The days, months, years and decades march on, and the macabre procedure of circumcision does not end.  How absurd that in an “enlightened society,” the madness goes on, and medically trained humans cut off healthy foreskins. Where are their principles?  Circumcisers are just idiots. They have to be sadists,  or just yes-men doing it only because the money-grubbing hospital would reprimand them if they balked.  Jingle jingle.

How they can  violate the Hippocratic Oath, which essentially states that  “given an existing problem, it may be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing more harm than good.” It reminds all in the health field that they should consider the possible harm that any intervention might do. The Hippocratic Oath comes into play when discussing use of an intervention that carries an obvious risk of harm but a less certain chance of benefit.  More than 100 baby boys die annually as a result or trigged by circumcision. And it would be many more if circumcision were universal in the U.S.

There is such an overwhelming amount of literature, videos, testimonies, web sites and speakers out there debunking circumcision  The well-respected Psychology Today has just published a thoughtful article wonderfully taking the notions people have for doing circumcision and ripping them apart. The article, titled “Myths About Circumcision You Likely Believe,”  it takes six of the common excuses and blow-off statements that parents and/or doctors use to try to rationalize cutting off the most sensitive part of a human penis.  The piece by Lillian Dell’Aquila Cannon is part of the “Moral Landscape” blog by Darcia Narvaez, an associate professor of psychology and director of the Collaborative for Ethical Education at the University of Notre Dame.  What are those six myths that are countered: “They just cut off a flap of skin,” “It doesn’t hurt the baby,” “My doctor uses anesthetics,” “Even if it’s painful, the baby won’t remember it,” “My baby slept right through it” and “It doesn’t cause the baby longterm harm.”  In a few words, the writer goes right after that tripe.

All of us working for the end of routine infant circumcision watch the battle getting fiercer each day. In some ways, it is getting uglier, but the issue  has been pushed more and more onto the public radar screen. Anything that raises awareness about the insideousnss of circumcision is a good thing, although many goonish parents may be driven to insist even more on circumcision by the fierce opposition and their lame notion we are extreme about wanting to protect our baby boys from the wounds and lifelong impact.  The more you look into circumcision, the more you are repulsed by it.                 

 As social movements and human justice efforts go, we are in the stage where the opponents stop just making fun of us and now move into the anger stage. That is consistent with the famous remarks of Mahatma Ghandi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Thanks to people like actor Russell Crowe, whose  Tweet the past summer against circumcision set off a nice firestorm. Though he was carried away and made some inappropriate comments about Judaism, he courageously got the main message out:  “Circumcision is barbaric and stupid. Who are you to correct nature? Is it real that God requires a donation of foreskin? Babies are perfect.”

Not long ago, Tony Award-winning actor Bill Irwin spoke out against circmcision: ” But at this late point in my life, I’m finally brought to ask: How is it that custom — and economics, for circumcision is a market driven practice — can blind us to this essential question: Why are we wounding our sons at birth?”

The biggest development to stoke the debate was the short lived, but highly publicized effort in San Francisco where intactivists gained enough signatures to put a measure on the city ballot in November that would have banned circumcision of minors if it passed and met legal challenges.  It would have made male genital cutting of those under 18 a misdemeanor subject to fine or jail. Media across the country wrote about it. Virtually every article or newscast contained a Jewish spokesman lambasting it as a violation of their First Amendment freedom of religion.  They argue that, in the unlikely chance that the measure might have passed, it would be immediately challenged in court. It would pit human rights versus freedom to practice religion.  The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) shot themselves in the foot by coming to the defense of Jews and Muslims, totally forgetting the civil liberties of minor males.

 We believe that one’s religious freedom ends where another person’s body begins.  Parents, of course, have limits on what they can do to children’s bodies. Cutting off healthy living structures that have a purpose should not be one of them.   Progressive Jews have already abandoned the bris, subscribing to to Leviticus 19:28:  “You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.”  Jews who argue their very religion is threatened need to take a breath. How many of their old laws and commandments were abandoned along the way in the march to civility and civilization and enlightenment?  Morever, how can “religious freedom” be declared for parents when the religious freedom of children is not respected?  That boy could grow up rejecting Judaism, but have to bear the scar of it and the impact of  circumcision on his sexuality for the rest of his life.  It’s only a matter of time, I suspect, that researchers will find circumcision a chief cause in America of widespread male erectile disfunction (ED). But the Viagra and Cialis folks surely don’t want that research done.

Parents need to wake up on this issue. Circumicsed males need especially to break the vicious circle, as I did, and not impose on their baby boys what was done to them.  All need to come to know the wonderful workings of the foreskin — how delightful, delicate, moveable, pliable, mechanical it is.  Ugly? Of course, not. If the foreskin is ugly, then so are the folds of the vagina. Check out some of these accurate and informative sites on circumcision and the foreskin: 

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