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 Religious Views Towards Organ/Tissue Donation 

Does my religion approve of organ donation?

An often-heard question when organ donation is being discussed is: “Does my religion approve?”

Recently the New York Regional Transplant Program published the views of major religion on the subject. Here are those positions.

AME & AME ZION

(African Methodist Episcopal) Organ and tissue donation is viewed as an act of neighborly love and charity by these denominations. They encourage all members to support donation as a way of helping others.

AMISH

Approved if there is a definite indication that the health of the recipient would improve, but reluctant if the outcome is questionable.

ASSEMBLY OF GOD

The Church has no official policy in regards to organ and tissue donation. The decision to donate is left up to the individual. Donation is highly supported by the denomination.

BAPTIST

Donation is supported as an act of charity and the church leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.

BRETHREN

The Church of the Brethren's Annual Conference in 1993 wrote a resolution on organ and tissue donation in support and encouragement of donation. They wrote that, "We have the opportunity to help others out of love for Christ, through the donation of organs and tissues."

BUDDHISM

Donation is a matter of individual conscience.

CATHOLICISM

Transplants are acceptable to the Vatican and donation is encouraged as an act of charity.

CHRISTIAN CHURCH (DISCIPLES OF CHRIST)

The Christian Church does not prohibit organ and tissue donation. They feel that it is a personal decision to be made in conjunction with family and medical personnel.

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

No position, leaving it to the individual.

EPISCOPAL

The Episcopal Church passed a resolution in 1982 that recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ, blood, and tissue donation. All Christians are encouraged to become organ, blood, and tissue donors "as part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave His life that we may have life in its fullness."

GREEK ORTHODOX

No objection to procedures that contribute to restoration of health, but donation of the entire body for experimentation or research is not consistent with tradition.

GYPSIES (ROMANY)

Gypsies are a people of different ethnic groups without a formalized religion. They share common folk beliefs and tend to be opposed to organ and tissue donation. Their opposition is connected with their beliefs about the afterlife. Traditional belief contends that for one year after death, the soul retraces its steps. Thus, the body must remain intact because the soul maintains its physical shape.

HINDUISM

Donation of organs is an individual decision.

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL

Generally, Evangelicals have no opposition to organ and tissue donation. Each church is autonomous and leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.

ISLAM

The religion of Islam strongly believes in the principle of saving human lives. According to A. Sachedina in his Transplantation Proceedings' article, Islamic Views on Organ Transplantation, "the majority of the Muslim scholars belonging to various schools of Islamic law have invoked the principle of priority of saving human life and have permitted the organ transplant as a necessity to procure that noble end."  Moslems approve of donation provided the donors consent in writing in advance and the organs are not stored but are transplanted immediately. You can also read an article on donation posted at the Islamic Center of Southern California.

JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

Donation is a matter of individual conscience with provision that all organs and tissues be completely drained of blood.

JUDAISM

Jews believe that if it is possible to donate an organ to save a life, it is obligatory to do so. Since restoring sight is considered life saving, this includes cornea organ transplantation. See also "The Ethics of Organ Donation," a talk by Rabbi Moses Tendler. See also "Ovadia YosefRules Kidney Donations Permissable, Even Obligatory" .See also an article written by Kathie Kroot, a donor morn, entitled " A Jewish Perspective on Organ Transplantation. "

LUTHERAN

In 1984, the Lutheran Church in America passed a resolution stating that donation contributes to the well being of humanity and can be "an expression of sacrificial love for a neighbor in need." They call on "members to consider donating organs and to make any necessary family and legal arrangements, including the use of a signed donor card."

MENNONITE

Mennonites have no formal position on donation, but are not opposed to it. They believe the decision to donate is up to the individual and/or their family.

MORMON (CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believes that the decision to donate is an individual one made in conjunction with family, medical personnel, and prayer. They do not oppose donation.

PENTECOSTAL

Pentecostals believe that the decision to donate should be left up to the individual.

PRESBYTERIAN

Presbyterians encourage and support donation. They respect a person's right to make decisions regarding their own body.

PROTESTANTISM

Encourage and endorse organ donation.

QUAKER

Donation or transplants is an individual decision.

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST

Donation and transplantation are strongly encouraged by Seventh-Day Adventists. They have many transplant hospitals, including Lorna Linda in California. Lorna Linda specializes in pediatric heart transplantation.

SHINTO

In Shinto, the dead body is considered to be impure and dangerous, and thus quite powerful. "In folk belief context, injuring a dead body is a serious crime...” according to E. Narnihira in his article, "Shinto Concept Concerning the Dead Human Body. " "To this day it is difficult to obtain consent from bereaved families for organ donation or dissection for medical education or pathological anatomy. .. the Japanese regard them all in the sense of injuring a dead body." Families are concerned that they not injure the itai -the relationship between the dead person and the bereaved people.

SOCIETY OF FRIENDS (QUAKERS)

Organ and tissue donation is believed to be an individual decision. The Society of Friends does not have an official position on donation.

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST

Organ and tissue donation is widely supported by Unitarian Universalists. They view it as an act of love and selfless giving.

UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

The United Church of Christ supports and encourages donation.

UNITED METHODIST

The United Methodist Church issued a policy statement in regards to organ and tissue donation. In it, they state that "The United Methodist Church recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ and tissue donation, and thereby encourages all Christians to become organ and tissue donors by signing and carrying cards or driver's licenses, attesting to their commitment of such organs upon their death, to those in need, as apart of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave His life that we might have life in its fullness."

So while there are variations in specific views, it is clear that major religions of the world do in FACT PERMIT, ALLOW and SUPPORT transplantation and organ donation.  

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Page last updated Tuesday, September 28, 2010