Religious information regarding organ donation

A common question that arises when people are asked to consider donation of their organs and tissues, or those of their loved ones is: .Is donation compatible with my religious beliefs?. Though the answers vary from one denomination to another, research has found that the vast majority of religions do support donation and transplantation. Please contact your religious leader for more information. The following are some of the findings:* AME & AME Zion 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 The Amish will consent to transplantation if they believe it is for the well-being of the transplant recipient. John Hostetler, world renowned authority on Amish religion and Professor of Anthropology at Temple University in Philadelphia, says in his book, Amish Society, “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, hospitalization, dental work, anesthesia, blood transfusions or immunization.” Baptist Donation is supported as an act of charity and the church leaves the decision to donate up to the individual. Buddhism Buddhists believe that organ/tissue donation is a matter of individual conscience and place high value on acts of compassion. The reverend Gyomay Masao, President and Founder of the Buddhist Temple of Chicago, says, “We honor those people who donate their bodies and organs to the advancement of medical science and to saving lives.” Buddhism stresses the importance of letting the individual’s loved ones know his or her wishes regarding donation. Many families will not give permission to donate unless they know their loved one wanted to be a donor. Catholicism Catholics view organ/tissue donation as an act of charity and love. Transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican. According Father Leroy Wickowski, Director of the Office of Health Affairs of the Archdiocese of Chicago, “We encourage donation as an act of charity. It is something good that can result from tragedy and a way for families to find comfort by helping others.” Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) The Christian Church encourages organ and tissue donation, stating that individuals 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.” Greek Orthodox According to The Reverend Dr. Milton Efthimiou, Director of the Department of Church and Society for the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America, “the Greek Orthodox Church is not opposed to organ donation as long as the organs and tissues 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.” Hinduism According to the Hindu Temple Society of North America, Hindus are not prohibited by religious law from donating their organs. This act is an individual’s decision. H.L. Trivedi, in Transplantation Proceedings, stated that “Hindu mythology has stories in which the parts of the human body are used for the benefit of other humans and society. 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.” Islam The religion of Islam strongly believes in the principle of saving human lives. According to A. Sachedina in his Transplant 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.” Jehovah's Witnesses According to their National Headquarters, the Watch Tower Society, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe donation is a matter of individual decision. Jehovah’s Witnesses are often assumed to be opposed to donation because of their belief against blood transfusion. However, this merely means that all blood must be removed from the organs and tissues before being transplanted. In addition, it would not be acceptable for an organ donor to receive blood as part of the organ recovery process. Judaism All four branches of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist) support and encourage donation. According to Orthodox Rabbi Moses Tendler, Chairman of the Biology Department of Yeshiva University in New York City and Chairman of Bioethics Commission of the Rabbinical Council of America, “If one is in the 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 the human being” -- also includes donation of corneas, since eyesight restoration is considered a life-saving operation.” In 1991, the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox) approved organ donations as permissible, even required, from brain-dead patients. Both the Reform and Conservative movements also have policy statements strongly supporting donation." Mormon 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. Presbyterian Presbyterians encourage and support donation. They respect a person’s right to make decisions regarding his or her own body. During their General Assembly in 1995, they wrote a strong support of donation and commented that they “encourage its members and friends to sign and carry Universal Donor Cards…” Roma Roma 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 after-life. 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. 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. Namihira 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 often concerned that they not injure the itai – the relationship between the dead person and the bereaved people. Unitarian Universalist Unitarian Universalists affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person and respect the interdependent web of all existence. They affirm the value of organ and tissue donation, but leave the decision to each individual. United Church Of Christ The Reverend Jay Litner, Director, Washington Office of the United Church of Christ Office for Church in Society, states that “United Church of Christ people, churches and agencies are extremely and overwhelmingly supportive of organ sharing.” The General Synod has never spoken to his issue because, in general, the Synod speaks on more controversial issues, and there is no controversy about organ sharing, just as there is no controversy about blood donation in the denomination. While the General Synod has never spoken about blood donation, blood donation rooms have been set up at several General Synods. Similarly, any organized effort to get the General Synod delegates or individual churches to sign organ donation cards would meet with generally positive responses. Wesleyan Church The Wesleyan Church supports donation as a way of helping others. They believe that God’s “ability to resurrect us is not dependent on whether or not all our parts were connected at death.” They also support research and, in 1989, noted in a task force on public morals and social concerns that “one of the ways that a Christian can do good is to request that their body be donated to a medical school or use in teaching.”

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Submitted by ankita on Sun, 07/08/2007 - 15:54

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Hindu Dharma and organ donation There are many references that support the concept of organ donation in Hindu scriptures. Daan is the original word in Sanskrit for donation meaning selfless giving. In the list of the ten Niyamas (virtuous acts) Daan comes third. "Of all the things that it is possible to donate, to donate your own body is infinitely more worthwhile." The Manusmruti Life after death is a strong belief of Hindus and is an ongoing process of rebirth. The law of Karma decides which way the soul will go in the next life. The Bhagavad Gita describes the mortal body and the immortal soul in a simple way like the relationship of clothes to a body: "vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya navani grhnati naro 'parani tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany anyani samyati navandi dehi." "As a person puts on new garments giving up the old ones the soul similarly accepts new material bodies giving up the old and useless ones." Bhagavad Gita chapter 2:22 Scientific and medical treatises (Charaka and Sushruta Samhita) form an important part of the Vedas. Sage Charaka deals with internal medicine while Sage Sushruta includes features of organ and limb transplants. "The important issue for a Hindu is that which sustains life should be accepted and promoted as Dharma (righteous living). Organ donation is an integral part of our living."Hasmukh Velji Shah, International Trustee, World Council of Hindus "Organ donation is in keeping with Hindu beliefs as it can help to save the life of others."Mr Om Parkash Sharma MBE, President, National Council of Hindu Temples "I always carry my donor card with me. It says that my whole body can be used for organ donation and medical purposes after my death. I would like to encourage as many people as possible to do the same."Dr Bal Mukund Bhala, Co-ordinator Hindu International Medical Mission,Former President Hindu Council UK Source: http://www.uktransplant.org.uk/ukt/how_to_become_a_donor/religious_pers…