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Originally published at Tikkun Daily |

During my wife's first pregnancy, we made the slightly unorthodox decision not to learn the sex of our child before birth. There were many reasons for this decision: the purity of discovery at the moment of delivery; an effort to prevent family and friends from innundating us with gender-defined baby gifts before the little one had even emerged; a Shalom-Auslander-like superstition that knowing would invite a divinely-orchestrated disaster.

However, the truth is that one motivation outweighed all others, at least for me: a terrible fear that our child would be a boy.

It was a fear stemming from the fact that, as committed Jews, I knew we would circumcise him. And I also knew this: we desperately didn't want to do so.

Which is why, when I read today that a German district court has outlawed circumcision, my first response was not to shake my head and intone anti-Semites (as did many of my fellow Jews). No, my first response, the first words that came to my lips, were these: that's impressively bold.

It's bold because a court in Germany has done what I and many of my peers have long been afraid to do in public: question the ethical -- and spiritual -- legitimacy of an ancient and enduring ritual which requires parents to surgically alter the sexual organ of an infant. (Some argue it's mutilation, and a definitional use of the word mutilate can be supported.)

It's also an impressive ruling because, with regard to questions of religious freedom (particularly those impacting Jews), no country feels the weight of history pressing down up it more than Germany -- a country with well-established religious freedom laws founded upon a backdrop I know all too well, as half of my family was lost to the Holocaust.

The German case in question, which has garnered international scrutiny, involved a Muslim four-year-old boy whose circumcision was botched, which resulted in days of continuous bleeding. German authorities brought a case against the doctor, and while he was acquitted, the district court in Cologne ruled that circumcision was illegal because it constitutes physical harm to a newborn and causes "irreversible damage against the body."

The court also added that religious freedom clauses did not grant parents a legal justification for such a practice. And Haaretz reported:

[The court] ruled that doctors could only perform circumcisions for health-related reasons. The district court justified the ruling by stating that it was for the "good of the child who would be able to decide for himself which religious community he or she would belong to."
While the future legality of circumcision in Germany remains hazy, as the ruling is sure to be revisited, Germany is just one of a growing number of countries that have raised the spectre of banning circumcision. (From San Francisco to Norway, the issue has been raised in a growing number of world communities.)

I do not know exactly where I stand with regard to outlawing circumcision, but I do know that it rightly rests upon the boundary where religious/cultural freedom and child protection border one another. For at what stage is the line separating parental discretion and child abuse crossed? Piercing the ears of an infant? Branding a newborn with a small, religiously-required marking? Circumcising the penis of an infant male?

Regarding the latter, all I can say is this: I have attended many circumcisions, and I have nearly passed out or vomited at all of them, for there is no normative ritual in the Judeo-Christian world (that I know of) which is more tribal and distrubing than a bris. The rhythmic chanting. The encircled baby. The screams of pain.

I do not know if what Germany has done is right. I do not know contemporary ideas of what constitutes damage to a child trumps the freedom of my people to cut off the foreskin of male infants But I do understand from whence the German decision comes.

Ultimately, my wife and I had a daughter, and were spared making the decision ourselves, a decision many Jews (and I suspect Muslims) wrestle with every day behind closed doors.

Though a growing number are beginning to pry that door open and whisper unspeakable questions leading all the way back to Abraham.

Follow me on Twitter @David_EHG

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Originally posted to Writing by David Harris Gershon on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets , Kossacks for the Choice to be Genitally Intact, and House of LIGHTS.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I believe in equal protection for girls & boys (34+ / 0-)

    In the U.S. and Europe, we ban female genital mutilation (which encompasses a spectrum of procedures).  

    Those same reasons for the ban should also apply to baby boys.  The foreskin of a baby boy is equivalent to the clitoral hood of a baby girl.  The unnecessary surgical removal of EITHER bit should be outlawed for nonmedical reasons.

    The "religious freedom" issue surrounding circumcision should be the same, whether the practitioner is Muslim, Jewish, or any other religion/sect.

    •  I completely understand the impetus behind the (22+ / 0-)

      comparison between female genital mutilation and circumcision, but I do believe in distinctions, and there is (in my view) a large distinction in terms of physical damage between removing the clitoral hood and a foreskin.

      Though, again, these are all shades, and important discussions to be having in my view. I don't claim to be correct on any of it.

      I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

      by David Harris Gershon on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:30:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  so the question becomes... (19+ / 0-)

        what percentage of surgical removal is acceptable (10% of nerve tissue?  15% ?) and apply those standards equally to boys and girls.

        By making this distinction in the amount of physical damage between female and male circumcision, it is almost like arguing that "the boys can take it" or "they don't need those nerves like the girls do".

        I appreciate that you wrote this diary and facilitated a discussion on this issue.

      •  the sensible way to deal with this: (25+ / 0-)

        Enable individuals to have whatever surgery they choose upon reaching the legal age of majority (e.g. 18, 21, whatever).  

        Prohibit parents from having any form of surgery performed upon children except where medically necessary.  Scrutinize and discipline licensed physicians who "over-prescribe" surgeries in a manner that suggests something other than medical necessity.  

        Require that all surgeries without exception be performed by licensed physicians, and that appropriate local and general anaesthetics be administered to minimize pain and discomfort.

        I understand that in Judaism, the religious age of majority is somewhere in the range of 12 - 14, but the legal age of majority has to be uniform across an entire society.  

        The uniform age of legal majority should also apply to marriage, to eliminate the situation that exists in Texas and other states with lower ages of consent to marriage, whereby pedophiles could "sweet-talk" parents into granting consent to marry their children.  The only exceptions that should be granted are where a partner is a member of the military and will be assigned to a location outside the US, and either partner is age 17.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:48:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In response (4+ / 0-)
          I understand that in Judaism, the religious age of majority is somewhere in the range of 12 - 14, but the legal age of majority has to be uniform across an entire society.
          In the Jewish faith, it is 13 that you enter adulthood (Bar or Bat Mitzvah)

          Legal age of maturity must be uniform.  Ok To whose religious or agnostic standard must I submit to?

          I am Jewish and am circumcised.  If I had to wait until I was an adult, I still would have done so.  However, expert medical knowledge proves that it is MUCH MORE PAINFUL the older a person is.

          So by your thinking, you would subject me to MORE PHYSICAL PAIN?

          Why should I or my parents give YOU the right to choose MORE PHYSICAL PAIN to me?!

          Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

          by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:57:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am not taking any position (26+ / 0-)

            But I wonder.  How can anyone know it is less painful for a child who is unable to speak and can only wail?

            Distrust all unreasoning fanatics - even those who agree with you

            by Anti Fanatic on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:02:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  such a small newborn psyche must be (12+ / 0-)

              overwhelmed by the sensation of pain, coupled by the fact that he has no intellectual framework in which to situate the cascade of sensations that are coming his way via adults, includeing his parents who hold him.  

              appalling.  

              Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson. (-9.75 / -9.05)

              by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:06:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I think that is old school. Reply below. nt (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rogneid

              "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

              by Ginny in CO on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:18:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  WHO | World Health Organization (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Zornorph, Rogneid
                There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%. Three randomized controlled trials have shown that male circumcision provided by well trained health professionals in properly equipped settings is safe. WHO/UNAIDS recommendations emphasize that male circumcision should be considered an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention in countries and regions with heterosexual epidemics, high HIV and low male circumcision prevalence.
                http://www.who.int/...

                I'm not an expert but they are. Why not let parents and their Doctors decide? They can weigh the risks and benefits.

                •  Similarly, (0+ / 0-)

                  I bet research would show that cutting off your hands and feet reduces incidences of hangnails by 100%.

                  In all seriousness, I heard that one of those studies (not sure if it was that one) was seriously flawed because it measured from the time of circumcision. Needless to say, the circumcised men did not engage in as much high-risk activity during the first few weeks after the procedure.

          •  the same agnostic standards as for... (8+ / 0-)

            .... driving a car (16), joining the military (17), voting (18), and drinking alcohol (21).  

            Do you want to assert that groups or individuals have a right to choose their age of legal majority?  

            I was a hell of a lot better informed about politics at age 12 than most Americans are by middle-age.  What group can a smart kid join that'll give them legal majority at age 12 so they can vote?  

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:22:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  By your arguements (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              for 6 too, Zornorph, Rogneid

              At my Bar Mitzvah (age 13) when I drank some wine as part of the services, you would have had people locked up for providing a minor alcohol.

              As for majority before 18, I did lead services well before I was 18, but only after 13 (my Bar Mitzvah).  Dpending on the group you are associated with, you do get majority rights before 18 in that community of people.

              What you want to do is strip religous communities of their ways that you disagree with, using the law to strong-arm people of faith to YOUR beliefs.

              Forcing agnostic beliefs on others is just as bad as forcing religous beliefs on others.  Each person/family should have that choice. Parents make choices for their children all the time.  You may not like that parents bring a child up in their religion, but to force the parents to bring the child up as agnostic is worse!  Parents should be able to bring up a child in THEIR beliefs and not YOUR agnostic beliefs that you would impose upon us all!

              Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

              by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:34:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  By his argument (5+ / 0-)

                The catholic church can't just make up reasons to deny women birth control pills.   Religion is not a license to hurt people, although seem to take it that way

                Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                by Mindful Nature on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:27:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  And if people in your religion (5+ / 0-)

                Practiced infanticide as ritual practice we would just let that slide?  Religion has to take a back seat to moral decency

                Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                by Mindful Nature on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:29:20 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I can't believe what you are trying to equate (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  exlrrp, Zornorph, JNEREBEL

                  Please read your own tag line.

                  Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

                  by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:44:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You need to consider (7+ / 0-)

                    That an arbitrary practice involve inflicting pointless suffering on people with no voice.  That is wrong.  And it is t such a big jump.  After all, we have religions in this country that ban medicine and seek to heal through prayer as dictated by their religion.  They object to the agnostic moral standard as infringement on their religious freedom, but that is very much akin to infanticide in that their religion creates an arbitrary death

                    Therefore, clearly there are limits to religious freedoms when agnostic values trump religious ones.  You have been arguing against that point.  I point out what it is you are arguing in favor of.  Now, if you are willing to concede that religion must be limited in some ways, then the discussion turns to where those limits should be.  Certainly limiting religious practice where it inflicts physical harm on unconsenting others is a reasonable place to draw that line

                    So, don't be surprised that people will take your arguments as serious ones.  

                    Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                    by Mindful Nature on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:54:43 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The equating (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      N in Seattle, exlrrp, JNEREBEL

                      of a Bris to infantcide (via another religions practice) to me is actually VERY OFFENSIVE!

                      That is why I suggested you read your tag line.

                      I never once said religous freedoms trump all.  What I was saying is that the FORCING agnostic beliefs on a person is just as bad as forcing religous ones.

                      To the people that dislike religion, they are blind to their own prejudice.  An agnostic forcing agnostic beliefs on a person is just as bad as those King james bible thumpers  who want to "save you" and hound you incessantly!

                      There has been legitamate medical reasons for circumcision throughly documented.  As such to call it

                      inflicts physical harm on unconsenting others
                      is over the top inflamitory rhetoric!

                      One can legitamately argue the health BENEFITS of circumcision and as such and it should be the parents choice!

                      I expect my arguements to be taken seriously, but not twisted.

                      Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

                      by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:09:14 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Fine (5+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        kyril, qofdisks, G2geek, Deep Texan, Farugia

                        Be offended then

                        They aren't as bad, because they are guided by some kind of principle like "Don't hurt other people".

                        One can suggest that there are health benefit, and where there are, then there may be a cost benefit reason for a procedure.  But just hurting people for no reason without clear benefit would seem to be a fair straightforward principle that can be applied equitably.  

                        You see infliction of religious values and secular Ones are entirely different, in that religious values have no rational basis.  Secular values on the other hand have a clear basis that can be debated

                        Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                        by Mindful Nature on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:22:37 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Courtesy Kos (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Wee Mama, JNEREBEL
                          Fine (0+ / 0-)

                          Be offended then

                          Please tell me what your group thinks about the above of which you typed
                          You see infliction of religious values and secular Ones are entirely different, in that religious values have no rational basis.  Secular values on the other hand have a clear basis that can be debated
                          You see secular as being superior.  The start of prejudice is that one holds to the notion that their beliefs and/or group of people are superior and all others are inferior.

                          Respect of another persons/groups beliefs does NOT mean you must believe in them.  You can respect other peoples beliefs without denegrating them to make you feel superior in your own.

                          Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

                          by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:33:08 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes (6+ / 0-)

                            I think tha rules that have a solid rational basis are better than arbitrary ones.  I think that in a pluralistic society they can be the only ones that can practically and should be used.   In fact, religious ones have the clear problem of being arbitrary and not ones that can command solid support.   There is a solid reason for them

                            I am afraid that you attempt to call this some kind of bigotry or rude is wide of the mark.  I am not going to be anything but firm in the face of efforts to hurt others even if religiously inspired.  Sure people will be deeply offended by my defense of LGBT people or evolution or women or black people, but that doesn't mean that I have to cede the argument just because people are offended when I suggest that certain actions that hurt others need to be reconsidered.  Sorry, but unilateral disarmament is not something I go in for

                            And yes, in reality all people who are politically have values they think are right that they promote and act on. That is true of everyone here.  

                            Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                            by Mindful Nature on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:43:20 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  What you are trying to rationalize is (0+ / 0-)

                            Prejudice!

                            You say religion is arbitrary, yet secularism is NOT?  I can point to many biblical laws that have a scientific basis. Granted most are no longer applicable due to recent advances in the understanding of the world.  Yet to use a blanket statement that religous beliefs are arbitrary (and therefore inferior) and secular ones are not is outright wrong.  Even secular people have their own agenda that they want to push with ARBITRARY ideas!  That is human nature.  

                            I would suggest you read my diary here before you make assumptions about me and how I feel.

                            Also here

                            I grew up the only Jewish family in a very rural backwood area.  I have heard the rationalization of bigotry all too often. So, please at least don't insult my intelligence.  Also the defensiveness of your arguement (i.e. but I support ..lists other groups...) is the first refuge of a prejudiced person.  The next thing you will tell me is some of my best friends are religous.

                            We all have our blind spots, if you can recognize yours in this area, maybe you can come to respect people of faith!

                            Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

                            by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:05:57 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh please (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            2thanks, Deep Texan, kyril

                            This is absurd.  Even you look to a rational basis for rules in society when you cite scientific bases for these rules.  It isn't prejudice to suggest that everyone should abide by the same rules in society and that inflicting pain and suffering  needlessly is a decent rule.  

                            Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                            by Mindful Nature on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:35:28 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And you entirely missed the point (3+ / 1-)
                            Recommended by:
                            2thanks, Deep Texan, kyril
                            Hidden by:
                            JNEREBEL

                            Religious people of various stripes love to inflict harm on Gays and women in particular and blacks also in some cases.  And when we secular types point that that is wrong and stand up for human rights, we are invariably met with cries of religious freedom and how unjust it is that anyone would speak out against their prejudice and their actions.  Here, you are just claiming the same rational for targeting a different group.  This is why claims to being out upon or accusations of bigotry fall so flat.  We have already head them for Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson and a whole host of other religious people.  Therefore those of us who foreground human rights expect to have such things flung our way and we aren't surprised that our defense of human rights and liberties trigger offense and outrage.

                            And yes, I do value human rights and the absence of injustice more highly than religious values.  I know we disagree there, but that's not bigotry, it is disagreement

                            Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                            by Mindful Nature on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:46:06 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You missed it! (0+ / 0-)
                            Religious people of various stripes love to inflict harm on Gays and women in particular and blacks also in some cases.
                            WOW sterotyping a whole group of people.  But you don't see the issue with that?

                            There are PLENTY of secular people who have inflicted harm on other minority groups as well.  But wait, that would ruin your whole arguement!  And I forgot secular people are superior to us "inferior people".

                            You say you stand up for the rights of other minority groups that have been referred to by many bigots as inferior, yet you can NOT see the difference?

                            And comparing every religous person to Rush & Robertson?  Let me quote your group here, DON'T BE A DICK!

                            If what you say above is true, then why is there even a group Jews for Obama?  Shouldn't we all be voting repug?

                            You are spouting a very narrow minded BIGOTTED view.

                            Your stance for a government (and especially your agreement with GERMANY) to restrict and abandon part of a families Jewish heritage tells me where your true feelings are.

                            But I am sure you will be happy if you can use the government to further your hatred of my people and will shout a happy "Sieg Heil" when you and your friends accomplish this!

                            Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

                            by Mannie on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 06:28:34 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

                            Your insinuation of antibsemitism earns you a donut. I am done with you

                            Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                            by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:18:29 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I will not respond in kind (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JNEREBEL

                            If I remember correctly, you can't HR someone you are in a discuccion with.

                            BTW, that is my first donut ever

                            Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

                            by Mannie on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:36:37 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I will make an exception (0+ / 0-)

                            For this kind of off base slur

                            Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                            by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:47:18 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Your thread cleary shows what I wrote! (0+ / 0-)

                            Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

                            by Mannie on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:54:53 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Turns out (0+ / 0-)

                            I won't make an exception!

                            Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                            by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:49:40 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But you are not in discussion.... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Avilyn

                            And you are baiting in this thread.

                            As Mindful Nature pointed out, you are both obviously in disagreement. There are times when its best (for all) to agree to disagree and walk away.

                            If you don't that is, as what you describe (and personally I find repugnant), being a "dick".

                            Peace.

                            All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

                            by kishik on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:26:48 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I would ask (0+ / 0-)

                            What is saying one group is superior to another group then?

                            Why is that allowed a free pass?

                            Also I borrowed that phrase(Don't be a ...) from the Courtesy group.  I won't use it again as it could be considered offensive.

