Community Services

Religious Perspectives

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.

Download the information for clergy document.

AME & AME Zion (African Methodist Episcopal)

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.

Amish

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

Assembly of God

The church has no official policy regard to organ, eye and tissue donation. The decision to donate is left up to the individual. Donation is highly supported by the denomination.

Baptist

Donation is supported as an act of charity and the church leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.

Brethren

During the Church of the Brethrens Annual Conference in 1993, a resolution supporting and encouraging organ, eye and tissue was written.

Buddhism

No specific law or doctrine governs donation. It is a matter of individual conscience. Everyone is free to make his/her own choice.

Catholicism (Roman Catholic)

Transplants are considered ethically and morally acceptable by the Vatican 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.”

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

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.

Christian Science

No position, leaving it to the individual.

Episcopal

The Episcopal Church passed a resolution in 1982 that recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ, eye, tissue and blood donation.

Greek Orthodox

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.

Gypsies (Romany)

Gypsies are a people of different ethnic groups without a formalized religion. They share common folk beliefs and tend to be opposed to organ, eye and tissue donation. 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.

Hinduism

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.

Islam

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 to the put to good use in a living person. This is indeed charity.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses

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.

Judaism

The human body is sanctified by Judaism. Saving human life is considered to be superior to maintaining the sanctity of 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 organ, eye and tissue donation.

Lutheran

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.

Mennonite

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/or their family.

Mormon

Donation is a matter of individual conscience for Mormons. Guidance and inspiration has to come from the Lord; advantages and disadvantages are to be individually reviewed. Whatever the individual’s decision is, it should engender a feeling of peace and comfort.

Pentecostal

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

Presbyterian

Presbyterians encourage and support donation. The Presbyterian religion respects individual conscience and the right to make decisions regarding one’s own body.

Protestant

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, they are beneficial to man; if it relieves pain without altering his dignity.

Quaker

Donation of organs, eyes and tissues for transplantation is an individual decision.

Seventh-Day Adventist

Donation and transplantation are strongly encouraged by Seventh-Day Adventists.

Shinto

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 Human 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 regards them all in the sense of injuring a dead body.

Society of Friends

Organ, eye and tissue donation is believed to be an individual decision. The Society of Friends does not have an official position on donation.

Unitarian Universalist

Organ, eye and tissue 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.

United Methodist

Methodists are encouraged to receive or to donate their organs, eyes and tissues to restore any of the senses or to enhance health.