Do You Know Your Child’s Doctor? by Alexander F. C. Webster

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Do You Know Your Child’s Doctor?

The Politicization of Pediatrics in America

News headlines pertaining to children’s health have focused, in recent years, on the return of measles, the debate over vaccinations, and the hazards of vaping and bullying. However, those issues of genuine concern represent only a portion of the risks to our children.

The battle for the souls of our children began in the late 1960s, when the godless among us who defiantly rejected the human “soul” and its divine Creator infiltrated the public schools of America as teachers and administrators. 

The battle for the bodies of our children began in 1980, when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) initially supported radical sexual autonomy and contraception for adolescent children without parental consent. 

The battle for the psyches of our children began in this century, when willfully confused and perverse ideologues adamantly insisted on pseudo-science grounded in the mercurial notion of “gender,” a historically linguistic term pertinent to inflected languages but woefully misapplied to divinely engineered human biology. Perhaps this third battlefront will finally motivate parents, grandparents, and others concerned about our children and grandchildren to say, “Enough! Hands off our kids!”

Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord God and Savior acknowledged by all Christians, warned the world in no uncertain terms against mistreatment of children or causes that would lead them to lose their faith in him: 

Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matt. 18:3–6)

And yet not only our society and politics, but also the pediatricians who care for our children in the United States are divided into two warring camps along ideological, even spiritual lines. 

How did this happen? 

The Moral Slide of the AAP

Founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1929, the American Academy of Pediatrics bills itself as “an organization of more than 67,000 pediatricians committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults” (all AAP quotations and data here are from the AAP’s own website: aap.org). That number reflects a sizable majority of the more than 91,000 physicians who identified themselves in a 2011 survey as a “pediatrician,” “pediatric medical subspecialist,” “pediatric surgical specialist,” or “pediatric-focused physician” in the United States. 


Alexander F. C. Webster (Archpriest), Ph.D., is Dean & Professor of Moral Theology Emeritus at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, New York, and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

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