Much Ado About Foreskins
June 9, 2011
On the ballot in San Francisco this November will be a proposal to make it a criminal offense to perform a circumcision on a male under the age of 18. Should secular individuals — who obviously have no religious motivation to carry out such a procedure — support the ban? No. The proposed ban is a singularly bad idea.
I did not envision myself writing about this issue until a couple of days ago, but the issue seems to be getting some attention. The “On Faith” section of The Washington Post recently invited commentary on the proposal from a number or religious and secular individuals, including our own Tom Flynn. (Flynn eloquently, if mistakenly, defends the pro-ban position.) Moreover, from the perspective of constitutional law, the issue may be more important than it might appear at first glance.
First, let’s cut through the misleading rhetoric. Some proponents of the ban refer to male circumcision as genital mutilation and equate it with female “circumcision,” the term sometimes used to describe a clitoridectomy, or complete removal of the clitoris. Clitoridectomies are carried out in some cultures, principally in rural Africa. (In some instances, not only is the clitoris excised, but the labia minora and parts of the labia majora are also removed.) Obviously, the removal of the clitoris results in loss of sexual pleasure.
To equate clitoridectomies with male circumcision is nonsense. The latter is a clip job, resulting in removal of the foreskin from the penis. Although some have argued that circumcised males experience less sexual pleasure, there is no reliable evidence to support this claim. In fact, some studies suggest that the sensitivity of circumcised males is increased, although it may take them longer to reach orgasm. (One can debate whether that is a good or bad thing.) The 2007 position paper of the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP) provides perhaps the most thorough analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of circumcision. This report concluded, “no valid evidence to date... supports the notion that being circumcised affects sexual sensation or satisfaction.” Finally, the vast majority of men in the United States — about 70% — have been circumcised (if you were born from 1950 to 1970, it was standard procedure), and there have been no detectable differences between the sexual drive of circumcised and uncircumcised men. If the goal of circumcision was to decrease sexual sensation and sexual desire, then it must be rated a spectacular, unqualified failure.
But, even if there is no negative effect on sex, are there any valid medical reasons to undergo a circumcision? The AAFP report already referenced thoroughly discusses some of the advantages of circumcision (decreased risk of urinary tract infections, decreased risk of contracting or transmitting STDs, decreased risk of penile cancer and of causing cervical cancer) and finds the benefits real, but minimal. For example, an uncircumcised male has roughly a 1% greater chance of a serious urinary tract infection than a circumcised male.
And, of course, there are risks involved with circumcision as with any medical procedure. The most common complication is infection from the surgery with estimated rates ranging from 0.2% to 1%. More serious complications, such as penile amputation or penile necrosis, are very rare, although they do occur.
Weighing the possible benefits and risks, the AAFP essentially shrugged its shoulders and said there’s no compelling reason to do it, but you’re not irrational if you want it done for your child. The formal conclusion was that physicians should “discuss the potential harms and benefits of circumcision with all parents... considering this procedure.”
The foregoing medical discussion is important because it undercuts the argument made by some secularists that there’s no valid medical reason for this procedure. Granted, the possibility that a newborn boy will experience some avoidable health issues unless he is circumcised is very small. Furthermore, depending on how one evaluates the risks, the potential benefits may be outweighed by the risks of harm. But isn’t this precisely the type of decision we usually leave to parents — and which we should leave to parents unless we want to become even more of a nanny state?
Speaking of the state, do we really want to give more power to the government to control what can only be described as a sensitive, highly personal matter? How exactly is this criminal ban supposed to be enforced? Are we going to have special police units to stamp out circumcision? Undercover cops posing as physicians willing to carry out back-alley quick cuts? Will there be search warrants issued based on confidential information that Johnny was seen at the urinal less than fully intact? I don’t know about you, but I don’t care if my junk is scanned or touched at the airport security line, but I do reject the notion that the government can tell us how it should look.
So far, I’ve hardly breathed a word about religion. But religion and the rights of the religious under our Constitution are a critical component of the circumcision controversy because Jewish males are required to be circumcised and Muslim males typically are circumcised (it’s not entirely clear whether this procedure is mandatory for Muslims). A ban on circumcision would directly interfere with the exercise of their religion.
The constitutional guarantee of free exercise of religion, of course, does not allow parents to do, or fail to do, whatever they want regarding their children. Failure to seek life-saving medical treatment for one’s child is illegal parental neglect, regardless of one’s religious beliefs. But circumcision is not equivalent to parental abuse or neglect, and trying to make the case that it is simply weakens our legitimate arguments against true parental abuse and neglect.
