AME & AME Zion
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.
The Amish will consent to transplantation if they believe it is for the well-being of the transplant recipient. John Hostetler, a world-renowned authority on the Amish religion, wrote 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.”
Assembly Of God
Assembly Of God
The answer to the question of organ donation, according to the General Council of the Assemblies of God, is rooted in one’s understanding of the doctrine of resurrection, Article 13, “The Blessed Hope,” in the council’s Statement of Fundamental Truths. The council’s response is as follows (Office of Public Relations, General Council of the Assemblies of God, November 2, 2005):
The apostle Paul makes it very clear that the mortal bodies we now have cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10). The Bible also makes it clear that to be absent from this body is to be at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-10).
When we go to be with the Lord to await the rapture and resurrection of those left alive until the coming of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:15), our bodies return to dust (Genesis 2:7, 3:19; 1 Corinthians 15:45-50). We have no more need of the fallen mortal bodies we now bear.
Donating our organs may give the gift of life to someone else long after we have gone home to be with the Lord. If the recipient is a Christian, the resource of the organ has the potential to facilitate continued Christian service and the living witness of a fellow believer here on earth. If the recipient is not a Christian, it may allow the individual additional time and opportunity to accept Christ. A fascinating possibility is to imagine the impact if Christian donors were to stipulate that their donated organs be accompanied by a handwritten letter telling of the donor’s life, testimony, and relationship with Christ.
The alternative is to keep our organs even in death. This also is a valid choice for the Christian. This was the practice for all until recent years when transplant procedures have proven viable. Ultimately, the question comes down to whether or not we view it right for our organs to be candidates for resource.
The realization that organ donations save lives and provide for a continuing witness of God’s love and grace does not mean that failure to donate organs would be sinful. All of us should seek God’s will for our choices in this matter. It should be discussed fully with one’s entire family.
Many considering organ donation will have theological concerns and questions. If we donate our organs to others, will that have any effect on our resurrection? But we must also ask, “Does God need any given molecule or atom from our bodies in order to resurrect us to life?” The apostle Paul said, “No.” That which is perishable does not inherit the imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:49-50). The resurrection brings a new spiritual body.
There is no prohibition in the Bahá’í Faith on organ donation. It is a matter left to the individual conscience (Office of Public Information, Bahá’í International Community, November 10, 2005).
Donation is supported as an act of charity and the church leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.
Buddhists believe that organ and tissue donation is a matter of individual conscience, and they place high value on acts of compassion. The Rev. Gyomay Masao, president and founder of the Buddhist Temple of Chicago, said, “We honor those people who donate their bodies and organs to the advancement of medical science and to saving lives.” The importance of letting loved ones know your wishes is stressed.
There are no injunctions in Buddhism for or against organ donation. The death process of an individual is viewed as a very important time that should be treated with the greatest care and respect. In some traditions, the moment of death is defined according to criteria which differ from those of modern Western medicine, and there are differing views as to the acceptability of organ transplantation. The needs and wishes of the dying person must not be compromised by the wish to save a life. Each decision will depend on individual circumstances.
Central to Buddhism is a wish to relieve suffering and there may be circumstances where organ donation may be seen as an act of generosity. Where it is truly the wish of the dying person, it would be seen in that light. If there is doubt as to the teachings within the particular tradition to which a person belongs, expert guidance should be sought from a senior teacher within the tradition concerned. When he discovered a monk sick and uncared for, the Buddha said to the other monks, “Whoever would care for me, let him care for those who are sick.
Roman Catholics view organ and tissue donation as an act of charity and love, as reported in the Catholic publication Origins in 1994.
Transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican. According to 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.” Pope John Paul II has stated, “The Catholic Church would promote the fact that there is a need for organ donors and that Christians should accept this as a ‘challenge to their generosity and fraternal love’ so long as ethical principles are followed.”
health care institutions should encourage and provide the means whereby those who wish to do so may arrange for the donation of the organs and bodily tissues for the ethically legitimate purposes, so that they may be used for donation and research after death. The following is taken from the New York Organ Donor Network:6 In 1956, Pope Pius XII declared that: “A person may will to dispose of his body and to destine it to ends that are useful, morally irreproachable and even noble, among them the desire to aid the sick and suffering….This decision should not be condemned but positively justified.”