                            Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

                            by Mannie on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:32:10 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  you entirely distort what I wrote (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't equate every religious person to Limbaugh, but rather "religious people of various stripes' which clearly isn't all of them.

                            Repeatedly you distort what I wrote into entirely something different so that you can feel persecuted and put upon by the simple observation that there are countless examples of religious based persecution of minority groups, and that yes, there are those of us who are not going to back down in the face of religious based persectution.  And yes, we oppose when non-religious people do it too.  It goes under that whole rubric of no special rules.  

                            So, no, I'll say it again, being religious does not grant a special right to persecute gays, oppress women or inflict suffering on infants. Those are all three wrong in my world view and I'm not going to be surrendering on that point.  

                            Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                            by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:03:03 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  First I would like to sincerely say TY (0+ / 0-)

                            For removing HR.

                            Now:

                            So, no, I'll say it again, being religious does not grant a special right to persecute gays, oppress women or inflict suffering on infants. Those are all three wrong in my world view and I'm not going to be surrendering on that point.  
                            Read my diaries, you will see I never ONCE EVER tried to persecute or opress anyone!

                            Inflict suffering on infants?  That is debateable as to how a person views circumcision.

                            The first points you made, I agree with and have NEVER EVER been hateful towards another minority group ESPECIALLY since I know how it feels.  I don't understand your need to interject that into this discussion, other than as a red herring.

                            Circumcision is debateable, but not an absolute.  Since there is valid medical views for both sides, this is where we disagree.  

                            As such if there is merits to both sides of an arguement, a secular view should not be forced on a religous persons view as if it were somehow superior.  Because it is not.

                            If medical science can see merits to both sides, it should be left to the parents as to how they want to raise their children in whatever faith they so believe.

                            Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

                            by Mannie on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:24:22 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  you're welcome! (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Mannie

                            And it sounds like we are a good deal closer in our respective views that all this furor would lead a casual reader to believe.

                            I especially like these pieces:

                            Inflict suffering on infants?  That is debateable as to how a person views circumcision.

                            ...Circumcision is debateable, but not an absolute.  Since there is valid medical views for both sides, this is where we disagree.  

                            If medical science can see merits to both sides, it should be left to the parents as to how they want to raise their children in whatever faith they so believe.
                            I think that's right.  (You might look to my conversation with Benvro, for more).  This is a balancing issue, where we may well take a look and decide that on balance it is not a circumstance where a ban is appropriate.  (Here in SF this is a hot issue.  I'm not in favor of any ban).  

                            My key point is that it is a debate, and that religious views do not automatically trump other values (which I think you agree with)

                            Which helps explain this:  

                            [about others being] hateful towards another minority group ...  I don't understand your need to interject that into this discussion, other than as a red herring.

                            As such if there is merits to both sides of an arguement, a secular view should not be forced on a religous persons view as if it were somehow superior.  Because it is not.

                            My point is that in some cases, my view is that a secular view is superior, namely in those minority of cases where religion becomes a vehicle to inflict suffering or bigotry.  Thus, those examples were supposed to stand for the idea that there are some religious values that should be opposed.  I seem to have expressed that inartfully and gave the impression that all religious values should be opposed.  That would be a terrible thing, especially considering the great value that many religions have brought, and the richness they contribute.

                            To summarize, my view is that
                            1) religious values can't be taken to always trump other values, because of the particularly bad examples I listed.
                            2) therefore, finding the right balance between religious values and secular ones is, as you put it, debatable and should be subject to careful consideration.

                            Finally, I am going to apologize.  I never for a second wanted to imply that:  

                            Read my diaries, you will see I never ONCE EVER tried to persecute or opress anyone!
                             [or]  Inflict suffering on infants?  ....

                            The first points you made, I agree with and have NEVER EVER been hateful towards another minority group ESPECIALLY since I know how it feels.  

                            I sincerely believe that you never would be, and I am sorry that my writing could have been interpreted to make such a statement about you.

                            I'll have to be more careful (and write by iPhone less.  Takes so long!).

                            As seems to often be the case, dkos is  agreat platform for being able to agree in the most heated and vehement of fashions.  I think this may be such a case.

                            Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                            by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:48:53 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And if I was overly sensative (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Mindful Nature

                            it is because I have encountered many hateful bigots and as such can sometimes overreact when I even THINK that it may be happening again.

                            I would like to apologize for my all too human over-reaction towards you as well

                            Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

                            by Mannie on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:57:36 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  This makes a whole lot of sense (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kyril

                            and if I'd have had my wits about me I would have recognized it for what it was.

                            Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                            by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 02:39:56 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            2thanks, kyril
                        •  I sent you a kosmail, dear Mindful Nature. (0+ / 0-)

                          Empower your kids to protect themselves! Renee wrote 2 diaries about radKIDS, a national skills-building program.

                          by 2thanks on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:35:17 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  he may be thinking of Christian Science.... (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Deep Texan, Mr Horrible, kyril

                        .... childrens' hospitals, where children are denied science-based medical care and are also denied pain-relieving medication, and are told to not cry out in pain because that offends God.   Unto death including infants.  This situation was exposed in a well-documented diary a few years ago here.

                        Yes, I object even more strongly to those practices, which IMHO should be prosecuted vigorously as child abuse, child neglect, and child endangerment.  And where children die as a result, criminally negligent homicide at least.   And where the children are below a certain age, infanticide.  

                        So it's not so far-fetched as you think.  

                        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                        by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:27:26 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  That's precisely (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          kyril

                          what I had in mind.

                          And this same argument that prosecuting these abuses constituted a bigotry against religious practices was raised in defense of these practices as well.  It is not an uncommon argument.

                          Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                          by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:38:47 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  Infanticide has nothing to do with religion per se (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  soros, Mannie

                  Ridiculous.

                  •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    kyril

                    I might suggest you reread the old testament.  There are clear references to sacrificing first born sons to God.  I would also refer you to certain mesoamerican religious practices of ritual human sacrifice.  

                    I think the historical record here puts this squarely in the realm of possibility.

                    And we have a diary outlining how certain mormon sects see child rape as a religious practice as well.  

                    Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                    by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:37:17 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Mannie, this isn't about beliefs. (10+ / 0-)

                This isn't about beliefs, this is about arbitrary infliction of extreme pain on infants, and permanently altering their bodies in a manner that can't be undone, and that will thwart their will as adults as to how their bodies should be treated.

                People are free to have whatever beliefs they choose.  Where I draw the line is with the infliction of physical pain and suffering on others.  

                Clearly if an adult chooses to undergo a painful experience as part of a religious ritual or other rite of passage, that's their choice and we all support their ability to make that choice.  

                In the secular world there's boot camp, and the Marine Corps "crucible" experience that mimics actual hard-core war conditions as closely as possible.  We all admire young people who choose to undergo the hardships and sacrifices that accompany becoming a warrior.  But we would object vociferously if children were picked at an early age, before they understood any of that, and subjected to the same kinds of rigors.  

                "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:24:13 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Intelligence vs judgement (13+ / 0-)

              Just tossing this out for consideration. Recent houseguest is a scientist currently researching the effects of marijuana and meth on the brain and neurological system: cognition, reaction times, etc. She thinks marijuana should be legalized but restricted for anyone younger than 24, because until that age the frontal lobes of the brain are not developed. After some of our conversations I think the legal majority should be raised, not lowered.

              Related article here.

              And here:

              The prefrontal cortex is one of the last regions of the brain to reach maturation. This delay may help to explain why some adolescents act the way they do. The so-called “executive functions” of the human prefrontal cortex include:

                  Focusing attention
                  Organizing thoughts and problem solving
                  Foreseeing and weighing possible consequences of behavior
                  Considering the future and making predictions
                  Forming strategies and planning
                  Ability to balance short-term rewards with long term goals
                  Shifting/adjusting behavior when situations change
                  Impulse control and delaying gratification
                  Modulation of intense emotions
                  Inhibiting inappropriate behavior and initiating appropriate behavior
                  Simultaneously considering multiple streams of information when faced with complex and challenging information

              The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

              by SoCalSal on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:54:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  that's really interesting. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                2thanks, SoCalSal, G2geek, Deep Texan

                Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson. (-9.75 / -9.05)

                by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:07:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Way off topic for this diary (0+ / 0-)

                I checked your profile and saw you were a TU.  As such I would ask if you really feel this is the appropiate place for this and leave it at that

                If you were NOT a TU, then you can guess my reaction :)

                Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

                by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:12:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Checking your profile, I think you see OT (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Deep Texan, Mr Horrible

                  because of the R/L upbringing and beliefs you are trying to get away from are still ingrained. It takes time to get them out of the hind brain and cortexes.

                  "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                  by Ginny in CO on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:29:03 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ok if you are correct in this please answer (0+ / 0-)

                    Please answer how research on meth & mary jane are in ANY way connected to this diary?

                    I am always willing to learn more and know I am far from perfect.  

                    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

                    by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:37:05 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  First, she had 3 -4 recs on the comment (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      2thanks, Deep Texan

                      which is an indicator of the community assessment. Not always correct. It is now up to 5, you have 0 with a disagree response to yours.

                      My comment below, last paragraph

                      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                      by Ginny in CO on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:59:42 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Mannie, my comment was not about drugs. (6+ / 0-)

                      My comment could have been better stated, as usual; however, the comment was in the thread's context of determining age of reason, age of majority. The age at which a male is considered to have the maturity and good judgement to make significant life decisions for himself, such as his own circumcision. Is that 8 years old? 12? 18? Science now says judgment is not mature until age 24 or 25.

                      Perhaps you stopped reading my comment on reaching the word marijuana.

                      The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

                      by SoCalSal on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:25:24 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Given the reaction to SoCalSal's comment (8+ / 0-)

                  if she wasn't a trusted user would be different than your comment, I am going to ask you to review the rules on that.

                  Also, if you haven't seen Wee Mama's sig line link, do check it out. I have true?  kind? necessary?  on a small fluorescent stickie on my monitor. I change the color and location every few weeks so I don't put it on ignore.

                  Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

                  If you think it is a valid comment, the kind approach might be

                  "That seem's OT for the diary and discussion. I think it will distract a lot."

                  While members can and do try to limit OT threads, the diarist is the one who essentially sets those limits. The Troubadour is a someone who probably wouldn't have a problem with this. It takes more than 4 1/2 months to get to know people on line in a community this large.

                  "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                  by Ginny in CO on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:54:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I am truly sorry then (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    2thanks, Ginny in CO

                    When I made my comment rec was still at Zero

                    I will re-review as you suggest

                    Maybe the thought of talking about drugs in a diary devoted to a serious issue clouded my brain on my response here.  Once again I apologize

                    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
                    ^^^ I agree

                    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

                    by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:10:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  to my mind the issue raised was.... (5+ / 0-)

                      .... what should constitute the age at which an individual gains certain rights and responsibilities, in light of the findings of current neuroscience.  That's relevant in the broader discussion of age of majority.  

                      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                      by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:42:01 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Thank you for the response. (0+ / 0-)

                      You are a quick learner :)

                      In case this helps, let me isolate what can happen when a discussion turns to a dialogue. The later is a more open conversation that looks at the topic from a wider perspective. Sort of a free for all, throw out anything that seem relevant even if you aren't sure why. If it is, someone else will make the connection. For me, it started w SoCalSal's first sentence.

                      Just tossing this out for consideration.
                      She saw that the information might be relevant to the topic. I was very pleased to see the info in a well written and concise form. My comment linked it to the important SCOTUS decision last week, and to the topic under discussion.

                      This kind of broader connection helps the brain retain information better because there are more ways to access it. The more we access it, the more we retain it. For instance, as an RN, there are a bazillion lab tests that have low, normal and high ranges. The ones I know without thinking are the ones that we use daily. If I don't use it more than every 3 to 6 months, I probably have to check the values printed on the lab form or look it up.

                      A lot of great ideas, products, etc have been developed by brainstorming or dialogue. The great AHA moments, in life :)

                      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                      by Ginny in CO on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:54:00 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  really? I thought the comment supported you (0+ / 0-)

                  If the frontal and pre-frontal cortex lag behind the more primitive brain in developmental terms, then the earlier the circumcision the less cognition of pain.

                  Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

                  by N in Seattle on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:48:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I really appreciate SoCalSal having (5+ / 0-)

                a house guest researching this. The back ground info for whether marijuana use is a problem for a developing brain is something we all need to understand better.

                Does the SC decision about mandatory life sentences for adolescents come to mind? This info was part of that - it is in Kagan's decision.

                It should affect how old you have to be before you are trained to be a combat soldier, given a powerful weapon and sent to another country for armed combat.

                Mannie thinks this is OT. How many parents making a decision about circumcision for their infant son are 24 or under?

                "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                by Ginny in CO on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:37:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  that's one of the reasons that the military... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Deep Texan

                  ... places such overwhelming emphasis on accountability to the chain of command, and a strict sense of personal responsibility.

                  Very rarely does one hear of young warriors abusing or misusing the weaponry that they work with every day.  When it comes to larger weapons such as artillery and mechanized armor, not to mention naval guns and aerial bombs, the incidences of misuse are so rare as to be statistically nonexistent.  

                  "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                  by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:48:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What we hear about is the times (0+ / 0-)

                    of those that do - and they are very ugly, sometimes getting into international news. Some don't involve actually using the weapons, just threatening with them. Is the statistical insignificance of misuse of larger weapons based on occurrence or the number of casualties - which would be much higher than for smaller weapons?

                    What I have read that has gone on in Iraq and Afghanistan strikes me as a combination of age at training, the stress of being in combat and the soldier for Jesus influence.  

                    Some of the ugly stuff is done by people over 24. My problem also has to do with how much the training and experience interferes with the normal brain development - which includes learning to use the ability. Abstract reasoning develops from 14 -16. It takes another year or two for most adolescents to be very competent with it.

                    I agree we rarely hear much about this, the Pentagon goes to great lengths to be sure of that and the corporate media complies. The military is exceptional when it comes to training, safety, etc. Controlling the violent culture, not so much. Between the military family I married into, and the military wives I worked with, I am way too familiar with that aspect.

                    The Invisible War is showing here this Friday. Trying to figure out if I dare spend the money and gas to go.

                    "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                    by Ginny in CO on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:25:00 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  I know plenty of people whose brains function (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                itsbenj

                just fine after smoking pot at a very young age.  There is no evidence that pot has any effect on the development of the brain as suggested here.

                •  right (0+ / 0-)

                  it's like the myth that lsd or comparable drugs "drain your spinal fluid" that everyone in high school used to parrot but could never produce an actual source for. thc is not known to affect the size of any areas of the brain.

                  Think of me what you will, I've got a little space to fill. - Tom Petty

                  by itsbenj on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:42:17 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The scientist conducting the experiments (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Deep Texan, 2thanks, kyril

                  on heavy users might conclude otherwise. Or maybe not, the research is in progress. Like you, I know people who seem to function just fine, President Obama for example.

                  The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

                  by SoCalSal on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:52:43 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The point of research is to check (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SoCalSal, kyril

                  assumptions based on anecdotal information or data that doesn't really answer the question.

                  That thc is not known to affect the size of any area of the brain doesn't tell us whether or how it affects the normal function. Some of that can be very subtle, so not necessarily what interaction will reveal.

                  While I emphatically believe it is one of the safest chemicals we use, any chemical can have deleterious effects at some level and for some individuals at any level.

                  The effect on a developing brain is important. There are plenty of kids who chose to use unsafe drugs knowing they could have cognitive loss consequences. Seems to me those who chose marijuana because it has a safe reputation, would also like to know if and when that safety is exceeded.

                  "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                  by Ginny in CO on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:06:30 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  what that tends to indicate... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SoCalSal, Deep Texan, kyril

                ... is that the years of education should be extended to age 24, and that certain types of personal liberty might best be extended more slowly.  

                I'd be in favor of reducing the voting age to 16 for example.  

                Alcohol and other drugs should be safely "socialized" by families, which includes introducing young adults to their safe and moderate use.  But the problem is that neurophysiologically we might want to draw the line at age 24, but socioculturally it should probably be somewhere around 16 under parental supervision.  Otherwise the result is college binge drinking (and equivalent) when there is no family socialization and there is a risk-taking peer group.  

                One possible outcome might be that you can't purchase any mind-altering substances until age 25 (alcohol, MJ, and I would extend it to tobacco and caffeine products), but you can use these products at any age from 16 up, if you are given them by a parent or legal guardian who would be legally accountable for direct consequences if any (e.g. parent gives kid alcohol, kid drinks & drives).  

                Anthropologically, the age range from about 12 - 16 is fairly typical for religious & cultural initiation rituals, so that deserves further research in light of modern neuroscience.  

                "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:40:34 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Yes!!!!!! (7+ / 0-)

            I would vote for you to have more pain.... no anesthetic... and give you the knife. Mutilate yourself for G@D!!!! if you can do it to yourself in front of other people, you can be sure that G@D will let you into heaven. Or something.

            No 72 virgins, though. Oh, that's right, that's that other middle-Eastern thing...

            I get so confused. Maybe those quaint Middle-eastern tribal customs should be scrapped...

            Sorry. Genital mutilation OF ANY KIND makes me sick. and I know that it's worse for women, but it sucks for men too.

            Could we please make some effort at progress? Please?

            I'll believe in religion when religions stop spilling blood.

            Focus on the love! The Republicans can keep the disco.

            by Mr Horrible on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:22:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  the answer (7+ / 0-)

            Is that you are choosing to do it. If you want to do that, go right ahead.   No one is forcing you.

            Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

            by Mindful Nature on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:26:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  dear Mannie, I am sorry for your loss. (4+ / 0-)

            Empower your kids to protect themselves! Renee wrote 2 diaries about radKIDS, a national skills-building program.

            by 2thanks on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:03:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  How old is the expert medical knowledge? (11+ / 0-)

            Pediatricians and neonatologists used to believe that premies and newborns did not need anesthesia for surgery - including open heart. By the mid to late 90's it was being overcome and anesthetics used for those kids.

            There is also a problem with the psychological pain. A person old enough to understand benefits and risks can also understand the inevitable pain can be largely controlled by meds, cold and will gradually decrease over time until it disappears.

            The infant has absolutely no understanding except he is strapped down and the penis is pricked with a needle to inject the numbing med which burns very badly. To the extent the pain may be controlled, doctors are wary of giving narcotics to newborns so the ones I witnessed were never free of pain behavior until long enough after they fall asleep from exhaustion.

            Current practices may include better pain management with non narcotics. I still think this is not a good thing to do for a newborn. It is almost exclusively religious based. The American Pediatric Association withdrew
            support for circumcision a long time ago. I remember explaining the established position in a 92 campaign discussion.

            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

            by Ginny in CO on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:16:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I finally found out... (6+ / 0-)

              my trypanophobia (i.e., fear of needles) was because shortly after I was born, a nurse messed up and eventually had to stick a needle right into my head to find a vein.  I was only hours old, but carried that in my subconscious to this day.

              •  Somewhere I have some old research (4+ / 0-)

                I would like to follow up on that went into looking at violence in society's based on things like contact with the mother the first few years, any other infancy and early childhood trauma.
                Circumcision was definitely one.

                On the nurse messing up on a new born and going to the head for a scalp vein. There may have been a mess up, but infants have very few veins that are IV accessible compared to adults. The foot veins are good for blood draws, if you use them for an IV they generally don't last long. The scalps veins are usually the best for IV if they don't need a central line to the chest.

                Yeah, even a basic medical procedure can create a lasting trauma to an infant. Especially a newborn.

                "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                by Ginny in CO on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:04:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  here's the link to the research: (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BruinKid, Ginny in CO, kyril

                  http://www.violence.de/...

                  Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence, James Prescott.

                  "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                  by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:52:10 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's what I have. I want to see (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    kyril

                    what, if anything, has followed since most of that is 30 years old. I am not terribly concerned that anything of signifciance has been refuted, just whether there is new info that supports, clarifies etc.

                    Thanks for the link, I couldn't figure out where it ended up on the new computer/program.  

                    "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                    by Ginny in CO on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:33:43 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah, it fucked me up good. (7+ / 0-)

                  The last time I had to get blood drawn at the student health center on campus just made things even worse.  It got so bad my entire body went numb and I literally couldn't breathe.  It was like someone had dropped a huge boulder onto my chest and was pushing all the air out of my lungs.  I felt that pins and needles numbing feeling all over, from my head and face, all the way down to my fingers and toes, and everywhere else.  The nurse also said my lips turned completely white as the blood suddenly drained away.  They had to keep me monitored for about an extra half hour before they were OK with letting me leave.

                  So when someone says infants can't feel pain or remember it, I will very loudly proclaim that they are spouting BULLSHIT, and to go on over to RedState.com, because this is the reality-based community, not a community based on faked "science".

                  •  Personal experience is a real mind opener. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    BruinKid, kyril

                    I was very pleased to find out years ago that some medical school included making the students experience some treatments so they would understand how uncomfortable they are. Having seen too many docs blow off severe discomfort during procedures when they could have ordered a mild sedative or pain med, that was good. And I've seen a lot of improvement in that regard, even to interrupting the procedure long enough to get an IV med administered and working.

                    At some point it might be worthwhile to check into some of the newer psych methods for severe anxiety reactions. EMDR and other things you can do yourself are very effective for many people.

                    You might also find the info at the link G2geek put in his comment above very interesting and validating.

                    "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                    by Ginny in CO on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:55:38 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Not only the cutting hurts but the open wound (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ginny in CO, G2geek, Avilyn, kyril

              that has to heal with regular dowsing of stinging salty urine.

            •  Yes yes yes... they DO feel pain... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kishik, Ginny in CO

              and without words or ways of framing it, thinking about it ... it is a huge subconscious backdrop to their whole world and personality from the point of the agony and after.

              I know from seeing the pain our 5 month old was in with an intestinal blockage that the pediatrician would not take seriously... 3 days of screaming and passing out... it's just some gastroenteritis...... gas... nothing to worry about.

              Then on the third day he was so dehydrated and vomiting out what should have been in his intestines... the doctors finally took it seriously.... straight to the hospital down the block. He was literally hours from death.

              X-rays and Exploratory surgery within a couple of hours...

              But that was not the final agony that changed his personality and world view.... the nurses post op took no care at all changing his diaper... with a fresh healing incision across half of his stomach... they yanked his feet up for the change... he screamed and they just ignored it... We did not know what they were doing at first.. since it must have happened after we went home. We changed the diaper when we were there and took great care. But we were not always there... my wife was there all day and I joined in the evening and then we went home... he had been the most relaxed, easy-going happy baby imaginable up until then. Big and calm.

              But we found all of a sudden in the hospital a day or two after surgery that he was totally against  having his diaper changed... it was difficult and upsetting to deal with.... It was not until we came in and saw how they treated him that we understood the reason for the dramatic change... Oh babies that young  do not really feel pain, they don't remember.... I could not believe what I was hearing. We were so angry at the indifferent nurses. But that is what they had been taught in nursing school and then reinforced by what veteran nursing staff told them.

              But this particular hospital seems to have had a problem in the pediatric ward. There were younger teen twins in another private room nearby who had been in a car accident... Seemed like they had multiple fractures and were in a lot of pain. I don't totally fault the nurses... they were limited by what the doctors prescribed and in those days pain meds were given as little as possible... the idea that somehow kids would become addicts later... habituated. Monstrous foolishness. Pain, real pain needs proper maintenance... but the way the nurses reacted to the moans and weeping from the teens. Sickening to me. The girls were afraid and in pain and the nurses acted as if the two were just crybabies.

              Regardless of anything else the net result for our son was that from then on he mindlessly, determinedly and vigorously resisted any attempt to change his diapers all the way until he was toilet trained. No matter how gentle or careful we were identified with a memory of pain that we were not to blame for... we were the enemy as far as his pain memory could tell.... anyone changing diapers was the enemy... he learned and remembered something that lasted powerfully and literally changed him.

              Our next two children as infants were like what he  had been... relaxed and mellow... he carried a distrust and overcompensation, hyperactive bravado for most of his childhood and that may have lead to two other incidents where he also came close to losing his life... and ending up in a hospital again... the next time he was a pre-vocal toddler and waking up after near drowning he looked at the IV and he had such an angry/resentful  look on his face and he literally tried to take it out of his arm... he was only there for a short while but the whole while he acted like he knew where he was and again was resisting his diaper change more vigorously if anything.

              Imagine having to physically restrain a larger stronger intelligent child who you can speak to but who cannot and will not change his response... the only thing that can be done is to do it as gently as possible and without losing ones temper to get a diaper changed. As he got older it was not as much of a struggle... it became sort of a ritual but he could or would not accept it... inherent in that was the loss of trust in a world that could send searing unending pain out of the blue... when before it was a gentle and loving place.... Can you blame him or any child for defending themselves to avoid pain?... they learn survival the hard way when they have it forced on them. Some are broken and some become harder and less trusting. Thankfully he is a happy adult now and he and his partner have just become parents.

              Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

              by IreGyre on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:24:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks for sharing this... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ginny in CO

                It points out pretty clearly how pain inflicted upon a child, a baby, can have lasting affects.  Thank goodness as parents, you knew what was the cause for his behavior subsequent to his hospitalization!

                All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

                by kishik on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:31:49 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Wow, that is one powerful story. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                2thanks, IreGyre

                While many of those practices have been changed or are improving drastically, we are now seeing a loss of empathy in nursing students as they go through training.

                This particularly hits me because I often fought battles over the accepted practices which made no sense. The other side was thinking the research, etc was solid and working hard to convince patients that the lifestyle modifications were necessary to control chronic disease progress and maintain their health. Only to find out the research was sloppy, the conclusions stretched to support using a drug that earned pharma big bucks and dealing with discouraged patients who had done everything without affecting the progression of the disease.

                If you don't mind, I am going to copy this and see if any of the local nursing programs would be interested in using it. No matter how dated some of the clinical practices are, we need to always be aware that research and practice are not always right. Sometimes for anyone, sometimes for individuals.

                The part that IS still a problem is the doctor blowing off symptoms. Whether they have gotten better with the GI eval or not, it is the failure to properly investigate when parents or patients have complaints they sense are important.

                "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                by Ginny in CO on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:24:48 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  The procedure and the pain (10+ / 0-)

            should be your choice and no-one else's.

            into the blue again, after the money's gone

            by Prof Haley on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:24:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  How do you know? (6+ / 0-)

            Can you ask an infant how painful a procedure is?

            I'm not Jewish but I am circumcised. I don't remember having it done.

            One reason I regret having it done, is that it is reputed to drastically reduce sexual sensitivity.

            But then again, I'll never know since I had it done with no choice in the matter.

            "Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom. " - Death (Terry Pratchett character)

            by Thorby Baslim on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:12:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Who are you to mutilate an infant (6+ / 0-)

            just because you assume they will want to follow your god?  I would never presume to take any rights from you.  Make your own choices, sir.  Let your children grow to make their own.  Should you have a son, he will have every right to reject everything you hold dear and find his own path in this world.  You must accept this, whether or not you decide to take a knife to him in his crib.

            Did you know that Sir Richard Burton had himself circumcised as an adult so that he could pass for a Muslim on one of his adventures?  It's true!  Your "more physical pain" sounds like a test of dedication to me.  Your faith would be proven beyond reasonable question.  Would it not please your God even more, knowing that you made the sacrifice of your own free will?

            If the prospect is too much, though... well, I can't help you.  Alas, it's just a pity that medical science has yet to provide us with substances that alleviate the unpleasantness of surgery.  An anesthetic (if I may coin a term) remains beyond our meager abilities.

        •  i have a long comment below-- (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mannie, crose, kyril, Mortifyd, Thorby Baslim

          but it still directly targets two small ethno-religious minorities.  In order to impinge on first amendment rights to this degree (i.e. cultural/religious expression), there would need to be a damn strong medical case that goes beyond people just feeling that a minor surgical procedure violates the rights of a child.

          And there isn't.

          •  people are mostly going to have to come (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Thorby Baslim, Deep Texan, 2thanks

            to a more enlightened position themselves.  then laws will change.  

            Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson. (-9.75 / -9.05)

            by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:09:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  if people chose to make changes to their own (5+ / 0-)

              cultural identities and practices, that's one thing.  To  have them imposed from outside is not acceptable.

              •  that's pretty much what i'm saying. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Thorby Baslim, 2thanks

                practices will or won't fall away.

                Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson. (-9.75 / -9.05)

                by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:33:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Definitions... (6+ / 0-)

                cultural identities and practices.

                The Jim Crow laws--and cultural practices that went with them--were certainly changed by force from the outside.

                WHEN do we accept that a majority can impose on a minority? The argument that it's when the minority claims the right to injure and do harm to others as part of their practices is.... well, pretty generally compelling.

                I think we're culturally desensitized to circumcision because it's relatively common in the US (though in decline). That makes our reaction different than that in other nations.

                But if some new religion (and remember, one religion is pretty much as good as any other, in the eyes of US law...) insists that it requires a tattoo on the face of every child born into it, would we recoil? And that would not cut off flesh or cause as much pain.

                "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

                by ogre on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:13:48 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  So many assumptions. (8+ / 0-)

            It's a minor procedure?
            But FGM isn't?

            Where's the line?

            We're talking about the general interpretation of the UN agreements about Human Rights and the Rights of Children--not to be mutilated, not to have unneed surgeries, etc., etc., etc.  Yes, it violates the rights of the child. Period.

            That's not arguable.

            It's also true that this impinges on Judaism, and Islam.  Thus it impacts religious rights and practice.

            Also not arguable.

            In the US, religious rights have a somewhat higher standing than in many nations--that's a debatable point... but the bottom line is that in many nations, human rights (etc) have a higher standing.

            Particularly in the case of a procedure that serves no medical purpose in the vast majority of cases (there are a very small number of men who--but not as infants--apparently benefit/need a circumcision).

            And... Judaism's not of a single mind on this; there's an old tradition of a much, much less drastic circumcision (that, in fact, could pass as not being circumcised...). It became anathema because Jews were passing in Hellenic/Romano-Hellenic society. It's not like the Bible defines how much flesh has to be carved off an infant....

            "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

            by ogre on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:08:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  it's already amply clear that our culture... (6+ / 0-)

              .... has gone way too far in giving religion as much power as it has.  Creationism in the schools, and 45% of Americans believing in young-Earth creationism, are proof of that point, along with discriminatory marriage laws (interracial marriage laws being the prototype), and dozens of other examples.

              And the idea that religious employers have the right to deny contraception to their employees, comes from the same rationale as the idea that religious parents have the right to impose excruciating pain and unnecessary surgery on their children.  

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:00:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  wrong. (6+ / 0-)

            Per your rationale, parents would have the right to have a child's nose or ears cut off.   And parents would also have the right to molest their own children.   Are you so sure you want to go there?

            Child abuse is child abuse, and rationales in terms of the religious rights of adults are irrelevant.  

            That or you're making a damn good case for atheism.  "Hey kids, grow up with religion and you get all this pain.  Grow up with atheism and you don't.  Which will it be?"

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:57:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  so.. (0+ / 0-)

              you're suggesting that the removal of a nose or ears is medically equivalent to a foreskin snip?  Both in terms of the degree of the procedure, as well as the resulting detriment later in life?   If that's what you're arguing, how can that be taken seriously?

              Also, child abuse is culturally defined as well.  Nowadays, smacking a schoolkid on the hand with a ruler would be considered child abuse.  30 years ago, no.  Some people consider spanking child abuse.  What about tonsil removal?  Sure, you can make a  preventative health case.  But there are numerous cases where tonsilectomies have gone horribly wrong as well.  Perhaps a child would have opted not to have a tonsilectomy as a prevention tactic.

              These things are not black and white.

      •  can you speak to the question in statistical terms (5+ / 0-)

        of how painful it is?  i've heard - from a rabbi who debated christopher hitchens that it is painless.  you say you've  heard screams.  

        either way, it seems like it inculcates sexual guilt, right from the get-go.

        here is the tape from the hitchens debate:

        Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson. (-9.75 / -9.05)

        by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:02:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The claim it's painless is self-deception. (9+ / 0-)

          Proof?

          Infants shriek when they're cut. Medical standards shifted to call for painkillers before performing circumcision... because it was patently obvious it caused serious pain.

          Ask a Muslim boys who has/had it done at whatever age it is (13?). Ask an adult male who had to have it done for real medical reasons how much painkiller he got for it... and after it.

          Or hell, if you're male, just make a small nick and see... (don't). Just investigate the stories about guys who accidentally caught a bit of skin in a zipper.

          The idea that it's painless is... an attempt to disarm a powerful argument by simply denying it.

          "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

          by ogre on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:19:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Do you say the same for ... (3+ / 0-)
      The unnecessary surgical removal of EITHER bit should be outlawed for nonmedical reasons.
      The placing of holes in the skin to add metal or ink that has no legitamate purpose? (piercings, tatoos, etc)

      Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

      by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:35:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the issue is consent (26+ / 0-)

        There is no valid consent in performing circumcision on a male or female infant.

        An adult getting a tattoo or piercing is able to give consent to the procedure.

        •  Not to me it isn't (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          charliehall2, Treg, Farugia, mconvente

          I am Jewish, and am circumsized.

          If I had to wait until I was an adult, I still would have had it done.  Expert medical wisdom is that it is MUCH MORE PAINFUL as an adult.

          By your theory, you would have me subjected to more intense pain!

          Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

          by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:49:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You do what you want as... (14+ / 0-)

            ... a well-informed, mentally sound adult. If you want your foreskin removed, your decision. If you want stupid, useless, unsanitary piercings installed, your decision.

            But the notion of additional pain doesn't fly. The nerves endings are killed for good. With proper sedation during the surgery and proper pain medication for a few weeks at most, very basic topical pain killer, you're done.

            And it's exactly the same pain for a baby, except he doesn't get a say and he can't hurl expletives at the doctor or sue his ass.

            The feeling of loss and the alteration of sexual experience may be another story, one a well-informed, mentally sound adult could testify about, from experience before and after. And that could spell the end of that idiotic practice.

            That being said, comparing circumcision to FGM, clitoridectomy or even worse, so-called type III infibulation, is not advisable. Their respective ban cannot be argued from the same level.

            All are barbaric practices straight from the Stone Age whose practice on minors and their promotion in general should not be tolerated but they are not quite equivalent. The extent of damage is not commensurate save for when circumcision are really botched (which happens, btw, especially in Ultra-Orthodox communities). Circumcision still allows for a reasonably healthy sexual life, FGM certainly not and that's just the surface of problems with FGMs.

            FGM are an absolutely gruesome and crippling mutilation, with consequences far beyond sexuality. Not to even talk about the crippling chronic pain it can create, it can gravely jeopardize the woman's survival at childbirth and sometimes the very ability to procreate. Those are life and death issues.

            Banning circumcision is more about the freedom and the welfare of the child. It must be addressed and I think the German court decided correctly but the issue doesn't have the same urgency as FGM.

            I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

            by Farugia on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:41:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You are aware that such a procedure (20+ / 0-)

            performed on and adult can be done with adequate local or regional anesthesia so as to make it painless, are you not?  I don't know exactly why you insist on making such an issue about how painful it is.  It would only be painful if one declined the use of any anesthesia.