Were this ban to be adopted, it would be a dream come true for the Religious Right. I have no doubt that those religious groups challenging the ban would prevail in court, and the resulting rulings could possibly expand free exercise rights beyond what they are now. This ban could wind up enabling parents to subject their children to actions that really do harm them. Is that what we want?
I’m tired of secularists fighting the wrong battles. We shouldn’t care whether Johnny, Joel, or Jamal keeps his hood on.
But speaking of foreskins … now we get to the more interesting part of this post. Jesus was presumably circumcised. Certainly, that was the presumption during the Middle Ages when holy foreskins were prized as relics. And that’s right, I said foreskins because over a dozen of them were floating around Europe for a while. Either some of these were not genuine or Jesus truly was superhuman.
Sadly, some of these were destroyed during the Reformation, which didn’t dig relics. Others were supposedly lost. (Imagine this job interview: “So why were you fired from your last job?” “I lost the foreskin of Jesus.”) It’s unclear whether there are any holy foreskins still around, in part because the Catholic Church has grown reticent about the whereabouts of the nobler parts of JC. But if there were an extant foreskin, and if DNA could be extracted from it, and if we perfected cloning techniques for humans … well, you can figure out the rest for yourself. It gives the Second Coming a whole new meaning.
#1 Melody Hensley (Guest) on Thursday June 09, 2011 at 12:40pm
First off, before everyone starts stating that this is a CFI position…
“As indicated, we want our bloggers to be opinionated and candid. To ensure frank and open discussion, the content of the blogs will not be discussed with the management of CFI and its affiliates prior to posting. Accordingly, the viewpoints expressed on Free Thinking are the viewpoints of the individual blogger only and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of, nor should they be attributed to, CFI or its affiliates, or any of their directors or officers.” -
#2 Melody Hensley (Guest) on Thursday June 09, 2011 at 12:43pm
#3 Melody Hensley (Guest) on Thursday June 09, 2011 at 12:44pm
Secondly, bravo to Tom Flynn for his article on The Washington Post opposing male genital mutilation. I had not seen it until I read this blog.
P.S. The comments seem to be cutting me off.
#4 auntikrist on Thursday June 09, 2011 at 12:48pm
I disagree with your trivialization of the fact that there is a helpless human being who is having physical change inflicted on them without their say-so. The integrity of a human body should be respected by all, and only the subject should be allowed to decide how they may want their body altered.
The only exceptions to this rule would be when the person in question is in real need of physical changes made to their bodies to save their lives. If the person in question is conscious and capable of rationally communicating, then they, and they alone have the right to decide whether to accept or refuse changes.
The circumcision of children in infancy is immoral and cruel. If this was an issue where male infants had the tips of their noses removed, (for some religious/cultural beliefs and because it is an unhygienic useless bit of flesh you know) I am pretty sure that even you would be outraged and exasperated, Mr. Lindsay….. simply because of the stupidity, if nothing else.
The only moral being legislated in this case is the basic human moral responsibility of respecting the another human being’s right to the integrity of their body unless THEY wish to change it.
#5 Ronald A. Lindsay on Thursday June 09, 2011 at 12:49pm
Yes, this is my personal opinion. As already indicated, my esteemed colleague, Tom Flynn, disagrees with me. CFI does not anticipate taking a formal position on the proposed ban, either for or against. It’s a topic that secularists should consider carefully and on which they should reach their own conclusions. There is no party line on this issue.
#6 Days of Broken Arrows (Guest) on Thursday June 09, 2011 at 1:00pm
To equate clitoridectomies with male circumcision is nonsense.
Not according to Dr. Dean Edell and many other medical authorities (just Google docs and anti-circ).
But your position here is also narrow-minded and intellectually limited. The fact is circumcision is still UNNECESSARY and men should have domain over their own bodies. This is a human rights issue. Unless a medical procedure is totally necessary, an adult should not be making a decision to permanently alter a child’s body.
I want to ask you this: if circumcision is legal why can’t parents tattoo their minor boys? That’s also a permanent alteration that’s unnecessary.
#7 Jirina (Guest) on Thursday June 09, 2011 at 1:08pm
I am all for freedom of and from religion, but circumcising a baby is just wrong. Let the adult male decide if he wants this procedure done to him.
I also think this country needs an education that circumcision is not necessary. I am from Belgium and only a small minority (Jews and maybe now also Arabs) are circumcised there and Belgian men do not report any significant medical problems.