In August 2000, Pope John Paul II told attendees at the International Congress on Transplants in Rome: “Transplants are a great step forward in science’s service of man, and not a few people today owe their lives to an organ transplant. Increasingly, the technique of transplants has proven to be a valid means of attaining the primary goal of all medicine—the service of human life….There is a need to instill in people’s hearts, especially in the hearts of the young, a genuine and deep appreciation of the need for brotherly love, a love that can find expression in the decision to become an organ donor.”
In the Summer/Fall 2001 issue of On the Beat, a publication of the New York Organ Donor Network, His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, wrote that, in thinking about the glorious gift of life God has given each of us, one of the greatest ways an individual can honor that gift is being an organ donor.
In his encyclical letter, Evangelium Vitae (On the Value and Inviolability of Human Life), His Holiness Pope John Paul II speaks of society’s fascination with a “culture of death.” He calls on Catholics and people of good faith everywhere to move from that culture towards a celebration and reflection of the glory of God in a “culture of life. When asked to share my thoughts on the importance of organ donation for this publication, it was Evangelium Vitae that immediately came to mind. In thinking about the glorious gift of life God has given each of us, it would seem that one of the greatest ways an individual can honor that gift is by making a conscious decision to be an organ donor—a decision that enables another’s life to continue—and in a very real and tangible way promotes ‘a culture of life. ‘”
Organ donation is, as His Holiness has stated, “a genuine act of love.” The commitment of one person to give the gift of life to another person mirrors an essential foundation upon which the teachings of Christ and the theology of our Church are based. As Saint John tells us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) By knowingly choosing the donations of one’s bodily organs, one is acting as Christ would act—giving life to humanity.
The Catholic Church views organ donation as an act of charity. The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, a set of principles that guide the healing mission of the Church, clearly explains the permissibility of organ donations. In Directive No. 30, we read: “The transplantation of organs from living donors is morally permissible when such a donation will not sacrifice or seriously impair any essential bodily function and the anticipated benefit to the recipient is proportionate to the harm to the donor.” Similarly, Directives No. 63-66 treat organ donation as follows: Directive No. 63: “Catholic health care institutions should encourage and provide the means whereby those who wish to do so may arrange for the donation of their organs and bodily tissue, for ethically legitimate purposes, so that they may be used for donation and research after death.” Directive No. 64: “Such organs should not be removed until it has been medically determined that the patient has died. In order to prevent any conflict of interest, the physician who determines death should not be a member of the transplant team.”
The donation of organs in a morally acceptable manner, at the end of life, offers the gifts of health and life to those who are most vulnerable and who are at times without hope. It is one of the many pro-life positions an individual can choose in order to foster a culture that values life in our world.
As to what criteria constitute a “morally acceptable manner,” it is essential that organ transplantation occur in the context of love and respect for the dignity of the human person. There are, of course, parameters in determining when and how organs should be donated. It is the Church’s position that transplanted organs never be offered for sale. They are to be given as a gift of love. Any procedure that commercializes or considers organs as items for exchange or trade is morally unacceptable. The decision as to who should have priority in regards to organ transplantation must be based solely on medical factors and not on such considerations as age, sex, religion, social standing or other similar standards.
In addition, it is of the utmost importance that informed consent by the donor and/or donor’s legitimate representatives be had and that vital organs, those that occur singly in the body, are removed only after certain death (the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity) has occurred.
As Pope John Paul II observes in Evangelium Vitae, “There is an everyday heroism, made up of gestures and sharing, big or small, which build up an authentic culture of life. A particularly praiseworthy example of such gestures is the donation of organs in a morally acceptable manner.”
It is for the betterment of humanity, for the love of one’s fellow human beings, that organ donation is undertaken. One of the most powerful ways for individuals to demonstrate love for their neighbor is by making an informed decision to be an organ donor.
There is definite evidence for Christian support of organ donation.
