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Actually, the recognition of circumcision as child abuse is a long-overdue ethical insight

Following a German court’s ruling that the circumcision of male infants constitutes a violation of child’s right to bodily integrity, The Telegraph’s Brendan O’Neill has mounted a particularly vacuous defense of the practice. As he sees it, “The rebranding of circumcision as ‘child abuse’ echoes the ugly anti-Semitism of medieval Europe” – yet he somehow finds a way to blame this on atheists:

There are many bad things about the modern atheistic assault on religion. But perhaps the worst thing is its rebranding of certain religious practices as “child abuse”. Everything from sending your kid to a Catholic school to having your baby boy circumcised has been redefined by anti-religious campaigners as “abuse”.

Let’s just take a moment to contemplate how remarkable it is that someone can make the entirely fact-free assertion that atheists are “assaulting” religion and that this is a bad thing, and have it published in a major newspaper. As far as introductions go, this has all the grace and composure of a 6th grader’s five-paragraph essay on current events. Apparently this modern atheistic assault on religion has become so extreme that the only other example of it he can find is the occasional labeling of a religious upbringing as “child abuse” – a rhetorical flourish that’s less of a serious accusation, and more of a way to raise questions about the ethics of forcing narrow and rigid dogma on young people. And O’Neill considers this particular offense among “the worst” committed by atheists. Clearly the situation is much more grave than we thought.

Regardless, his distaste for the so-called “New Atheists” has no bearing whatsoever on the ethical status of infant male circumcision. Whatever “anti-religious campaigners” have called it, this doesn’t change whether it’s actually right or wrong. It’s disingenuous for O’Neill to treat this situation as little more than a chance to express his personal grudge against atheists. What few arguments he has for allowing circumcision are unconvincing, if not outright incoherent:

This is an alarming attack on freedom of religion and on parents’ rights to initiate their children into their faith. The court case centred around a four-year-old Muslim boy who was given a very bad circumcision, but the precedent set by the case will of course affect Jews as well as Muslims. And as Germany’s Central Council of Jews rightly said, the court’s ruling is “an egregious and insensitive measure”, which represents “an unprecedented and dramatic intervention in religious communities’ right of determination”.

How can “freedom of religion” possibly be construed to extend so far that it allows religious people to remove parts of other people’s bodies without their consent and for no medical reason? Tattooing results in even less impairment than removal of the foreskin, yet parents who apply tattoos to their children have often faced charges. Are we to believe that the mere fact that some people might believe something as part of their religion is enough to make this completely acceptable? And if so, what are the limits to this?

When religion is used to justify something that would otherwise be considered wholly unacceptable, it’s nothing but an excuse for the inexcusable. Treating religion as the only reason you need to remove body parts from others is really no reason at all beyond “we want to”. How could someone else’s religion be so important that it makes this okay?

And how exactly does circumcision function to “initiate their children into their faith”? Having your foreskin removed is not something that automatically initiates you into any religion. It’s not like cutting it off implants some kind of permanent Judaism/Islam module in the child’s brain – otherwise there would be a lot more Jewish Muslims in America. Nor is circumcision practiced exclusively by religious people or as a way to mark a child as a member of a religion.

Such a doctrine is utterly ignorant anyway, because the presence or absence of a foreskin has no relation to what someone professes to believe (and reducing a person to nothing but a vector for your preferred ideology is intensely disrespectful of their agency). When you leave the religion that was responsible for your circumcision, that part doesn’t grow back! It’s asinine to focus on the importance of freedom of religion, while not caring at all about the freedom not to have parts of your genitals removed at will by others – especially when you’ve just argued that the state of the foreskin is a part of religious identification and expression. If it’s really that important, then what about the child’s freedom of religion?