Nature put it there for a reason, so leave it alone. (Maybe like with the removal of tonsils the medical opinion will finally change).
I totally agree with auntikrist, we should respect the integrity of the human body unless they want and are of age to choose to change it.
#8 martini mike (Guest) on Thursday June 09, 2011 at 1:12pm
banning a common safe medical practice, no matter how horrified one may be of it, seems wrong. while i agree that not allowing the newborn any input on the matter, we see similar decisions made by parents frequently.
#9 L.Long (Guest) on Thursday June 09, 2011 at 1:17pm
For or against the ban because YOU don’t like it is silly for three reasons.
1) it is your opinion! Also think of it this way most religious people don’t like (fill the blank easily with a lot) and want it FORBIDDEN. But most of the secularists don’t want their opinion law. So where is your opinion better then theirs??
2)if the band goes thru then we will lose!! As the author says they will fight back and they will win. We are at best 20% and they are over 80% remember Prop8?
and 3) who wants the gov’mint with more power to enforce even more, the patriot act is more then enough!
And yes I was mutilated at 10yrs for health reasons.
And it has not interfered with enjoying sex.
#10 Regina (Guest) on Thursday June 09, 2011 at 2:47pm
I have to agree with Mr. Lindsay. Not so much whether to circumcise or not, but that do we really need to Police the practice? I say this is a backdoor to unborn child personhood. If we have to question what we do to a born child as a parent. The next step is what we do to an unborn child and then to the matter of gestation, then to should you even have sex unless you are planning to make a child??
This may sound extreme, however we are dealing in extreme times.
There are things we should police in the country. Our environment should be protected from law breakers, that include the air, water and animals.
Wall Street and derivatives for instance, fraud etc… Possession of drugs should be decriminalized much like alcohol. What you do under the influence of those drugs should be policed. We would have a lot more room in prisons if we did. I am going off topic. To sum up, we should not police circumcision, but it should be left up to parents preference. I know I wouldn’t do it to my son. I witnessed one and I will never forget the child’s cry even if he doesn’t remember. I still do.
#11 Randy on Thursday June 09, 2011 at 9:14pm
I expect this nonsense from the uninformed, but it’s dismaying to find it here on CFI.
Secular individuals should support this common-sense ban for these simple reasons:
1. The amputation of most of the healthy penis skin is an unnecessary surgical procedure, with risks that continue to include amputation of the glans, or the entire penis, and even death (including one that was publicized just recently). Some victims were raised as girls.
2. The amputation of most of the healthy penis skin carries little health benefit, particularly when the penis is cared for with proper hygiene. Nobody would suggest removing other areas of skin from children (earlobes, for example) to prevent disease in those areas. The least intrusive answer is to promote cleanliness.
3. Performing a unnecessary, permanent procedure with negligible health benefit on a boy’s penis is child sexual abuse, and physical abuse. I think we have to be very clear about this. Something is deeply wrong with people who cut kids’ genitals.
4. Performing a permanent procedure on a child for religious purposes is a violation of the child’s religious and associational rights.
5. The foreskin is not “extra” skin. It provides a proper sliding layer of skin during intercourse (you know, for the partner—it’s not just about the penis) and is the penis skin most sensitive to pleasure. Often circumcision also removes the frenulum, which is the most pleasurable spot on a penis. Circumcision also exposes the glans, which is the part of the penis most sensitive to pain.
6. Speaking of sexual drive is irrelevant. I have had surgery which had a side-effect of reducing my sexual pleasure, but that in no way changed my sexual drive. They are two entirely different things, and mixing them together is an attempt to cloud the issue.
7. This is a proposed ban on male circumcision, so talking about female circumcision may illuminate some issues, but is mostly irrelevant to the discussion. Like assault, male circumcision isn’t female circumcision. Assault and male circumcision also aren’t the holocaust or nuclear war. But we made assault a crime anyway, because it was the right thing to do. And infant male circumcision should also be a crime, even though like most crimes, it isn’t female circumcision.
8. This isn’t a religious issue. Just as with child neglect, religion should not be a cover for this crime either.
#12 asanta on Friday June 10, 2011 at 2:56am
Circumcision in the USA owes its popularity to a sexual prude by the name of Dr Kellogg (of Corn flake fame) who felt that the pain of circumcision would discourage little boys from masturbation. He also advocated pouring acid on little girls genitalia for the same purpose…for some reason, this did not catch on. Little boys have had their penises accidentally disfigured, and cut off, and one I know of one case where a little boy almost died because his parents hid a familial bleeding disorder. And this for what is usually, in our country, a cosmetic surgery. The incidence of penile cancer has more to do with teaching cleanliness to our boys, parents are afraid to teach them how to clean under the foreskin. Doing a circumcision to keep the penis clean makes as much sense as removing the labia to make it easier for girls to keep themselves cleaner.