            Also, I would think that an adult who chooses for himself to surrender a perfectly good foreskin, despite being made aware of the fact that he will experience a significant loss of sensation, would demonstrate an informed, voluntary commitment to their religious faith, whereas performing a circumcision on an infant or a child of any age would not.

            Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense. Carl Sagan

            by sjburnman on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:46:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  He wouldn't "have you subjected" (17+ / 0-)

            to anything.

            He would respect your autonomy by guaranteeing your right to choose what is done to your body.

            By the way, there's some recent research suggesting that the infant nervous system is actually more sensitive to pain than an adult's. And infants have neither the coping mechanisms that adults do, nor the ability to consciously understand what's being done, nor the ability to refuse, nor the ability to communicate and assert themselves and request anaesthetic or other pain management assistance.

            "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

            by kyril on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:47:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Expert medical wisdom is... (9+ / 0-)

            at best... very mixed.

            19th and early 20th century "wisdom" asserted that animals and small children didn't suffer pain. Those have been proven false.

            They asserted that various "subhuman" sorts of human beings also felt things less, or differently.

            Current writings (last 20 years) that I've read suggest that infants feel pain just fine. Having been with my sons at birth and seeing their reactions to a mere heel prick to get blood for testing, the notion that children don't feel pain is just embarrassing. The notion that they don't feel pain the same... sounds like a nice claim that can't really be tested (it'd be utterly inhumane and against medical ethics to torture infants and adults to determine that). All in all, it sounds more like a self-soothing deception. Why wouldn't they feel pain acutely? Given what I observed with infants getting pokes and shots and things, the idea just doesn't appear to hold water.

            "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

            by ogre on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:25:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  yes... even the shock of a cold metal weight scale (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kyril

              on their bare skin... followed by sliver nitrate in the eyes... right after being born... directly from a warm womb to their first experience of COLDness and then burning in their eyes...

              I saw that with my oldest child... and they had a "candy striper" doing it and she was a bit upset at my son's responses... he did not like it...

              welcome to the world kid!

              Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

              by IreGyre on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:30:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The issue is consent. (7+ / 0-)

            You may freely accept any amount of pain you so desire, for whatever reasons you so desire.  You can amputate part of your penis for God or enter the Badwater Ultramarathon if you're feeling extra frisky.  Or not.  Nobody is forcing you either way.

            But you would force them.

            See how that works?

        •  and an adult is able to understand what is (9+ / 0-)

          happening to him and make sense of it, and regulate the sense of being overwhelmed.  a baby isn't.

          Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson. (-9.75 / -9.05)

          by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:10:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  yes I say the same-- (10+ / 0-)

        I never placed holes in the skin nor added metal or ink to myself or any of my kids--- should such stuff be illegal, I don't know, but I never did any physical alterations to any of my children nor would I have advocated that anyone else do 'the same' to their kids!

        If they really thought he was born in Kenya, they would be in Nairobi instead of combing the sands of Waikiki!

        by tharu1 on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:42:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that is where I am. I'm circumcised (10+ / 0-)

          as an infant and as most others have no recollection of the experience.  I'm just a mid-western protestant who was born in 1951 and from what my mom told me, all boys were circumcised.  That was the common practice in that age of stones.  When my wife and I were expecting for the first time, we took Lamaze classes and there was a night where the topic was whether to circumcise the boy.  Of course there was no discussion of FGM, I don't think anyone would talk about that in public.  As I have no idea what it is like to not be circumcised, and my wife sure had no idea, we concluded that if we had a boy, we would not do it.  Well, my wife had two pregnancies resulting in two girls, so we never had to face the final decision.  As for piercings and tattoos, we decided that 14 was a good age where the kids could decide themselves about getting ears pierced.  Both daughters got pierced ears as 14 yo, but no other piercings or tats were allowed.  Both daughters have tats after leaving the house, my youngest has a nose piercing.  Other than my denuded penis, I have neither tats or piercings.  We didn't disown them for getting tats.  I doubt I would have disowned a boy if he decided to get a circumcision after he turned 18.  But other than as a religious practice, I can't imagine any sane boy would do that unless there was a true medical reason for it.  

          "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength", George Orwell, "1984" -7.63 -5.95

          by dangoch on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:11:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Born in '59. Two boys... (7+ / 0-)

            And we didn't get them circumcised. Couldn't find any medical reason for it. And 20 years later... still haven't (any of us).

            I was. I don't remember it. Of course--because essentially no one remembers that far back in childhood; the way memory is sorted and organized is developmental. But that doesn't mean that childhood traumas don't have effects on people. It just means we have trouble seeing a cause and effect there, as we don't remember... and no one imagines that what you don't remember affects you (well, except in cases of molestation. Which at least dances up to the subject...).

            When people in the US started urging circumcision, they crafted justifications for it, which they claimed were substantiated (and were pure BS). Cleanliness (just wash), suppressing masturbation (no effect), etc., etc. And each time one got shot down, people went and scoured for some other possible justification.

            Of course, doctors got paid for doing this... which is, as any Econ 101 student can tell you, a powerful incentive.

            "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

            by ogre on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:33:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  What (11+ / 0-)

        a silly argument. An infant has no power of consent or of understanding in the decision to cut off part of his penis. Someone at the age of consent in their state who has a piercing or tattoo has both. Don't equate the two merely because you want to. They aren't the same.

      •  Heavens no! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Thorby Baslim, kyril

        I do that stuff to mewling, helpless infants ALL THE TIME.

    •  I'll tread carefully here... (20+ / 0-)

      But I generally agree with this sentiment. I think it's a consent issue really, and one that should go the owner of the body when they are able to make that decision. I'm not totally unsympathetic to the religious aspect, but I don't think the child is property of the parents. I'm of the opinion that the child's rights should trump parental rights on an issue like this, although I can't really say I'm for or against a ban.

      With respect to the US custom, that's probably only a by-product of our insurance system. If insurance stopped covering it, it would die off pretty quick, just like the rest of the Western world. I've read that Medicaid coverage makes a big difference, as many states no longer cover non-medical circumcisions. You have states in the West like California where the rates are about 20%, but much higher in the Midwest where it is still covered. At the very least, I don't think circumcision should be covered at all unless there's a real medical reason, which tend to be quite rare.

      For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die. - Sen. Ted Kennedy

      by Dem 724 on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:33:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  um, there's something you need to know (15+ / 0-)


      Infant genital surgery is in no way, shape or form, banned in America or Europe or Australia or in any other 'western' nation.  It is performed daily in the USA by urologists who deem clitoral removal, clitoral reduction and/or vaginoplasty an emergency procedure to be performed before the age of 10 months on children born with XX chromosomes who are found to have the virilizing form of Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), major genital reconstruction on infants with mixed gonadal dysgenesis (MGD), XX/X0 chromosomes with mosaicism/chimerism, and Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (pAIS) with ambiguous genitalia.

      They do this with parental consent, but not the consent of the infant patient; and it is medically unnecessary, after parents are told their infant has these conditions, for which the genital structures do not agree with the phenotype or the genotype of the baby after testing.  yes, this is COSMETIC SURGERY; and the outcomes, for adults who have had these surgeries (sometimes repeated or reworked throughout childhood) reporting poor results and ongoing pain, suffering, and loss of sexual function as a result.

      Hard to believe, isn't it?  And yet, there are only a small number of people (the victims of these surgeries), and a few advocates who dare to speak up to try to change this appalling practice, which has destroyed thousands of lives of intersex infants who are 'normalized' without any thought to their future sexual function.  See the following:  

      Why Are We Still Performing Genital Surgery on Infants?

      "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

      by louisev on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:17:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I had a boy 20 yrs ago in the US-- (24+ / 0-)

    Like you, I did not know the gender of the baby until he emerged from the womb--
    There wasn't a lot of deep thought in my decision- I simply asked if there was any medical reason to circumcise-- the doctor said no, only religious reasons-- my boy is still uncut---
    I will never get why people think that body mutilation for religious purposes is proper-- but then again, I don't understand why people stand in line at McDonalds either...

    If they really thought he was born in Kenya, they would be in Nairobi instead of combing the sands of Waikiki!

    by tharu1 on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:25:17 PM PDT

    •  I understand your "not getting" it. Honestly. (9+ / 0-)

      However, just keep in mind that circumcision for Jews (and Muslims) is perhaps THE greatest ritual and/or symbol which introduces someone into a particular community.

      I didn't phrase that well -- tired -- but hopefully the force and communal significance of this ritual is understood. Otherwise, why on earth would anyone chop of their baby's foreskin?

      I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

      by David Harris Gershon on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:35:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  oh I totally get the force and significance part.. (17+ / 0-)

        I and all my siblings are circumcised--- I understand the cultural pressure of it! Almost everyone (including me) wants to belong to a social community-- But, the fact that my kids were not cut has not resulted in excommunication from either my family or my community-- the more that people begin to say no any traditions that involve injury or humiliation to individuals the better off we will all be---

        If they really thought he was born in Kenya, they would be in Nairobi instead of combing the sands of Waikiki!

        by tharu1 on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:52:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  cultures and their pain-rituals. (28+ / 0-)

        For example in one of the major aboriginal tribes in Australia, the mark of entrance to adulthood is to have a front tooth knocked out.  The pain of tooth removal without anaesthetics is extreme.  

        If you study the anthropological and sociological literature, most cultures have (or have had) some form of imposing severe pain upon individuals as a means of marking entrance into the culture.  Most of these rituals have elaborate rationales.

        But when it comes down to it, the bottom line is this:

        "We own you.  We can make you scream with pain.  That proves it."

        That proposition is a cruel atavism that has no place in the modern world.  

        The universal value of human rights should be sufficient to simply forbid any and all such practices, universally.  

        Where things become complicated is where a majority culture seeks to impose those standards upon a persecuted minority culture.  Jews, native Americans, and aboriginal Australians, are three obvious examples that come to mind.  The case can be raised that the imposition of majority-culture standards upon oppressed or persecuted minority cultures, is or at least represents a furtherance of the oppression and persecution of the minority culture.

        Yet if we allow any group within a society to gain exceptions to rules that apply to all others, we are engaging in a form of favoritism.   Further, when the exception allows for a group to engage in violence or other harm against its members, the result is equivalent to a position that the individuals in that group are "less than equal" members of the overall society.

        For example shall we grant extreme fundamentalists the right to prohibit women in their denominations from voting?  The founders of dominionism advocated this in all seriousness, along with stoning-to-death for the "crime" of apostasy (leaving the church of one's birth).  (There was famously a heated debate in dominionist circles over whether stoning to death should apply as the penalty for drunk driving.)

        The answer has got to be that the core human rights of individuals, most obviously the right to be protected from violence and physical harm, and the right to choose one's cultural affiliations as an adult, are universal and cannot be abridged by any group within society.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:11:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I honestly don't know where I stand regarding (10+ / 0-)

          your end-point, but this is a smart and thoughtful comment.

          I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

          by David Harris Gershon on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:27:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  lemme' ask you this wild question: (7+ / 0-)

            What do you think the effect would be on Jewish culture, if practices were changed such that circumcision occurred after age 18?  

            That is, age of legal majority for reasons of equal protection under the law, and a voluntary choice on the part of the young man, with legal protection against coercion.  Thus a truly free choice as an adult.  

            My going hypothesis right now is that this could potentially be a highly beneficial change for Jewish culture.  Not least of all because circumcision would then be an act of individual free will, made meaningful through the individual's childhood study of Jewish history and traditions.  

            By analogy I'm thinking of Muslim women in the Bay Area, who wear head scarves as a sign of religious identity.  In countries where the practice of head covering is imposed by theocracy, its connotation is one of oppression.  But in the Bay Area where it's a choice freely made, its connotation is freedom of religion and cultural expression: a positive good.

            The difference between any act chosen by truly free will, and the very same act imposed by an exercise of power against the comparatively powerless, makes all the difference in the world.

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:11:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think you were on stronger grounds saying: (0+ / 0-)
              Where things become complicated is where a majority culture seeks to impose those standards upon a persecuted minority culture.  Jews, native Americans, and aboriginal Australians, are three obvious examples that come to mind.  The case can be raised that the imposition of majority-culture standards upon oppressed or persecuted minority cultures, is or at least represents a furtherance of the oppression and persecution of the minority culture.
              The largest problem is that there is no Jewish Pope, and this is not something that is readily changed.  For a variety of reasons, the custom is "baked in".  Banning circumcision is criminalizing a central tenet of not only traditional Jewish religion, but of Jewish cultural identity.

              The second problem goes back to your paragraph here:  suppression of circumcision has been used to culturally eliminate Jews as a group going back to the Selucids.

              I'd argue, strongly, that the push against circumsion we see in places like San Francisco is very much the Hellenistic side of Christianity reclothing itself as secular ideology.  If you take freedom of religion seriously, you cannot ban it.  Because especially after two millenia of suppression, discrimination and outright murder of Jews by the Christians of Europe, this issue has become a very central piece of cultural identity among Jews that transcends religion.

              You may believe you "know better" than people you see as less secular and enlighten than you are.  But how much of a cultural imperialist are you willing to be in the doing it?

              Mitt Romney is a T-1000 sent back from the Future as a harbinger of the upcoming Robot Apocolypse.

              by mbayrob on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 02:02:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  What Judaism do you want for your kids? (0+ / 0-)

            It's of course not anyone's place to tell you what to do here as a parent.  But since you're someone with a strong sense of your identity as a Jew, I have to ask:  what do want for your kids in terms of their own Jewish identity, however you choose to define it?

            One of the reasons, I think, that Jews chose to do brit milah at 8 days was that it was more bearable at that age than as adults.  Whatever you can say about what it's like for the infant, I don't any of the folks posting in your diary has said much to establish it causes problems later in life.

            If you do have a son later, you'll need to make the decision then.  If your son does decide that he wants to be a Jew, and he's uncircumsized, how will you, and how will he navigate that?

            I don't claim to have an answer for you, but I would point out that in the USSR, where from Stalin's time on, when the state basically was anti-semitic, even under the Party, a fair number of Jewish men ended up uncircumsized, and later in life, had to figure out what that meant to them.  For many of them, it was a serious problem.  For them, the State did them no favors.

            There's the line attributed to Hillel from Pirkei Avot that says:

            "Do not separate yourself from the community, and do not be sure of yourself until your day of death." (2:5)
            I'll admit I find the idea of not observing brit milah strange, since I think it's as large a separation from the community as you can choose to do in raising a son.  To the extent people have done this in the past, their grandchildren have not often ended up Jews.  I'm not sure if that's important to you and your wife or not, and if it isn't, that's certainly as legitimate a way to be as any other.  But if it is, you'll need to figure out how to fight a tide two millienia in going out.

            Mitt Romney is a T-1000 sent back from the Future as a harbinger of the upcoming Robot Apocolypse.

            by mbayrob on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 02:23:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  there's a difference between 'gaining exceptions' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mannie

          and allowing the majority to legislate directly against a minority against a relatively minor practice that has existed, de-facto, from early on in that society.

          Also, these exceptions don't exist for a certain group--but for everyone--infant circumcision is legal, whether you're a Jew, Presbyterian or Buddhist.  But legislating against it targets Jews and Muslims directl, not Presbyterians or buddhists.

          As I said elsewhere, there needs to be an extremely strong medical case, because there are clear first amendment issues at stake here.

          •  "Relatively minor"? (10+ / 0-)

            The only reason you would even consider thinking that medically-unnecessary surgery on an infant without anaesthesia is a "minor" issue is that this particular form of it is culturally-normalized.

            As for the supposed First Amendment issue: when a boy is born, he is a human being with his own human and civil rights including his own freedom of religion and his own right to bodily autonomy. He is no longer an extension of his mother's body; he is not an inanimate canvas for his parents to paint their religious beliefs on. He's a person and he has rights.

            We allow parents to hold some of those rights in trust until he's an adult - but as with monetary trusts, we can set limits on the authority of the trustees.

            "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

            by kyril on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:02:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  it is a minor procedure by medical (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mannie, Thorby Baslim

              standards.

              And it is quite likely that the first amendment would protect this freedom of religious practice within the family.  

              •  So's an abortion (6+ / 0-)

                but we don't let parents physically force their daughters to have abortions. We recognize that a "minor" medical procedure is not necessarily a "minor" human rights issue.

                And the Constitution guarantees individual rights, not robust group rights.

                "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

                by kyril on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:39:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  some people feel that eradicating a potential (0+ / 0-)

                  life is not a minor procedure at all.  After all, a premature infant could just have well remained a fetus for a couple more weeks.

                  It's interesting how much attention we pay to a tiny flap of skin 8 days before birth, but we give essentially no thought to what a fetus may experience a few weeks before birth.

                  I'm pro-choice (for the record), but I find the dichotomy interesting.

                  •  First of all, (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    G2geek, Thorby Baslim, Deep Texan

                    I'm not concerned about the 'tiny flap of skin' - I'm concerned about the person it's attached to.

                    Secondly, nobody performs abortions "a few weeks before birth" except in exceptional circumstances.

                    And I believe - like most people - that aborting viable fetuses outside of life-threatening circumstances is wrong for the same reason I believe circumcising infants is wrong (and for the record, I would also oppose circumcising fetuses).

                    I believe - like most people - that at some point in a pregnancy, a fetus becomes a person with independent rights that can only be morally violated in exceptional circumstances (such as when the mother's life is in danger and there are absolutely no other options). I pin that point somewhere around viability because of the same basic reasoning you outline in your comment. Some people put it earlier, others later, but to my knowledge, no serious moral thinker draws the line any later than birth.

                    "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

                    by kyril on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:11:43 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  appreciate your consistency in this. (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      G2geek, Mannie, PsychoSavannah, kyril

                      There are some prominent posters on this site who don't seem to recognize any viability until a baby is actually born.

