Earlier today, I was alerted to the presence of an entry in the Thrivent Choice database. The entry was for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. It can be found here.
Planned Parenthood is the leading abortion provider in the United States, having performed around 327,000 abortions in 2012.
Thrivent Choice is described in this way on Thrivent’s website: “The Thrivent Choice® program lets members recommend where some of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans’ charitable outreach funds go by directing Choice Dollars®.”
Thrivent is “a faith-based, not-for-profit membership organization nearly 2.5 million members strong.” Why is Thrivent providing a way for Planned Parenthood – an abortion business that commits atrocities every day that are completely contrary to the will of God – to receive charitable contributions from them?
I asked Thrivent on Twitter:
Thrivent responded with afewtweets, neatly summed up here:
I’m not a Thrivent member, so I’m not entirely clear on how the Thrivent Choice program works. Browsing the Thrivent Choice website, I came across a similar list of requirements for an organization to be listed in the Thrivent Choice catalog:
Organizations Eligible for Choice Dollars
501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and congregations that meet program eligibility rules; and
Recommended by a benefit member; and
Approved by a Thrivent Chapter/chartered Thrivent FR Community leadership board before being added to the online catalog.
Notice that these three requirements need to be met before the organization is listed in the Thrivent Choice online catalog. Planned Parenthood is currently listed in the Thrivent Choice online catalog. Which means that the local chapter board has already approved of Planned Parenthood as a fitting organization to receive Thrivent Choice dollars.
It’s puzzling to me that Thrivent has left themselves open to dollars being given to an organization that would so clearly be offensive to a large portion of their members. So I asked:
Then, thankfully, this:
So, while at this point Thrivent Choice dollars can be awarded to Planned Parenthood by a Thrivent member designating their own Choice dollars to Planned Parenthood, it has not yet actually happened. Thanks be to God.
Thrivent is playing a dangerous game. They have created a charitable giving program that lacks any sort of rules limiting eligible organizations to those that are consistent with the word of God. At any time, Thrivent Choice dollars could easily end up in the hands of Planned Parenthood.
It seems that Thrivent could change this quickly. The Terms & Conditions for organizations participating in the Thrivent Choice program clearly state that “Thrivent Financial adopts Terms and Conditions as well as other Program Rules for Thrivent Choice at its sole discretion. Thrivent Financial may change, limit, modify, cancel or revoke Thrivent Choice and/or Terms and Conditions and/or other Program Rules at any time and for any reason, with or without notice…” In other words, Thrivent can make a rule eliminating the eligibility of organizations like Planned Parenthood.
Likewise, the member’s direction to Thrivent to give Thrivent Choice dollars to a specific organization is only a direction – in other words, similar to advice. According to the Terms & Conditions for members, “Thrivent Financial retains total discretion as to whether or how all Choice Dollars are distributed. Any “direction” that I provide to Thrivent to designate recipients of Choice Dollars is a request and recommendation from me suggesting a recipient of Choice Dollars funding which Thrivent is under no legal obligation to approve or follow. The use of the term “direct,” “direction,” “choose,” “choice” or other terms in these Terms and Conditions or in any communications regarding Thrivent Choice, does not provide me with any authority to make any decision regarding the use of any funds.”
So Thrivent can act to do the right thing. They should eliminate eligibility for organizations such as Planned Parenthood that carry out purposes contrary to the will of God. They should inform their members that may have directed Choice Dollars to such organizations that they will not be paying any money to those organizations.
Others have been engaging Thrivent on Twitter today as well, and it’s encouraging that Thrivent is at least listening, responding, and promising to get the feedback to the Thrivent Choice team. It seems that right now it’s very important to get the word out so that current Thrivent members can contact Thrivent and encourage them to modify the Thrivent Choice policies. Urge Thrivent to block eligibility to organizations like Planned Parenthood that perform abortions or in other ways act or lobby contrary to the will of God.