The number of Americans signing up to be organ donors is rising overall, but some are still hesitant because of misconceptions about what their religion teaches on the subject. There is general agreement, however, among most religions that donation is an act of charity in support of human life. Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read the full article by Allison Pond here Myths about religion and organ donation cause hesitation
Buddhists believe organ and tissue donation is a matter that should be left to an individual’s conscience. Reverend 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.”
Organ and tissue donation is considered an act of charity and love, and transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican.
The church believes that “the donation of organs and tissues is a selfless act that often results in great benefit to individuals with medical conditions.” It also holds that decisions about donation are individual ones to be made in conjunction with family, medical personnel and prayer.
The Greek Orthodox Church supports donation as a way to better human life in the form of transplantation or research that will lead to improvements in the prevention of disease.
Donation is not only permitted, but encouraged. 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.
Judaism sanctions and encourages organ donation in order to save lives. The Conservative Movement’s Committee on Jewish Laws and Standards has stated that organ donations represent not only an act of kindness, but are also a “commanded obligation” that saves human lives.
The Southern Baptist Convention has no official position on organ donation. “Such decisions are a matter of personal conscience,” writes Dr. Steve Lemke, provost of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
“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,” reports a church policy statement.
For a comprehensive list of religious groups and their positions on organ donation, or to become an organ donor, visit organdonor.gov. In Utah or Idaho, visit intermountain Donor Services.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.