                      When it comes down to it, it is an issue of short-term pain vs. cultural identity.  So not surprising that it's controversial..

                      I have a huge problem, however, with legislation from outside.  Because that IS imposition, it singles out two distinct ethnic/religious groups, and far too many advocates of the anti-circumcision movement do not have only the child's interests at heart.

                      •  i'm with kyril on that but slightly differently. (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Deep Texan, BradyB, kyril

                        Where I draw the line is at the point where there is coherent brain activity sufficient to indicate the presence of a conscious mind.  At present it's not entirely clear where that point is, but neuroscience could develop convergent findings if the research was done.  

                        Before that point, unlimited abortion with no restrictions.

                        After that point, life & health of the woman.

                        And after the point of viability outside the womb, efforts made to save the fetus while removing it from the woman's body, also subject to life & health of the woman.  

                        Not a popular view but I'm on record with it.  The presence of coherent brain functioning defines the existence of a conscious mind, which in turn defines the existence of a person in a physical body.  

                        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                        by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:23:35 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  the problem with the "groups" arguement... (5+ / 0-)

                        ... is that it is exactly the same rationale used by the fundamentalist Christian religious right, to inveigh against laws that grant an equal right to marriage to gay couples.

                        The equal right to marriage, they claim, is a secular imposition upon their religious freedom.  This even though there is 100% agreement among progressives that no church should ever be required or obligated by law to solemnize a marriage that it disapproves of for any reason.  

                        There is no need for a law to specifically ban circumcision, any more than there is a need for a law to specifically ban cutting off children's ears or noses: the existing laws on child abuse will serve perfectly well.  

                        And to favor any particular religion as an exception, is to effectively deny the equal protection of the law to individuals who are members of the favored religions.  

                        The rights in question are the rights of individuals, not the rights of groups.

                        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                        by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:35:20 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Functionally, it is much more than just a (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Thorby Baslim, Deep Texan, 2thanks

                    tiny flap of skin.  It is much more in a full grown man.

                  •  of course it is tiny, on a baby. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Avilyn, kishik

                    By the time that baby grows to manhood, the amount of skin lost is 3 x 5 inches. 15 inches square. A 3 x 5 card.

                    Empower your kids to protect themselves! Renee wrote 2 diaries about radKIDS, a national skills-building program.

                    by 2thanks on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:51:59 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  so is cutting off ears and sucking on penises (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Deep Texan, 2thanks

                Cutting off ears is a minor medical procedure.  

                So, what if a religious group insists on cutting off children's ears as an expression of the principle "hear no evil"..?

                Or while we're talking about penises, what if a religious group insists upon having its middle-aged priests suck on the penises of early-adolescent boys every week after church, until they have their first ejaculation, as a ritual of entrance into adulthood?  

                "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:17:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Aboriginal (6+ / 0-)

          clans in Australia also circumcise 12 year-old boys, as do the Afar and Danakil people of Africa. The latter two groups do it specifically to make the boys mean and warlike.

      •  FWIW, in Islam, the father of the newborn actually (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kaliope, kyril, Joy of Fishes

        "welcomes" the baby into the community by whispering the call to prayer in his/her ear.

        Yes, circumcision is part of Islam, but many Muslims consider it sunnah (highly recommended, but not obligatory).

        We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

        by Samer on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:20:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This (i.e. circumcision) is an issue (8+ / 0-)

    that can be quite heated on both sides of it.

    Don't you know that it's not polite to discuss religion and politics?

    ;-)

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:26:15 PM PDT

  •  when my stepfather had his own business (12+ / 0-)

    it was called ben reynolds (not his real name but same initials) insurance service and at the top of the letterhead one would read these letters:

    BRIS

    i don't believe he knows what that means to this day.

    hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

    by alguien on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:29:48 PM PDT

  •  Germany once again is WRONG! (10+ / 0-)
    The district court justified the ruling by stating that it was for the "good of the child who would be able to decide for himself which religious community he or she would belong to."
    And when the child brought up in a religous family wants to have it done, it is WAY MORE PAINFUL the older you are.  That is a medical FACT!

    The choice should be left up to the parents and NOT the government!

    Being Jewish myself, I understand your view & I would say times have evolved to the point where it is no longer a hygiene issue (as it was 5000+ years ago),  As such if you chose not to have your son (if you should later have one) circumcised, I believe it should be ok.  It should be your choice as parents.

    After all most of Leviticus is no longer relevant (and in fact damaging)  You can check an old diary of mine where I explain my views on the stuff in Leviticus.

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:30:31 PM PDT

    •  Both sides believe their own position (5+ / 0-)

      is backed by scientific evidence.  The fact is that both sides of this debate have excellent reasons for believing as they do.  Hopefully both sides can be respectful of the opinions of the other side, as the issue is not as "cut and dried" (pun unintended) as some would have people believe.

      A good attorney can effectively argue both sides of this as a fairness and health issue.  Those who tell you differently haven't done sufficient research into the pros and cons.

      -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

      by sunbro on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:37:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which is why it should be left to the parents (9+ / 0-)

        If both sides can be argued to have a correct stance, the government should NOT come in and say which is more correct.

        If it was a right/wrong issue, then the government SHOULD step in.

        But in a case where it is a dead heat, the tie breaker should go to the parents and NOT the government!

        Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

        by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:39:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mannie, Glen The Plumber, buddabelly

          But in San Francisco, the majority opinion seems to be similar to the German position.  To have a contrary position on the blogs here is a very lonely position.  For many, there is only ONE right answer, and if you think differently, then you believe it is okay to mutilate poor unsuspecting children in the same way as one might barbarically remove a female child's clitoris.  (Often, it appears that the argument is a straw man from a mile away.)

          Statistically, there are reasons for circumcision in preventing the societal transmission of disease, but studies that show this are pooh-poohed and ignored by those who have already made up their minds that a baby's circumcision, ordered by the parents, is always morally wrong.

          -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

          by sunbro on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:49:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Circumcised men (6+ / 0-)

            are statistically less likely to contract and transmit STDs.

            Which is easily addressed by using a goddamn condom!!!!

            For tribal identity and religious purposes, I totally understand and respect the circumcision advocacy; however, it's not something I would put my gentile sons through.

            Both parties are beholden to their corporate sponsors. The Democratic Party deigns to throw us a few bones from the table on which to gnaw and squabble over, but it's just kabuki.

            by ozsea1 on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:03:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Even though I was more risk-averse (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mannie, ozsea1, GoGoGoEverton

              than most kids, I did not use a condom the first time I had sex because I was so surprised that it was happening.  So among teens, you've got to expect that sometimes they screw up and fail to use adequate protection.  I do not see society as a whole being more complete or somehow better as a result of circumcision being banned.

              I am very glad that my parents chose this for me, and that I do not have to now choose this as an adult.  It would be very inconvenient at this point and I like the cleanliness advantage of having a circumcised penis.

              Thanks to Mom and Dad for this!  ;-)

              -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

              by sunbro on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:09:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  So you would support a Catholic parent (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tharu1, SoCalSal, kyril, Deep Texan

          who wants a Castrati?

          I would rather government protect the child from mutilation.

        •  how'bout cutting off ears or noses? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, Deep Texan

          Leave that to parents too?

          How'bout giving their children enough alcohol or other drugs to cause brain damage?  

          Leave that to the parents too?

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:13:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ears & Noses = Straw Man arguement! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Treg, GoGoGoEverton

            Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

            by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:17:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  nope, see my other comments about this. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RealityBias, Deep Texan

              If one examines all of the various forms of painful surgical rituals in the various cultures of the world, cutting off ears or noses would hardly seem out of place.

              It only seems out of place compared to cutting penises, because people in our culture cut penises rather than ears or noses.  

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:38:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Cutting off extra skin is not the same as (0+ / 0-)

                cutting off facial features, a clitoral hood, etc. It's just not; find me one poll where the majority of men who were circumsised are like "yeah, man i wish i had this weird looking foreskin twig, i'm sure she/he would think that was so hot. I sure do miss something I never knew I had."

                •  the only valid experiment for that.... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Deep Texan, kyril

                  .... would be what's known in the human sciences as a "pre/post" design:

                  Test group of uncircumcised men in their 20s with at least two years of sexual experience.   In year 1 ask them to rate their sexual satisfaction.  In year 2 they are all voluntarily circumcised.  In year 4 (two years of sexual experience post-circumcision) ask them again to rate their sexual satisfaction.

                  Control group of men in their 20s with at least two years of sexual experience, mixed group of circumcised and uncircumcised men.  In year 1 ask them to rate their sexual satisfaction.  These men do not have any operations performed.  In year four (same time as the test group) ask them again to rate their sexual satisfaction.  

                  Compare test group vs. control group to ascertain if there is a significant pre/post change for the test group as compared to the control group.  

                  That would settle the issue pretty conclusively.

                  But as a policy matter, leave the choice to be made by each man after they have turned 18.  

                  ----

                  Otherwise, if children's sexual organs are the property of their parents, why prohibit parents from sexual contact with their own children?  

                  After all, if you can cut it, you ought to be able to suck it.  

                  And if you're not allowed to suck it, you shouldn't be allowed to cut it.

                  I dare anyone to come up with a logically consistent arguement to the contrary.

                  "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                  by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 06:45:34 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  This is disgusting and unexpected from you. nt (0+ / 0-)
                    •  which part? (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      2thanks, Deep Texan, kyril

                      Relying on empirical findings, or relying on logic?

                      Go ahead, try to argue the logical case, rather than indulging in some kind of
                      ad-hominem nonsense.  

                      Sorry but I call 'em as I see 'em, logical contradictions and self-serving hypocrisies both individual and collective included.

                      In the end I don't give a fiddler's flying fart about no-talk taboos and other social insanities masquerading as convention.  Facts are what they are, logic is what it is, and no amount of "don't talk about that" will make either of them go away.

                      Try jumping off a first-story roof and arguing with gravity on the way down.  Be sure to have an ambulance standing by to take you to get your broken leg fixed.  

                      This isn't "my" opinion any more than gravity is "my" opinion.

                      And that's also why right-wingers hate science.

                      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                      by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:37:47 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  dear GoGoGoEverton, you call it "extra skin" (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Avilyn, kyril

                  which is another myth.

                  It is not extra. It evolved for many purposes and functions.

                  It is not even just skin. It is a sliding, gliding, friction-reducing, and protective cylinder composed of skin (epidermis and dermis), subcutaneous tissue (fat), muscle (dartos, including its fascia), extra nerves for touch and stretch reception, and the extra blood vessels (arteries and veins) and lymphatic vessels to keep the whole complex of tissue alive and healthy.

                  Empower your kids to protect themselves! Renee wrote 2 diaries about radKIDS, a national skills-building program.

                  by 2thanks on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:17:30 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  er...scale, geek, scale. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mannie, GoGoGoEverton

            I  mean, by your definitions here you can include chopping someones limbs off, too...

            come now.

            •  It isn't (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kyril, G2geek, Deep Texan, 2thanks

              We are still in the realm of inflicting needless suffering by lopping off fleshy body parts

              Still, what if an avid Man U fan wanted to tattoo Ryan Giggs portrait on the kids cheek. Still ok?

              The principle you are running into is that we have the infliction of extreme pain on unconsenting persons and some people are not going to see that as acceptable without a very solid justification.

              Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

              by Mindful Nature on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:10:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You know a tattoo inflicts more than pain, right? (0+ / 0-)

                Like, a permanent mark that differentiates you from every other human being?

                •  a circumstion isn't permanent? (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Deep Texan, Mindful Nature, 2thanks

                  "Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom. " - Death (Terry Pratchett character)

                  by Thorby Baslim on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:07:45 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Which is (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  2thanks, Avilyn, kyril

                  The point of circumsion as religious practice also.   Still, we are left with a principle that some religious values need to be trumped by other values.  

                  In both cases we have a non consenting individual marked out through permanent alterations that they never signed up for.  Perhaps it makes sense to draw a line at disfiguratoons that mark people out, but frankly that would leave as permissible inflicting pain on children as acceptable as long as it doesn't leave a mark that permanently sets you apart.  So a tattoo of Ryan Giggs on a butt cheek would be ok for you then?

                  I think really my questions for everyone are threefold:

                  Do you accept that general moral principles should place some limits on religious partice?

                  Is so, where would you draw that line?

                  What is the basis for that?

                  For me, obviously I would answer1) yes. 2) I draw the line at practices that inflict pain or cause long lasting or difficult to reverse harms and 3) I beleive that the ban on the infliction of harm of others is a key organizing principle of moral conduct.  

                  Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                  by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:06:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  where I take issue it that it isn't just a (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Wee Mama, mayim

                    practice, but the core identifying symbol of Jewish identity.  I'm addressing Judaism here because I'm not as familiiar with how the practice works in Islam.  While it's not the biggest deal in the world for secular Jews such as myself, it is can bring great shame on people within orthodox communities to not have a bris.

                    Effectively, it does amount to a direct assault on religious identity, and banning circumcision would offer yet another, this time legally sanctioned, avenue for gross anti-Semitism.  All you need to do is look at this major bit of PR literature

                    FORESKIN MAN!!!

                    To know that I"m right about this.

                    While I agree with what you said elsewhere that the minimizing of pain should definitely be paramount, legislation for this sort of thing is a major attack on a clearly identifiable minority.

                    •  That raises important questions (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      kyril

                      My approach is of course a balancing approach and an exercise in line drawing, so the notion that on balance banning such practices may well be something societies are willing to accept.

                      I will point out that virtually all religions treat their practices similarly so this argument will always be raised.  It is raised in the defense of polygamy and child marriage by FLDS people. It is raised by other fundamentalists who refuse to allow medical treatment for their children.  So, I keep returning to the problem that some practices will be trumped by other values in a society, no matter how important they are to the practitioners.  

                      Also, I am not a fan of the argument that because vile people take a particular position means that it might not also be taken for entirely good reasons.  To raise a somewhat silly and trivial example, I'm sure anti-semites oppose all sorts of things that right thinking people do also.  So, perhaps anti-semites use such bans as vehicles for their hate.  That does not amount to an argument that such bans may be the right thing for entirely different reasons.  (I'd point out that one might take a similar and incorrect argument to argue against religous practices as well by suggesting that child molesters like to have sex with minors, so therefore we are going to interpret all religious beliefs that go in for marriage by minors as motivated by a desire to molest children.  I think that argument is a strawman and false also.)

                      So I am left with the notion that there are probably two solutions here:  one would be to ban the "cruel and unusual" version by requiring anaesthesia and licensed practitioners to minimize objectionable harms.  (I think that's a minimum).  The other approach would be simply to prohibit such until children are able to consent freely.  Then one has one's mark of identity in a community for ones adult life, and the concerns over inflicting harm on unconsenting children are ostensibly both addressed.

                      Long story short, there are competing interests at stake, and interpreting such balancing as solely an attack on religion is a specious argument, if only because it utterly fails to recognize and denies tht there are real harms being worked here that others do have a legitimate interest in limiting.

                      No one said these issues are easy though.  

                      Thanks

                      Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                      by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:53:28 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  That comic is appalling. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mayim

                      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

                      by Wee Mama on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:32:17 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  and (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  2thanks

                  I have to wonder secretly if you'd be more accepting of a Graeme Sharp tattoo than a Ryan Giggs one...  

                  ;)

                  Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                  by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:34:12 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  not limbs, but certainly chopping off hands. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deep Texan, kyril

              Certain branches of Islam prescribe that as the punishment for various crimes.

              Shall we let the adherents of those branches of Islam utilize that method of punishment for members of their denominations in the US?  

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:41:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The tie-breaker should go (13+ / 0-)

          to the owner of the genitals in question.

          into the blue again, after the money's gone

          by Prof Haley on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:43:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  it's not a big deal either way (0+ / 0-)
    •  On the issue of getting circumcised as an adult, (6+ / 0-)

      a good (and cringe-worthy) point.

      Though the issue of personal choice still remains valid.

      I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

      by David Harris Gershon on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:38:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  why not just remove a few skin cells? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Audri

        Lightly scraping a dull (clean) butter-knife across the skin will remove a few cells, without causing pain or drawing blood. For those who wish to perform a 'circumcision' for ritual reasons (bris, etc.), why not adopt this as the new ritual norm, given our enlightened norms and understanding of health, infants, sexuality, freedoms, etc.?

        Thanks for this diary. And kudos to the German court!

        •  Yes, since it's mostly a ritual at this point. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sharon Wraight
          A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including by a religious community. The term usually refers to actions which are stylized...
          Wikipedia

          "I'm grateful for my job - truly, but still...ugh." CityLightsLover

          by Audri on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:09:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  "way more painful": wrong: anaesthetics. (14+ / 0-)

      Any surgical procedure can be rendered far less painful or completely painless through the administration of appropriate local and general anaesthetics.  

      As for the moral issue: children are not their parents' property, period.  How would you react if there was a group that believed in cutting off their children's ears or noses?  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:51:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your subject line is misleading! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Glen The Plumber, G2geek, wader

        Anesthsia does NOT help with post surgical pain!

        Cutting of a nose or ear is a false equivelency and as such an invalid arguement.

        I have read many of your comments in other diaries and usually agree with you, so I hope we can disagree civily and honestly.

        Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

        by Mannie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:01:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  umm- I think I would rather have (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, RealityBias, kyril, Deep Texan

          someone cut off part of one of my ears than part of my penis--- I don't know about you, but one the lower appendage seems way more sensitive than one of my ears ever has!

          If they really thought he was born in Kenya, they would be in Nairobi instead of combing the sands of Waikiki!

          by tharu1 on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:13:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  yes, we can disagree civilly and honestly. (18+ / 0-)

          And given the cultural sensitivities around this particular issue, I've been doubly careful about the language I'm using.

