion of Thrivent’s management team and are subject to change.

  4. Didaskalos
    February 7th, 2014 at 10:21 | #4

    @Mary Kruta #3

    No money to groups “. . . advocating positions either supporting or OPPOSING” issues like abortion? Give unto us a break, Thrivent. That’s about the most risibly pusillanimous evasion for a putatively “Christian” company I’ve ever seen. Let’s make this easy, Thrivent. Saving unborn babies’ lives = good. You should be involved in this effort. Read Proverbs 24:11 and 31:8. Aborting unborn babies = evil. Or did you find out only belatedly that Planned Parenthood performs 1 of every 3 U. S. abortions? Or that PP does 149 abortions for every adoption? Or that the “service” PP renders to 93.8% of the pregnant women who walk in its doors is abortion? You should continue not funding Big Abortion.

  5. william
    February 7th, 2014 at 10:23 | #5

    The last sentence makes the rest of the policy moot.

  6. February 7th, 2014 at 12:11 | #6

    Thrivent’s management doesn’t care, and the situation will not change. If you’re not happy with Thrivent’s decisions regarding this matter, take your business elsewhere. It’s that simple.

  7. Jais Tinglund
    February 7th, 2014 at 13:22 | #7

    This is what I have had in my bulletins:

    Thrivent Financial: The saga continues

    In late December it became public knowledge that Planned Parenthood in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota was approved by Thrivent to receive support through the Choice Dollars program. Planned Parenthood is responsible for the vast majority of abortions carried out in the United States, and the news of Thrivent’s approval brought about a strong reaction from Lutherans all over the United States, including an official statement by the President of The Lutheran Church-Missouri voicing concerns. Thrivent responded by announcing that all pro-life (!) organisations are now suspended from receiving support through the program – and, on a sidenote, also Planned Parenthood in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

    In Mid-January it was made public that not only had Planned Parenthood in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota been approved to receive support through the Choice Dollars program (and now suspended) ; Thrivent Financial is also directly supporting at least four Planned Parenthood affiliates throughout the United States, along with NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Foundation through Thrivent’s Gift Multiplier program, in which Thrivent matches and sometimes doubles donations given by its employees to approved institutions and organisations. Quoting a January 15th statement from the President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison: “Today’s news indicates that Thrivent not only has suspended funding for pro-life, nonprofit organizations serving women and children in need but now also directly supports organizations providing abortion services and pro-abortion advocacy.”

    When in 2013 the members of Thrivent – strongly encouraged to do so by the leadership – voted that Thrivent no longer be restricted to support Lutheran entities only, Thrivent emphasised strongly that the vote meant that Thrivent would expand to “all Christians”.

    All Christians who have dealings with Thrivent are encouraged to express disapproval at 1-800-Thrivent.

  8. Mary Kruta
    February 7th, 2014 at 13:39 | #8

    Robert #6

    My husband and I removed all of our monies from Thrivent early last summer when the vote came down. We are still in the process of cashing out our life insurance.
    We received a call from Thrivent asking why we had cashed out all of our investents. I told them in detail why we were unhappy, and that I was worried about the direction they were headed. Little did I know how fast the change would come.

  9. Nate Bargmann
    February 11th, 2014 at 07:55 | #9

    @Mary Kruta #3

    Perhaps the membership and management at Thrivent ignore Revelation 3:16 at their own peril.

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