The Lord demonstrated with his own life how, even in sorrow, love enables us to embrace the needs of others. We can choose to donate our organs to save the lives of many people. The decision to donate at the end of life is the beginning of healing for many others. Healing and saving life is a great gift. Jesus sent his 12 disciples out with the imperative to heal disease and illness: “Heal the sick…freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
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.”
The Church of Christ Scientist does not have a specific position regarding organ and tissue donation. According to the First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston, Christian Scientists normally rely on spiritual means of healing instead of medical. They are free, however, to choose whatever form of medical treatment they desire — including a transplant. The question of organ/tissue donation is an individual decision.
Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren
The Church of the Brethren2 commits itself and urges its congregations, institutions, and members to:
Inform and educate themselves by taking advantage of resources within their region as to organ and tissue donation.
Support and encourage individuals to be in discussion with clergy and family as to their wishes regarding the use of their organs and/or tissues for transplantation upon death.
Encourage and support individuals to include within their advance medical directives instructions as to their wishes for organ and tissue donation. This may include the signing and carrying of a Universal Organ Donor Card.
Support those living donors who, with prayerful consideration, make an organ or tissue gift, provided that such a gift does not deprive the donor of life itself nor the functional integrity of his or her body.
Encourage our clergy to prepare themselves to respond to the special needs of family and friends at the time of organ and tissue procurement.
Church of the Nazarene
Church of the Nazarene
The Church of the Nazarene 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 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
Evangelical Covenant Church
The following regarding the Evangelical Covenant Church is from the New York Organ Donor Network: “A resolution passed at the Annual Meeting in 1982 encouraged 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.’
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
Regards the donation of deceased donor organs as an appropriate means of contributing to the health and well-being of the human family.
Recognizes that the donation of renewable tissue (e.g., bone marrow) and live organs (e.g. kidney) can be an expression of sacrificial love for a neighbor in need.
Encourages its members to consider the possibility of organ donation and to communicate their wishes to family members, physicians and health care institutions.
Encourages those willing to donate to make the necessary familial and legal arrangements.
Calls upon its pastors to acquaint themselves with the ethical and legal issues and clinical procedures involved in order that they may counsel persons and families considering the possibility of donation.
Urges its pastors, congregations, synods, agencies and institutions to sponsor educational programs on organ donation.
Calls upon government to establish public policies which will encourage voluntary donations, discourage coercive donation, assure the efficient, equitable distribution of human organs and tissues for transplants, and disallow both the sale and purchase of human organs.
The Rev. Stanley S. Harakas, former professor of ethics at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, wrote the following about donation: “In the case of organ transplants, the crucial ethical considerations are two-fold; the potential harm inflicted upon the donor and the need of the recipient. Historically, the Orthodox Church has not objected to similar, though not identical, procedures, such as blood transfusions and skin grafts. In both cases, no radical threat to the life of the donor is perceived, and the lifesaving consequences for the recipient are substantial. Similar considerations affect the Orthodox Christian judgment of organ transplants. In no case should a person ignore or make light of the ethical implications of organ donation. Donating an organ whose loss will impair or threaten the life of the potential donor is never required and is never a moral obligation of any person. If the condition of health and the physical well-being of the donor permits, some transplants are not objectionable. Kidney transplants are a case in point. A healthy person may consent to donate a kidney knowing that his or her health is not thereby impaired.
The recipient of an organ transplant should be in otherwise good health, with the expectation of restoring to normal living in order to warrant the risk to the donor.”
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.”
The Swamis were universal in their approval of organ donation. They did not accept the concept sometimes heard in India that if one donated [his or her] eyes in this life, they would be blind in the next. Shri Mahant Krishan Nath Ji, based in Haryana, explained, “If someone donates an organ willingly, then there is nothing wrong in that. And it is wrong to say that if you donate eyes in this birth, that in your next birth you would be born without eyes. We have the story of Baba Sheel Nath of Nath Sampradaya who transferred the sight of one of his eyes to that of a blind lady by his yogic powers. So our Nath Sampradaya has had such realized saints who even made people immortal. To them, eye donation was a very small thing.”
Another source reports: “Hindu methodology contains traditions in which human body parts were used for the benefit of other humans and society. There is nothing in the Hindu religion which would prevent living or cadaveric donation to alleviate suffering.”