Oh, but it doesn’t end there:

But in truth it echoes centuries’ worth of nasty anti-circumcision posturing by people who hate certain religious faiths. In Medieval Europe, as pointed out in the book The Covenant of Circumcision, Jew-baiters often depicted circumcision as “cruel and grotesque”. The “barbarous and cruel Jews” were slated for callously snipping off their own boys’ foreskins and for secretly desiring to do the same to Christian boys, too. These “merciless” creatures were described by one English writer as “foreskinne-clippers”. The modern atheist’s description of circumcision as “child abuse”, though used to attack both Jewish and Muslim communities, is only an updated, more PC version of the old anti-Semites’ description of it as “cruel and grotesque”.

To O’Neill, it’s practically impossible that circumcision actually could be a violation of the child’s rights – such a finding must be motivated by anti-Semitism rather than sound judicial and ethical reasoning. I suppose it hasn’t occurred to him that using the existence of anti-Semitism as an excuse to ignore any arguments against circumcision isn’t particularly respectful of the Jewish people either.

Just because circumcision is a Jewish practice doesn’t mean a ban on circumcision is specifically targeting Jewish people, and just because a history of ugly anti-Jewish prejudice exists does not mean that circumcision can’t be wrong – yes, even if opposition to circumcision has played a role in anti-Semitism. Hitler can say it’s sunny out, but that doesn’t mean it’s raining. Ted Kaczynski can believe in global warming, but that doesn’t mean anthropogenic climate change must not exist. O’Neill can question the motivations behind this finding until the cows come home, but any historical association with prejudice it may have doesn’t justify his refusal to engage with its actual points. If considering all infant male circumcisions unethical – not just those conducted by Jewish people – is “only an updated, more PC version” of anti-Semitism, then not hating Jews is apparently the new hating Jews.

And yes, that’s where O’Neill is taking this:

History tells us that the rebranding of religious practices as child abuse can have terrible consequences. Many anti-Jewish pogroms in the past were justified on the basis that Jews abused children.

I hope O’Neill is aware of who was responsible for most of these pogroms. Hint: it wasn’t the work of “New Atheists”. If he’s seriously trying to claim that infant male circumcision must be allowed in order to prevent some future explosion of anti-Semitic violence resulting from its prohibition, he’s going to need a lot more evidence than that to justify removing foreskins as a peacekeeping measure. As is, he’s only reiterated the confluence of unexamined tradition and unwarranted respect for religion that have so often enabled much of society to look the other way on this issue – a moral question with an answer that would otherwise be clear as day.

Comments

  1. says

    My favorite part of that article was where he tried to use Waco as justification for why it’s a bad idea to brand religious practices as child abuse. Because stopping David Koresh from sleeping with 13 year olds was apparently a bad thing.

  2. says

    Go Germany!
    Of all things, my fundamentalist mother is very anti-circumcision (and nothing to do with the Jews either). I have 2 brothers who weren’t cut, and the way my mom put it was “why would you cut off a perfectly good part of the body?” And my baby-daddy said “nobody even asked me, and I wished they had”. And my son seems to be doing just fine with his penis the way it came out. Slowly but surely we offer our personal lives as an act of resistance.

    • Metaphysical Ham Sandwich says

      I brought my son home from the hospital in one piece, thank you very much!

      My wife was kind of on the fence but one viewing of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit on Circumcision fixed that. :P

  3. Patrick Smyth says

    Splendid article. I have had to live with a less than whole body for the last 54 years and am deeply resentful of my parents for sanctioning the removal of my foreskin as an infant.

    I find it quite staggering that any parent can feel that it is OK to amputate any part of the body that their son was naturally born with and then presume that there will be absolutely no subsequent adverse effects. My sister still has the intact genitalia she was born with, as indeed does my younger brother of two. I recall my late father boasting to me many years ago that he had always been completely fair with his children. Hmmm.

  4. Melissa That says

    I had my 3 sons circumcised for several reasons, none of them religious. Mainly, I’ve always preferred circumcised men as sexual partners, primarily during fellatio. My sons are grown and not one of them has ever asked why he was circumcised or expressed a wish to have his foreskin back. As parents, we constantly make decisions that affect our kids; decisions they are too young to understand or make for themselves. No, they probably don’t include removal of body parts, but can have far-reaching consequences nonetheless. Circumcising a baby is just easier than circumcising an adult or even a teen who decides he no longer wants or needs his foreskin. I certainly don’t think atheism has anything to do with it.

