When Bailey Webber interviewed people for her new documentary, The Student Body, she took a set of bathroom scales with her. And every person with whom she spoke, she asked, “Would you be willing to step on the scales so we can get your BMI?” To a person, they balked. Most ultimately refused, though some reluctantly agreed. A lot of kids in our schools don’t get the choice to decline. And then a letter arrives notifying them that they are too skinny or too fat. In the ground-breaking and excellently produced film she made with her dad, Bailey, a young journalist, tackles the heated topic of childhood obesity and misguided efforts to solve our national childhood obesity epidemic. And just what are those misguided efforts? Lawmakers in dozens of states have passed mandates requiring schools to perform body mass index (BMI) tests on students and then send letters stating their results….
Read the headlines or browse news stories these days and you’ll find all sorts of medically related topics. Cloning. Infertility. Test tube babies. Euthanasia. Stem cell research. Embryo adoption. Surrogacy. These are just a sampling, right? My journey through infertility and pregnancy loss has given me a front-row seat in some of the bioethics conversations—a seat I never would have pursued had my situation not demanded answers. I served on the board of an international consumer group for infertility patients, and I wrestled my way through “Why does God allow such suffering?” That journey led me to coauthor books on bioethical topics in partnership with a theologically-trained medical doctor and the Christian Medical Association. We also contributed chapters in some books and coauthored a related column for ten months. How do you and I navigate our way through complex medical issues? How do we process these topics through the grid of a truly Christian worldview (not to be confused with a political party’s)? Knowing that good men and women arrive at differing conclusions, what principles should guide our thinking? Hopefully you will find answers to some of those questions here.