Remember Thrivent? Planned Parenthood does.

Thrivent NeutralityRemember 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.


Remember Thrivent? Planned Parenthood does. — 60 Comments

  1. As disturbing as it is, I would imagine that the ELCA being twice the size numerically of the LCMS, Thrivent is much more interested in keeping their business than ours. Thrivent is simply reflecting the politically nauseating positions of their favorite synod.

    The LCMS, even if banded together with many of the other smaller synods who are ostensibly more conservative, don’t match the ELCA for numbers.

  2. “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”

    If a Nuremberg-style trial can be established to indict, try, convict, and sentence abortion enablers (in addition to those in the three branches of the federal government, state government), officials in private organizations like Thrivent, including some Missouri Synod Lutherans, will need to be included for their part in genocidal murder, crimes against humanity, and treason.

    The latest video about a Planned Parenthood clinic describes extracting an intact brain of an aborted near-fully-developed baby boy with a beating heart by cutting through the boy’s face.

  3. @Brad #1

    And at the heart of this is a BUSINESS, an entity dedicated to the bottom line. They need to live up to the promises made to beneficiaries. Solution is to divest, use your dollars, to express your disapproval and go to another insurance company with a clean portfolio, one that has no investments in other funds or corporations which support Planned Parenthood or pay into health insurance policies that provide their women with “reproductive” services. While you’re using your dollars as speech, look through your personal investments and mutual funds to be sure that they don’t include companies which pay into these benefits, be sure you don’t work for an employer that does and, to keep yourself really clean, make sure you don’t ever get treated in a hospital that performs such services and takes you copays.

    Fact is, our money and our labor is co-opted by our economic system to support things that are morally reprehensible. just buying gas at the pump or paying your electric bill is lining the pockets of corporations who pay for these services. true, Thrivent is close to home and, at one time was dedicated to serving one people in a manner consistent with Christian morality, but even then, the businesses we supported and worked for were not. Where is the anger at the non-neutrality of the Microsoft and Apple corporations providing the means for this conversation? They are pro-choice.

    However we posture, we are all guilty.

  4. @HL #5

    You made some very interesting points, and my mind went even further. We have no idea where our money goes when we purchase a single thing, from groceries, clothing, fuel, insurance, medicines, health care. We try to buy American made/grown. But that does not guarantee where the money goes – who the corporations support. My issue with Thrivent is that it’s suppose to be Christian. Not Christian “based”. To me, this is just another form of Spiritual Warfare and a stepping stone for Satan.

  5. Back when I was a Sem, student, I had a short conversation with our AAL rep. He plainly told me that AAL, like all insurance companies, is in it for the money, period. He said their work with congregations was just a marketing tool, nothing more.

  6. As an old AAL member from my youth, as promoted by Mom and Dad members, I have all of my savings and annuity payments (A GM buyout of my pension) with Thrivent. The dilemma is: Who in the world can I move my money to who will provide good investment as well a more comforting situation vs. Thrivent? Is there such a thing as the LCMS or LHM providing investment opportunities, annuity pension payments, etc.? This bothers me tremendously, as it should, but even the likes of Dave Ramsey can’t insure wholly Christian investments that have some reasonable security, can he?
    All comments here are most welcome. Thanks for a great article Pastor Thoma!

  7. Lets do something about all this >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Synod officials say recent videos ‘lay evil bare’

    “It had a face. … Its nose was very pronounced. It had eyelids.” In the seventh Center for Medical Progress video, Holly O’Donnell, ex-procurement technician for StemExpress, describes what she witnessed in a Planned Parenthood clinic: A baby boy, an abortion survivor, was rinsed off and dropped in a pie plate for the procurement of his organs.

    She continues, recounting the doctor’s words and her own thoughts: “‘I want you to see something cool, kind of neat.’ … She has one of her instruments and she just taps the heart and it starts beating. I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating. ‘You know why that’s happening?’ I knew why it was happening. It’s because an electrical current, nodes were still firing.”

    Her words are heart-stopping.

    A child, still alive, is then cut — through the chin and face and forehead — so that his brain can be invoiced and sold. “I can’t even, like, describe, like, what that feels like,” O’Donnell says.

