Mariella B., Mark B. & Jessica F., TRANSPLANT RECIPIENTS
Organ Donor Hero
All organized religions support organ, eye and tissue donation as a humanitarian act in keeping with religious doctrine. If you would like additional information about your faith’s perspective on donation, please consult your spiritual advisor. Our organization works with clergy members to help clear up misunderstandings and provide appropriate counsel on religious viewpoints about donation.
In Tali’s honor, or your own, we invite you to consider becoming an organ, eye and tissue donor.In Tali’s honor, or your own, we invite you to consider becoming an organ, eye and tissue donor.
Rabbi Richard D. Agler
Dad of Talia Agler, Organ Donor Hero
“All religious traditions place the highest value on saving human life. Organ donation enables us to do this in ways that our ancestors could not have imagined possible.”
“Our 26-year-old daughter was killed suddenly in an accident but she registered as an organ donor when she first received her driver’s license. Her donated heart, liver, kidney, pancreas and lung saved five lives and kept five families from grief. Though our sorrow remains strong, we are grateful for this legacy that cannot be taken from her.”
Different Religious Perspectives
Organ, eye 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.
Donation is supported as an act of charity and the church leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.
No specific law or doctrine governs donation. It is a matter of individual conscience. Everyone is free to make their own choice.
The Vatican considers transplants ethically and morally acceptable and donation is encouraged as an act of charity. Pope John Paul II, in an address to the participants of the Society for Organ Sharing said, “With the advent of organ transplantation, which began with blood transfusion, man has found a way to give of himself, of his blood and of his body, so that others may continue to live.” The Holy Father also added, “The medical act of transplantation makes possible the donor’s act of self-giving, that sincere gift of self which expresses our constitutive calling to love and communion.”
The Christian Church does not prohibit organ, eye and tissue donation. They feel that it is a personal decision to be made in conjunction with family and medical personnel.
The Episcopal Church passed a resolution in 1982 that recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ, eye, tissue and blood donation.
There is no opposition to donation. However, use of the donated organs, eyes and tissues has to improve human life. Transplantation and research can be done as long as they will lead to progress in the treatment and prevention of disease.
No religious law prohibits Hindus from donating their organs, eyes and tissues. Hindu mythology does contain traditions of use of body parts to benefit others, and there are no religious constraints to living or deceased donation. The act of donation is an individual decision.
The Islamic Code of Medical Ethics (1981) strongly approves donation thus: “if the living are able to donate, then the dead are even more; so no harm will afflict the cadaver if the heart, kidneys, eyes or arteries are taken and put to good use in a living person. This is indeed charity.”
Blood transfusion is banned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, provided that organs and tissues are completely drained of blood before transplantation, they do not oppose donating or receiving organs. Donation is not encouraged but is a matter of individual conscience.
The human body is sanctified by Judaism. Saving human life is considered to be superior to maintaining the sanctity of the human body. The donor must be brain dead and a direct transplantation is preferred. The saving of a life takes precedence over nearly every Jewish ritual and civil law. Contrary to common myth, all Jewish denominations encourage organ, eye and tissue donation. The mitzvah of saving a life, Pikuah Nefesh, is considered one of Judaism’s highest values. No religious barriers to organ donation exist if the organs are donated in accordance with Jewish religious regulations. When saving a human life is possible, the life must be saved. Jewish tradition looks with great favor on those who facilitate life-saving donation.
Organ, eye and tissue donation for transplants is approved because it contributes to the well-being of humanity, as long as they are not sold. Designating one’s wishes to be a donor is part of the recommended arrangements to be done by Lutherans.
Pentecostals believe that the decision to donate should be left up to the individual.
Presbyterians encourage and support donation. The Presbyterian religion respects individual conscience and the right to make decisions regarding one’s own body.
Protestants envisage man as being an integral part of the human community as a whole. They favor donation; medical advances such as transplantation are considered to be positive as long as they are beneficial to man, if it relieves pain without altering their dignity.
In Shinto, the dead body is considered to be impure and dangerous, and thus quite powerful. According to E. Narnihira in his article, “Shinto Concept Concerning the Dead Human Body”, injuring a dead body is a serious crime. or pathological anatomy. The Japanese regards them all in the sense of injuring a dead body.”
The United Church of Christ supports and encourages donation.