Canadian hospital refuses kidney donation from religious cult member

A Canadian hospital has refused to accept the offer from an Australian religious cult member of a kidney to a stranger as a way of expressing his faith in God.

Sydney man Ash Falkingham is a member of the Jesus Christians, a group led by guru David Mckay, who believe kidney donation is the “ultimate” expression of faith.

Nineteen of the group’s 30 members living in Kenya, Britain, United States and Australia have donated a kidney as part of their desire to “live selflessly”, ABC Television’s Australian Story reports on Monday night.

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Jesus Christians

Cult push for ‘living sacrifices’, Herald Sun, Australia, July 6, 2004

Cult investigated over kidney donations, AAP, Australia, July 6, 2004

Cult leader admits kidney scam, AAP, Australia, July 6, 2004

The ‘Jesus Christians’ 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.

Mr Falkingham’s operation was scheduled for April 30 – until the hospital questioned whether he had been coerced by the group, dubbed “the kidney cult”.

His parents, Kate and Nick Croft, say they believe the Jesus Christians had “brainwashed” their son, and contacted health authorities in Ontario to express their disapproval of a plan they see as “madness”.

The 22-year-old has spent the past 10 weeks in Canada waiting to hear whether the Toronto General Hospital would approve his donation.

Following a psychiatric assessment to determine whether Mr Falkingham was capable of giving informed consent, the hospital informed him at the weekend they would not go ahead with the operation.

He is now on his way back to Australia.

Mr Falkingham was in Canada for the operation because “non-directed” kidney donations are banned in Australia.

He said that under Australian law he would be required to have a long-term friendship with a recipient before donating.

He barely knows the Canadian woman, Sandi Sabloff, who was to have received his kidney, having met her online through the website Living Donors.

Mr Falkingham said he wanted to go ahead with the donation because he likes “positive things that can be done to help people”.

“People might see me as … young and naive and idealistic … (but) I see it as a small thing,” Mr Falkingham said.

“There are six billion people on the planet and helping one, I think it’s just human nature.”

Doctor Says...

But Mr Falkingham’s parents, Kate and Nick Croft, contacted the health authority in Ontario, pointing out that later on Mr Falkingham might feel the hospital were responsible for not picking up that he was being coerced into donating his kidney.

“I would say it (Jesus Christians) is a cult,” Ms Croft said.

“I would say it’s a sect.

“I would say it’s madness.”

Ms Sabloff has said she is devastated and heartbroken at the news that she will not be receiving Mr Falkingham’s kidney.

She suffers from a form of kidney disease from which her brother has already died.

Australian Story screens on Monday night at 8pm (AEST) on ABC TV.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
, AAP, via Yahoo! News, June 4, 2007,

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday June 4, 2007.
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