    But we as the Church can. It feels like — it is — evil.

    The infanticide that is occurring at Planned Parenthood must end. It is not simply time to defund that organization; it is time to end abortion in the United States altogether.

    As for us, we can no longer claim that we didn’t know Planned Parenthood doctors killed children so ruthlessly or that we weren’t aware human bodies were cannibalized for their organs.

    We can’t just say it’s a woman’s choice or shrug our shoulders and mumble, “Who are we to judge?”

    We can’t hide behind the half-truths that women have no other place to find health care or that Planned Parenthood provides millions of mammograms per year.

    It doesn’t matter. None of it matters.

    Children are being killed, their organs are being sold, and their mothers are left with physical scars and — greater still — haunting memories that sometimes never fade. The death of these children is barbaric, and it is evil, and we are without excuse. Silence and attempts at justification are no longer options. The only option is for each one of us to act. Here’s what you can do:

    Participate in the nationwide Aug. 22 Planned Parenthood protest. Search online for protest locations. Give up two hours of your Saturday morning to speak out against the infanticide occurring at these clinics.

    Write a letter to the president and to your congressman or senator regarding this issue. Ask them if they’ve watched the videos. Tell them why you believe life — no matter how young — has innate worth. Encourage them to end abortion and to defund any organization that performs them.

    Support LCMS Life Ministry. Its staff members are committed to teaching why human lives and bodies matter and why there is hope and healing in Christ.

    Call your LCMS representatives who serve at local, state or federal levels of government. Remind them of their Baptism and confirmation vows, of the faithful confession they are called upon to make, even when it’s unpopular.

    Use your social media channels to share pro-life resources or LCMS life-related social media imagery (click on “Religious Freedom Toolkit”).

    Share resources from Lutherans For Life, start a life team or kick-start a young adult life team in your congregation.

    Pre-order a new, free resource from the LCMS — the Ultrasound Education Project — that will bring the miracle and sanctity of human life into the middle-school and high-school classroom through the use of ultrasound technology.
    We see in these videos how Satan thrives on darkness and chaos, how he delights in baby boys and tiny girls picked apart with sterile utensils. And while we are repulsed and horrified, we no longer have the option to turn away. In this, we have been provided with the biggest opportunity of all: to highlight a still greater need that every person — pro-abortion or pro-life — has for the mercy and forgiveness of Christ.

    Without Him, we are all capable of performing equally horrifying acts, of seeing children as nothing more than line items or cadavers. But our Lord is merciful. Because of Him, we have been given consciences that cause us to act and tongues that can speak truth in the midst of evil. We have been given His forgiveness in water and Word, and so we speak it, in turn, to hurting mothers and repentant participants in the deaths of these babies. We have the truth, and we are no longer ashamed to call the deaths of 55 million children what it is: genocide.

    Our heavenly Father, it turns out, knows a thing or two about hearts. He knows our own, and He knows each heart of each child, even as He knows their faces and noses and eyelids. We are the reason He allowed His own Son’s heart to stop beating for a time, so that ours may thrive for all eternity. In so doing, He shows us His own heart, full of grace, mercy and compassion.

    Through each of these videos, He has seen fit to lay evil bare, and by His grace, our hearts and lips are freed to speak, to act, to pray, to repent, to call upon His name and to trust in His heart, which is ever turned toward us in Christ.

    It’s all that matters.

    Rev. Kevin Robson, Chief Mission Officer
    Rev. Bart Day, executive director, Office of National Mission

    Rev. Heath Curtis, coordinator, Stewardship Ministry
    Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Gray, director, Black Ministry
    Rev. Joel Hempel, interim director, Specialized Pastoral Ministry
    Rev. Dr. Carlos Hernandez, director, Hispanic Ministry, Church and Community Engagement
    Rev. Ross Johnson, director, Disaster Response
    Rev. Mark Kiessling, interim director, Youth Ministry
    Rev. Todd Kollbaum, director, Rural & Small Town Mission
    Deaconess Dorothy Krans, director, Recognized Service Organizations
    Tracy Quaethem, project coordinator, Life and Health Ministries
    Deaconess Grace Rao, director, Deaconess Ministry
    Rev. Steve Schave, director, Urban & Inner-City Mission
    Terry Schmidt, director, School Ministry
    Rev. William Weedon, director, Worship
    Rev. Mark Wood, director, Witness & Outreach Ministry
    Rev. Marcus Zill, director, Campus Ministry and LCMS U

  8. Thriven’t: Thrivent NOT. Very good! (Add that one to your spelling dictionary, I did!)

    I am searching for good alternatives. Are there any? I am dismayed that there may not be any to be found.

