Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jehovah's Witness Ham Sandwich Approach To Blood

The "ham sandwich" is an apt simile for the JW policy of allowing blood fractions but not whole blood. Click on image to enlarge it.
How ridiculous is this? Whole blood is not allowed but all the fractions that make up whole blood are.


greg said...

Plus the fact that they take fractions from donated blood, but they don't donate.

Free in Christ said...

I thought that fractions such as platelets and packed red cells were still prohibited.Have I missed something?

W. Lockhart said...

There was a watchtower magazine a few years ago which told them they can accept things derived from fractions but not the original fractions of red cells, white cells, plasma and platelets.

It's petty and hypocritical because the "derived stuff" is manufactured from the fractions. So they refuse to donate blood, but they'll "take what they can get" in the form of medical treatments, treatments which simply have to come from blood which those evil "worldly's" have donated.

Of course, the Witnesses can also choose a blanket refusal of anything derived from blood, which is usually the simpler option. It is an option which involves less hypocrisy but requires the witness to be more dogmatic.

The fact is that as medical science gets more advanced, we are able to derive more and more things from blood, so the Watchtower's position on blood gets more and more complex. How do we decide when something no longer has the characteristics of "blood" and is therefore not sprinkled with the "holiness" that goes along with that?

The simple answer is that we don't know, because it's arbitrary and/or meaningless. They make their members feel guilty about something which can no longer be squeezed around the ancient scripture, and at the same time they potentially endanger the health of their members. It's just another demonstration of the very real dangers that come from a rigid and literal interpretation of the bible.