    • says

      Circumcising a baby is just easier than circumcising an adult or even a teen who decides he no longer wants or needs his foreskin.

      In turn, circumcising older children and adults is yet easier than regrowing a removed foreskin. “Someone might want it back later” should be considered just as compelling as “someone might want it gone later” – both are hypothetical future disagreements with a course of action that was taken on their behalf by their parents before they were old enough to decide for themselves. Leaving it in place, however, gives them greater input as to what they wish the state of their foreskin to be once they’ve reached an age that they’re competent to make this decision – a decision which is denied them by removing it in infancy. In that sense, I don’t see them having to remove it at an older age as a downside, as it’s given them the opportunity to make a decision that really should only be made by themselves.

      If there is no solid case to be made for why circumcision is always preferable over leaving it in place, and instead only a recourse to the authority of parents to make decisions on behalf of their children (an authority which for some reason is not a valid justification in the case of other unnecessary, cosmetic procedures such as tattoos), I don’t think there’s a good reason for taking this out of the hands of the person it most directly affects. Would you contend that those who leave their children’s foreskins in place have been neglectful to some degree?

      • says

        I just love the blase’ attitude of people pro circ…. It has always kind of amazed me. The beautiful truth is, there is many wonderful reasons to “keep” your foreskin. I did some research years ago in college (and thankfully before making the decision to leave my newborn son intact) and found it quite interesting what the pluses are to having your natural biological parts in place…. Anyone interested in that???? I did not read the whole conversation, so if this point was pondered… politely, excuse me…

    • says

      In all seriousness, I am truly, honestly appalled that you circumcised your sons because of your sexual preferences. I am not trying to be clever–I’m sure you didn’t mean the unfortunately squicky implications–but, seriously??

    • says

      @ melissa that: unless you were considering sexually assaulting your own children, i don’t see why you would take your own sexual preferences into account when deciding whether or not to have your children circumcised.

      “circumcising a baby is just easier than circumcising an adult or even a teen…”

      yes. it certainly IS easier to circumcise an infant without their consent than it is to try to talk them into it when they’re older. how inconvenient of people to have opinions about their own bodies!

    • mario says

      Now here’s a conversation I’ll never have…”mom, i want my foreskin back! (mom)what dear? “why did you circumcise me?” (mom)well, i wanted you to have the kind of penis i’d like to stick in my mouth.

  5. Sassafras says

    Since they actually care about protecting children from abuse, I wish this particular German court could be in charge of Alexis Kaminsky’s case, somehow.

  6. Felix says

    @Melissa

    thanks for bravely speaking up in favour of circumcision.

    However, I find your 1st reason totally insufficient to justify the practice. What were the other reasons?

  7. quietmarc says

    I’ve been circumcized, and have never had cause to complain. I understand that for some men it is a very serious issue, and I don’t mean to trivialize their experience with this question, but have there been studies to suggest what, if any, long-term consequences circumcision has?

    To be clear, if pressed, I would agree that the practice doesn’t serve any purpose and should be stopped, but I start to feel uncomfortable at the idea that I’ve been “mutilated” or “abused”, because I have never, ever felt that way.

    • says

      I agree that the functional impairment usually seems to be minimal, but this is more of a question of why unnecessary medical procedures which serve no purpose and cause pain are considered acceptable just because the parents decide it on their children’s behalf.

      As for describing it as abuse, would it seem more abusive in a visceral sense if it were a 10-year-old being held down against their will and having their foreskin removed, and having to deal with the painful healing process afterwards?

        • says

          Then I suppose the question becomes what the relevant difference is, if any. Is there an age below which inflicting unneeded injury becomes more acceptable? If so, what degree of injury?

          • quietmarc says

            That’s an interesting discussion to have. There’s an argument (not MY argument) that could be made that, yes, “injuring” a child is sometimes necessary (eg, discipline).

