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No major organized religion objects to organ and tissue donation. Most openly support donation and recognize the life-giving gesture as the ultimate act of charity and self sacrifice.
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.
The Amish will consent to transplantation if they know that it is for the health and welfare of the transplant recipient. They would be reluctant to donate their organs if the transplant outcome was known to be questionable. John Hostetler, an authority on Amish religion, says in his book Amish Society that “the Amish believe that since God created the human body, it is God who heals; however, nothing in the Amish understanding of the Bible forbids them from using modern medical services including surgery, anesthesia, hospitalization, dental work, blood transfusions and immunization.”
Assembly of God
The Church has no official policy regarding donation and leaves the decision to donate up to the individual. Organ and tissue donation is highly supported by the denomination.
The Church leaves the decision up to the individual and donation is supported as an act of charity.
Buddhists believe that organ and tissue donation is a matter of individual conscience and place high value on acts of compassion. The importance of letting loved ones know your wishes is stressed.
Catholics view organ/tissue donation as an sign of charity, love and self-sacrifice. Organ and tissue donation is morally and ethically acceptable. Pope Benedict XVI is a registered organ donor, calling it an "act of love."
Christian Scientists normally rely on spiritual means of healing instead of medical. They are free, however, to choose whatever form of medical treatment they desire, including transplant.
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 donors "as part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave his life in its fullness."
The church supports donation as a way to better human life in the form of transplantation that would lead to improvements in the treatment and prevention of disease.
Hindus are not prohibited by religious law from donating their tissues and organs. This act is an individual's decision. According to H.L. Trivedi in Transplanting Proceedings, "There is nothing in the Hindu religion indicating that parts of humans could not be used to alleviate the sufferings of other humans."
Independent Conservative Evangelical
Generally, Evangelicals have no opposition to organ and tissue donation. Each church is autonomous and leaves the decision to donate to the individual.
The religion of Islam strongly believes in the principle of saving human lives. According to A. Sachedina in Transplant Proceedings. "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."
According to Watch Tower Society, Jehovah's Witnesses believe donation is a matter of individual decision. Jehovah's Witnesses are often assumed to be against donation because of their opposition to blood transfusion. However, this merely means that all blood must be removed from organs and tissues before being transplanted.
All four branches of Judaism support and encourage donation, According to Orthodox Rabbi Moses Tendler, "If one is in a position to donate an organ to save another's life, it's obligatory to do so, even if the donor never knows who the beneficiary will be. The basic principle of Jewish ethics, 'the infinite worth of human being' also includes donation of corneas, since eyesight restoration is considered a lifesaving operation."
Lutherans passed a resolution in 1984 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 and to make any necessary family and legal arrangements, including the use of a signed donor card."
There is no prohibition against donation and transplantation in the Mennonite faith. Church officials state such decisions are individual ones.
Mormon (ChurchofJesus Christof Latter Day Saints)
Mormons believe the donation of organs and tissues is a selfless act that often results in great benefit to individuals with medical conditions. The decision to will or donate one's own body organs or tissue for medical purposes, or the decision to authorize the transplant of organs or tissue from a deceased family member, is made by the individual or the deceased member's family. The decision to receive a donated organ should be made after receiving competent medical counsel and confirmation through prayer.
Presbyterians believe the donation of organs and tissues is a selfless act that often results in great benefit to individuals with medical conditions. The decision to will or donate one's own body organs or tissue for medical purposes, or the decision to authorize the transplant of organs or tissue from a deceased family member, is made by the individual or the deceased member's family. The decision to receive a donated organ should be made after receiving competent medical counsel and confirmation through prayer.
Officials for the Quaker faith do not oppose organ donation and transplantation. The decision, they say, is an individual one.
Donation and transplantation are strongly encouraged. Seventh Day Adventists have many transplant hospitals, including Loma Linda inCaliforniawhich specializes in pediatric heart transplants.
Organ and tissue donation is widely supported by Unitarian Universalists. They view it as an act of love and selfless giving.
The Church issued a policy stating that the "UnitedMethodistChurchrecognizes the life-giving benefits of organ and tissue donation, and thereby encourages all Christians to become organ and tissue donors' as a part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave His life in its fullness."
National Donor Sabbath,observed annually in November, seeks to educate faith-based communities about the need for organ, eye and tissue donors. Order free materials to celebrate National Donor Sabbath, taking place Nov. 14-16!
Lodging and Support
Thousands of patients come to Philadelphia hospitals every year needing life-saving organ transplants. Family House will provide critically needed support programs and temporary lodging for organ transplant patients and their families.
The Interactive Body
Explore the Interactive Body to learn about organs and tissues needed for others awaiting transplants.