There are many references that support the concept of organ donation in Hindu scriptures. These include the following:
Daan is the original word in Sanskrit for donation meaning selfless giving. In the list of the 10 Niyamas (virtuous acts) Daan comes third.
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.
Independent Conservative Evangelical
Independent Conservative Evangelical
Generally, Evangelicals have no opposition to organ and tissue donation. Each church is autonomous and leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.
Based on the principles and the foregoing attributes of a Muslim, the majority of Islamic legal scholars have concluded that transplantation of organs as treatment for otherwise lethal end stage organ failure is a good thing. Donation by living donors and by cadaveric donors is not only permitted but encouraged.
Organ donation should be considered as an expression of the believer’s altruism and Islam encourages the virtuous qualities which are supportive of organ donation: generosity, duty, charity, co-operation, etc. Accordingly, the Islamic Code of Medical Ethics stresses that human life is sacred and it must be preserved by all possible means. It is permissible within the Shariat to remove the organ from one person and transplant it into another person’s body in order to save the life of that person on the condition that such a procedure does in no way violate the dignity of the person from whose body the organ was removed.
One of the basic aims of the Muslim faith is the saving of life: This is a fundamental aim of the Shariah and muslims believe that Allah greatly rewards those who save others from death.
Violating the human body, whether living or dead, is normally forbidden in Islam. The Shariah, however, waives this prohibition in a number of instances: firstly in cases of necessity; and secondly in saving another person’s life. It is this Islamic legal maxim al-darurat tubih al-mahzurat (necessities overrule prohibition) that has great relevance to organ donation.
UK Transplant also gives this summary of the lifesaving Fatwa (a religious edict): The Muslim Law (Shariah) Council of Great Britain resolved that:
The medical profession is the proper authority to define signs of death.
Current medical knowledge considers brain stem death to be a proper definition of death.
The council accepts brain stem death as constituting the end of life for the purpose of organ transplantation.
The council supports organ transplantation as a means of alleviating pain or saving life on the basis of the rules of the Shariah.
Muslims may carry donor cards.
The next of kin of a dead person, in the absence of a donor card or an expressed wish to donate their organs, may give permission to obtain organs from the body to save other people’s lives.
Organ donation must be given freely without reward.
Trading in organs is prohibited.
Muslim scholars of the most prestigious academies are unanimous in declaring that organ donation is an act of merit and in certain circumstances can be an obligation.
These institutes all call upon Muslims to donate organs for transplantation:
The Shariah Academy of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (representing all Muslim countries).
The Grand Ulema Council of Saudi Arabia.
The Iranian Religious Authority.
The Al-Azhar Academy of Egypt.
Gatrad and Sheikh15 write this about the Fatwa in 1995 by the Muslim Law Council in support of organ donation: “Organ transplantation is now encouraged in many Arab Muslim countries, and considered by some as a ‘perpetual’ charitable act.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that the Bible comments directly on organ transplants; hence: decisions made regarding cornea, kidney, or other tissue transplants must be made by the individual. The same is true regarding bone transplants.
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. (Office of Public Information for Jehovah’s Witnesses, October 20, 2005.)
According to Solomon, three Jewish principles govern the treatment of the body after death: respect and dignity to a cadaver, not benefiting from a corpse, and immediate burial.
Rabbi Elliott N. Dorff writes 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. Refusal to participate in organ donation violates the commandment: “Do not stand idly by your neighbor’s blood (Leviticus 19:16) which directs we use any resource possible to save a life.
UK Transplant reports:
In principle Judaism sanctions and encourages organ donation in order to save lives (pikuach nefesh).
This principle can sometimes override the strong objections to any unnecessary interference with the body after death, and the requirement for immediate burial of the complete body.
It is understandable that there will be worries about organ donation. At a time of stress and grief, linked to sudden unexpected illness and death, reaching a decision about donation can be difficult for a family. It is at this time that halachic guidance is so important.
Judaism insists that no organ may be removed from a donor until death—as defined in Jewish law—has definitely occurred. This can cause problems concerning heart, lung and similar transplants where time is of the essence. Judaism insists that honor and respect are due to the dead (kavod hamet). After donation, the avoidance of unnecessary further interference with the body, and the need for immediate interment, are again of prime concern.