            I agree that this is a net wrong, that the practice should be stopped, that there’s no good reason for it.

            But I’m suspicious of the “degree” of wrong that people say it is. Have I been “mutilated”? Should I call my mom and ask her why she abused her sons? What monster do I have to blame for my condition?

          • quietmarc says

            Actually, I apologize for that last post. There’s a disconnect between my experience and what some other people are saying, but when I think about my position skeptically I don’t have very much to stand on here, and I start to sound a little too much like guys who say that harrassment isn’t as big a deal as women say it is…and I definitely don’t want to sound like those guys.

            Yes, circumcision is bad and should be stopped. Just because I was lucky to have never felt harmed by it does not a) invalidate those who DO feel harmed or b) mean that it’s not a big deal.

            I don’t think I’ll -ever- feel as strongly about this issue as some people do, but I don’t think it’s my place to obstruct or criticize the people who do feel strongly about it.

  8. Felix says

    @quietmarc

    I fully understand and accept when you say “but I start to feel uncomfortable at the idea that I’ve been “mutilated” or “abused”, because I have never, ever felt that way”.

    And, I would say that people who would like to see an end to the practice should avoid such language to avoid strengthening the ‘pro lobby’.

    However, when you ask:

    “but have there been studies to suggest what, if any, long-term consequences circumcision has?”

    I would say “That’s irrelevant!”
    The problem is:

    1. Doctors performing an unnecessary procedure, which carries risks, without consent. This must surely be in violation of the principle of ‘first do no harm’.

    2. Subjecting a human being to a painful procedure which, could babies express themselves, would cause them to say “What the fuck are you doing to me?”

    • quietmarc says

      It’s not irrelevant. Humans have done and still do lots of things that are strange and bizarre as a part of cultural practice. Just because something is “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s desirable and vice versa. If circumcision is ultimately harmless then what are the ethics of condemning another culture’s rites and rituals?

      But I -do- take your point that it is a medical procedure and that it does carry risk (from infection, from poor surgery, etc), so clearly it is not entirely without harm. Because it appears needlessly cruel to me, I don’t think it should be continued. I just get confused by the strength of the language used whenever this subject comes up, because it doesn’t match my experience at all.

      • Felix says

        I am not circumcised so I have no insight in to this, also it is not a subject that I often think about :-)
        Despite this I was very glad to see the German court decision.
        This is probably due to anti-religious sentiment.
        I say this to avoid appearing ‘holier-than-thou’.

        You say:
        “I just get confused by the strength of the language used whenever this subject comes up, because it doesn’t match my experience at all”

        If you were circumcised in the first weeks of your life then you cannot really claim to have any experience of that event (since you have no recollection of it). Would you agree?

        Also, I would imagine that until several years later (maybe 7 or 9) you had no understanding that anything had been done to you at all.

        In short, it all seemed perfectly normal. Therefore, it is totally unsurprising that you don’t feel “mutilated” or “abused”.

        However, in certain situations it takes somebody from outside a group to say ‘Hang on a minute. What you are doing is not okay.”

        To an outsider, it doesn’t make sense to say that you can’t smack a child, or (allegedly) tattoo a child but you can cut bits off it in a procedure with a painful drawn out recovery.

        Consider that “The docking of dogs’ tails was banned in England from 6 April 2007″

        To such an outsider the use of the word ‘mutilate’ is appropriate since one meaning is: To render (a thing, esp. a record, book, etc.) imperfect by cutting off or destroying a part.

        And ‘Abuse':To ill-use or maltreat; to injure, wrong, or hurt.

        “If circumcision is ultimately harmless then what are the ethics of condemning another culture’s rites and rituals?”