#13 Corey (Guest) on Friday June 10, 2011 at 12:51pm
So, since there is a 1% better chance of getting a UTI from being uncircumcised, let’s go and 100% prevent it: Let’s just lop off tally whackers.
And, it’s 5.5% chance of getting testicular cancer, so let’s just remove the testicles. That reduces the chance to 0%...
If an adult decides they want that 1% chance decrease of a UTI, then they are free to do so. As adults. But forcing an infant to undergo a non-medically unnecessary procedure just to satisfy some religious aesthetic code is a laughable position of ANY member of CFI (Even if not a CFI Official Position).
As far as your line of: “But isn’t this precisely the type of decision we usually leave to parents”; No. It’s not. We don’t allow parents the decision of “Well, is too hot in this car?” for infants, we don’t allow parents to do a whole lot of things that can be detrimental to the child.
#14 Ronald A. Lindsay on Friday June 10, 2011 at 1:47pm
@Corey (and others)Those supporting the proposed ban constantly analogize circumcision to instances of indisputable harm to children, e.g. broiling the child in a car, starving the child, and so forth. These far-fetched analogies only underscore the weakness of the pro-ban position. Two highly reputable and responsible medical bodies (both the AAFP, referenced in my post, and the American Academy of Pediatrics) have concluded that the procedure does not harm the infant when carried out properly, and that there is only a small risk of harm from botched procedures. CFI’s mission statement maintains that we should base our public policy judgments where possible on empirical evidence, not dogma. I have pointed to empirical evidence. All I see from the other side are insults, windy rhetoric, and bad analogies.
Sure, parents don’t have the right to inflict serious harm on their children. That’s not in dispute. But the medical authorities have concluded there is no harm, so please stop the misleading comparisons.
Perhaps opponents are relying on some vague notion of intrinsic harm. If so, I’d like to see this concept of intrinsic harm explicated and defended. In the absence of such a defense, the pro-ban movement smells an awful lot like religion to me.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that “in circumstances in which there are potential benefits and risks, yet the procedure is not essential to the child’s current well-being, parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child.” That’s my position, and I believe it to be a reasonable one.
Those supporting the ban are effectively saying they want to substitute their judgment for the judgment of the parents and use the power of the state to enforce this substituted judgment, even in the absence of empirical evidence of harm to the child. I have yet to see any coherent defense of this extraordinary claim.
#15 Simon (Guest) on Friday June 10, 2011 at 5:39pm
Not one mention of pain Ronald?
Is it okay to inflict pain on infants for no particular medical benefit?
Because one’s superstitions dictate it?
I mean I’m not a wuss, vaccinations hurt my infant son, but they have a clear and unambiguous medical benefit.
The STD picture is more muddled that the AAFP paint, and the cause of the effect on HIV is now understood, so the AAFP may not be the best reference available. But with HIV circumcision is not an appropriate preventative, there are reliable methods of not catching HIV from sex, this isn’t one of them.
Some studies give lower incidence of genital problems in the intact, and plenty show infections caused by the act of circumcision.
Circumstitions website notes even if the figures quoted are reliable, that is something like 200 circumcisions to prevent one UTI. That is a lot of pain for not a lot of gain.
#16 Teapot (Guest) on Friday June 10, 2011 at 6:58pm
Everything that you have said is consistent with letting consenting adults freely decide to have their genitals skinned of their own volition, but I see nothing here to defend the notion of skinning an infant’s genitals for cosmetic reasons. You concede the argument about harms and risks, yet you come down on the side of letting parents be the ones to decide to skin their children, without their consent, for what, by your concession, you show to be for no demonstrable, medically valid reason.
The only real argument you give in favor of skinning infant genitals without painkillers is that we usually let parents make this kind of decision. Really? Can you give me another example of a kind of procedure where parents are allowed to have a doctor tear the flesh off of their child for purely cosmetic reasons? My donations to the Center are wasted if they are spent on someone who is so comfortable with attacking children in this way. You concede that there are no good medical reasons for it. You concede that there are possible harms for it. You have two arguments- one, that we shouldn’t let the “nanny state” make this decision (a circular argument, since that is the point in dispute, buttressed by a weasel word), two, that we usually let parents make this kind of decision (and by this kind of decision you must mean only circumcision, since you give no examples, and this is hardly an argument, since if we did not usually let parents make this decision there would be no need for a ban- which is exactly the point in contention).