  9. @HL #5


    One ought not be distracted by the forest when dealing with trees. There’s a difference in organizations that directly support evil, and those which indirectly do so. There’s also a difference in the rule of conscience, akin to St. Paul’s admonition regarding meat offered to idols (just eat what’s in front of you and don’t ask where it came from… but if someone makes a point of it being offered to idols, then refrain for conscience sake.) In the general push and pull of the economy, there will always be people using the wealth generated for evil– but that doesn’t absolve us from keeping our dollars away from those who directly promote and sponsor evil.

    This isn’t a totalitarian situation, otherwise we would have to stop paying taxes, grow our own food, and do business only within orthodox Christian circles… none of which is directed by either Christ or the Apostles. We do the best we can in a fallen world, being in the world while not being of it.


  10. “And why not say, ‘Let us do evil that good may come?’ Rom3:8 So let’s continue giving Thrivent free advertising in our churches and schools, since we do get a little $ from them.
    In the past I left an ELS congregation because Thrivent was given a “free pass.” At that time they were sticking with their “faith based fellowship” heresy, and the CLC blew the whistle on them.
    Granted, Thrivent is in it for the money, but is the church thereby becoming a marketplace–again?

  11. There are still entities associated with the LCMS that accept Thrivent Dollars. Fie on them. I took my money out of Thrivent a while back. I had to pay a $3,000 tax penalty, and it was worth every cent. People are quick to criticize, but if it costs them anything, never mind.

  12. @Kurt Pochert #8

    This is a very poor idea as a steward of your finances, to say nothing of the PP issue. You must be aware of the tyranny of compounded fees (unfairly high expense ratios and hidden fees, 12b1,etc) that are slowly ciphoning your investments into Thrivent’s pocket. Check out Vanguard or any other low fee investment firm….

  13. Not sure why this is new news. My parents, grandparents,& relatives, pulled out of Thrivent, in the early 90’s. If it was “Thrivent Sunday”, that was a rare Sunday, we didn’t go.

    Is this news, because of the P.P. videos? I was still a kid, when homework was done, by those who taught us how to tithe, invest, and support, etc.
    That was in the early 90’s folks.

  14. “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
    -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”
    -George Santayana

  15. My congregation dropped its Thrivent Chapter When all of the above started but Thrivent still gives a lot of money to the Synod and takes out a major advertisement on Lutheran Witness. Synod does not seem to mind.

    Thrivent’s President is a member of an LCMS congregation and I think he used to work for Synod. Shame on him.

  16. @Tim Schenks #18: “Thrivent still… takes out a major advertisement on Lutheran Witness. Synod does not seem to mind.”

    Especially Synod does not seem to mind making a mockery of the name, “Lutheran Witness.”

  17. @Kurt Pochert #8

    You are all way off on this. Thrivent did not direct funds. A member directed their OWN choice dollars. Thrivent stopped it. You should have the facts before you post. If you gave your congregation each $100 to donate to a charity of their choice , and someone chose PP , would that mean your congregation supports PP? Of course not.

  18. Not way off; right on. Thrivent writes the checks at the direction of its investors, thereby becoming a partner in evil. Their “solution” of not writing checks to PP or RTL demonstrates self-serving, but poor judgment; and you trust them to use good judgment in investing your money?

  19. @Tim Schenks #18: “Thrivent’s President is a member of an LCMS congregation and I think he used to work for Synod.”

    From 1998 to 2003, Thriven’t President and CEO Brad Hewitt served as chief administrative officer of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in St. Louis, Missouri.

