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"The greatest love you can give to anyone is to give the gift of life."

Reverend Dr. Vanessa M. Brown
Rivers of Living Water
Newark, NJ

An Unselfish Act of Charity and Love

When considering life and death issues, such as organ and tissue donation, many people often turn to their faith leaders for spiritual guidance and to learn about their faith’s perspective.

Fortunately, virtually all of the world’s major religions hold official positions that look positively upon organ and tissue donation as an unparalleled gift of generosity and compassion. Even where a particular religion hasn’t stated a definitive position on donation, they allow freedom for the individual (or their family) to decide for themselves.

NJ Sharing Network is extremely fortunate to have strong partners in local faith-based communities who support its life-saving mission. Faith leaders and devout followers of various religions from throughout the state have voiced their support for organ and tissue donation.

What Does Your Religion Say About Donation?

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.

Approved if there is a definite indication that the health of the recipient would improve, but reluctant if the outcome is questionable.

Donation is highly supported.

The Bahai faith believes that transplants are acceptable if prescribed by medical authorities, and believers are permitted to donate their bodies for research and for restorative purposes.

Baptist groups have supported organ and tissue donation as an act of charity and leave the decision to donate up to the individual.

Buddhists believe organ and tissue donation is a matter that should be left to an individual's conscience.

The question of donation is left to the individual church member.

In 1982, a resolution was passed that recognizes the life-giving benefits of blood, organ and tissue donation. All Episcopalians are encouraged to become donors.

There is no church law or theological reason preventing Lutheran Christians from choosing to be organ donors, and God’s promise to resurrect the dead is not compromised by organ donation.

Donation is supported as a way to better human life through transplantation or research.

While there are no references to organ and tissue donation in Hindu scriptures, Hindu beliefs and principles support organ and tissue donation. Additionally, the Hindu philosophy of karma and helping others supports the notion of organ donation.

In general, Evangelicals have no opposition to donation. Each church is autonomous and leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.

The Holy Qur’an, chapter 5:32, says, “Whosoever saves the life of one person it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.” Normally, violating the human body, whether living or dead, is forbidden in Islam – but the Sharia (Muslim law) believes this can be overruled when saving another person’s life.

Donation is a matter of individual decision. Jehovah's Witnesses do allow for transplantation after blood has been drained from the organ. Worldwide, there are more than 90,000 doctors who have made it known that they are willing to treat Jehovah’s Witnesses without blood.

In Jainism, compassion and charity are considered to be major virtues. Organ donation has been widely supported by the Jain community leaders and monks.

All four branches of Judaism support and encourage donation.

Mennonites believe the decision to donate is up to the individual and/or their family.

In 2007, the Church of Latter Day Saints issued a statement on donation, which read in part: “The donation of organs and tissue is a selfless act that often results in great benefit to individuals with medical conditions.”

Pentecostals believe that the decision to donate should be left up to the individual.

Organ and tissue donation is believed to be an individual decision.

Presbyterians encourage and support donation.

Donation is viewed as an act of charity and love. Transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican.

Donation and transplantation are strongly encouraged.

The Sikh religion stresses the importance of performing noble deeds, and saving a life is considered one of the greatest forms of noble deeds. Therefore organ donation is deemed acceptable to the Sikh religion.

Donation is widely supported and viewed as an act of love and giving.

A 1984 policy statement notes that the church “recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ and tissue donation, and thereby encourages all Christians to become organ and tissue donors.”

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