You have two tiny circular arguments and nothing to say about the ethics of letting parents and doctors perform irreversible cosmetic surgery on non-consensting patients with microscopic odds of demonstrable health benefits and slightly greater odds of serious injury. I joined the Center for Inquiry because I thought it was the intellectually serious, thoughtful, philosophically rigorous opportunity to the childishness of other organizations. I see that I was mistaken.
#17 asanta on Friday June 10, 2011 at 7:23pm
@Teapot, people are allowed to be wrong occasionally. This is why we discuss the issues. I totally disagree with his position on circumcision, which I believe is a barbaric medieval practice. We have to educate people about the roots of this practice. Circumcision rates are falling, at least in CA.The doctors where I work will not do them. I can only hope to see the practice (on infants) disappear by the time I retire.
#18 Erin (Guest) on Friday June 10, 2011 at 8:01pm
Of course the procedure itself has low risks. It’s being done by medical professionals who are trained and usually do hundreds circumcisions a year. The risks associated with it are similar to other minimally invasive procedures (however I would argue that the pain experienced by many infants may cause temporary stress related issues). The exact same would be said if the removal of the labia or even the clitoris were routine on neonates. If done by trained and practiced professionals the risks would be minimal.
Also, if this procedure were routine, I’m sure a crap ton of studies would be on the books comparing things such as UTI, cancer, HIV, STDs and quite likely, yeast infections rates between those who had had the procedure and those who have not . Heck, let’s say that the clitoris isn’t even involved but just the labias. Add on any and all cultural justification for it. So, you have a procedure, done on female neonates with a slight health benefit and very low risk. The reason for the procedure in the first place has long been debunked but benefits have been realized. I’m curious as to who, in this little thought experiment, would be OK with this being a legal procedure, couched in a ‘parental rights’ argument? AND I would argue that the removal of the labia(s) probably would have very little sexual effect on the woman. Compared to other parts of the vulva, the labias don’t have near the concentration of nerves.
#19 Jackie S. (Guest) on Friday June 10, 2011 at 10:24pm
I think the sensitive nature of this discussion is causing people overlook the main issue of the article: it’s not about whether the practice of circumcision is necessary or moral, but whether or not we should bring the government into such a personal issue.
I’d be curious to see how many people who support a circumcision ban are also against abortion bans. If a circumcision ban passes, allowing the government to make decisions that should be left up to parents (not the public at large), I’d bet a lot of money that the Christian Right will cite that victory the next time they try a hard push for abortion bans in their respective states. I find that to be a pretty scary thought, personally.
#20 SocraticGadfly (Guest) on Saturday June 11, 2011 at 12:52am
Great post. There is a LOT of irrationality about this issue. Lindsay didn’t even address the claims made by some that a 3-day-old baby is traumatized for life by the pain of this procedure.
That said, beyond the fact this is NOT mutilation, it IS a First Amendment issue. And secularists disregarding the First Amendment disgust me.
#21 Mrs. A.S. (Guest) on Saturday June 11, 2011 at 5:09am
He’s Got No Right
Ron Lindsay makes a controversial and audacious argument that an infant male’s foreskin is not his own privates’ property.
(Sorry, Ron, I couldn’t resist the temptation.
Ron, of course, is correct. We must leave medical decisions to parents. Can and do parents make bad medical decisions about their children’s health. Yes! Refusing vaccinations, chiropractic spinal manipulations, and even the completely bizarre practice of stuffing hot raisins in a child’s ears to cure earaches are certainly examples of this. (I had hot raisins stuffed into my ears as a child.)
But, is the solution to the problem to pass laws regarding any and all medical decisions parents face concerning their children? Obviously, this would be impossible. (Who would ever dream that we need to pass a law banning hot raisin placement in children’s ears.)
If we can’t think of every possible bad decision, then the only alternative would be to legislate away the entire decision making process from parents. No intelligent person should believe that this is a good idea.
Good parents exercise due diligence when making these decisions. They do the research necessary to understand the issues and seek second and even third opinions from the medical community depending on the seriousness of the medical condition.
Bad parents soak all wounds in hot water and epsom salt, no matter how severe the wound, and stuff raisins in their kids ears rather than seeking competent medical advice.