    Hewitt, formerly a member of The Alley, is a member of The Wherehouse Church (Pastor Aaron Unseth) which appears to hold 5:45PM services at Jehovah Lutheran Church, St. Paul, MN. Nowhere does the Wherehouse Church website use the word “Lutheran.”

  20. That’s a funny name for a church. When I first read it, I thought it said Whorehouse Church, but of course I was wrong.

    I’ve had several dealings with that company, and most are not good. I remember one of their agents came to my 80 year old mother, who was already failing mentally. He talked her into a whole life policy, which, if you don’t know, is a terrible investment. Most of the premiums you pay in the first year go to the salesman, so they like to push those policies. I don’t deal with that company at all anymore, and for more reasons than have already been cited.

  21. @Ddo #20

    “Thrivent…allowed Planned Parenthood and NARAL to be available to its clients as worthy recipients of charitable giving.”

    Thrivent chapters were accepting of the Pro-choice avenue and provided Planned Parenthood and NARAL for clients as worthy charities on its official list. Without this provision, Thrivent matching funds would have never been used in this way

    Now let’s fix the straw argument. If a church matches the charitable giving of a member, and the organization to which that member desires to give was first vetted and found acceptable to the church so that the organization could stand on the church’s finite list of “approved” charities, then we have a problem. The church now bears great blame. The church should repent and amend. However you want to spin it, Thrivent was and remains guilty…and to hold so fervently to the neutral stance, the company remains aligned in the shadows alongside the monsters.

  22. @Fred Lingenfelder #21
    Thrivent writes checks FOR the investor. It was the individuals CHOICE . Thrivent fixed that. This is a non issue and a waste of your time. Yes I do trust Thrivent. But to waste time on this issue is wasting time that could be spent helping others. End of comments. Off to promote the Kingdom with encouraging words.

  23. “Off to promote the Kingdom with encouraging words.” Don’t forget to include promoting repentance, confession of sins, and absolution; and practicing what you promote.

  24. How did abortion services end up on Thrivent’s list of “charitable” organizations? How did abortion services get there in the first place? Were the options added by popular demand from the Lutheran Christian population? The concept of there being a demand for Christian abortion rights is a vexing concept. Which came first, the request for Christian abortions or the menu option for abortion providers? Is the real problem in this moral conundrum those Christian Thrivent members who wrongly see abortion rights as a necessary protection of women’s civil rights? If that’s the case, Thrivent can rightfully and conveniently throw all this back in our laps.

  25. @Ddo #25 “But to waste time on this issue is wasting time that could be spent helping others. End of comments.”

    Wow. You’re a real help, Ddo. Would you follow up on every website I visit and personally decide for me what is a waste of time and tell me when I can’t comment on something? Thanks.

  26. Here are a series of articles on Thriven’t by Rev. Michael Schuermann on Daring Lutheran. They include a May 8, 2014, column noting that Thriven’t has reinstated a number of pro-life organizations eligible for Thrivent Choice.

  27. I was set to disassociate my self from the organization as well as recommend to my congregation that we do the same, but they refunded all of the life supporting service organizations they suspended during the time of decision. I was still not completely happy with the way things turned out and am disappointed that they still do not fund Lutherans for Life organizations. However they assured me that they would no longer fund organizations like planned parenthood or NARAL.
    Our congregation while give $ to mercy organizations in our community do not give funds to our country RTL organization because they are not a service ministry, we do support the RTL with volunteers, and we purchase for them LFL materials, but because we do not have full control over how they spend the funds (and I am the VP of our county RTL chapter) we only provide resources that we can be sure are fully inline with our confession. there are many great roman catholic and baptist life resources out there, but we would not want our ministry funds to indirectly support heterodox organizations while we fight for the sanctity of life together. If we boycott and disassociate ourselves from every organization that indirectly supports some form of sinful behavior…..where do we stop, We must be wise as serpents when dealing with the world in order to speak the truth in love we must be engaged. Utopia while a nice dream does translate to “no place” If our motive is to stand for Gods truth together we must always put the best construction on how a brother or sister Christ seeks to to that in this crazy world. Coward is an easy word to speak……but difficult to put back in our mouth when we realize we have misrepresented a fellow servant and can only say Lord have mercy.