          Post-op pain can be controlled with topical anaesthetics (usually a "-cain" drug in a liquid form) and with prescription pain medication (narcotic analgesics: not hazardous when taken with appropriate precautions).  

          Cutting off noses and ears isn't false equivalence.  Australian aboriginal tribes knock out teeth.  One or more Mesoamerican tribes (the Aztecs if I'm not mistaken) at one time bound babies to boards to flatten the frontal profile of their faces, most visibly their noses and foreheads.  In Japan, foot-binding of women was considered aesthetic.  In some parts of the world including China, men entrusted with certain duties around royalty were surgically castrated (eunuchs).  Cutting off ears or noses would hardly stand out amidst the rest of the world's examples.  

          Cultures around the world have practiced various forms of involuntary or obligatory painful and in some cases disabling surgeries since prehistoric times.  This stuff has deep historic roots, but the common denominator is the use of pain and body modification to assert in-group status.  

          My central assertions in this instance are the right of children to be free of the arbitrary imposition of extreme pain and bodily modification, the right of children to the integrity of their bodies generally (and I'm hardly so civil about my opinions when it comes to items such as corporal punishment in schools), and the right of adults to freely choose surgical and other procedures and rituals for themselves.  

          Now I'll speculate about something that might be stepping squarely into a potential quagmire or minefield:

          Is it possible that the cultural/affiliative aspects of male circumcision for Jews, could become more meaningful when chosen freely by individuals at the age of legal majority?  Is it possible that this change could have strong beneficial effects on Jewish culture?  

          I have no way of speculating on the answers because a) I'm not Jewish, and b) the experiment hasn't been done.  

          However I think it's worth asking the questions and pondering what might occur.  

          Given the apparently extraordinary intellectual rigor of Rabbis in many areas that I've encountered in other discussions on dKos (the parallel in Catholicism would be the Jesuits), I would think that the question of the cultural effect of delaying circumcision to legal adulthood, could be discussed objectively and in depth to arrive at an answer.  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:47:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I don't completely disagree...but... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, Debby, kyril

      some religions do not allow for medical intervention under any circumstances...should we as a society allow a child to suffer a disease because of the parents religious belief? I would argue the government should step in...and could also argue that circumcision causes a child unnecessary pain and suffering.

      We are not broke, we are being robbed.

      by Glen The Plumber on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:59:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Citation Needed (10+ / 0-)
      And when the child brought up in a religous family wants to have it done, it is WAY MORE PAINFUL the older you are.  That is a medical FACT!
      Citation please, because actual medical facts show you're wrong:

      "By the time children reach adolescence, about half of their synapses have been discarded, leaving the number they will have for most of the rest of their lives."

      Babies have more neurons and more intense sensations.  They just haven't developed the ability to form permanent memories of the event.  The reason babies often go rigid and quiet during a circumcision is because they are going into shock from the pain.

      If nothing else, when circumcised as a consenting adult, the adult can request the anesthesia that is routinely denied to infants.

      •  Many rabbis now REQUIRE local anesthesia (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mannie, ozsea1, kyril, kaliope

        before a circumcision.

        •  Now that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kaliope, Deep Texan

          Is a good step to deal with some of the moral problems here.  Good on them.  

          Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

          by Mindful Nature on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:14:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  wait...you're suggesting that if steps were taken (0+ / 0-)

            to make anesthesia mandatory, the moral objections would die down?  Some how I really doubt it.  I strongly believe that no government should ban circumcision--although I would perfectly support measures to ensure that it is properly done with as little pain as possible.  Although I thought that was often the case anyway?

            •  I think it would reduce it yes (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deep Texan

              This is a line drawing exercise of what is permissible.  Where the objections are a) pain inflicted and b) potential harm then addressing those by say, requiring anesthesia and licensed professionals to reduce these ought to satisify those who object on those grounds.  

              Of course it wouldn't calm those who object to permanent disfigurement.  So how much opposition would be reduced Depends on how many people object on which reasons I would think.  

              Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

              by Mindful Nature on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:40:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  That is not a medical fact just because you can (0+ / 0-)

      remember it or not.

  •  myself an atheist...my wife jewish... (10+ / 0-)

    I was very thankful we had a girl...I too am conflicted on the subject.

    We are not broke, we are being robbed.

    by Glen The Plumber on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:34:00 PM PDT

  •  From the World Health Organization (21+ / 0-)
    There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%. Three randomized controlled trials have shown that male circumcision provided by well trained health professionals in properly equipped settings is safe. WHO/UNAIDS recommendations emphasize that male circumcision should be considered an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention in countries and regions with heterosexual epidemics, high HIV and low male circumcision prevalence
    link

    I think this argument is all over, and German has it dead wrong.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:36:52 PM PDT

    •  An important aspect in all of this, though it's (8+ / 0-)

      important to note that RITUAL circumcision is not done for health reasons, and as such the case against it (and discussions about it) don't typically include this side.

      An interesting discussion would be whether governments and health organizations can REQUIRE circumcision on health grounds.

      The intiatives in Africa have been profound. I understand Zimbabwe lawmakers just underwent circumcision to raise awareness.

      I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

      by David Harris Gershon on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:51:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You could not be more wrong (13+ / 0-)

      First, look at the regions where that WHO recommendation applies:

      • countries and regions with heterosexual epidemics (NOT THE U.S.)

      • high HIV (NOT THE U.S.)

      • and low male circumcision prevalence (NOT THE U.S. but thankfully that's changing.)

      Second, here is an absolutely devastating counterargument, from a letter to Dan Savage's Savage Love column a few years back:

      I am 24 years old and lost my entire glans penis, the head of my dick, in a botched circumcision. Basically I have a shaft but there's no head at the end. Unfortunately, I was left with my balls so I still have a sex drive, but it's nearly impossible for me to climax. When I was much younger, around 14 to 16, I could sometimes masturbate to a climax, but after a couple of years I stopped being able to do this. Some of the women I've been with never saw the condition of my penis, and failed to notice when I didn't come. Others have seen my condition before intercourse and refused to have sex with me, while still others found out afterwards, after I wasn't able to come, and then never wanted to have sex with me again. Of course I never dare to ask anyone to suck me, although this might provide the necessary extra stimulation and actually help me climax.

      So my problem, Dan, is twofold: I can't come and I can't get anyone to stick around and help me try to come. Can you suggest any special techniques for someone in my condition? Any help would be appreciated. I'm very miserable, frustrated, and lonely.

      Mutilated and Comeless

      There are plenty of other cases of screwed up circumcisions that lead to ruined lives -- would you really put your child for even a small risk of having such a horrible outcome for a completely unnecessary procedure?

      The bottom line is that circumcision is an elective surgery that reduces a child's future sexual options and capabilities.  If they want to show their cultural membership via membersnip, they can elect to do so later when they are mature enough to give fully informed consent.

      Would you support a parent that wanted to cut the first knuckle off their baby's pinky fingers? After all, it's only removing 5% of their digits, and a part that a person can easily get by without.

      If your answer is that you would support a law stopping that amputation, then it is absolutely right and proper for the law to protect children from suffering circumcision.

      •  Data, please. What is the rate of damaging (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wader, PsychoSavannah

        complications?  How does the risk of such problems offset the potential health benefits.  Could you describe specifically the nature of reduced sensitivity in a typical circumcised man?  Is there data on reported differences in sexual satisfaction?

        Where are we, now that we need us most?

        by Frank Knarf on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:40:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How high would that rate need to be? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, Deep Texan

          Before you felt it was significant enough to take into account?

          Given that there's no medical need... the risk of this sort of accident (rare, but by no means unique; I've read about it before) is awfully hard to justify. A low risk of extreme mutilation for... no medical benefit. (That's the AMA's position.)

          "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

          by ogre on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:45:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No medical benefit is a contentious position, as (0+ / 0-)

            the comments here illustrate.  AMA is not immune to political influence, as their position on public universal health care should suggest.

            Where are we, now that we need us most?

            by Frank Knarf on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:08:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Rates (0+ / 0-)

          THYMOS: Journal of Boyhood Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 2010, 78-90
          LOST BOYS: AN ESTIMATE OF U.S. CIRCUMCISION-RELATED INFANT DEATHS
          - Dan Bollinger
          Abstract: Baby boys can and do succumb as a result of having their foreskin removed. Circumcision-related mortality rates are not known with certainty; this study estimates the scale of this problem. This study finds that approximately 117 neonatal circumcision-related deaths (9.01/100,000) occur annually in the United States, about 1.3% of male neonatal deaths from all causes. Because infant circumcision is elective, all of these deaths are avoidable. This study also identifies reasons why accurate data on these deaths are not available, some of the obstacles to preventing these deaths, and some solutions to overcome them.

          •  Bollinger is an activist. That study is a (0+ / 0-)

            Where are we, now that we need us most?

            by Frank Knarf on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:06:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  As abstract says, (0+ / 0-)

              there are reasons accurate data are not available, not the least of which is CYA for people trying to convince parents this procedure is completely safe.

              Five points:

              1. Trying to impugn Bollinger's credibility because "he's an activist" will not get you very far on a site by and for Democratic activists.

              2. I tried a dozen different searches on PubMed and absolutely nothing came up. Please, provide us with a better estimate.

              3. To call a study that acknowledges these statistical difficulties and attempts to work around them a "statistical farce" implies a poor understanding of how actual statistical estimation works.

              4. The number is not zero.

              5. How many deaths caused by an elective procedure performed without consent are "acceptable" to you?

              •  Some of my best friends are activists. (0+ / 0-)

                But it is generally bad form to quote a study by someone with an agenda without the reveal.

                In any case I'll balance your 5. with a request for the number of HIV and HPV infections that did not occur in the subjects or their partners as a result of the widespread practice of circumcision in this country.

                No one really knows.

                Where are we, now that we need us most?

                by Frank Knarf on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:22:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  These "how about we let the parents cut off (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mannie

        a digit/limb/ear/etc." comparisons are . . . not comparisons.  They are apples/oranges arguments that amount to little, IMHO.

        Every procedure can will unfortunately have its failures, but the intent to circumsize is not to mutilate due to potential failure.  Rare and sad mutilations due to such accidents do not necessarily lead to "devastating counterargument"s against the entire procedure, of course.  My sister's boyfriend is going to the hospital due to a blood clot in his neck that arose after apparent complications from a relatively straightforward foraminotomy, but this is not a usual complication - should foraminotomies be eschewed based on his unique case?  Not necessarily, take a look at the larger picture of potential benefits vs. undesired/unplanned effects and then we'll talk.

        I brought up the potential for not circumcising our son before while he was still a fetus-thing after reading various articles on the advantages to not circumsizing.  I received a sharp response from my spouse and strong opinions from various physicians to consider, but stuck with my position as I learned more.  My continued research revealed most of these claimed pros as generally wanting, with more health-positive pros on the circumcision side of things.

        So, I supported his being circumcised rather easily in the end.  And, it only involved removing some skin that covered the head of his penis - didn't even involve cutting off a finger, part of an ear, mutilating his nose or trying to make him somehow more aesthetically pleasing to our eyes.  Yes, I somehow resisted going down that slippery slope of "amputating" everything that seemed unnecessary for any old arbitrary reason . . .

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:55:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Saying "its not a comparison" doesn't make it so (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril

          Cutting off the first knuckle of the pinky finger is absolutely a valid apples-to-apples comparison.  It is just a tiny bit of tissue, it's not essential, the child will get along fine without it.  Sure, they may not play the piano as well as they might have done if they were intact, but that's a sacrifice I am willing to make to follow the traditions of my culture.

          The part has a function, and its removal forever denies that function to the child before they are old enough to consent to its removal.  It is right and proper for the government to step in and prevent the procedure.

          The only reason you can claim it's not a valid comparison is because no major religion actually mandates pinky knucklecision. http://lmgtfy.com/...

    •  about 25 decades ago, there was a study (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glorificus, Yasuragi

      showing a greater rate of fatal infections in newborn boys who weren't circumcised (so it goes along with your link). This was particularly interesting because the researcher had hypothesized that there would be higher rates of infection in babies who were circumcised.
      That pretty much decided me on getting our son circumcised.
      If I were a young parent now, I would read the literature carefully before making a decision. Not having to face that decision for so long, I haven't kept up with the literature, but I do remember that at one point there was thought to be a link between male circumcision and lower rates of cervical cancer -- possibly because of the lower likelihood of harboring viruses and bacteria.
      Also -- when we had our son circumcised, our pediatrician (an African American woman) recommended using a moil rather than a doctor because she said they were much better at it. We chose a moil who was also a doctor who used anesthetic to make it less painful.

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:06:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  condom usage reduces the risk even further.... (6+ / 0-)

      .... including the risk to the receptive partner, something that circumcision does not do.

      So are you saying it's OK to rely on a method that may prevent a circumcised mail from acquiring HIV, but does nothing at all to protect his wife in the event he does get HIV?  

      Shall we also legalize drunk driving as long as the driver himself wears a motorcycle helmet in the car?  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:15:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no, i'm saying every bit of reduction in risk (4+ / 0-)

        is a good thing

        •  so do you support abstinence-only education? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan

          After all, it is empirically true that the risk of HIV from sexual contact, as well as the risk of other STDs, by definition, is reduced to zero by complete abstinence.

          You did say "every bit of reduction of risk is a good thing."

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:43:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  all he did was point out there is legitimate (3+ / 0-)

        medical reasons for circumcision and you built a whole damn haystack out of it not just a mere straw man.....

        You stuffed so many words in his mouth he's lucky he didn't need Heimliched.......

        Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
        I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
        Emiliano Zapata

        by buddabelly on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:49:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  there's something called logical inevitability. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          2thanks, Deep Texan

          Once you make a medical (scientific) arguement, you become subject to counter-arguement based on the logical rules and empirical findings of medicine (science).  There is no escaping this.  

          Rationalizing circumcision as reduction of STD risk, necessarily calls up the issue of reduction of STD risk in general.

          And if it turns out that a range of other methods produce a greater reduction of risk without pain and suffering, that point nullifies the rationale for circumcision as a risk reduction method.  

          As in:  Ether produces anaesthesia, so shall we go back to using ether instead of modern anaesthetics that have far fewer side-effects?  

          Or do you believe that the side-effects of more crude anaesthetics are somehow necessary to build character?  Increased risk of death during surgery, waking up in the recovery room and immediately projectile-vomiting, all that stuff:  good for character?  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:52:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I believe the studies do demonstrate reduced (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yasuragi

        risk of infection to the receptive partner.  Someone please correct me if I've misread.

        Where are we, now that we need us most?

        by Frank Knarf on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:43:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And Germany is of course a country with HIV (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wsexson, kyril, Deep Texan

      epidemic, right?

    •  And, of course (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      qofdisks, RealityBias, Deep Texan, Avilyn

      this totally justifies infant circumcision, because all those newborn babies are crawling around the hospital having unprotected sex.

      Or...not.

      Look, nobody's saying adults shouldn't have the right to have themselves circumcised. Some people would even extend that right to teenagers - if you're a parent interested in reducing your son's risk of catching/transmitting HIV through unprotected sex, you can give him the circumcision talk at the same age you give your daughters the birth control talk, and then let him make his own decision as you let your daughters do.

      But there's absolutely no reason why routine infant circumcision is medically-indicated.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:25:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The uncircumcised penis is no more susceptible (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, 2thanks, Deep Texan

      than the vagina to disease.  Risky behavior may be on a more equal footing between the sexes.

    •  Cutting off your ear can do the same thing right? (0+ / 0-)

      Therefore, it's the same thing.

      /snark

  •  As one born in 1949, (7+ / 0-)

    I never gave it a thought, and neither did anybody else.

    I have been reading a good translation of the Old Testament lately though, and if I had been around at that time when Joshua had a bunch of flint knives made I would have headed for the hills. And not Gibeath-Haaraloth, which random places on the web assure me translates as "Hill of the Foreskins".

    Anyway, it's good that the practice is being questioned because it is kind of a serious thing to do to a person.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:43:08 PM PDT

  •  I would like to see this here... I used to stand (14+ / 0-)

    watching Drs perform this procedure on infants. If parents watched most wouldn't do it. It is wrong to make such a permanent decision for any child.

    I was fully aware of sexual practices before 12 but totally ignorant about what a circumcision was. I was asked when my son was born if I wanted him circumcized. I didn't know what it was but I had read about it in texts about the Jewish faith and thought it was a ritual. So I told them "I am not Jewish. THey told me it was cutting the foreskin off  and said it was a normal procedure on boys so I said OK. Didn't want my son to have to be odd guy out... Knew how that worked for anyone in the human herd.

    Then years later I stood and watched the first circumcision... I stood there and thought "I am sorry son"

    How can you tell when Rmoney is lying? His lips are moving. Fear is the Mind Killer

    by boophus on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:51:34 PM PDT

  •  I watched my son suffer for a week after his bris. (7+ / 0-)

    It was brutal, and more so because everyone assured me in advance that it would not be.  From what other parents have told me, the secular, hospital version is no more humane.

    The AIDS research is persuasive, though. Maybe with anesthesia and serious pain meds after -- but the traditional approach seems cruel.

  •  I'm not Jewish (6+ / 0-)

    but I am circumcized, and it doesn't bother me in the least.  TBH, an uncut johnson looks weird to me.  During my OB rotation, I saw it done a couple of times, and the amount of trauma if done right then looked minimal.  I can't speak for ones done 'ritually' at a later date, though.  They might well be far more traumatic.

  •  Religion, parenthood, sexuality (8+ / 0-)

    Children, tradition, and medicine.

    Yeah, what could go wrong in this discussion...it's not like people have strong opinions about any of those things.

