The following are summary statements from various religious groups.
Information compiled and summarized from: Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO). http://www.aopo.org. Cooper, M. Lisa, RN, BSN, CPTC; Taylor, Gloria J., RN, MA, CPTC, editors, "Organ and Tissue Donation, A Reference Guide for Clergy." SEOP/UNOS, 3rd Edition, 1998, pp. V-2 - V-4. Goss, Elizabeth, "Religious Views on Organ Donation and Transplantation," Life Cycles, Summer 1987, pg. 17.
Organ and tissue donation is viewed as an act of neighborly love and charity by these denominations. The Church encourages all members to support donation as a way of helping others.
The Amish consent to transplantation if they know it is for the well-being of the recipient. John Hostetler, a world-renowned authority on Amish religion and professor of anthropology at Temple University, writes in his book, Amish Society, "The Amish believe … it is God who heals. However, nothing in the Amish understanding of the Bible forbids them from using modern medical services, including surgery, hospitalization, dental work, anesthesia, blood transfusions or immunization."
The church has no official policy regarding organ and tissue donation. The decision to donate is left up to the individual.
The Baptist Church supports organ and tissue donation as an act of charity. The decision to donate is left up to the individual. In 1988, the Southern Baptist Convention-the largest Protestant denomination in the United States-adopted a resolution to "encourage volunteerism regarding organ donations in the spirit of stewardship, compassion for the needs of others and alleviating suffering."
While no official position has been taken by the Brethren denominations, according to Pastor Mike Smith, there is consensus among the National Fellowship of Grace Brethren that organ and tissue donation is a charitable act so long as it does not impede the life or hasten the death of the donor, or does not come from an unborn child.
Buddhists believe organ and tissue donation is a matter of individual conscience and place a high value on acts of compassion. The importance of letting loved ones know your wishes is stressed.
Catholics view organ and tissue donation as an act of charity and love. Transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican. Pope John Paul II has stated, "The Catholic Church would promote the fact that there is a need for organ donors and Christians should accept this as a 'challenge to their generosity and fraternal love' so long as ethical principles are followed."
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 to "enroll as organ donors and prayerfully support those who have received an organ transplant."
Christian Scientists normally rely on spiritual rather than medical means for healing. However, members may choose whichever form of medical treatment they desire, including a transplant. Organ and tissue donation is an individual decision.
Mormons believe donation is an individual decision made in conjunction with family, medical personnel and prayer. The Church does not oppose donation.
The Church encourages members who do not object personally to support donor and recipient anatomical gifts through living wills and trusts. Further, the Church appeals for morally and ethically fair distribution of organs to those qualified to receive them (Manual, Church of the Nazarene 1997 - 2001, paragraph 904.2).
The Church passed a resolution in 1982 that recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ, blood and tissue donation.
The Church is not opposed to organ donation as long as the organs and tissue in question are used to better human life, i.e., for transplantation or for research that will lead to improvements in the treatment and prevention of disease.
Organ donation is an individual choice. H.L. Travedi, in Transplantation Proceedings, writes, "There is nothing in the Hindu religion indicating that parts of humans, dead or alive, cannot be used to alleviate the suffering of other humans."
Generally, Evangelicals have no opposition to organ and tissue donation. Each church is autonomous and leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.
In a 1990 Transplantation Proceedings article entitled "Islamic Views on Organ Transplantation," A. Sachedina writes, "… 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 the Watch Tower Society, Jehovah's Witnesses believe donation is a matter of individual choice. Members are often assumed to be against donation because they refuse blood transfusions. Donation can occur if all blood is removed from organs and tissue before being transplanted.
All four branches of Judaism-Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist and Reform-support and encourage donation. The basic principle of Jewish ethics, "the infinite worth of the human being," also includes donation of corneas since eyesight restoration is considered a life-saving operation.
In 1984, the Lutheran Church 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." Members are called on to consider donating organs and to make any necessary family and legal arrangements, including becoming a registered organ and tissue donor.
Mennonites have no formal position on donation. The decision to donate is up to the individual and his or her family.
The Church has not made a statement addressing donation or transplantation. The decision is a matter of individual choice.
The decision to donate is left up to the individual.
The Church encourages and supports donation. A person's right to make decisions regarding his or her body is respected.
The Quakers have no official position on donation. It is widely believed to be an individual choice.
The Roma are people of different ethnic groups with no formal religion, but common folk beliefs. They oppose donation because of a traditional belief that the soul retraces its steps for one year after death. Thus, the body must remain intact because the soul maintains its physical shape.
Donation and transplantation are strongly encouraged. The Church is affiliated with many hospitals, including Loma Linda Medical Center in California, which specializes in pediatric heart transplants.
A dead body is considered to be impure and dangerous, and thus, quite powerful. Families are often concerned that they not injure the itai, the relationship between the dead person and the bereaved people.
Organ and tissue donation is widely supported. It is viewed as an act of love and selfless giving.
The Church is extremely supportive of organ donation. It is not seen as a controversial issue.
The Methodist Church has issued a policy statement recognizing the benefits of organ and tissue donation and encouraging members to sign and carry donor cards or indicate donor status on their driver's licenses.