  28. I think what bothers everyone about this controversy is the association of Thrivent with Lutherans and Christianity.

    Thrivent Financial: We’re more than financial services. We’re a not-for-profit, membership organization of Christians.

    We expect secular institutions to succumb to cultural pressures and trends, but to label oneself as “Christian” and then adroitly cooperate with something so evil as the destruction of our weakest neighbors is hypocrisy of the first order and a mockery of the second greatest commandment. Mark 12:29-31

  29. 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.

    I don’t understand this at all.  How do you know about such evil attitudes of each member of the board?  Is this best construction speculation or do you have some evidence?

    Thrivent made mistakes in the past by approving donation requests to Planned Parenthood from member chapters.  Was this a unanimous decision of all the board members? Thrivent no longer approves such requests.  Planned Parenthood is off the list. Ddo is right – this is a non issue.

  30. To continue to defend Thrivent (as John Rixe is doing) is abominable.

    As for the LCMS, it needs to formally break off any remaining connections to Thrivent whatsoever. That means no longer receiving money from Thriven’t. And if the Synod wants to keep receiving money from Thriven’t, then our congregations should stop giving any of our money to the Synod. The Synodical organization only exists to help serve and further the purpose of Christ’s Church and His Gospel. When the Synod ceases to perform this function, then the congregations dissolve it or break from it, and form a new body that would serve the original purpose of the Synod. The Synodical leadership had better not fail us. We are watching.

    And anyone who has a Thriven’t plan needs to cancel it, regardless if it causes one to lose money. It is blood money.

  31. Let us also not forget that Thrivent was afforded exhibition space at any number of District Conventions this year. Will it be allowed to peddle its ideology and wares at the LCMS National Convention in 2016?

    We should make it clear to our districts and St. Louis that Thrivent is not welcome at any level.

  32. @Nicholas #34

    Purple Palace List of Things to Do (or Look Like Doing) (before or after Quincentennial parties):

    __ “Formally break off any remaining connections to Thriven’t whatsoever.”
    __ Burn the Memorandum of Fabulous Understanding and sever the formal relationship between the LCMS and BSA.
    __ Denounce the new version of “Statement of the 44” and have the DPs conduct ecclesiastical supervision of LCMS member signatories.
    __ Ask LIaRS to refuse millions in government funding to help place potential islamoterrorists or ISIS sympathizers in small Midwestern towns.
    __ Get EECMY agreement to cease ordination of pastrixes, charismatic theology, and syncretistic interactions with Muslims before 2016 synodical convention delegates vote to officially recognize de facto LCMS/EECMY A&P fellowship.
    __ Check with the S1VP on whatever happened to that Koinonia thingy.
    __ Publicly congratulate ACELC for their significant efforts and contributions to increasing confessional Lutheranism in the Missouri Synod.

  33. We have two annuities we took out with AAL a long time ago that have high guaranteed interest rates. Every month Thrivent loses money paying that interest so we figure we are doing our part by keeping out money there for the time being. All our other Thrivent accounts were closed out years ago.

  34. @John Rixe #32

    OK, so I’m confused– I know what Thrivent did, but have they now repented of their support of pro-abortion organizations (no longer allowing their money to be given to Planned Parenthood, NARAL, etc.,) and opened up again to support pro-life organizations?

  35. @Brad #38


    “The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, guided by the Word of God, is unabashedly and actively pro-life. Thus we are deeply concerned by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans’ decision, announced Feb. 6, 2014, to adopt a “Financial Neutrality Policy” effective immediately to guide its decisions for outreach funding of charitable organizations.

    Under this new policy, neither pro-abortion nor pro-life organizations are eligible to receive outreach support or funding from any of Thrivent’s charitable assistance funding programs. While we applaud the restrictions on funding pro-abortion organizations, this is not the outcome we had envisioned for the more than 50 pro-life charitable organizations that have received Thrivent assistance in the past to provide key support for women, children and families. Sadly, this leaves many Christian pro-life agencies providing these pivotal services in a position of unexpected financial shortfall.