    As for me, I wish nobody would circumcise, but I don't know if I could support a law banning it.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:59:58 PM PDT

  •  I didn't circ my boys (11+ / 0-)

    Since I am not religious and I support children's bodily autonomy and the right of people to decide on elective surgeries for themselves.

    However ... I think the preferable path is convincing parents rather than a ban. That has been working in the US. Rates are way down here.

    I do have to wonder if the German ban is really about religious minorities rather than about child rights.

  •  I used to not care about the issue (12+ / 0-)

    and I don't know, maybe this actually belongs in a diary.

    I am circumcised and I honestly had no idea of any difference because of the prevalence here in the states. Well before my son was born and well after my sexual activity, I learned that I have a condition because of my circumcision.

    In my younger years, sure having sex for hours on end was nice, but in my later years I've come to feel scorn for it. There are times where no matter what I do I just cannot find completion, and personal research along with medical confirmation all points to desensitized skin because of my circumcision.

    So when we found out we were having a son, and because of my wife's experience with me, we jointly decided to refrain from having him circumcised.

    The way we figure...if he wants it? He can choose to have so later in life.

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:02:51 PM PDT

    •  Well, as the cowgirls say, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      idbecrazyif, ogre

      "We're just looking for a man who can stay on for more than 8 seconds!"

      The reverse of your problem is unfortunately much more common. Orthodox Jews don't seem to have problems with small family size.  In the UK, in comparison with the national average of 2.4 children per family, Haredi families have an average of 5.9 children.

      Religiously, it is not necessary to perform a radical circumcision, though that has unfortunately become a cultural practice.

      People wish to be settled, only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. - Emerson

      by CarbonFiberBoy on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:31:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thats why Im sorta torn on the subject (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        billmosby, CarbonFiberBoy

        As we often are when an issue hits us in our homes.

        --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

        by idbecrazyif on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:47:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And there... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        idbecrazyif, Deep Texan, kishik, kyril
        Religiously, it is not necessary to perform a radical circumcision, though that has unfortunately become a cultural practice.
        ... there's the rub (pardon the humor).

        It's not religiously required that it be radical, but has become culturally normal. That's a lot harder to justify. It's our cultural norm is... well, something that the law stomps on all the time. Just look at cultural norms about who can drink, in the US... and in various parts of Europe.

        Now imagine telling the judge that your family all let their kids drink wine with dinner, it's just a cultural norm that you're retaining within your (So. Italian--I'm citing part of my own heritage and experience) ethnic/cultural practices.

        "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

        by ogre on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:54:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  dear idbecrazyif, I am sorry for your loss. (7+ / 0-)

      Thank you for your courage to raise your issue.

      You are not alone, dear idbecrazyif. Many men suffer the problem you describe, desensitization of skin.

      This is one of the common effects of circumcision. Mucosal skin that is supposed to be protected by the foreskin is exposed to the friction of clothing, which causes keratinization, the accumulation of keratin.

      There are nonsurgical methods to restore sensitivity. Have you tried any of them?

      Empower your kids to protect themselves! Renee wrote 2 diaries about radKIDS, a national skills-building program.

      by 2thanks on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:51:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've thought about it, and looked into them (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril

        At this point in my life I just do not have the patience to try them, and frankly some of them look painful.

        --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

        by idbecrazyif on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:03:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  circumcision can save lives (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Yasuragi

    as it has been proven to reduce the rate of heterosexual transmission of HIV. And this is being taken seriously -- this very day!

    http://www.edgeonthenet.com/..._

    Not for nothing did AIDS activists come out in force to stop the proposed ban in San Francisco.

  •  I added a recommendation in the [Cough] TIP jar... (5+ / 0-)
  •  Important to know where the decision (5+ / 0-)

    comes from intellectually. It is an extension of Germany's big emphasis on Rights of Children. It is one of the few countries that has a Fetal Personhood law. Bans on circumcision and abortion logically travel together.

    I oppose both.

  •  Also worthy of note (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Treg, TiaRachel, Yasuragi, Wee Mama

    is that Jews have for thousands of years been willing to die in order to have their baby boys circumcised. It is that important.

  •  Speaking for Jews and Muslims (8+ / 0-)

    this is very fundamentally an issue of religious freedom.

    Most of us around here agree that a woman should be able to get an abortion, and that the state should not interfere, even if a majority would like to take that right away.

    That in the current culture, that circumcision is unpopular, I do not doubt.  But circumcision has been central to all of the Abrahamic traditions: even Christianity, which sees it as repellant.

    For many of you, the house of worship you don't go to is a church.   You may reject religion entirely, yet you may share specific Christian prejudices.  You internalize your European culture.

    A lot of Jews have accepted martyrdom over this when Christian attitudes were supreme.  The last of the people who remember the Holicaust are now quite old.  Religious freedom is fundamentally about tolerance.  Before you effectively start to outlaw the practice of traditional Judaism or Islam, make sure you really mean it.

    T -- I know you may not want this for your own son, and it's totally your right as a parent to decide.  But if you are willing to let others decide for communities for which this is a central custom, you cease to be a progessive or liberal in any meaningful sense.  It has nothing to do with being Jewish, and everything to do with favoring an open society.

    Mitt Romney is a T-1000 sent back from the Future as a harbinger of the upcoming Robot Apocolypse.

    by mbayrob on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:14:56 PM PDT

    •  last para knocks it out of the park. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, Yasuragi

      exactly.

    •  female circumcision is practiced in parts of (10+ / 0-)

      Africa and Asia, under the auspices of "religion".

      We outlaw FGM in the U.S. and Europe, even though those communities claim "religious precedent".

      I believe that baby boys and baby girls should be treated equally.  And I believe that all religions should be treated equally.  Everyone should be subject to the same laws and regulations.

      Essentially, the argument is that the male circumcision of the Abrahamic faiths is a valid religious freedom, while female circumcision of the other "tribal" faiths is mutilation beyond religious freedom.

    •  I'm perfectly happy to tolerate (9+ / 0-)

      anything you want to do or not do to/for yourself because of your religion or lack thereof.

      It's when you start stepping on other people's human rights that we're going to have a problem. And believe it or not, your baby boys are 'other people'.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:50:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Even if it finished Hitler's job? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mannie

        Parents decide any number of things for their children.

        Like it or not, no circumcision, no Jews.  This is not a new argument.  The Greeks -- who thought infancide was acceptable under some circumstances -- and Romans, who thought having slaves fight to the death was cool entertainment -- totally agreed with you on circumcision.

        A lot of people don't give a rat's ass if a single person sees themselves as a Jew 100 years hence.  I can live with indifference.  I can even live with a degree of hostility.  But I stop at cultural genocide.  And so should you.

        This is an unbelievably emotional issue for many Jews.  If you don't want to circumsize your children, don't.  But if you try to prevent me from circumsizing my son,  you are adding yourself to a list of very, very bad actors, going back to Classical times.

        Mitt Romney is a T-1000 sent back from the Future as a harbinger of the upcoming Robot Apocolypse.

        by mbayrob on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:58:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Call me an anti-Semite if you want. (3+ / 0-)

          Society has a legitimate interest in protecting the rights of people who cannot speak for themselves. That includes protecting them from their parents, if required.

          The "If you don't like X, don't do it" argument can sometimes be used in the abortion debate because there's a legitimate argument that a non-viable fetus or embryo isn't actually a separate human being because it's biologically inextricable from the woman's body. There is no such argument about infants. They are separate human beings. Parents do not have absolute moral authority to do whatever they want to them.

          And I have a high enough opinion of Jews and Judaism to believe that the Jewish people could survive a transition to adult circumcision. The Jewish faith and culture is bigger than a baby's foreskin. I would rather see a movement come from within (not least because the history has shown that sort of approach to be much more effective in similar cases) but I won't condemn those who think a legal approach is appropriate. I just think they're wrong from a pragmatic standpoint (legislating against this sort of practice doesn't work).

          "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

          by kyril on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:57:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I did not call you an anti-Semite (0+ / 0-)

            I don't think that you really appreciate what you're asking.   I think it's more akin to the attitude the Europeans have had to non-European cultures in the Americas.  And what the Europeans did to native cultures here, they first did to the Jews and other minorities in Europe.

            It's always been true that people of any particular culture and time see themselves as "advanced".  It's bullshit, really, since it's simply the way cultures -- and ruling cultures in particular -- see non-majority or subjugated cultures.

            Attitudes towards circumcision vary a great deal by culture; it was not uncommon in the Near East, and it was a foreign, "barbaric" practice to the Greeks and Romans.  You are an inheritor of that culture, and your distaste for the practice is difficult to separate from the rest of your cultural heritage.

            I don't know anything about the German judge who made this ruling, although there's plenty of anti-foreign feeling towards Turks who live there  (the case before the court involved circumcision as practiced by Islam IIRC), and while anti-semitism is officially suppressed in Germany (I recall there are laws there that would not be possible here in the US under the First Amendment),  it probably isn't gone entirely.  Still, I have no reason to think that the judge was acting out of prejudice.

            But I do think it's fair to call it a sort of "cultural imperialism".  "We know better than these uncivilized [Jews, Muslims], so we will require them to follow our superior ways."

            And while Reform Judaism (the likely background of the diarist, for example) has people who hold opinions like the diarist, even for most Reform Jews, brit milah is a very, very big deal.

            You may see this as a way of "civilizing" Jews and Muslims of this "barbaric" practice.  But Jews and Muslims don't particularly see themselves in need of "civilizing", and question anyone of European heritage who would have to chuzpah to think they have standing to civilize anybody.

            Mitt Romney is a T-1000 sent back from the Future as a harbinger of the upcoming Robot Apocolypse.

            by mbayrob on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:43:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  very, very much against this. Several reasons. (12+ / 0-)

    While I can understand the bodily integrity argument, the procedure is extremely minor.  Have there been cases where things have gone wrong?  Certainly--of course that can be said for many other things as well---vaccinations, ear piercings--one could also make the case that certain types up upbringing (strict religious upbringing, for example) is a violation of cognitive integrity too.  I'm sure some people here would subscribe to that--I don't.  

    While anti-circumcision activists often cite varying health studies, there really isn't a great deal of evidence that suggests that health is adversely affected--and as with HIV/AIDS it can be preventative as well. I don't think the medical argument, though, particularly does much for either side.

    I also have a HUGE problem with a lot of the--yes, antisemitic-- marketing material that is often associated with this movement.  The evil mohel, for example.  That is definitely one piece of the PR--and given that there--to be honest--has never been a great deal of love for Jews in the world, I think it spills over into anti-Semitism more than you might expect.

    Lastly,--obviously Germany has different protections on free speech, free expression, etc. than we find in the U.S. constitution--but this does DIRECTLY single out two religious groups: Jews and Muslims.  Because they're the ones who practice it.  So, in the U.S.--I see a ban as a direct violation of religious freedom.  If it were a rite of passage for a baby to get, say, a nose-ring in some societies, and the procedure was not proven to be detrimental, I would say that cultural/familial practices override this.

  •  I usually rec your diaries.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, mconvente

    but you have a contradiction between the title and

    While the future legality of circumcision in Germany remains hazy,
    I think you're sensationalizing this decision. No-one could enforce a ban on clipping foreskins, and you know it.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:17:01 PM PDT

  •  No one asked me my opinion (10+ / 0-)

    when they circumcised me. Had they, I would have objected. Even cognizant of my Jewish heritage. (Patrileneal, so there was no reason).

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:20:05 PM PDT

  •  I'm conflicted on this (9+ / 0-)

    I myself am circumcised and don't really have a problem with it. Never have. Like one of the commenters above, I frankly think uncircumcised penises look weird. As Elaine from Seinfeld once said, they look like torpedoes. :p

    That being said, something about circumcising without consent just seems wrong to me. It's certainly a complicated issue. I do not agree with comparisons to FGM, which I think is a distinct issue not comparable to male circumcision. But like you, I don't really know where I stand. I do know that, if I had a newborn baby boy, I probably would not circumcise him, because something about it just doesn't feel right.

    Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

    by Chrislove on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:27:39 PM PDT

  •  Something no one has mentioned - my best (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Mannie, mconvente

    friend from childhood married, and when her first son was born I asked about circumsion and she said emphaticaly YES.

    They're Lutheran, but her husband had not been circumsized at birth, and his foreskin had not grown with the rest of his penis. It was extremely uncomfortable, and he had it done when he was 21.

  •  A few minor points: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, AaronInSanDiego, Wee Mama

    It's also a method of tribal identification. Our temple was begun because of two Jewish men who sat together in a sauna. Yes, I am, and you?

    I've been to many bris, and never saw any screaming or blood or any of that stuff. There is some discomfort from fitting the cap over the glans, but it's all over so quickly that the baby doesn't normally cry from pain, more like from having a stranger so close, a room full of people, everything strange. Mohels are frequently also doctors and do a very good job. A little Mogen David before and after and the baby seems in fine spirits, as it were.

    I know there are organizations of men, Jews and non-Jews alike, who hate their circumcision, but I also know that most Jewish men think it's great. People are quite sensitive about their sexuality and get very upset about any dysfunction, but perhaps do not always correctly direct the blame, as we see from many divorce proceedings between our friends.

    I don't see a parallel between male circumcision and what is unfortunately called "female circumcision." Male circumcision for the most part increases sexual happiness in a relationship, while cutting the sex parts of females is intentionally designed to destroy it.

    People wish to be settled, only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. - Emerson

    by CarbonFiberBoy on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:53:58 PM PDT

  •  idk, I don't get what's the big deal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Yasuragi

    I would definitely classify circumcision as an elective surgery, but even elective surgeries have benefits (like some of the HIV enhanced protection benefit citations posted in comments above).

    Female circumcision serves NO purposes (other than remove the clitoris and removed pleasure from sex for women), so no one should tolerate that.  And maybe male circumcision dampens the maximum sensation a man can feel, but I'd say it's pretty damn good even circumcised.

    To all the people who are against "mutilation", etc. - are you also against letting a toddler get his/her ears pierced?  There definitely are a good amount of 2-3 year old girls who get their ears pierced, and I don't really think a 2 year old can give consent.

    I mostly stay out of these diaries because I mostly don't really care about this subject, but I figure I would add my two cents this time.

    "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

    by mconvente on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:04:06 PM PDT

    •  dear mconvente, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      qofdisks

      Because you said this:

      I'd say it's pretty damn good even circumcised.
      I am going to make the assumptions that you are male and that you were circumcised.

      I am sorry for your loss.

      Empower your kids to protect themselves! Renee wrote 2 diaries about radKIDS, a national skills-building program.

      by 2thanks on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:18:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Funny how you care about my own cirumcision more (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chrislove, PsychoSavannah

        than I do...  That is all.

        "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

        by mconvente on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 06:02:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You are trolling (0+ / 0-)

        It’s compassionate to extend condolences to someone who has expressed their feelings of loss but when a person is discussing something without expressing feelings of loss and you tell them you are sorry for the loss they aren’t experiencing it’s just your selfishly using them to make a statement of your own opinions.

        "I'm grateful for my job - truly, but still...ugh." CityLightsLover

        by Audri on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:35:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary, Troubadour (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, 2thanks, qofdisks, The Troubadour

    Is there a way I can publish it to the group?

    Kossacks for the Choice to be Genitally Intact

    We may not agree completely but I really appreciate how you've raised this issue.

  •  It's just same old European intolerance of (11+ / 0-)

    minority religious practices, this time under a left-wing veneer rather than a right-wing one.

  •  Cancer of the foreskin is another reason for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Gary Norton

    circumcision. A friend's brother had it, and for this reason she said that if she had sons, they would be circumcised. Period.
     

  •  Your being Jewish makes this a very brave stance. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, Prof Haley, kaliope, RealityBias

    I have no skin in this game (forgive the pun) as I am a woman and my husband and I have only one child: a daughter.  

    But oddly my husband, Italian Catholic and circumcised at birth in the 1960s is very opposed to circumcision.  His stance has been a source of amusement to many of our friends and relatives. He's not militant about it. He is hilariously funny about it, belying his sincerity  I must admit my daughter and I tease him occasionally on the subject.  

    Frankly I have never been to a bris nor have I ever really considered the ramifications to an infant from an emotional perspective.

    Thanks for making me consider this more closely.

    "Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry."

    by Glinda on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:15:25 PM PDT

  •  This is not a good thing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, mayim, Wee Mama, JNEREBEL

    A Jewish parent can always choose to not circumcise and exclude their son from a major cultural milestone - that is their right as parents.

    But society at large and other Jews have ZERO right to tell me and my wife we can't choose to circumcise any sons we have based on our cultural and ethnic traditions and choice to live by them.

    I have been to many brissim as well - and not only is the child given some wine before the cut - but I have seen babies scream and babies yawn and look around - there is no child that reacts the same.  There is a great deal of care, love and cultural acceptance for the family that makes the choice to follow tradition in addition to support for how to deal with the healing.

    If someone is of a mindset they have been "cheated" of something then they will find a way to feel that is true.  I had a roomie who went on and on and on about how he was certain he was missing some pleasure because his parents had unfairly circumcised him as an infant.  He was also a gentile sex addict - the two are not unlinked in my mind.

    I was given a gift of belonging to an ancient heritage that values tradition and self control - and I value that far more than a piece of skin I never saw.

    And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

    by Mortifyd on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:35:29 PM PDT

    •  dear Mortifyd, I am sorry for your loss. (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      Wee Mama

      Empower your kids to protect themselves! Renee wrote 2 diaries about radKIDS, a national skills-building program.

      by 2thanks on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:29:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not sure if you are trying to be humorous (6+ / 0-)

        with your repeated use of this phrase, but if you're serious I think using the same language that one uses when a loved one dies is a bit over the top, so to speak.