The solution to the circumcision “problem”, for or against, or any decision parents make in regards to their children, is education not legislation. (We already have laws in place to protect children from abuse at the hands of bad parents. Circumcision does not fall into the category of abuse that should be illegal, as it can provide potential health benefits even if very small, and does not have significant risks.)
Are the rewards worth the risk and expense of the procedure? If we educate parents on the risk vs. rewards, we may very well find that most parents will choose not to circumcise. (Even when parents are making a religiously motivated decision on this issue, education may help since we know that more education can result in less devoutly held religious belief.)
We should at least try education before we scream for legislation, don’t you think? If this proposed ban in San Francisco brings attention to this issue so more parents educate themselves on the issue, well ok. But is it really necessary to go to this extreme to bring awareness to the issue? Does “there ought to be a law” always have to be the first solution to any “perceived” problem? Fast food is bad, there ought to be a law…Toys in happy meals are bad, there ought to be a law…Plastic bags are bad, there ought to be a law…Styrofoam is bad, there ought to be a law…
Common sense is good, unfortunately, it can’t be the law. And Twain may be right when he said, “Common sense is very uncommon”, if our first and only solution to these kinds of problems is “there ought to be a law”.
#22 Simon (Guest) on Saturday June 11, 2011 at 8:27am
The reason we need the law is that people aren’t enforcing existing laws that prevent parents inflicting pain on their children out of whim.
I agree strictly a new law isn’t needed, one need merely enforce existing statute.
#23 asanta on Saturday June 11, 2011 at 9:24am
Most Americans don’t even know the history of circumcision in this country. When I have challenged families expecting boys to look it up, they are usually horrified enough to forgo the procedure on their infant son.
#24 Stormy Fairweather on Sunday June 12, 2011 at 5:58am
The benifits and risks are one discussion, and I think there is a case that can be made for making such a procedure standard.
But I do have one very large concern. As I understand it circumcisions are usually performed without anesthesia, justified because minds are not capable of forming cognitive memories until about age two.
Recent Psychology advances indicate, however, that there may be a second type of memory, an emotional one, that the mind can form from, or even before, birth. And if this is the case then I wonder just how much of ones personality may be altered by being exposed to such an experience.
#25 asanta on Sunday June 12, 2011 at 9:16pm
What could possibly be the case for making ‘standard’ a proceedure with little benefit, that comes with such pain, and a very real potential of harm.
#26 Geminize (Guest) on Monday June 13, 2011 at 1:00am
Thanks for dealing with a delicate subject with such indelicate humor! I chose not to have my son circumcised. 13 years later he seems to be doing fine. He has played on his middle school basketball team (lots of locker room time) and has shared no complaints with me. Of course, he has the option to cut and run when he is 18. I think I know what choice he will make.
#27 Ben L (Guest) on Thursday June 16, 2011 at 3:54pm
One thing the author forgot to mention was that in the OT scriptures cirumcision was constantly done while men were adults. I am not intimately familiar with Judaism in in it’s modern form, however the bible seems to indicate that child circumcsion is not required and and 18+ law would not violate their religious practice which I believe was the argyument that was attempting to be made. If this is true I think that’s the last straw. A child should not be altered without medical reason or consent. Still, who would want to join a religion that “requires” you to painfully alter yourself for no strong reason other than your god says so?
#28 asanta on Thursday June 16, 2011 at 7:46pm
In the good ole USA it is mostly done because Dr. John Harvey Kellogg recommended circumcision of boys caught masturbating, writing: “A remedy for masturbation which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering anaesthetic, as the pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment.“Although truth be told, he was against infant circumcision.
#29 Tom (Guest) on Saturday June 25, 2011 at 1:33am
You are against clitoridectomies, are you not? It is, imo, terribly inhumane what these muslims do to their women. By the same token, you should logically be against circumcision, since it is also a genital mutilation. It is a mutilation because it is an unnecessary medical procedure. Religious beliefs do not, and never will, trump the law. You opine that if we ban circumcision we will become a nanny state. Please explain that statement to the crying child undergoing the pain of circumcision. Have you not read the book “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris? Also, the AAFP will not admit to making mistakes, or that anything is wrong, or else, won’t they open the door to legal attacks and compensation claims?
#30 lucette (Guest) on Monday July 04, 2011 at 4:30pm
One of the reasons Christianity had to be invented by Saul of Tarsa was to eliminate the mandatory circumcision in Judaism. The Gentiles were squimish.
During World War II, many European Jews were sent to the concentration camps because their circumcised penis denounced them.
Lets just ban circumcision until the boy is allowed to buy beer and kill Iraqis. And let circumcision be his mother’s job.