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Christian’s duty and joy to be a blood donor

12 April 2013


From Mr Mick Lumsden
Sir, - I have been a blood donor for more than 30 years, and coincidentally returned from a session this afternoon to read the excellent article by the Revd Dr Joanne Cox (Comment, 5 April).

I am baffled by the low participation of committed Christians in this ministry, and am struck by the deafening silence from church leaders on this issue.

My own experience has been very positive: I go because I want to, and, indeed, I look forward to it. And I would go further than Dr Cox in expressing the positives. For me, it is a deeply significant and spiritual experience. Jesus calls me to follow him; on Maundy Thursday, he washed the disciples' feet, and commands us to do likewise; on Good Friday, he bled for us - and calls us to do the same.

Donating a unit of blood is not a great sacrifice (the pain is minuscule), but in this action I feel more "Christ-like" than when I am undertaking almost any other activity. I heartily recommend it.

241 High Street, Cottenham
Cambridgeshire CB24 8QP

From Dr Susannah Cornwall
Sir, - The Revd Dr Joanne Cox argues that blood donation is "nothing less than a Christian duty", and a "responsibility for Christians". Many faithful Christians in the UK who would like to donate blood are prevented from doing so, however, because they are men in sexual relationships with other men.

The effect of new National Blood Service regulations is that gay men in long-term, monogamous sexually active relationships still face a blanket exclusion from blood donation, whereas no such blanket exclusion applies to, for example, heterosexual men who have had unprotected sex with multiple partners.

Dr Cox advocates the demystification of blood and bodies by Christians, and calls bodies "not the enemy, but the very gift of God", which are worthy of celebration. Given the continued shortfall of donated blood in Britain, it is ironic that faithful sexually active relationships between men remain a barrier to the kind of bodily generosity which she endorses.

16 Lowestoft Street
Manchester M14 7PU

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