        "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

        by AaronInSanDiego on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:29:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  dear AaronInSanDiego, sometimes it is difficult (0+ / 0-)

          to communicate with these black letters on white background.

          The nuances of emotional states can easily be lost.

          I am definitely not trying to be humorous. I do not think there is anything humorous about genital mutilation.

          This may be a phrase that you use when a loved one dies. I have probably used this phrase in the same situation.

          What phrase would you suggest that I use to express to someone that I am sorry for their loss of half the skin of their penis and resultant loss of functionality?

          Just too tired to address the last few words of your comment. Good night!

          Empower your kids to protect themselves! Renee wrote 2 diaries about radKIDS, a national skills-building program.

          by 2thanks on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 02:02:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ok, good night. (6+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mconvente, Audri, Mortifyd, Wee Mama, mbayrob, kyril

            I will say one more thing before I hit the sack. I think the fact that you are giving the same response to people, regardless of whether they express regret, indifference, or satisfaction about their circumcisions, shows more your personal feeling about circumcision than your concern for the individual.

            "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

            by AaronInSanDiego on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 02:29:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That is exactly... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              2thanks

              His point. And its a subject that is horrifically close to his heart.

               it is both personal regarding the subject and 2thanks as an individual as well.

              All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

              by kishik on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:24:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I have known far too many happily married (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mortifyd

            Jewish men (with sizable families) to give much credence to "resultant loss of function."

            Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

            by Wee Mama on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:26:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good point, Wee Mama. (0+ / 0-)

              Some of the happily married Jewish men I have known with large families have mandatory intercourse every Friday night. Coupled with a belief in no birth control, children might be expected to result.

              I did not say loss of function. I said loss of functionality. This is a very short answer to a complex and beautiful subject. The male may still plant the seed, and one or both participants may "come to completion," but the activity is likely not to be as satisfactory for both partners as it could be if the man had an intact phallus with its natural rolling sleeve.

              Just as an aside, during my sex education class in high school in the US in the 1960s, one of the other students in the all-male class asked the instructor how long intercourse should last. The instructor said "About 7 seconds." Being a very young and naive 14-year-old, I had no idea why some students thought this intensely funny.

              As a Slut, I think it very important to consider the presence of women in this whole picture, something so far left out of these comments, or perhaps I should say someone so far left out of these comments.

              Male Circumcision Reduces Female Pleasure

              "Female arousal disorder" blamed on circumcised penises

              A New Zealand study found that reduced female arousal and fewer female orgasms may be linked to women having sex with circumcised male partners. Women reported they were about twice as likely to experience orgasm if their male partner had a foreskin.

              (Caution, frank discussion about human sexuality.)

              Many women I have talked to concur.

              I probably will not participate in the battles of the studies and all that. Use your G-d given intelligence, folks, that is why G-d gave you intelligence.

              (Incidentally, I care for my 24/7 disabled spouse, and she is not having a very good day, so I may not be able to return today.  Thanks again, The Troubadour.)

              Empower your kids to protect themselves! Renee wrote 2 diaries about radKIDS, a national skills-building program.

              by 2thanks on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:33:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Stop it (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mortifyd, Wee Mama, mbayrob

        It’s compassionate to extend condolences to someone who has expressed their feelings of loss but when a person is discussing something without expressing feelings of loss and you tell them you are sorry for the loss they aren’t experiencing it’s just your selfishly using them to make a statement of your own opinions.

        "I'm grateful for my job - truly, but still...ugh." CityLightsLover

        by Audri on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:33:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You are Trolling (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mortifyd

        It’s compassionate to extend condolences to someone who has expressed their feelings of loss but when a person is discussing something without expressing feelings of loss and you tell them you are sorry for the loss they aren’t experiencing it’s just your selfishly using them to make a statement of your own opinions.

        "I'm grateful for my job - truly, but still...ugh." CityLightsLover

        by Audri on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:37:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is not trolling.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Avilyn

          2thanks contributed with his stance and other comments throughout this diary. Not sure now why you are following behind him and ony him.

          Those he has said this to certainy have their right to come forth with their own response.  For you to do this for them seems odd.

          All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

          by kishik on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:43:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it is trolling - and who are you? the sock puppet (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Audri

            cheering squad?  Are you 2thanks that you know his mind and soul?  Or are you just following behind him and ony him?

            And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

            by Mortifyd on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:04:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  well, (0+ / 0-)

              as a matter of fact, I probably do know 2thanks pretty well since we are members of the House of LIGHTS, a group that has formed in support of survivors of many types of abuse.  

              And thanks for the accusation of being a sock puppet.  I love puppets.  And socks really keep my feet warm!

              All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

              by kishik on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:08:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  aren't you just precious (0+ / 0-)

                2thanks can type like a big boy, right?  He managed to before...

                I do love socks myself - nothing like a nice wool on a chilly night.

                And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                by Mortifyd on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:41:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  nope... (0+ / 0-)

                  2thanks types just fine.

                  me?  It's called being a friend and someone who supports him.

                  If you all disagree with him - that's fine.  Disagree. But not sure where you think calling me a troll and sockpuppet comes into play.

                  I've taken on bigger monsters in my life.

                  So if it makes you feel better to call someone you have never responded to before a troll and sockpuppet - well.  Go ahead.  I won't take away your pleasure.

                  Good luck with your life's endeavors.

                  All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

                  by kishik on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 05:24:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Sure it is: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mortifyd, kyril

            It’s compassionate to extend condolences to someone who has expressed their feelings of loss but when a person is discussing something without expressing feelings of loss and you tell them you are sorry for the loss they aren’t experiencing it’s just your selfishly using them to make a statement of your own opinions.

            "I'm grateful for my job - truly, but still...ugh." CityLightsLover

            by Audri on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:48:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  unaccepted. That you would even try to equate (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama

        an intentional removal of small amount of skin with the loss of a life is disgusting.

        Why not apologise for the eyelid my delivery doctor cut off with the forceps?  I feel much stronger about that one than I do about my penis looking Jewish.  

        But then I am proud to have a Jewish penis and had Bris Hadamah 3 times to make sure I penis was appropriately Jewish.  If I had a religious circumcision as an infant my life would have been MUCH easier.

        And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

        by Mortifyd on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:01:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I Had Similar Experience (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kaliope, kyril, RealityBias, Avilyn

    I was raised Jewish and my husband Catholic. When I became pregnant 19 years ago, I too hoped it was a girl so we would be spared the decision on circumcision. We were both Atheist but still have strong cultural ties to the faiths we were raised in. My gut said that although it was almost a Universal practice in the US (my husband had been circumcised at birth) it was a barbaric holdover and shouldn't be done. My husband on the other hand said that a son should be circumcised because if he decided to become a practicing Jew, he would be pretty unhappy with having one as an adult. As luck would have it, we had a girl and were spared the decision.

  •  dear The Troubadour, (5+ / 0-)

    Thank you for this thoughtful and conversation-provoking diary. The conversation obviously veered away from the German legal issue to the subject of circumcision or male genital mutilation in the United States.

    I think we need more diaries on this subject, discussion of which creates emotional heat. I think we need more light.

    I saw many inaccuracies in the comments. IMHO, we need to focus on facts.  

    Oh, The Troubadour, I republished this diary to House of LIGHTS, a Daily Kos group for survivors of childhood abuse and the people who support them.

    Empower your kids to protect themselves! Renee wrote 2 diaries about radKIDS, a national skills-building program.

    by 2thanks on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:45:51 PM PDT

  •  my favorite justification (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, RealityBias, Deep Texan, Avilyn

    "We wanted him to look like his dad."

    I always feel sorry for both the parents; it can't be an easy thing to be a father with a one-inch, hairless penis.

    When our OB asked whether our sons would be circumcised, we said "No thanks. Are there any other medically unnecessary procedures to remove healthy body parts that we could take advantage of? Just clip a piece of the nose, or maybe notch their ears?"

    Worth noting that -- in my understanding of history, anyway -- regular circumcision of gentile males in the U.S. and U.K. was as much a function of 19th-century anti-masturbation campaigns as anything else. Those were the good old days, recall, when boys had spiked rings placed around their genitalia at night so that erections would be punished and nocturnal emissions prevented. Masturbation causes insanity, dontcha know, and thus the little bit of pain was well worth the greater good.  

    Trust that the pro-circumcision advocates of religious freedom here are sure to defend the rights of certain Christians to beat their children in accordance with Biblical principles.

    •  I think most circumcised men do not understand (4+ / 0-)

      the depth of their loss. The loss is glossed over, ignored, made the subject of jokes, and people who bring up the subject are subjected to abuse, as we have seen in previous diaries on this site.

      Most men after circumcision can have an orgasm. Some cannot. Other losses are more subtle. Some are even worse.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Swill to Power.

      Empower your kids to protect themselves! Renee wrote 2 diaries about radKIDS, a national skills-building program.

      by 2thanks on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:06:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you may well be right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avilyn, 2thanks

        I'm afraid that the narrative of mourning and loss is itself bound to be a loser in a a society as simultaneously patriarchal, hyper-heterosexualized, and terrified of open discussions about sexuality as the U.S.

        Nobody wants to be told their defective when they don't feel that way; I imagine that this is especially true when it comes to men and their penises. Pragmatically, I think narratives of choice and child rights is likely to be more effective.

  •  How much skin does a circumcision remove? A lot. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RealityBias, Deep Texan, kyril

    As I said above, this conversation needs more facts. Here is one:

    Comments in this diary have called the amount of skin removed a "bit" and called the act a "snip" and a "cut." It is a general misconception that just a small amount of tissue is removed.

    If a man is circumcised, the amount of missing skin is approximately the size of a 3 x 5 card. 3 inches x 5 inches or 15 square inches (7.6 cm x 12.7 cm or 96.5 cm sq).

    Circumcision removes 35% - 50% of penile skin.

    Male anatomy and anatomical terms.

    Empower your kids to protect themselves! Renee wrote 2 diaries about radKIDS, a national skills-building program.

    by 2thanks on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:25:52 AM PDT

    •  That was more graphic than I'd care to see (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama

      You may be talking about the amount of skin in an adult circumcision, not an infant one.  I guess I had never seen a uncircumcised penis this closely before.  I'm happy with what I got and I don't blame my parents for mutilating me when I was a day or two old.  I think you have shown that you have great contempt for anyone choosing to circumcise their male offspring.  As I recall when I was a kid in gym class, a few boys were not circumcised and they were the ones getting teased.  That is probably reversed these days.  You know that being the odd boy makes for no end of teasing and bullying.  But I think religious tolerance needs to be practiced in this country, which to my thinking means that we don't need the government dictating these sexual decisions any more than government doesn't need to be involved in the issue of abortion.  I think the same reasons exist for both circumstances.  

      "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength", George Orwell, "1984" -7.63 -5.95

      by dangoch on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:59:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Did Jon Stewart show the procedure tonight? (0+ / 0-)

    I watched the DailyShow tonight and Jon Stewart did something to a hot dog with some kind a gadget.  Was the gadget similar to one used for circumcision?

  •  Pleased to see civilized tone of this discussion (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2thanks, kyril, RealityBias, Wee Mama

    At least so far. Others questioning circumcision here in the past have been unceremoniously (heh) run out of Kos by gangs of roving thugs.

    We did not have our son circumcised. I'm vehemently against the practice of infant circumcision for reasons of consent, and my circ'd husband was mostly neutral. He would have had it done because he didn't know anything different, but after I did some research he agreed with me that the choice is better left to the boy when he becomes a man.

    As strongly as I felt about giving him the choice, I was still torn because we live in a state with a high circ rate and moms worry about their children feeling different and ostracized, because moms worry about everything. I didn't want his first sexual experience to be with a girl like my sister-in-law, who made her objections known at the time and then two years later said straight to his sweet toddler face, "Your penis is filthy and disgusting!" That would be the day I lost all doubt. If it does nothing else but save him from a girlfriend like that, I did the right thing.

    I'm more ambivalent about religious circumcision. I wish it wasn't done, but I'm not sure I want to see it outlawed because it's still such an important part of religious identity for so many people. I know there are other religious rituals that some people consider equally barbaric that I would not support under any circumstances, but we have to draw the line somewhere, and most circumcised males don't feel shortchanged in any way.

  •  My parents... (6+ / 0-)

    refused to let the doctor do the procedure on me when I was born, and for that, I'm grateful.

    The infection stuff as infants, it's not rocket science.  Keep the area clean.  My parents did that, I never had any trouble.

    It's troubling that some people in this thread are using very outdated medical information to try to bolster their argument.  The worst, and something no liberal should do, is to still claim in 2012 that infants don't feel as much pain.

    Bull fucking shit.

    And speaking as a non-Jewish and non-Christian person, it's a bit interesting seeing people use religion to justify it.  If you want to use (outdated) medical data or studies that only apply to 3rd world countries, go for it.  But to use religion to justify doing something to another human being that's not yourself?  Umm.........................

  •  I don't see how the courts (0+ / 0-)

    in Germany or elsewhere could object to a less radical circumcision, one that doesn't require as much flesh and blood.  There should be some rational compromise that would be safe and also religiously satisfactory.  The Torah doesn't say exactly how much foreskin needs to be removed, does it?  

    Worst case scenario, you wait until the kid grows up and them let him do it by his choice, when he can brag about it to his friends.  Hey, if you're too gutless to cut off a little tiny piece of weewee, maybe you should become a Scientologist.  I hear they're still recruiting.

  •  It Is Falling Out of Favor in the U.S. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    Everything in life has an ethical element to it, but I really don't think that stakes are all that high for what is essentially now an elective, cosmetic procedure.

    Circumcision has historically been a powerful symbolic act -- in what other way can a tribe or clan so vividly lay claim to the reproductive capacity of its males? It basically says, "This belongs to us. Use it in the way we say. If you break the rules, castration follows."

    Good times.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:30:52 AM PDT

  •  Bravo, Germany. (4+ / 0-)

    I was circumcised as an infant.  I’m not Jewish; it’s just something a lot of secular Americans do for some reason.  It was done in a hospital, by a doctor, with no religious overtones whatsoever.  I’m fairly certain that no sky gods were appeased by the offering, though there is a weak medical justification floating around about it being easier to keep your sundry bits clean that way (I don’t buy it).  I have no memory of the procedure, and didn’t think much about it until I was old enough to ponder the possibility of having a son of my own someday.  Then it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks; a piece of me was amputated for no reason.  My foreskin wasn’t a threat, like an appendix or wisdom teeth can sometimes be, and I was given no choice in whether I wanted to have a perfectly functional part of my body irreversibly sliced off after eons of evolution went to the trouble of putting it there.

    If an adult, having reached an age where he or she can choose their own path in life, wishes to undertake surgical body modification for fun or religious initiation, I am all for it.  But my concept of freedom of religion extends even to children who have every right to turn their back on the gods of their parents should they so desire, and I believe a parent making such a binding choice for an infant who can neither consent nor defend themselves is reprehensible.  In my humble opinion, it is in the same category as surgical removal of a girl's clitoris or a criminal who takes a knife to a baby because he's a psychopath collecting fingers or whatever.

    Sorry if this sounds harsh (though we seem to share the same revulsion for the act), but I just think this is a barbaric tradition.  I would not have expected Germany to make this move, but my hat is off to them.

  •  THEY DON'T DO IT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton

    In my 9 years in Germany I was a member of a gym.  I sweated, swam and ended with a shower.  Twice, after my a guy came up to me and asked if I was Jewish.  I explained that the procedure is (or was) standard in America (I never actually admitted or denied that I was or was not Jewish.  This was my little fun.)  The hygenic and medical advantages of circumcision, especially in this era of AIDS, is incontestible.  But in Europe, It boils down to two powerful issues:  (a) If you're circumcised, you're a Jew and (b) hands off my dinky.

  •  Germany never makes it easy for Jews (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 05:29:58 AM PDT

  •  I don't think it hurts to have it look like a porn (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    star's, but that's just me.

  •  This reminds of the problem faced by (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan, 2thanks, Wee Mama, Avilyn

    Sikhs, who are required to carry the kirpanwith them at all times.

    So Sikhs carry symbolic knives with them.

    In New York City a compromise was reached with the Board of Education whereby the wearing of the knives was allowed so long as they were secured within the sheaths with adhesives and made impossible to draw.
    I think Jews and Muslims should consider the idea of a symbolic circumcision. Remove a tiny bit of the foreskin and leave the rest.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra En théorie, il n'y a aucune différence entre théorie et pratique, mais en pratique, il y a toujours une différence. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 06:41:13 AM PDT

  •  agreed, i always thought about it the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kishik, 2thanks, kyril

    same way that court argued.

    that children can't choose for themselves and that should mean these types of procedures should be done later.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:16:13 AM PDT

  •  anti-Semitism: Why hasn't any commenter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mayim, Mannie

    discussed this:

    FORESKIN MAN!

    Sorry, The Troubadour--while I understand the arguments for the rights of the infant, the so-called 'intactivist' movement isn't always as....shall we say 'kosher'....as some seem to believe....

  •  I typically do not find laws that discriminate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie

    to be 'impressively bold'

    I'm sorry that you do here.

  •  Regarding my comment, "I am sorry for your Loss": (0+ / 0-)

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Dear Kossacks:

    Thank you for the feedback. You have given me a lot to think about.

    As I said in a comment above, my wife is disabled, and I am her 24/7 caregiver. On ordinary days, she keeps me pretty busy. She has not been doing well lately, which has delayed my response to you.

    Out of respect for you who gave me feedback, I thought I should let you know why I have not responded yet.

    Peace,

    2thanks

    If you are a family member's caregiver: IFMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected, last-minute hours off, without fear of reprisals from your employer.

    by 2thanks on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 01:23:34 PM PDT

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