Monday, June 20, 2011

The Bullring: Should Infant Circumcision Be Made Illegal?

There is a very interesting discussion over at The Bullring, Torro Spyker's Blog about circumcising children under the age of 21.

In reality, what the issue really is is infantile circumcision, something which many religions practice.  The question is should a parent have the right to circumcize a child without his permission?

There are arguments for and against this.

Arguments against this practice are strong.

Some of them are:

1. Male circumcision is really male mutilation.

2. It is extremely painful to the child.

3. It is disfigurement that cannot be undone.

4. A male should be able to make this decision for himself at 16, 18, or 21 or whatever age when it is not imposed upon them. 

5. It will deny sexual pleasure to the male at a later age. 

6. A religious belief does not override a human rights belief. 

7. There are arguments for and against medical benefits of the practice, and teaching children to keep their foreskins clean will provide as much of a health benefit as removing it. 

Arguments against banning this practice include:

1. Clear health benefits especially in the prevention of HIV in third world countries, and the spread of penile cancer. The United Nations Council on AIDS, , World Health Organization, and U.S. Center of Disease Control all have verified through independent research the health benefits of this practice. In fact, the World Health Organization states the following:

The World Health Organization Recommends This For Fighting Aids Transmission

There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%.

UNAIDS Brochure Recommending Safe and Painless Infantile Circumcision
2. Other health benefits besides reducing  HIV infection.  For example, penile cancer, a large.  problem in the Third World, and a growing problem in the Western World, is nearly unheard of in circumcised men. 

Harvard University article on cancer of the penis (treatment of which involves the amputation of it):

Illustration of what this looks like:

Penile Cancer - A Growing Problem

3. Many people do not think that circumcision is mutilation, especially those who have been circumcised, It is argumentable that circumcision decreases sexual pleasure - in fact, some people who have been circumcised (such as myself) feel that their sexual responsiveness has actually been increased due to it and like it (however, I have to admit, since I cannot grow back my foreskin, I will never know for sure :)).

4. With proper  anesthetic,  pain is eliminated in the process for infants. There is no evidence that this practice is harmful to the child in any way.

5. Infantile circumcision by choice and religious was made illegal in totalitarian states, including Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Those who argue against it say it is a fundamental religious rite that has not been proven to be harmful that is being unfairly denied to religious groups who have practiced it for thousands of years in the case of Muslims, Jews, and Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Christians in Africa who require it.

Interestingly, perhaps due to a tradition of noting medical benefits, although Christianity does not require circumcision, the African churches do.

All a ban will do is make the practice go underground for those who wish it.   And probably make it more popular as a protest against governmental interference in what should be a family decision in the process.


The issue is on the ballot in the November elections this year in San Francisco. Although it was thought to stand a chance of passage, it will not now,

Incredibly, the leader of the initiative, with the unfortunate last name of Hess (Hitlers deputy), has published a comic called Foreskin Man which shows a gorgeous blond Aryan superhero fighting some very demonic looking and cruel Jews including "Monster Mohel" (a mohel is a trained professional who circumcised infants at 8 days in the Jewish faith)

I am not making this up!

The images are straight from Nazi Germany's anti-semitic newspaper, Der Sturmer, published by Julius Streicher. There was a comparison of the two publications showing near identical imagery on the web, but I cannot find it now.

see comic:

Actual comic from the leader of the anti-circumcision initiative in San Francisco

The stereotypes involved are being condemned as extremely anti-Semitic by just about everyone.  San Francisco might be progressive and prone to an initiative like banning circumcision, but it is not a neo-nazi center.  Just about every middle of the road politician, newspaper, and advocacy group  in San Francisco has condemned this comic. It is seen as destroying the initiative, since many in San Francisco are repulsed over the imagery  (note, I am not making this up).

In fact, the public outcry in Santa Monica California over this comic has removed this initiative from this liberal enclave in the West Side of Los Angeles.

Please not I am not calling anyone who is for the banning of circumcision a Nazi, I can see their point. I just wanted to show how NOT to win an election over this.

Aryan Adonis Foreskin Man 

So what do you think?  I recommend you reply over at Torro's blog since there is an interesting discussion underway.

Please continue here:



  1. Wow, thanks Eddi, some great background there, and no easy answers.
    I'm re-calibrating my thoughts on the subject minute by minute.

  2. I see arguments on both sides. I just know I was circumcised and really don't think it was such a horrible thing. I like foreskins though, and really like playing with them whenever I am giving the opportunity to do so!

  3. Eddi, my friend, I am sorry you felt the need to include your reference to anti-semitic angle that can be made to this issue in an otherwise excellent post.

    There is indeed no connection whatsoever between being anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim or even anti-American to oppose mass.circumcision of male infants.

    As I have already said on The Bullring and on my own blog "my position is basically a Human Rights one and can be boiled down to this.

    Leave the children's bodies alone, both boys and girls. Teach them healthy routines to clean up their genitals on a daily basis.

    ...all the rest is religion and culture screwing up with nature."

    Another fact I must emphasize, as you mention that you do not believe your own sexual pleasure has been impaired by circumcision, is that nature meant the glans to be covered when not erect for a reason...

    I wholly believe that my sexual pleasure would definitely be impaired if my own glans was not covered and lubricated as nature intended.

  4. Bock, I am just showing what the proponents of this initiative have done to help their case. The opposite happened. Mr. Hess's "comic" has destroyed any chance this initiative has of passing anywhere in the United States. He is the one who put this initiative on the ballot!

    I do not think you or the majority of people opposing circumcision are anti any group. But unfortunately, this "comic" by Mr. Hess has been seen as being anti-semitic by voters in San Francisco city, where the initiative cannot now possibly pass.

    Crazy no? What i cannot figure out is why Mr. Hess did this! Most people see his references to Mohel Monster as hideous.

  5. Please allow me to make a historical perspective in this discussion. It is based on Swedish history, but should be applicable to most countries in the world.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden to own slaves, and the owner had the right to treat his property as he/she saw fit including to mistreat, abuse or even kill them.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden for the nobility to rape, pillage and burn as they saw fit and proper on their own lands.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden for the family or kinsfolk of any murdered man to kill any another male member of the murderers family or kinsfolk.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden for a husband to abuse and rape his wife.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden for an employer to abuse the laborers in his employment.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden for teachers to abuse pupils in their custody.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden for parents to abuse their children as a means of upbringing.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden for an owner of animals to treat his animals in any way he saw fit.

    The list can be prolonged, but I think I have made my point.

    Legal attitudes, cultural customs and social traditions can be changed.

    Should we do away with all the restrictions we have put in place through history to save a tax-dollar?

    Society evolves and the laws and social conventions are changed. What was once considered normal practice gets outlawed - usually with some fuss on the breakdown of society and the infringement on the individuals god-given rights to so as he has always been allowed to do before.

  6. I have finished with my own responses here, but if anyone wants to continue to comment they can.

  7. Take a look! This same issue made Joe's blog today. Very coincidental?

  8. A hard decision for me. I see both sides. Like Eddi a un cut is nice and fun. This should not be governed by law either way. It should be a family decision. I was not but had a bad expedience at age 11. The main thing is that it is done properly as I believe it is in most hospitals. I say keep the government out out of this decision.


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