I have written before about the practice of biting the foreskin off infants as practised by some sects of Orthodox Jews. I just cannot understand why anyone would a) want to bite a foreskin or b) allow anyone to do it. But such is the power of religion.
Anyway, the law suit I mentioned in my previous post where rabbis were claiming an imposition on their freedom of religion has been ruled on. The suit was initiated because the New York Dept of Health wanted the Rabbis to obtain the written consent of the parents before sucking, and a Manhattan federal judge refused to block the new rules.
A Manhattan federal judge refused to block a New York City regulation requiring people who perform circumcisions and use their mouths to draw away blood from the wound on a baby’s penis to first obtain written consent from the parents.
U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald on Thursday refused to issue a preliminary injunction against the change to the city’s health code, which some members of the city’s Orthodox Jewish communities called an unwarranted government intrusion on religious freedom.
In September, the New York City Board of Health voted to require mohels, who perform circumcisions, to obtain advance consent that tells parents about the risk of a potentially fatal herpes infection linked to the ritual of metzitzah b’peh, or MBP, involving direct oral suction of the penis.
Enforcement of the regulation was put on hold until Buchwald could rule on the request by the Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada, the International Bris Association and some rabbis for a preliminary injunction.
In court papers filed in October, they said the regulation improperly singled out an exclusively religious ritual, and violated the free speech and free exercise protections within the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
But in a 93-page decision, Buchwald refused to halt enforcement of the regulation, and said the plaintiffs’ claims were likely to be found without merit.
“There is ample medical evidence that direct oral suction places infants at a serious risk of herpes infection, as well as evidence that parents are sometimes unaware in advance of a circumcision that MBP will occur, and the regulation plainly addresses these legitimate societal concerns,” Buchwald wrote.
“As enacted, the regulation does no more than ensure that parents can make an informed decision” whether to consent, she added.
Religious leaders are so often against even the most basic science because they can’t abide any questioning of their beliefs. Officials weren’t even calling for a outright ban, just a permission slip, and the rabbis saw that as a imposition. Why? Because if their followers gain an inkling of understanding about the potential harm of some of the beliefs or practises, they might question more. If that happens, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.
Perhaps someday our society will advance to the point where such harmful practises are not given a pass just because it is a religious tradition.