February 13, 2014

Update 5/14/14:

While Lutherans For Life is pleased with Thrivent’s decision to restore funding to pregnancy resource centers, we continue to urge people to ask them to extend this reversal to all who have lost funding.


Lutherans For Life Statement Re: Thrivent Funding

Because human life is created in the image of God as proclaimed throughout scripture (Genesis 1:26-27, 9:6; Psalm 8:5, Colossians 3:10), and because every human being is someone for whom Christ died to restore the image of God, the sanctity of human life is a basic Lutheran/Christian value. Martin Luther strongly condemned abortion: “Those who have no regard for pregnant women and who do not spare the tender fruit are murderers and infanticides.” (Plass: What Luther Says, entry no. 2826, p. 905, Concordia, St. Louis, 1959).

Lutherans for Life is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Lutheran ministry that defends the sanctity of human life, including the life of the unborn child. We believe abortion and certain other practices are fundamentally inconsistent with the Lutheran belief in the sanctity of human life.

We appreciate the generosity of Thrivent in funding many Lutheran projects and causes. We regret that Thrivent has recently allowed a local chapter to fund Planned Parenthood, an organization that commits more abortions than any other organization in the nation and engages in many other practices that are inconsistent with the Lutheran commitment to the sanctity of life.

We further regret that Thrivent, after receiving complaints from Lutheran leaders about the funding of Planned Parenthood, has worsened the situation by suspending the funding of over 50 pro-life ministries and organizations. In monetary terms, this has cost pro-life organizations far more than it has cost pro-abortion organizations. Even worse, Thrivent’s February 6, 2014, statement on its “Neutrality Policy” indicates that Thrivent has made this temporary suspension its permanent policy, and has applied this policy to Thrivent Choice, Care Abounds in Communities, Thrivent Action Teams, Thrivent Communities, Thrivent Gift Multiplier, Thrivent Volunteers, Employee Giving Campaign, and the Thrivent Financial Foundation.

It appears that Thrivent believes “neutrality” is treating pro-life and pro-abortion groups on an equal basis. But they should not be treated on an equal basis, because:

  1. Lutherans for Life is a Lutheran organization, has RSO status with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and works with many other Lutheran synods and associations; Planned Parenthood is not Lutheran or even Christian.

  2. The efforts of Lutherans for Life and other pro-life organizations are consistent with the Lutheran commitment to the sanctity of life; Planned Parenthood’s pro-abortion practices and policies are utterly contrary to the Lutheran commitment to the sanctity of life.

  3. The suspension of grants to pro-life and pro-abortion organizations does not impact both sides equally, because it suspends funding for over fifty pro-life organizations and only one pro-abortion organization.

We therefore hope and pray that Thrivent will reconsider its action and reinstate those pro-life organizations for which Thrivent has stopped funding. We call upon Christians to pray that Thrivent will correct this policy, to call the Thrivent office and local Thrivent agents to express concern for this policy, and to increase their support for life-affirming ministries that have been affected by this policy.

Posted 2/13/14



Rev. Dr. James Lamb, executive director of Lutherans For Life:

“Thrivent Financial has ruled that LFL and other pro-life organizations—including crisis pregnancy centers—will no longer receive funds from, or through, any Thrivent program. [See our response above.] Not only does this deprive Thrivent members of the choice of supporting a life-affirming ministry, it has financial implications for us. We will now be losing over $2,500 each month in income. That is a significant amount. So if you have decided to support LFL with a gift, I boldly ask that you consider raising it just a little to help us with this shortfall. But whether you do or not, my thanks in advance for whatever you can do.”

Posted 2/14/14


Rev. Dr. James Lamb, executive director of Lutherans For Life: 

“Thrivent claims to be ‘neutral’ on ‘controversial issues’ and yet they have once again closed the door to Lutherans For Life and other life-affirming ministries to receive Choice Dollars. LFL will lose nearly $2,000 monthly in contributions because of this decision … Now we learn that they continue to fund pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL through their financial Gift Multiplier program. There is no neutrality in this. It is simply theologically impossible to claim to be ‘Christian’ and ‘faith-based’ and at the same time support the intentional killing of unborn children created by God and for whom Jesus died.”

Posted 1/29/14


More on Thrivent (updated 5/16/14):

Audio: Thrivent Financial Restores Funding to Crisis Pregnancy Centers – Pastor Michael Schuermann – An Issues, Etc. interview with Pastor Michael Schuermann of Good Shepherd Lutheran, Sherman, Illinois

Thrivent Reinstates Funding to Crisis Pregnancy Centers – An Open Letter by Michael Schuermann

Thrivent rolls out new logo, sans “Lutheran”

For “neutrality” between good and evil Thrivent cuts pro-life adrift by Steve Weatherbe – “A massive Lutheran non-profit investment fund decides ethics interfere with business”

Thrivent Declares It Won’t Take Sides on Abortion, Gays, or Guns by Kate Tracy – “Three Lutheran synods protest that financial services org deems pro-life groups, among others, a distraction from Christian stewardship and generosity.”

Note to Thrivent: Neutrality on Abortion is Not Possible, Pick a Side by Ed Szeto

Petition by Michael Schuermann: Thrivent – Establish policies to disallow pro-abortion groups from receiving funds and to allow pro-life groups to continue receiving funds

Audio: An Update on Thrivent’s Refusal to Restore Funding to Pro-Life Groups – An Issues, Etc. interview with Pastor Michael Schuermann of Good Shepherd Lutheran, Sherman, Illinois

The Real Cost of Thrivent’s Decision: $876,569 Per Year

LCMS initial reaction to Thrivent’s ‘Financial Neutrality Policy’

WELS Statement on Thrivent’s Neutrality Policy

Evangelical Lutheran Synod: Thrivent Financial Neutrality Policy Concerns

Thrivent Makes Changes to Outreach Programs

Thrivent Financial Neutrality Policy

An Open Letter to Thrivent CEO Brad Hewitt & the Thrivent Board of Directors by Rev. Michael Schuermann

Thrivent’s Fund of Abortion Organizations: By the Numbers

LCMS responds to Thrivent’s “pro-abortion” funding by Paula Schlueter Ross

Thrivent Funding of Pro-Abortion Organizations: LCMS Concerns

Thrivent has Directly Funded Planned Parenthood and NARAL

Audio: Thrivent Financial for Lutherans’ Funding of Planned Parenthood and NARAL – An Issues, Etc. interview with Pastor Michael Schuermann (1/16/14)