Is it a Christian’s duty to donate blood and organs?

recyle-organsThe General Synod of the Church of England is discussing that even as you read this.

I’m an organ donor mostly because I don’t believe I will need my guts where I am going. And it fits into my whole idea of sharing. I do not, however, give blood very often because I’m a big ol’ hairy wienie and I usually faint.



22 responses to “Is it a Christian’s duty to donate blood and organs?

  1. I used to be an organ donor but I had to rescind all that after we discovered my father had cancer. Little was known about his particular cancer at the time, (Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia). Heredity seemed to a factor. It’s a blood cancer. So better safe than sorry.

    It’s been a while. I should look into it again. All I could do would be the blood, anyway. I doubt my organs would be much use for anything other than a gross display in a jar somewhere documenting how bad certain substances can be on organs. And you don’t have to give it away here. You can sell it.

    Oh! Those crazy Anglicans! But? Yeah. Okay. Another duty. Sure.
    To increase organ recovery, figure out a way to make it tax deductible annually. Check this box to get X amount of credit toward any owed tax, or even contribute to a refund dispersement. Allow for itemization. But then risk depreciation. It could be a way to circumvent family wishes. It could also be: Look out, children! It’s the government come to cut up your Daddy!”

    Your body might be the only commodity you actually own. There must be some way to exploit it, outside the framework of any for-profit market, in such a way as to be a win-win situation for everybody.

  2. I’m a HUGE proponent of organ donation. My ex brother-in-law is a heart recipient from a teenager who had a hunting accident, a good friend is a kidney recipient from a living donor, and one of my brothers has a good friend who is a heart recipient still in need of a kidney. All three would be dead were it not for these organ transplants. Is it a Christian’s duty? No, it’s everyone’s duty. In fact, I don’t believe you should be allowed to receive organs unless you’re a donor… and I know tatt’s harsh. Even the sickest of people can be donors. My mom was a mess when she passed away, but we were still able to give her eyes for glaucoma research.

    • That’s not just harsh. That’s downright unChristian if you think about it. What about the children?

      Even the sickest of people can be donors? That’s not necessarily true. If it were, blood and organ donations wouldn’t be routinely screened for HIV and other infectious diseases.

      • In my old church, children had an exemption from things like fasting and other “Christian duties.” But I see your point.

        • Children don’t have much choice, or representation, in our society. Adding another hurdle for children, or anybody, to deal with when navigating what passes for a healthcare system in this country just doesn’t make sense to me. Especially when conditions get desperate, as is usually the case when blood and organ donations are needed.

          Organ and tissue donation has to remain just that: a donation. Participation cannot be imposed. It can be incentivized, but not imposed or made part of any quid pro quo agreement. I think that’s the law pretty much everywhere…if memory serves. Keeping it a Christian Duty instead of a legal one is a good idea. For everybody.

      • I wasn’t talking about chilldren. But yes, adults. Why shouldn’t a donor be higher on the list than a non-donor if they need an organ? Seems perfectly fair to me.
        I do not believe there shoud be any kind of financial reward… money always messes up things. It should be an act of stewardship.
        And no, people who have extreme illness can’t give everything, but they can give some things. Like my mom being able to give her eyes for research. We would have given her entire body for research, but, believe it or not, she didn’t meet a 100 pound weight minimum requirement. Even the cadavers of people with HIV and infectious diseases are used for research.

        • Access to healthcare…any kind of healthcare…should be based solely on need and availability. Societal status, of any kind, corrupts the system. We have enough of that already.

          Willing your body to science is a little different, a much broader area, and not exactly what the Anglicans were talking about in their Call to Duty.

  3. Yes indeed!
    I made the suggestion to my parish that a blood drive in the church hall would be a pro-life statement. With more concrete effects than saying rosaries in front of the tabernacle.
    I may have to suggest it again.

  4. I’m all for organ and blood donation, if you can do it. I’m an organ donor and have given blood.

    I don’t know about it, or anything, being a “Christian duty”. It’s manipulation of a congregation by a church by naming an action, “a Christian duty” by church hierarchy. And that makes my skin crawl. If a person determines organ and/or blood donation is an expression of their Christian faith, then let them determine that and act on it freely, says I. The church could encourage it, share information, support blood drives, without making people feel forced to participate or feel guilty for not participating. In addition, by claiming it a “Christian duty”, there is also a hint of Christians deciding to own it, with perhaps a sense of superiority due to some sort of God-tie.

    Rather than it being labeled a “Christian duty”, maybe it should be an encouraged civic activity, taught, encouraged and supported in schools and places of work.

    • That’s an interesting reaction to that phrase. I hadn’t thought about that.

      • Maybe I’m exposing a personal sensitivity, but “duty” tied to religion seems disingenuous to me. Catholic guilt and duty to be faithful to the church, for example, pushed a lot of Catholics to go through the motions of being Catholic, with blinders on, turning away from despicable behavior of some priests. I believe, if a person feels in their heart that doing something is the right thing to do, then they don’t need a religion to guilt them into doing it. However, that is not to say that a religion could not educate and guide, or assist in focusing a person to be a servant of people, while allowing for free choice without judgement of the choice. Duty implies no choice and judgement of a person should they not uphold the duty, no? I am probably not Christian enough in some churches, to even suggest this.

  5. Not a Christian, but def a donor (if there’s anything usable by the time…). I used to be a blood donor but now I’m on a med that isn’t acceptable, so no more – maybe the med is helping me, but I feel bad about not being able to donate because I’m lucky enough not to faint or have any other adverse results.
    My from-age-7-friend-Frank got his life extended by about 10 productive (architect) joyful (he and his wife were passionate travelers) years when he received the lungs of a young crash victim. How could one not be in favor of such a gift?

    • I agree. I will not need these organs where I’m going and if I DO need them, well, things have gone horribly awry and I don’t want to stick around in that place, anyway.

      I giggled at the “if there’s anything usable by the time) because I wonder about that, myself. My lungs are shot. My heart’s strong. My eyes? Probably not. I have luscious hair, though…

      • SCIENCE! would probably be more interested in what’s left of me than anybody else.

        Frank! Look at this.
        What? What is that?
        That’s a liver.
        Look at this. That’s a lung.
        That’s disgusting.
        I don’t even know what that is. Whaddya think? Frank?

        I should probably make sure that permission is written down somewhere. And I want to make sure my brain goes to CTE research specifically so I better look into that, too.

        • THAT was funny! I figure I may have extra, undesirable stuff, too. No matter what screening they do, they seem to find some sort of growth. They can sift through the insides and take what looks good once I’m gone. I don’t plan on hanging around some dead body for long!

      • ” I have luscious hair, though…”

        You do, and I am embarrassingly envious.

  6. Here’s the thing… EVERYBODY can be an organ donor. It doesn’t matter what your medical history is. Just put it on your license, fill out the card, and notify your loved ones of your wishes (because it is ultimately still up to those left behind). It’s not until after you’re gone that they determine what can be used, if anything. And if they can’t use anything… well, you still did your civic duty. But, as in my mom’s case, even if you’re horribly sick, some things can be used for research… sometimes your entire body. In her case, her eyes. Giving blood is considered organ donation, but it’s a whole different animal.

    Many years ago I was the Stewardship Chair at a church I belonged to and I spoke from the pulpit one Sunday about “Stewardship Through Organ Donation” and gave out donor cards after the service. It was well received. I do think the church can do a lot to help teach people about “the gift of life.”

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