The city of New York is proposing legislation that would require parents to sign a form giving consent to a specific circumcision practice that is unhygienic and runs the risk of infecting the infant with genital herpes that can lead to serious illness and even possibly death.
That should be fairly uncontroversial, right? After all, who could object to parental consent before having what is essentially elective surgery performed on their infants?
Ultra-Orthodox rabbis, that’s who. They are threatening to defy the law if passed and not give the forms to parents because they feel that it (surprise!) violates their freedom of religion. The real reason seems to be that they don’t like the fact that it alerts parents to the possible health dangers of the practice.
The rabbis have even found that the Torah, a remarkably prescient document, more than two thousand years ago anticipated this move by the New York City health authorities and explicitly supports their opposition. According to the rabbis’ statement:
We are decreeing that according to our opinion, it is forbidden according to the Torah to participate in the evil plans of the NYC Health Dept. in any form that it may be whether it be the Moihilim, or the parents – with agreements or signatures.
Isn’t it amazing how their holy books can support any stance that religious leaders want to take?