        I think we could say here that when a Mohel takes the penis of the freshly circumcised infant in to his mouth to draw blood after cutting the foreskin, that this is ‘ultimately harmless’.
        As such we probably shouldn’t criticise it. However, since it is bound up with religion which often deserves criticism and ridicule, and with the ritual of circumcision which itself deserves criticism, and in societies which are hyper-sensitive to issues of paedophilia then basically it’s just too good an opportunity to miss! Besides, it’s just yucky. :-)

        “I don’t think I’ll -ever- feel as strongly about this issue as some people do”
        Nor do I. We each choose our own battles.

      • says

        @ quietmarc: i totally respect you for apologizing. that was graceful and awesome.

        i think it’s perfectly ok to say that a) you don’t regret having been circumcised as an infant / you don’t consider your own genitals to have been mutilated and b) you consider infant circumcision to be abuse and you think it should end. i think it’s ok to totally separate those 2 things in your own head.

        there is a negative, long-term consequence of infant circumcision; having no foreskin. some people would rather not have a foreskin, clearly, but some people WOULD rather have a foreskin, so… yeah. but a long-term medical effect? i don’t know. regardless, infant circumcision is abuse.

        • quietmarc says

          Thanks. I’m still unpacking this in my head, and will probably see my thoughts on this issue evolve pretty quickly over time, but the subject’s come up in conversation recently and I feel like you guys are on the right side of the issue (so would many of my friends).

          I do think that some of the anger being directed at parents (not necessarily here) is misplaced, but that’s more of a “tone” argument and doesn’t change the fact that it is an abusive procedure and should be stopped. I’m also realizing that I need to stop thinking of this as “not my issue” or “not important”, because it clearly HAS affected me and people I’m close to, and it’s pretty clear that “causing infants unnecessary pain” is about as important an issue as you can get.

          This has been a huge education for me about my own biases and how easy it is for me to let my culture dictate my ethics.

  9. left0ver1under says

    One single case from New York is enough to justify criminalizing “circumcion” as child abuse, never mind that the boy was not anaesthetized while one of his most sensitive pieces of skin was violently cut off.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/baby-dies-herpes-virus-ritual-circumcision-nyc-orthodox/story?id=15888618

    Baby Dies of Herpes in Ritual Circumcision By Orthodox Jews

    By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES
    March 12, 2012

    New York City is investigating the death last September of a baby who contracted herpes after a “ritual circumcision with oral suction,” in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish ceremony known in Hebrew as metzitzah b’peh.

    In a practice that takes place during a ceremony known as the bris, a circumcision practitioner, or mohel, removes the foreskin from the baby’s penis, and with his mouth sucks the blood from the incision to cleanse the wound.

    The district attorney’s office in Kings County Brooklyn is investigating the death of the 2-week-old baby at Maimonides Hospital, but would not disclose the name of the mohel or whether there would be a prosecution.

    “We are looking into it, that’s all I can say,” a D.A. source told ABCNews.com.

    The DA “would not disclose the name of the mohel or whether there would be a prosecution”? Excuse me?

    If a person with HIV/AIDS transmitted it to someone and caused illness or death, we’d take action to prevent the person from doing it again, and if the person did it knowingly, the carrier would be jailed. We’d label a person a health risk for knowingly spreading a disease.

    How is this any different when the mohel-ester did it for “religious reasons”? If he knew he had herpes, he most certainly should be put away for manslaughter, if not murder. And even if he didn’t know he had herpes, the case should be treated as child molestation and abuse.

    Unfortunately, this issue – especially in Germany – is bringing out the inevitable and false claims of “anti-semitism”. This is a health issue (the physical *and* mental health of the child), not a religious issue. When children die from lack of medical care (e.g. denying them medicine or transfusions), we hold people accountable, as we should for that boy’s death in New York.

  10. says

    Wow. I hadn’t had much to say about penile circumcision before. Then when I got to the comparison with tattooing children, I immediately thought “but why would parents tattoo their children? That never occurred to me, and it sucks! Their children can’t get rid of a permanent tattoo, and what if it was a cultural marking they didn’t want later?”

    …and was then forcefully reminded of how something being “normal”, or an accepted cultural practice, can make us fail to see what it is really like. Now I’m convinced.

