Cult investigated over kidney donations

The Victorian government will investigate an internet cult which encourages its members to donate their kidneys to hospitals as “living sacrifices” to God.

Members of the Jesus Christians cult will be investigated over reports they lied to Victorian health authorities so they could donate their kidneys to strangers needing transplants, a spokesman for Health Minister Bronwyn Pike said.

In Australia, kidney donations are banned from anyone apart from a recipient’s family members and friends and others with an emotional connection.

Jesus Christians

This movement also calls itself “Followers of the Lamb,” “Rappville Christians,” or simply “Christians.” However, theologically this high-demand group is a cult of Christianity. The manipulative group also displays sociological cultic characteristics.

Among other things, the group insists members reject their families, friends, and jobs. Based in Australia, but is active elsewhere as well (notably, England and India). The movement makes extra-Biblical demands, has a theology based on unsound Bible interpretations.

The group’s leader, David McKay, is believed to be a former member of the Children of God.

While the group militates – often in extreme ways – against established churches, denominations, and Christians who do not share the group’s theology, ”Jesus Christians” itself appears to have somewhat of a persecution complex.

The ban is designed to prevent organs being sold on the black market.

The minister’s spokesman said an investigation had been ordered following reports of two cases in Victoria.

The government was concerned by reports that cult members had feigned long relationships with organ recipients to secure approvals for their donations, he said.

Concerns were held that if the donors were lying about their relationships with recipients, they might also be willing to lie about their health, he said.

“It’s not a great thing to lie to a doctor, but if they are lying about that, you wonder what else they are lying about,” the spokesman said.

“There was a case in the last few weeks where a few people died in the US because they got organs from someone who had rabies.”

The minister’s spokesman said the government wanted guidelines established in Australia for altruistic organ donations.

He said this would prevent discrimination about who received an organ.

It would also ensure donors received a psychological assessment and were given a full explanation about the implications of organ donation.

The Jesus Christians cult was founded in Melbourne in 1982 and uses the internet to preach its teachings.

Comment was being sought from Jesus Christians.

Source (if other than Religion News Blog):
AAP, Australia
July 6, 2004
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