Religion and Organ Donation
While there are variations in specific views, it is clear that most major religions of the world do in fact permit, allow and support transplantation and donation.
AME & AME ZION (African Methodist Episcopal)
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 approve of transplantation if there is a definite indication that the health of the recipient would improve.
ASSEMBLY OF GOD
The Church has no official policy in regards to donation. The decision to donate is left up to the individual. Donation is highly supported by the denomination.
Donation is supported as an act of charity and the church leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.
The Church of the Brethren's Annual Conference in 1993 wrote a resolution on organ and tissue donation in support and encouragement of donation. They wrote that, "We have the opportunity to help others out of love for Christ, through the donation of organs and tissues."
Buddhists believe that donation is a matter of individual conscience and place high value on acts of compassion. They emphasize the importance of letting family members know one's wishes as relates to Donation.
Transplants are acceptable to the Vatican and donation is encouraged as an act of charity and love.
CHRISTIAN CHURCH (DISCIPLES OF CHRIST)
The Christian Church encourages donation. They believe that humans were created for God's glory and for sharing God's love.
Christian scientists do not maintain a position on donation, leaving it to the individual to decide.
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 organ, blood, and tissue donors "as part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave His life that we may have life in its fullness."
The Greek Orthodox Church has no objection to donation as long as the organs and tissues are used to better human life.
Gypsies are a people of different ethnic groups without a formalized religion. They share commonfolk beliefs and tend to be opposed to donation. Their opposition is connected with their beliefs about the afterlife. 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.
Donation of organs is an individual decision and is not against the Hindu religion.
INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL
Generally, Evangelicals have no opposition to donation. Each church is autonomous and leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.
The religion of Islam strongly believes in the principle of saving human lives. According to A. Sachedina in his Transplantation 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."
Donation is a matter of individual conscience with provision that all organs and tissues be completely drained of blood.
Jews believe that if it is possible to donate an organ to save a life, it is obligatory to do so. Since restoring sight is considered life saving, this includes cornea organ transplantation.
In 1984, the Lutheran Church in America 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." They call on "members to consider donating organs and to make any necessary family and legal arrangements, including the use of a signed donor card."
Mermonites have no formal position on donation, but are not opposed to it. They believe the decision to donate is up to the individual and/or their family.
MORMON (CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believes that the decision to donate is an individual one made in conjunction with farnily, medical personnel, and prayer. They do not oppose donation.
Pentecostals believe that the decision to donate should be left up to the individual.
Presbyterians encourage and support donation. They respect a person's right to make decisions regarding their own body.
Encourage and endorse Donation.
Donation and transplantation are strongly encouraged by Seventh-Day Adventists. They have many transplant hospitals, including Loma Linda in California. Loma Linda specializes in pediatric heart transplantation.
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. Narnihira in his article, "Shinto Concept Concerning the Dead Hutnan Body." "To this day it is difficult to obtain consent from bereaved families for donation or dissection for medical education or pathological anatomy…the Japanese regard them all in the sense of injuring a dead body." Families are concerned that they not injure the itai - the relationship between the dead person and the bereaved people.
SOCIETY OF FRIENDS (QUAKERS)
Donation is believed to be an individual decision. The Society of Friends does not have an official position on donation.
Donation is widely supported by Unitarian Universalists. They view it as an act of love and selfless giving.
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
The United Church of Christ supports and encourages donation.
The United Methodist Church issued a policy statement in regards to donation. In it, they state that "The United Methodist Church recognizes the life-giving benefits of donation, and thereby encourages all Christians to become donors by signing and carrying cards or driver's licenses, attesting to their commitment of such organs upon their death, to those in need, as a part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave His life that we might have life in its fullness."