Apr 6, 2010 3
According to a recent survey by Donate Life America, 51 percent of Americans say they’re willing to donate their organs after death (though only 38 percent are registered organ donors), and 53 percent of registered donors say they made the decision to help others in need.
When the researchers spoke with those who are unwilling or reluctant to donate their organs, they found that the majority of them—52 percent—think doctors might not try as hard to save the lives of organ donors, and 61 percent erroneously think it’s possible for a brain dead person to recover. They also found that 8 percent believe organ donation is against their religion.
The truth is, the decision to donate organs and tissue is compatible with most religious beliefs. The Catholic Church has now long supported organ donation, mainstream Protestant denominations approve the practice, and the Rabbinical Council of America ruled organ donation permissible in the early 1990s. As David Fleming, president and CEO of Donate Life America, explains in a news release:
There are no known religions in the U.S. with a position against donation; rather, all major religions support organ donation as one of the highest expressions of compassion and generosity.
In the United Kingdom, where it has been tough to raise the number of organ donations, religious leaders have actively appealed to their followers and tried to clear up misconceptions. The Church of England says organ donation is a Christian duty. The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales described it as a true act of generosity. The head of the UK Hindu Council said it was natural for Hindus to donate body parts, as well as goods, at the end of their lives. (BBC News)
And in Canada, Rabbi Reuven Bulka, chairman of the board of Ontario’s Trillium Gift of Life Network, has suggested that the best way to get results is to promote organ donation as a religious responsibility. “We need to promote it as a religious fulfillment, as a religious imperative, as a religious obligation, as something we should be doing—to get away from this, ‘Aw, it’s OK,'” says Bulka. “It’s the right thing to do. It’s a life-saving thing to do.” (The Ottawa Citizen)