Donate Life / donatelife.netThis is one of those times when the counterproductive nature of religion really becomes obvious. It seems that, among Hispanics (for some reason) there’s a common belief that Christianity forbids organ donation … they consider it sacrilegious. The (NY) Daily News reports on this, and how it affects Hispanics who opt to donate their late loved ones’ organs, in spite of this belief (WebCite cached article):

When Norma Garcia’s 13-year-old daughter was killed in a car wreck, she had no idea that in the midst of her grief she was about to plunge into a controversy that would test her cultural identity and Christian faith.

After Jasmine Garcia was declared brain dead following the 2001 accident, doctors at San Antonio’s University Hospital asked her mother if she would be willing to donate her daughter’s organs. …

Garcia ultimately made an organ donation of Jasmine’s heart and liver, a decision that left her estranged from several relatives for some time, she recalled.

Her experience highlights a cultural divide that organ donation advocates say is threatening the ability of surgeons to save lives through organ transplants, especially as new census figures show the nation’s Hispanic population surging.

For the record, organ donation is most assuredly accepted by the Roman Catholic Church, which is the dominant religion among Hispanics:

Latinos’ reticence about organ donation centers on religion, said Nuvia Enriquez, Hispanic outreach coordinator for the Donor Network of Arizona.

“A lot of work that we do is to go out and try to dissolve some of these myths,” she said. “We talk to them about the Catholic Church’s position on donation, which is very positive. Pope John Paul II was actually the first pope to declare donation to be an act of love, and Pope Benedict, when he was Cardinal, was a card-carrying organ donor.”

So this is not a case where preachers or other religious authorities are actively telling people not to donate organs. Quite the opposite, they’re on the record as supporting it. No, this is an example of people deciding en masse that something is sacrilegious, all on their own, and enforcing this “rule” by ostracizing family members who violate it.

Really nice, huh?

I’m reminded of something on an episode of All in the Family, where Archie Bunker pontificates as follows:

… When [God] calls, you gotta go. He don’t want no quack doctors down here trying to save you. It throws His schedule all off. If you throw off His schedule, when you get up there you gotta answer to Him. He’s gonna want to know from you, why you didn’t come when you was called. Why you was late. And you also gotta answer to the guy whose heart you got. He’s gonna want it back so you’ll be walking around Heaven with a hole in your chest.

Hopefully this humor puts the stupidity of this sort of thinking, into rational perspective. I’m not sure why anyone would have any religious objection to organ donation … even Christians who believe they will be resurrected in the body at the Rapture and/or on Judgement Day. If God’s awesome magical power is sufficient to bring a decomposed corpse to life, then surely it’s also sufficient to restore any organs that went missing prior to decomposition.


Hmm. Maybe not. Maybe this vicious, cynical, skeptical, godless agnostic heathen just doesn’t “get it” when it comes to important matters like keeping organs away from those who need them.

I close with a link to my own sermon on this topic, on the Apathetic Agnostic Church Web site. The bottom line is that there’s no greater gift one can make to another human being, than to give life. Do whatever you need to do, in order to make sure your organs are donated after your death. To find out how to do this, in the US, go to or Donate Life America.

Photo credit: Donate Life America.

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