Unlike the foreskins involved, the discussion on circumcision just never seem to go away. It just grows back again and again. In Germany, where a court placed a ban on the practice, and the legislature promised to remove the restriction, the legislation in has passed another hurdle and been approved by the cabinet.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the country risked becoming a laughing stock if Jews were not allowed to practise their rituals.
The bill states that the operation should take place with the most effective pain relief possible and only if parents have been fully informed about the nature of the procedure. It makes no mention of religious motivations for circumcision.
Of course, there really isn’t any reason other than religion to snip infants. In New York City, Orthodox Jewish Groups are suing for the right to use their teeth to circumcise, despite the health risks.
Using oral suction to take blood from the area of the circumcision wound is common in some of New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities.
At least 11 boys caught herpes from the practice between 2004 and 2011, according to city health officials. Two of them died from the disease and two others suffered brain damage, they said.
The city isn’t even banning the practice outright. All they are demanding is informed consent.
Under the rule, parents must sign a consent form that says the health department advises that “direct oral suction should not be performed” because of the risk of contracting herpes.
Of course, the idea of consent is contrary to the idea of Fundamentalist religion.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, says the regulation is unconstitutional and violates religious freedom by targeting a Jewish ritual.
The groups also dispute the risk involved.
The lawsuit says the city’s conclusion that the ritual increases the risk of herpes is based on a flawed analysis and is not statistically sound.
“That opinion is based on limited study, inaccurate assumptions, and deficient data, all of which remain actively debated within medical and scientific communities,” it says.
They also claim it violates their freedom of speech.
The lawsuit says it violates the right to free speech because “the government cannot compel the transmission of messages that the speaker does not want to express.”
Although how they could speak with infants’ dicks in their mouths, I really don’t know.
This whole area of protecting children from their parents is difficult. How much control should government have over our parenting decisions? For example, spanking may be frowned upon, but until the bruises or broken bones appear, no-one would step in. The same goes for medical treatments—until harm is caused, or at least imminent, we don’t ask our representatives to step in. It seems to get more difficult when religion is involved.
Our society gives practices based upon religious beliefs much more latitude than those that have only secular meaning. There is absolutely no way biting a foreskin off an infant would be tolerated for anything other than a religious reason. People should be able to hold whatever beliefs they wish to hold on to. However, some practices based upon those beliefs have the potential to cause great harm to those who are unable to consent for themselves. This is where we must reach the end of tolerance.
For me, biting an infant’s foreskin off goes beyond any level of tolerance. However, all the government is asking is for the parents to be warned of the risk of disease if someone bites their child’s penis.
Why is that too much to ask?