Sunday, July 08, 2001

Religious stances on organ donation




        Most major religions and religious denominations support organ transplantation, which implies no spiritual risk to becoming an organ donor. In fact, several have made specific statements to clarify their stances:

        • Catholic: On Aug. 29, 2000, Pope John Paul II told the International Congress of Transplant Specialists that organ donation is “a genuine act of love.”

        “There is a need to instill in people's hearts, especially in the hearts of the young, a genuine and deep appreciation for brotherly love, a love that can find expression in the decision to become an organ donor.”

        • Baptist: In 1988, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution encouraging organ donations. “Complete resurrection of the body does not depend on bodily wholeness at death,” the resolution states. Other Baptist groups also have supported organ donation as an act of charity.

        • Judaism: All four branches — Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist — support organ donation. In 1991, the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox) stated that organ donation is permissible, even required, from brain-dead patients.

        • United Methodist: A 1992 church resolution states, “Donation is to be encouraged. Pastoral care persons should be willing to explore these options as a normal part of conversation with patients and their families.”

        • Presbyterian: In 1983, a church resolution encouraged “all Christians to become organ and tissue donors as part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ.”

        • Pentecostal: Organ donation should be left to the individual.

        • Assembly of God: The church has no official policy but has informally supported organ donation.

        • Islam: Various schools of Islamic law have permitted the organ transplant as a necessity to preserving human life, according to a 1990 statement.

        • Shinto: This faith generally opposes organ donation because followers believe injuring a dead body is a serious crime. — Tim Bonfield

       



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