A Matter of Faith: Advanced Health Care Directives and Religion

The subjects of life and death are not generally considered legal topics, but rather spiritual ones; they push us to examine the very nature of humanity and the existence (or not) of a soul, touching on our most deeply held beliefs. As a document that deals directly with these issues in the most personal manner, the Advanced Health Care Directive (also known as a Medical Power of Attorney) is not one to be taken lightly by attorney or client. Some clients come into the process strong in their beliefs and choices and knowing exactly which language to include; for others this may be the first time they have considered the subject in such a personal way, and may require more time and discussion.

The links provided below provide philosophical discussion and official views and language for most of the major religions practiced in our society. Although much information is available, the official views of some faiths were more difficult to find than others. If your religious views are not included here please contact the head of your church or your own spiritual leader for guidance.

  • Mnhospice.org includes general statements about a number of issues relevant to health care directives
  • Beliefnet.org provides forms and resources for numerous states and faiths in one convenient place.
  • Conservative Jewish views on health care
  • Jehovah’s Witness report on rules pertaining to blood transfusions and medical treatment
  • Islamic position on medical care and ethics