Chopping children for god is not abuse ok

Via Zinnia – more vicious shite from Brendan O’Neill.

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”.

Yes imagine that! Some people are so depraved that they actually think it’s “abuse” to slice off part of an infant’s penis to please an imaginary god. How could that possibly be abuse?! 

This use of emotionally loaded language to demonise the practices and beliefs of people of faith has reached its ugly and logical conclusion in Germany, where a court has decreed that circumcision for religious purposes causes “bodily harm”, against boys who are “unable to give their consent”, and therefore should be outlawed.

Because obviously slicing off part of the penis in no way causes “bodily harm”; and obviously infants are perfectly “able to give their consent”; and anyway causing bodily harm without consent is obviously not something that should be outlawed. Right?!

No. It is bodily harm; it is without consent; it is far from obvious that it should not be outlawed.

The labelling of religious practices as “child abuse” is the most cynical tactic in the armoury of today’s so-called New Atheists. They are effectively using children as human shields, as a cover under which they and their beloved state might interfere in both family life and the realm of religious conscience in order to reprimand people for believing the wrong things and carrying ou[t] “cruel” practices.

“Cynical tactic” forsooth. I have a feeling I’ve been here before – marveling at the gall of Brendan O’Neill accusing anyone else of using a “cynical tactic.” I don’t think the former Living Marxism guy believes a word of this bullshit, I think he just enjoys the sport.

He’s chicken-shit, too; the comments are closed.


  1. says

    I am always curious what these people would think of say someone tattooing or branding their children. If I started some little religion would they protect my crazy religiously given privileged to give everyone a Chakotay-esque face tattoo at birth? Even the broken clock of antisemitism can be right sometimes.

  2. Roger says

    Presumably mr O’Neill would support my religious right to cut my child’s throat as a sacrifice to the Lord.

  3. Corvus illustris says

    The dog must have eaten my homework on the day O’Neill made the connection between atheism and this judicial decision. Cologne and its dependencies have historically been as Catholic as any part of Germany (FWIW the Prussian takeover of the archbishop of Cologne’s secular fiefdom in the wake of the Napoleonic wars motivated my mother’s family’s emigration to the US in the early 19th c.). Moreover, many German Protestants have taken St Paul’s dictum on the subject (roughly, those not “called to be circumcised” shouldn’t be) as forbidding the practice. O’Neill will have to try harder.

    Guesses are that this lower-court decision will be reversed on high, because anti-Semitism.

  4. otrame says

    I didn’t have either son circumcised at birth. As an example of changing norms, I had to fight tooth and nail to prevent them from doing my eldest. Six years later, for my younger, they just said, “Circumcision?” and when I said no, that was the last of it.

    The younger one needed what the urologist insisted on referring to as a “poodle cut” when he was 9 months old because his foreskin was so tight it could not be retracted at all and assorted nasty stuff was collecting under there. They trimmed it back but did not remove it entirely. It was a miserable situation for me. It was medically necessary and not child abuse but it bloody well felt like child abuse.

    The only silver lining was the amusement caused by the tiny stitches they used. Once those stitches dissolved, the remaining foreskin had a cute “scalloped” edge for about a year, until the effect gradually faded away. I am quite sure my son is grateful that it no longer shows.

  5. stevebowen says

    I posted on this myself and trust me I don’t usually cite my own blog in comments, but this fuckwit made me so angry… Ophelia, ya sed it betta, thanks!

  6. helensotiriadis says

    ridiculous piece — put something in quotes and hope people don’t understand that the words mean exactly what they mean.

  7. jonathanray says

    I was circumcised at birth, and I don’t think it harmed me. Sexual pleasure is complicated and subjective, very dependent on brain development, and very vulnerable to the placebo effect. So reports from people who got circumcised as adults and remember having sex before and after are not valid for determining the effects of circumcision at birth.

  8. Daver says

    Would it make a difference if god were out of the picture–tribal tats or headboarding?

    Mutilation is a bit strong; you’re coming across as doing the argument by “shut up” that you complain about in others.

  9. Sili says

    As I recall it, it’s common in many part of New Guinea to cut off a phalanx to show proper mourning at the death of a family member.

    I assume O’Neil will be happy with that practice as well.

  10. Daver says

    Is the digit trimming done to children or only on consenting adults?

    OK, the Ripley’s site (maybe there’s something more reputable, but what the heck) says that it was done to girls as well as adult women but is now illegal.

    Equating circumcision to finger amputation seems as silly as equating ear piercing to circumcision.

  11. Daver says

    How is mutilation accurate? Mutilation tends to imply damaged beyond reasonable use. It’s obviously not.

  12. fredbloggs says

    It clearly is ritual mutilation. And i’ve never understood why it isn’t assault leading to actual bodily harm.

  13. Daver says

    If you’re rating bad things adults can do to children on a scale of 1 to 10, this seems to me to be around a 2. Calling it mutilation seems to me to be diluting the definition of mutilation to the point where the word is meaningless.

    Yes, it’s definitely a cultural ritual. Calling it ritual mutilation doesn’t seem accurate, either–it’s certainly not a rite of passage ordeal.

  14. julian says

    If you’re rating bad things adults can do to children on a scale of 1 to 10, this seems to me to be around a 2.


    So cutting off pinkie toes is ok?

  15. Daver says

    I don’t know any group that has advocated cutting off pinkie toes, but I haven’t looked into it. My daughter has broken hers a couple of times, her pediatrician said that he has had enough problems with his own that he has considered having it removed, but I think he said that it is surprisingly important in balance.

    It’s hard to find good analogies, and maybe pinkie toe removal isn’t a bad one. It’s more blatant than foreskin removal (there are many more social situations where the toes are revealed than the penis), the benefits seem smaller and the penalties may be more severe (and more frequent–I spend a lot more time on my feet than having sex), but it seems to be in roughly the right ballpark.

    Anyway, on the balance, no, I don’t think cosmetic removal of pinkie toes from infants is ok.


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