Remember Thrivent? Planned Parenthood does. And I do, too.
If you are struggling to recall the details of the events from the not-all-that-distant past, let me remind you…because the current smog hovering above Planned Parenthood and releasing of the undercover videos makes the stance taken by Thrivent that much more unnerving.
The essential element of the scandal is that in the winter of 2013, it was discovered that Thrivent had directed funds to Planned Parenthood as well as NARAL (The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) through its Thrivent Choice and Gift Multiplier programs. The Thrivent Choice program allows for Thrivent customers to designate their charitable gifts to non-profit organizations of their choosing as long as those organizations are on the list of recognized charities selected by a local Thrivent chapter. The Gift Multiplier program matches employee gifts to charitable organizations on that same list.
Again, Thrivent, at the time a notable Lutheran Christian investment company (although they are working to remove most referents to such an identity), allowed Planned Parenthood and NARAL to be available to its clients as worthy recipients of charitable giving. Thrivent gave money in support of abortion.
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was in shock.
In the wake of the discovery, rather than confess the situation as an incredible oversight or as an obvious misalignment with the Christian values of the company, Thrivent’s Board of Directors sought merely to relieve the pressure by stating that in order to be fair to the varying beliefs of both its Christian and non-Christian, Pro-life and Pro-choice clientele, Thrivent would be taking a neutral stance on what it considered politically partisan topics – one of which was the issue of abortion. With this, all avenues to both Pro-life and Pro-choice organizations were immediately closed. Unfortunately, this meant that while funding supplies to the two aforementioned meat grinders dried up, so also were dollars streamed away from over 50 Pro-life organizations to the tune of about $900,000.
I remember from my conversations with the Media Relations executive at Thrivent, having informed her of my concerns and relaying that my congregation, sadly, would no longer promote or associate with Thrivent, in those discussions I suggested that one reason Thrivent may be feeling the sting as they were was because a majority of Thrivent’s base is/was unarguably old school Lutherans and very much Pro-life. By forsaking an elementary dimension of the Christian faith, Thrivent was alienating more members than it was satiating. I suggested that the decision to take a neutral stance could quite possibly begin for them an irreversible hemorrhaging of membership and funds – that is unless they reversed course. I know that so many other pastors communicated the same.
I did some checking and I’ve learned something recently.
I just learned that right around the time my congregation (and many others) had voted to break from Thrivent, the company was stealthily reengaging with some organizations it cut from its lists of acceptable charities, organizations such as crisis pregnancy centers. At first I thought this was wonderful news because it seemed to signify that Thrivent may have been experiencing the financial effects foretold, and because of this, was backing away from its neutrality statement. But then I discovered more.
There is no doubt that Thrivent is absolutely firm in its position of neutrality. While Thrivent has indeed been reinstating funding streams to various groups, they have done so with extension bridge cable type strings attached. In other words, if you or your organization have anything to do with women’s healthcare, you certainly can have Thrivent’s money, but you are not allowed to counsel for or against abortion. You must be neutral. Like Thrivent. Oh, and by the way, Pastor Thoma, support for Lutherans for Life is banned. Permanently. According to Thrivent, don’t any of you LCMS Lutherans get any ideas about that ever changing, because it won’t. It isn’t an economically viable platform in today’s society.
Now that we, the people of America, have an even more detailed understanding of what’s happening in the friendly “women’s health” death camps known as Planned Parenthood, not only are so many Christians from across a multitude of denominational lines clamoring for the government to defund this barbaric group of serial killers who’ve been caught jesting that full fetal cadavers could be provided to a buyer and are of no more concern than a simple “line item” adjustment or a minor change to protocol to be sure the baby is born intact before death, but so also are a good number of Pro-choice Americans and corporations changing their public positions because of the horrific discoveries. In fact, at least five states have moved to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood and another ten are following the same course.
But not Thrivent. Nope, not this “Christian” financial house. The videos have not affected Thrivent’s Board of directors. None of these leaders at the helm of a company which has as its tagline “Connecting Faith and Finances for Good” are at all repulsed by the cracking and popping of infant body parts. None of these Christians are bothered by the lab technicians sifting through pans filled with jelly-like soups of infant meat. Thrivent desires wholeheartedly to remain neutral.
Hey, Thrivent, to remain neutral in light of this is to embrace baleful malevolence. To remain neutral in the abortion debate is to side with the ungodly and inhumane Pro-choice agenda. You have made a choice. Period.
Thrivent, I haven’t forgotten. Where you are set, the spotlight of Planned Parenthood’s evil is fixed upon you, too. And I intend to continue to remind folks about this. I intend to remind folks that you had a hand in providing for the salaries of those doctors and staff members in the videos. You played a role in grinding up infants so that, as one Planned Parenthood director said, she could have a shot at owning a Lamborghini.
Neutrality doesn’t spare you of this guilt, Thrivent. It merely preserves it. It sets it into the concrete of history and records it as effortless collaboration with this world’s monsters.