What the goddamn fuckety-fuck!!! NO, IT IS NEVER OKAY TO CIRCUMCISE A MALE CHILD EXCEPT FOR MEDICAL NECESSITY.
Okay, just for back-story, so there’s a discussion in a private group on Facebook; a woman’s husband is converting to the Jewish faith, she expressed concern about having their very young male child circumcised. The details of that family’s concerns aren’t important here.
Lots and lots of comments later and I join the discussion with this:
Ray Knitterman Whiting If adults wish to convert, what they do to/with their bodies is entirely their own business. If parents convert AFTER a child is born, however, the cihild [sic] was not born into that faith tradition and should not have to undergo a medically unnecessary body modfication procedure just to satisfy the dictates of the parents’ newfound religion. It is his body, not the parents’ and it should be left intact until he is old enough to decide. And that whole “look like the father” nonsense is just that: nonsense. I don’t recall ever seeing my father, and my boys didn’t see me after they reached potty-training ages.
Then the discussion when toward culture and ‘norms’, and this came up:
Xxxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx: in the US, the cultural “norm” *is* circumcision.
Ray Knitterman Whiting But in the U.S. the numbers are declining, thankfully.
And then after many other posts and comments, I added this:
Ray Knitterman Whiting I don’t think there is any valid justification (except for specific medical need for a specific child) for circ. to be done as a common practice, not even religious/cultural ideas. I wouldn’t volunteer an opinion, but if someone asks me what I think, I will have no problems fully expressing myself.
Mind you, there are nearly 100 various comments in that thread, and my opinion is a minor contribution, but several agreed with me.
And then, this is sent to me in a Private Message:
In the efforts to keep the thread civil, I’d like to PM you my opinion. Your offhand comments about the rate lowering “thankfully” and that it’s wrong, even for religious/cultural reasons, *is* volunteering an opinion. I’m not saying your opinion is RONG [sic], because everyone is entitled to one, but may I (politely) ask that you have a little more respect for those of us who have made the decision to circumcise for religious reasons?
Of course I responded briefly with:
I respect people’s right to make a choice.
But there is no fucking way I will respect fucked-up choices. People can do what they wish, and as long as it is legal in this country, little boys will continue to be cut, but do not ask my opinion or I will absolutely tell you that you made the wrong decision.
And no, stating my opinion in a general discussion is not the same as telling a specific parent they made a wrong and horrible decision and committed a sin against their child. I would not volunteer that to a parent unless specifically asked.
I do believe that circumcising an infant for religious or cultural reasons is MORALLY WRONG. Always. I do not believe in the religious doctrine of “sin” as a violation against God, because I have no evidence there is a God to sin again. But performing an unnecessary body modification onto someone else’s body IS A SIN against that person, and one of the most grievous sins because it cannot be undone. (And there are very, very few acts that I would include in the category of SIN, which is in my opinion a very limited scope of extra-heinous violations against another person.)
No infant is capable of consenting to an unnecessary body modification ritual for cultural or religious reasons — he has no concept of culture and absolutely no conscious ability to consent for religious reasons. There has never been born a Jewish baby, a Muslim baby, a Christian baby. Religion is a choice made by people old enough to fall for its superstitions. An infant is not an extension of the parent’s body, but is an autonomous separate individual person who must be granted the dignity of deciding for him/herself what changes will be made to their own body. It is a parents sacred trust (again, a religious term that I apply in a very limited scope) to protect a child’s body — allowing it to be cut upon is a violation of that trust. I include piercing a baby girl’s ears in this sort of violation as well, but that’s a different discussion.
I was born in 1954 and was circumcised, as was the custom of the time. As I grew up, I learned that it was wrong to mutilate an infant’s body. When my first son was born, we asked the doctor his medical opinion about it. His response was, “I have better things to do than chop a little boy’s penis.” So neither of my sons was circumcised. If they choose to have it done, it’s their choice to make, not mine.
What about a guy who is already circumcised? Well, what’s done is done, and he cannot do anything about what his parents allowed to be done to him; it’s not his fault, and most parents were duped into thinking it was okay. I am glad this is changing and more people are opting to leave a boy intact.
Generally, there is NO medical reason to cut a boy’s penis. There may be individual cases where intervention is needed, but this should not be the rule for everyone. For example, I knew someone who needed a minor meatotomy because his urethral opening was too small for urine to pass and he needed a slight modification for that purpose. There are valid medical reasons for surgical intervention. Pacifying some relative for ‘cultural’ reasons, or placating a non-existent Invisible Friend, is NOT a valid reason for cutting a child.
There is NO need for a boy to “look like his father”, either. I don’t remember ever seeing my father nude or exposed, and my own boys didn’t see me after potty-training age. Explaining a difference would have simply been a matter of explaining that when I was born, people thought and acted differently from more modern times when we know more about the body.