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod encourages organ donation as an act of Christian love, but this choice is entirely up to the individual and/or his or her family, and should not be a cause of guilt or regret no matter what decision is made. The Bible has nothing specific to say regarding this issue. Therefore, it is a matter of Christian freedom and personal (or family) discretion.
In 1981, the Synod adopted the following resolution: To Encourage Donation of Kidneys and Other Organs Resolution 8-05: Whereas, we accept and believe that our Lord Jesus came to give life and to give it abundantly (John 10:10); and
Whereas, through advances in medical science we are aware that at the time of death some of our organs can be transplanted to alleviate pain and suffering of afflicted human beings (see Galatians 6:10); and
Whereas, our heavenly Father has created us so that we can adequately and safely live with one kidney and can express our love and relive the unnecessary prolonged suffering of our relative; and
Whereas, we have an opportunity to help others out of love for Christ, through the donation of organs; therefore be it Resolved, that our pastors, teachers, and Directors of Christian Education be encouraged to inform the members of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod of the opportunity to sign a Universal Donor Card (which is to authorize the use of our needed organs at the time of death in order to relieve the suffering of individuals requiring organ transplants); and be it further
Resolved, that we encourage family members to become living kidney donors; and be it further
Resolved, that the program committees of pastors and teachers conferences be encouraged to include “organ and tissue transplants” as a topic on their agendas; and be it finally
Resolved, that the Board of Social Ministry and World Relief seek ways to implement this program so that the entire Synod may join in this opportunity to express Christian concern.
Mennonites have no formal position on donation, but are not opposed to it. They believe the decision to donate is up to the individual and his or her family.
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.
The Moravian Church does not have official policy addressing organ/tissue donation or transplantation. Robert E. Sawyer, President, Provincial Elders Conference, Moravian Church of America, Southern Province, states “there is nothing in our doctrine or policy that would prevent a Moravian pastor from assisting a family in making a decision to donate or not to donate an organ.” It is, therefore, a matter of individual choice.
Pentecostals believe that the decision to donate should be left up to the individual.
Therefore, be it resolved that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) recognize the life-giving benefits of organ and tissue donation, and thereby encourage all Christians to become organ and tissue donors as a part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave life that we might have life in its fullness;
Whereas selfless consideration for the health and welfare of our fellows is at the heart of Christian ethic; and
Whereas organ and tissue donation is a life-giving act since transplantation of organs and tissues is scientifically proven to save the lives of persons with terminal disease and improve the quality of life for the blind, the deaf, and the crippled; and
Whereas organ donation may be perceived as a positive outcome of a seemingly senseless death and is for maintaining the dignity of the deceased; is conducted with respect and with the highest consideration for maintaining the dignity of the deceased and his or her family; and
Whereas moral leaders the world over recognize organ and tissue donation as a[n] expression of humanitarian ideals in giving life to another; and
Whereas thousands of people who could benefit from organ and tissue donation continue to suffer and die due to lack of consent for donation due primarily, to poor public awareness and lack of an official direction for the church.
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.
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 deceased’s 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.
Society Of Friends (Quaker)
Society Of Friends (Quaker)
Organ and tissue donation is believed to be an individual decision. The Society of Friends does not have an official position on donation.
United Church Of Christ
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.
The United Methodist Church issued a policy statement regarding organ and tissue donation. It states, “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 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.”
A 1992 resolution states, “Donation is to be encouraged, assuming appropriate safeguards against hastening death and determination of death by reliable criteria.” The resolution further states, “Pastoral-care persons should be willing to explore these options as a normal part of conversation with patients and their families.”
“We are pro-organ donation,” said the Rev. Blaine Bluebaugh of the Graham United Methodist Church in Falls Church, Virginia. “It’s a major thing for us. It’s one of our official days in the calendar. We just believe in it. God has given us the ability to do this, and we should share.”
The United Methodists, as with several religions, believe that organ and tissue donation is an act of charity and that preserving life takes precedence over any beliefs that govern the treatment of the dead.
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.”