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Religious Views on Donation
In general there has been broad support for organ donation among most faith communities. We understand that there may be differences of opinion even within any particular religious group. Each decision to become a donor is a personal one. We suggest that individuals consult with their faith leader if they have questions about their faith’s view of donation.
Organ and tissue donation is considered an act of charity and love, and transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican.
Disciples of Christ
The Christian Church encourages organ and tissue donation, stating that we were created for God's glory and for sharing God's love. A 1985 resolution, adopted by the General Assembly, encourages "members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to enroll as organ donors and prayerfully support those who have received an organ transplant."
The 70th General Convention of the Episcopal Church recommends and urges "all members of this Church to consider seriously the opportunity to donate organs after death that others may live, and that such decision be clearly stated to family, friends, church and attorney."
Evangelical Covenant Church
The Evangelical Covenant Church passed a resolution at the Annual Meeting in 1982 encouraging members to sign and carry organ donor cards. The resolution also recommended “that it becomes a policy with our pastors, teachers, and counselors to encourage awareness of organ donation in all our congregations.”
In principal Judaism sanctions and encourages organ, eye, and tissue donation in order to save lives. Rabbi Elliott N. Dorff wrote that saving a life through organ donation supercedes the rules concerning treatment of a dead body. Transplantation does not desecrate a body or show lack of respect for the dead, and any delay in burial to facilitate organ donation is respectful of the decedent. Organ donation saves lives and honors the deceased.
The Conservative Movement's Committee on Jewish Laws and Standards has stated that organ donations after death represent not only an act of kindness, but are also a "commanded obligation" which saves human lives.
The Lutheran Church 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 legal arrangements, including the use of a signed donor card."
The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints recognizes that “the donation of organs and tissues is a selfless act that often results in great benefit ...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.” (Handbook 2: 21.3.7)
Presbyterians encourage and endorse donation. It is an individual's right to make decisions regarding his or her own body. The resolution states, "the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) recognizes 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 …"
Southern Baptist Convention
In 1988, the Southern Baptist Convention resolved that because “resurrection does not depend on body wholeness” and that “organ transplant technology has transformed many lives from certain death to vibrant productivity,” the SBC encourages “voluntarism regarding organ donations in the spirit of stewardship, compassion for the needs of others, and alleviating suffering.” (Resolution on Human Organ Donations, June, 1988.)
"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," reports a church policy statement. In a 2000 resolution the church also "encourages its congregations to join in the interfaith celebration of National Donor Sabbath … another way that United Methodists can help save lives."