    Synod leadership is keenly aware of these troubling events and is in the process of reviewing the details and implications of this new policy to determine a course of action in response to it.

    In the meantime, under the new policy, we understand that LCMS members may earmark their Thrivent Choice Dollars® for their local parish, and we encourage LCMS parishes receiving these funds to use them to fund pro-life organizations. We further encourage LCMS Thrivent members to contact Thrivent directly with any questions or concerns about its policy.” – 2-7-14

    Subsequently Thrivent has reinstated a number (more than 70%) of pro-life organizations eligible for Thrivent Choice.  Please see comment 29 above. Pro-abortion organizations are not eligible.

  36. @John Rixe #39

    Ah, so in the general slowness I seem to demonstrate all too often, I missed the linkages above. Thanks for weaving that together. So if I understand your point, either by conviction or by economic / public coercion, Thrivent has come around to more or less doing the right thing on this topic.

    Good news, it would seem.

  37. FWIW, there is no statute of limitation for genocide, crimes against humanity, and treason.

  38. Please provide specifics on actions we should take to stop abortions!! Signing a petition won’t work. Electing pro life congressmen doesn’t work. Once elected they do nothing. Is it time for bombing Planned Parenthood offices or murdering abortion doctors? Do we just “wring our hands”? WHAT?@Pastor Prentice #9

  39. I feel the first step is to defund them by withholding taxpayer or government borrowed money. Second, is to take greater steps to encourage donations, financially and volunteer help, toward Pro-Life organizations. Third, keep shaking the bushes around Thrivent with your opinions and Bible backed commentary. Forth, I feel that Thrivent is afraid of the LGBT forces within the ELCA, a large part of Thrivent’s business. (LGBTQIA stands for what? Is it “Leveraging Government Budgets To Quietly Increase Abortion?”)It seems that no one wants to fit that side of things into the big picture. A saying among many LCMS congregations is “An unchanging Christ in a changing world”. We need to strongly make our voices known, and allow our Savior Jesus Christ to guide our way.

  40. @Alan Turley #42: “Please provide specifics on actions we should take to stop abortions!!”

    No. 1: Imprecatory prayers daily and at worship services for God to crush and destroy the efforts of politicians, judges, butchershop “hospitals” and “clinics”, voters, and others who have enabled or conducted the genocidal abortion of people in the womb, and to bring these traitorous enablers to justice within our government.

  41. @John Rixe #39

    @Brad #40

    No. This is a deceptive half-truth and you are twisting the situation. Thrivent has indeed opened up funding to at least 70% of the organizations previously blacklisted. Some of these places are crisis pregnancy centers. But Thrivent has been very clear in its mandate to these centers that to counsel for or against abortion is off limits. If they counsel in either direction, they risk losing Thrivent funding. It is left to the mother to choose. Is this not the pro-choice agenda at its heart? And if abortion is the choice in such a center, then so be it. According to Thrivent, in its neutral position, this has nothing to do with them. Also, as the article points out very clearly, at first, like you, I thought that this was a sign that Thrivent was backing away from its neutrality position in favor of doing what is right, however, it was made very clear that ALL distinctly Pro-life organizations were permanently banned (Lutherans for Life, Right to Life, etc.). These organizations that are distinctly pro-life are not allowed to receive funding. Thrivent’s neutrality is actively warring against the pro-life effort while the pro-choice effort still has an open door for influence. Neutrality has done what it always does…It has fed the monsters.

  42. @Alan Turley #42

    The first step is to pray. Pray without ceasing and trust that the Lord will guide our witness to the most vulnerable among us.

    As for ThriveNOT, they are a non-entity to me. I cashed out the only small life insurance policy I had with them a couple of years ago when they decided to abandon any pretense of being a Lutheran organization. That, and the policy was a very lousy “investment” and the cash was better used elsewhere.