    At least in a society where individuals are free to choose their religions and cultures, instead of having to rely on cultural markings for acceptance and survival in society, it doesn’t make sense to have tattoos and circumcisions and such without consent.

  11. gmacs says

    My dad has said things about my tattoo and my pierced ear. He has also criticized my plans to get more piercings/tattoos in the future.

    I was circumcised shortly after birth.

    This does not compute.

    • left0ver1under says

      Sure it does. He’s annoyed that he wasn’t the one who got to make the decision, that he no longer gets to dictate what happens to your body.

  12. Jason D says

    As someone who was circumcised, I would have preferred to know “how the other half lives” so to speak. I would have preferred to have that knowledge first hand.

    Medical procedures are always risky. There is always the chance of infection, disfigurement, improper healing, even death. All the more reason why medical procedures should only be performed when necessary.

    Zinnia, you bring up an EXCELLENT point. If Circumcision is so important for religious wholeness and community and all that, it makes even more sense to wait for the kid to be older. Say an 18-year old decides he doesn’t wish to be Jewish. Too bad, he’s already been permanently marked as such. I guess a child has no right to religious freedom.

  13. SuperMental says

    “The court case centred around a four-year-old Muslim boy who was given a very bad circumcision…”

    Again with this nonsense.
    Brendan O’Neill, you have to understand something first. There is no such thing as a “four-year-old Muslim boy”. Or a 1 day old muslim boy, or a 1 hour old muslim boy. There is no such thing as a muslim egg or a muslim sperm. Or a christian egg, and a christian sperm. Those who say otherwise have something wrong with them.

    See if you can digest this. Do you even have the faculty to do so?
    Doubtfull.

  14. Michael says

    Ritual Circumcision is child abuse?! I may be catholic but that’s a load of shit! It’s CIRCUMCISION! ALL THEY DO IS SNIP OFF A PIECE OF SKIN FROM THE PRIVATE AREA! How could it be “dangerous”? What’s next? Are you going to make baptizing infants a crime too?!

    HOW DARE YOU! SHAME ON ALL OF YOU! By making Ritual Circumcision a crime, you might as well make Judaism itself a crime! How dare you defy Jewish law! For by doing so you have defiedthe Jews themselves and by defying the Jews, you defile their God as well!

  15. Michael says

    “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you; every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.” Genesis 17:10-14

    This is what Scripture says about circumcision! Jewish law states that all males under the age of eight weeks MUST be circumcised!

    Eight weeks old! Not eight years old, not eighteen, no later than eight weeks! There are no exceptions!

    I would say circumcision is wrong if it involved the child being sacrificed; which it dose not! So I see no evil in ritual circumcision!

    And until you amend the ruling I declare you all a bunch of NAZIS!

    • Felix says

      Michael,

      “I would say circumcision is wrong if it involved the child being sacrificed”

      But what if sacrifice was sanctioned by scripture, say of a first born child if it was female? (Which is not too hard to imagine.)

      Either immoral acts can be justified by scripture or they cannot. How does a matter of degree become introduced?

      “a servant … who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised”

      Do you also support the forcible circumcision of adult slaves? (Yes, I know that in our cultures slavery is virtually non-existent, so imagine you lived in C18 USA).

      “and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you”
      That ‘you’ suggests it should be up to the individual if they want to enter in to the Covenant to elect to get themselves circumcised.

      “My covenant be in your flesh”

      Once again ‘your’ flesh clearly referring to the individual reading the passage not the eight day old infant.

      I am looking forward to your reply.

      • Michael says

        Circumcision is like baptism. They both mark the child as a member of the religous community. You only oppose it because of it’s religous roots! If it didn’t had religous roots we wouldn’t be talking about this now would we. But since it dose you treat like savagery.

        Well guess what laws like the one you made are made to be broken! Get use to it. You can’t really illegalize circumcision!

        • says

          Circumcision is like baptism. They both mark the child as a member of the religous community.

