American Heritage Girls Respect Life

American Heritage Girls Respect Life Patch

American Heritage Girls’ Respect Life Patch

I had the pleasure of meeting Jody Token, National Public Relations Director of American Heritage Girls (AHG), at the 2015 LCMS Life Conference that was just held last week after the March for Life. We had a great time discussing how we (the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and AHG) could work together in the future. This possibility came about due to a memorandum of understanding between the LCMS with AHG (see the press release from the LCMS); and I was pleased to find out that the AHG has had, for nearly a year now, a “Respect Life” patch for its members.

Since I found out about this organization several years ago, I have liked it and encouraged friends and family with daughters in the Girl Scouts to consider being part of AHG. But now I have even more reason to support them as AHG encourage its members to “[participate] in an event that brings attention to respecting life or [provide] a service project for an organization whose mission/purpose demonstrates a desire to respect life, such as pregnancy resource centers, pro-life groups and hospices” (read entire press release).

Knowing the close connection that the Girl Scouts has fomented with Planned Parenthood (the largest provider of abortions in the US and advocate of sexual promiscuity — see here, here, here, here, here, and here), Christian parents ought to find an alternative to involvement in the Girl Scouts, whether or not the local troop is actively involved with the local Planned Parenthood.

Maybe it’s just me, but…shouldn’t we teach our children to live their faith by, whenever possible, being part of organizations that have the same core values as we do? In this manner, we can show them that our faith isn’t relegated to just one hour on Sunday mornings but, rather, it is central to who we are and what we do.

The LCMS and American Heritage Girls

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with American Heritage Girls to work together to encourage and nurture American Heritage Girls troops within the LCMS. This is wonderful news, as I’ve long supported American Heritage Girls as an alternative to the Girl Scouts (read An Alternative to the Girl Scouts) due to the opposing principles of Christians and the Girl Scouts’ national organization (read More Dubious Connections to the Girl Scouts, Time to Stop Buying Girl Scout Cookies, The Girl Scouts and Their Ungodly Agenda, If it Seems Like I’m Picking on the Girl Scouts…, The Girl Scouts Deny the Allegations, What are the Girl Scouts Supporting?, and Where Do Your Dollars Go?).

The MOU states, in part:

The LCMS recommends AHG because it is faith-based. The MOU states, “WHEREAS: The American Heritage Girls program is centered on the same principles, and partners with the local LCMS church to assist and support girls through spiritual development, life skill enhancement, development of teamwork, social skills, citizenship, girl leadership skills while building confidence and discovering their identity in Christ.”

“Therefore be it RESOLVED, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and American Heritage Girls will work together, within the guidelines of the policies and regulations of each organization to establish and nurture American Heritage Girls Troops within The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod so that girls may be provided with life skills, leadership development opportunities, service programs, and character building opportunities.”

Maybe it’s just me, but…if you’re a Christian you really need to stop supporting the Girl Scouts (and Planned Parenthood, sexual promiscuity, and abortion) and start supporting a faith-based organization that has the same foundation and principles that you do.

Read the press release from the LCMS about the agreement.

Read the MOU in its entirety.

Find out more about the American Heritage Girls.

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

It’s been a week since Thrivent Financial for Lutherans issued a disastrous “Neutrality Policy” on what it considers “certain social, politically partisan, or health and human services causes and issues, such as abortion, sexual orientation, or guns.” And since that time, there’s been an uproar amongst Lutherans who are members of Thrivent (as it is a fraternal organization) over the removal of dozens of pro-life organizations such as pregnancy care centers, maternity homes, and educational organizations (like Lutherans For Life).

I won’t rehash all that’s happened because others have done a better job of doing that, but here’s a quick summary. Thrivent was discovered to have supported local Planned Parenthood organizations and a regional office of NARAL Pro-Choice America through two different fraternal benefits programs. After the initial discovery, Thrivent temporarily suspended support for pro-abortion and pro-life groups even though there was no contention over the pro-life groups. Then earlier this month (February 2014), Thrivent decided to permanently remove support for the pro-life groups, claiming to be “neutral” on so-called social issues.

I’ve got news for Thrivent, you can’t be neutral on abortion. For anyone who doesn’t understand that a “neutral” stance on doctrine is actually making a statement on that doctrine, i.e. you don’t agree with it, then you need to think a little deeper. To be neutral on abortion means that you don’t care whether it happens or not, in other words, it’s okay that it happens, therefore you are actually for abortion. We’re not talking about a disagreement on what color the carpet in the nave should be, we’re talking about an intentional taking of innocent human life. This isn’t a “social, politically partisan, or health and human services” issue. This is a spiritual issue.

Why is this such a big deal? Certainly Christians support other companies that don’t necessarily agree with their beliefs. True, but the difference is that Target (for example) doesn’t claim to be a Lutheran organization that supports my values, Thrivent does. Coca-cola (for example) doesn’t try to lure me to buy its products by saying my investment will help Lutherans and others, Thrivent does. Fidelity Investments (for example) doesn’t advertise in Lutheran publications saying they are one of us (i.e., Lutheran or Christian), Thrivent does.

Basically, why I’m really mad at Thrivent is the hypocrisy. They claim to be Lutheran when it’s beneficial to them to get my money, but when push comes to shove on a basic and important teaching of Christianity, they pull out the old “we’re going to be neutral because that’s a social or political issue” card; which I hope the leadership of Thrivent has seen that this is an untrue card. If Thrivent wants to just admit that they are a secular financial planning company, then there’s no problem, because I will then regard them as such and carefully weigh whether their investment products are comparable to other secular companies’ products.

Maybe it’s just me, but…it’s time to call a spade a spade and recognize that Thrivent isn’t Lutheran and the company doesn’t have the same values that I have because it thinks that it cannot pick a side between supporting life or supporting death. As such, my investments will be moved, and I urge others to consider that as well. At least I won’t be treated like an ignorant boob by Fidelity.

If you are a member of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod or a member of an LCMS congregation, a good alternative for investing is the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, which exists to support the LCMS.

For a run-down of events, the Daring Lutheran blog has some interesting posts, including these:
Thrivent’s Dangerous Game
Thrivent Does Not Have the Komen “Out”
Thrivent’s Statement
A List of Thrivent’s Suspended Organizations
Thrivent has Directly Funded Planned Parenthood and NARAL

For national pro-life news coverage on the Thrivent fiasco, see:
Live Action News: “Lutheran group Thrivent Financial caught funding Planned Parenthood; yanks pro-life funds in response”
LifeNews: “Thrivent cuts donations to pro-life groups after criticism over pro-abortion funding”

For statements regarding Thrivent’s neutrality policy, see:
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS)
Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS)
The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS)
Lutherans For Life (LFL)

Additional Comments on the Health Care Debate

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod Life and Health Ministries just posted a new web page that addresses some concerns regarding the so-called health care reform that Congress will continue to consider when they reconvene next week.

Click here to go to the LCMS web page and see why we should be concerned with three specific areas of the legislation: abortion, end-of-life, and conscience protection.

Additionally, I was made aware of a blog by Jackie Durkee called Faithful in Prayer for America. Since early July, Jackie has been reading H.R. 3200 (yes, all 1017 pages of it!) and has been summarizing each section. If you really want to know what’s in the legislation, make sure you visit her blog.

Finally, if you want your own copy of H.R. 3200, it’s available from the General Printing Office by clicking here.

It’s not too late to let your elected officials know that you are concerned about where this bill may lead us. Click here for the National Right to Life Committee’s easy-to-use form for writing your congressional members.