    It is time for the LCMS to drop ThriveNOT like a hot potato. That would be an interesting topic to bring up at our congregation’s next voters meeting…

  43. I recently sent the following e-mail message to the Managing Editor of the Lutheran Witness magazine:

    The reason I am writing to you today is that the Thrivent controversy is rearing its ugly head in a Lutheran blog, “The Brothers of John the Steadfast,” located here:

    I must be living under a rock because I had no idea Thrivent is adroitly cooperating with the abortion industry via membership direction. One of our best friends works as a Thrivent rep. I’m not sure that she is aware of this controversy either. She has never mentioned it to me.

    I realize this is a sticky wicket and that it really implies that there are Christians who still see abortion as a necessary, but to be used sparingly, option for an unwanted or problematic pregnancy. But with the recent, gruesome revelations from the Center for Medical Progress, I believe the Synod, including Lutheran Witness, should have a plan for replacing Thrivent as the ostensibly Christian investment company with which the LCMS works and endorses.

    I realize that doing something substantive will take an effort on the scale of moving heaven and earth because of all the money involved. At a minimum, however, Thrivent should not purport to be a Christian organization if they take a neutral policy stand on something as evil as killing babies, some of which are murdered after delivery, all of which are murdered systematically with Nazi-like efficiency and callousness.

    I can see that the LCMS is up in arms over the videos and has made statements and recommendations, but, can more be done to pressure Thrivent, if not replace them altogether with another investment firm? Deep down I fear the biggest problem in this moral conundrum are those Thrivent members who wrongly see abortion rights as a protection of a woman’s civil rights. Thrivent can conveniently and rightfully throw all this back in our laps.

    I would like to know your thoughts and any LW future plans regarding this issue would also be appreciated.

    The Center for Medical Progress videos have given the Christian Church in America an unprecedented opportunity to take the initiative in this struggle with genuine moral authority.

  44. @Pastor Chris Thoma #45

    Pr. Thoma,

    I am simply trying to understand the facts of the situation, and not aware that I am twisting anything. I have not advocated for or against Thrivent in anything I’ve written here, except to note in comment #1 that I am not surprised their policies follow the money from the ELCA as the significantly larger Lutheran church body in America.

    However, our previous parish supports CareNet which is a crisis pregnancy center that only supports and advocates for life. To my understanding, they never present abortion as an option, though they may be required by law to refer a woman who wants an abortion to some place that will conduct it, even against their counsel. I believe Thrivent continues to support our fund raising campaigns for CareNet, who I think are unambiguously working in the Pro-Life camp.

    So what I don’t understand, is that if they have stopped funding any sort of abortion organization (risking the great ire of ELCA liberals,) have returned to supporting charities that provide life-affirming services, how is this not an improvement of their previously very poor attempts at neutrality on the subject? It seems they are not so neutral anymore, and that would seem to be a good thing. It might not fully redeem Thrivent as an organization to support or use, but it does seem a better situation than originally described.

    I don’t know why Thrivent wouldn’t support Lutherans for Life, unless their policy is not to support political action or lobbying groups that don’t actually provide tangible charitable services. Does that account for the other 30% of Pro-life groups they don’t fund? I honestly don’t know. There may be plenty of reasons to castigate Thrivent, but it at least appears they have backed away from their neutrality on the practice of abortion. Is it just the political action groups they no longer support?

    Peace to you.

  45. @Pastor Chris Thoma #45

    But Thrivent has been very clear in its mandate to these centers that to counsel for or against abortion is off limits. If they counsel in either direction, they risk losing Thrivent funding. It is left to the mother to choose.

    You may be correct but I would like to see the documentation of this clear mandate.  I am somewhat familiar with our local Crisis Pregnancy Center, and pro-life counselling is the core of its program.  


  46. @Brad #48

    Brad, I was merely connecting the points of discussion by including you in that last reply. I recognize that you are trying to get answers. You have noble intentions followed by good questions. Unfortunately, I can’t answer them. Maybe Rev. Schuermann can. He is still very close to the issue.

    And maybe just to bring my participation in these threads to an end, the purpose was to remind folks what happened and what remains as policy. Find out more. Keep asking. Keep pressuring. Right to Life and Lutherans for Life need all the help they can get…and it just makes sense that a “Christian” company would want to align with them. There’s always a chance to reconsider and amend. I know that I would keep my word to Thrivent and become their biggest cheerleader.

    And with thy spirit. +

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