Christianty, Judaism & Islam okay organ donation

Be kind to me, this is not my natural environment, but I thought this might be something interesting for the clever people to discuss :slight_smile:

Today is the fifth European Organ Donation Day. This does not mean that everyone should go to the mobile organ-donation-busses, but that organ donation issues are discussed and highlighted.

In one of the major national newspapers today, the leaders of Christianity, Judaism and Islam today wrote a joint article in support of organ donation. They describe organ donation as “an action blessed by god”.

The arguments they use are as follows:
Judaism - Kevod hamet (respect for the corpse) is weighed against pikuach nefesh (the duty to save and support life), and it is found that pikuach nefesh takes precedence, as would be the case if one were to break Shabbat to help somone whose life was in danger.

Christianity - The “do unto others” rule comes into play. In other words, if you would accept a donated organ for yourself or a loved one, you must be willing to offer your own to another. The basis of Christianty itsself clearly accepts the idea that the death of one can bring life to many, even if organ donation can never be seen as directly comparable to Jesus sacrifice on the cross. It should be seen as an act of love and compassion.

Islam - The article says that Islamic law is full of practical solutions, and the one being called on in this discussion is that “the neccessary permits the forbidden”. Quoting Sura 5, verse 32 the Imam says “if somone saves the life of a human, this has the same standing as if he had saved the whole of humanity” (sorry, that is probably a terrible translation), and that thus it is impossible for organ donation to be forbidden by Islam. On the contrary people should be encouraged to be more involved in, understanding of and willing to donate organs. It is however still forbidden to trade in organs or to seriously harm somone through organ donation.

They round off their article with the catchy phrase “Don’t take your organs to heaven. Heaven knows they are needed here”.

I am not sure what it is I want for you all to debate greatly, but I am sure you can come up with something. Personally I would think it was interesting to hear how these opinions gel with your own if you are religious, or even if you aren’t. I also find it quite exciting that the church leaders have made this a joint effort, I think it will also be interesting to see how their congregations respond. What do you all think?
Linkydink since I used quite a bit of the article, but it is in Swedish.

I don’t see any compelling argument against organ donation. I would suggest that we make the default choice to donate organs, requiring a signed statement to overrule this. This would make a LOT more organs available, and make sure that people who, for whatever reason, DON’T want to donate get their wishes respected.

I’m all for it, of course, but you are aware that there is no single leader of Judaism? So I’m sure a certain proportion of rabbis disagree, although I don’t.

Now if in the U.S., they would only work on the practice of letting the deceased’s next-of-kin overrule his wishes, we’d be in business. I’ve signed my donor card, and Mom says she respects that, but I really don’t know what she would do if it came down to it.

I’ve thought this for a long time! It’s my understanding that some states have “assumed consent” of organ donation; i.e., if you don’t specifically say you don’t want your organs donated, they get donated. My religion cerainly has no problem with organ donation, and if they did, I’d have to wonder if I was involved with the wrong religion. I have registered as an organ donor (in Maryland, you can register at the MVA, and your license will specify that you are an organ donor), and told my family that it is my wish that anything that can be used should be removed from me prior to burial.

I won’t try to speak for Islam or Judaism, but I can hardly believe that there is one set of “leaders” for all of Christianity. Which Orthodox Patriarchs signed onto this?

This is not to say that Orthodoxy opposes organ donation, but I do know that there are neither dogma nor theologeumina on the matter.

This all goes to prove my theory about religious leaders being organ-munching vampires.

Agreed, 100%. Same for Australia. It really irks me that my wishes for my body can be overridden by others. Mr Goo agrees with me re: organ donation, so my wishes will be respected, but Mum Goo didn’t and before marriage, my organs would’ve rotted with me :frowning:

I’d love to know the reasoning behind next-of-kin being able to overrule your clear instructions made while of sound mind. Anyone know the justification ?

Well, I don’t know. But I have a WAG. Does that count? About 15 years ago, my husband’s brother died. He had made it clear, while still alive and of sound mind, that he wanted to be cremated. His mother freaked! She was already hysterical (it was a very sudden, unexpected death), and the idea of cremating him just freaked her out completely! The family gathered (hubby and I weren’t married yet, so I wasn’t technically “family”), and agreed that MIL, who was still living, would have to bear the emotional pain of knowing that her son had been cremated, whereas the man who had died, being dead, probably didn’t care anymore. So, he wasn’t cremated. I have a feeling something similar may happen with organ donation. My theory is that the folks who harvest the organs have to have forms signed before this can be done. No matter what the deceased has said, prior to death, it’s the living who have to sign the forms. If they refuse, for whatever reason, no organ donation takes place. This is particularly difficult given the very brief window of time in which organs can be harvested. If your next of kin won’t sign the forms immediately, it’s too late.

Someone who knows the answer to this question may be along shortly to set me straight.

Sorry if I was unclear in using the term “leaders of the churches”. The article itsself uses the term “the swedish representatives of christianty, judaism and islam”. The representatives in question are KG Hammar, the archbishop of the Church of Sweden; the Catholic bishop Anders Arborelius; Rabbi Philip Spectre; Imam Mahmoud Khalfi. Hope that clears it up a little.