          Except baptism doesn’t actually *do* anything. Having a wet forehead is not a permanent state like having part of one’s penis removed. It is temporary. It is not something anyone must live with for the rest of their lives as a permanent change in themselves, because it does nothing.

          And what business do you think you have doing that to a child who isn’t even old enough to choose a religion for themselves? First of all, how does it even have any meaning for that child to be a “member” of that religion when they have no comprehension of what it entails? Second, what if that person later chooses to follow another religion or no religion? They don’t get their foreskin back with their conversion. What if their new religion demands an intact foreskin? Where is the respect for that person’s own religious choices in their life?

          You only oppose it because of it’s religous roots! If it didn’t had religous roots we wouldn’t be talking about this now would we. But since it dose you treat like savagery.

          Actually, it’s quite the opposite. If, out of nowhere in the freaking year 2012, someone proposed cutting off the foreskins of infant boys for literally *no justifiable reason*, we would oppose that just as much as we oppose this. It’s because there are no legitimate grounds to do such a thing to a person. And its religious roots are exactly why people are so willing to overlook the fact that there really is no justification for it. Religion is considered enough to merit looking the other way, regardless of any concerns for the child.

          You can’t really illegalize circumcision!

          Well, you could say the same about any other permanent modification to a child’s body which is already illegal. Saying you “can’t really illegalize” it is an easily disproven claim. It can be disproven by illegalizing it. The only context in which your statement could be remotely valid is one where laws don’t matter in a general sense. This is not the case.

  16. Troy says

    I have a foreskin and I hate it, I’m having problems with it (physical) and I’m going to have it removed, but it sucks because I’m going to loose sensibility, since I’m grown man and my penis got used to be covered in a foreskin (besides the pos-op is extremely uncumfortable and sometimes even painful.The sensibility argument against circuncision is thrown around idiotically applied to babies, babies that are circuncised will grow and get used to the lacking foreskin unlike grown men.

    I wish I was circuncised as a baby then I wouldn’t have to face the problems I’m facing now, by the way I heard much more about circunsided men having issues with their penises than the other way around.

    You also talk about removing body pieces like it was arm.It’s not a vital part of the body and I observe that its presence is more likely to cause problems than its abscence.Someone also pointed out that parents makes a lot of decisions for the children, but people pick on that one simply because it involves a scapel when there are matters that envolve nothing physical at all and that are much more relevant and decisory to a child’s life.

    I wonder how much ridiculous can we get.Now we have anti-male circunsicion trying to make it a hedious.Some even idiotically comparing it to female circuncision in Africa, give me a break.

    • Gwen says

      Troy, would you want to get rid of your foreskin if it wasn’t causing you any problems? No you wouldn’t. Yet you’re claiming that it’s perfectly OK to remove baby boys’ foreskins because they won’t know the difference – even implying that it would be good for them because those few who’ll develope problems with their foreskin later in life will be spared. How selfish.

      When I was a teen, I had a lot of problems with ingrown toenails, and as no other treatment worked, part of the nail bed of two of my toenails had to be destroyed – really painful and it also doesn’t look too nice. Ingrown nails run in the family – most of us needed to get the operation done eventually, yet I can’t imagine wishing that my parents had opted of that operation when I was born, or even more drastically, that most parents would decide to destroy their babies nail beds (hey – they won’t remember it, and if everyone gets it done, they won’t be looking different) just so that those unlucky few of us who get ingrown nails would be spared.

  17. hydro says

    Of course its long overdue to reclassify circumcision as child abuse but really it should be called Hostile surgical genital assault on a non-consenting human , thats why they have been getting away with it for so long , the victims cannot protest or describe the pain of the surgery during or after , its a disgrace that in the modern times we now live that this is done to any child in any form be it girl or boy , this O’Neill is one heartless s.o.b. if he dares to support the procedure which has in the u.s. produced a death toll of innocent little victims exceeding 1,200 in the last 10 years killed as a result of this harmless little procedure , religion needs to move with the times and rebranding circumcision as an ancient primitive piece of surgery which still does not cure the diseases it did not cure in 1899 is a good place to start.

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