Germany and Circumcision

As some of you know, a court in Cologne, Germany has ruled that circumcision violates a child’s fundamental right to be protected from bodily harm. Of course, it can’t be forgotten that these are the people who brought us the Holocaust. It boggles the mind to think that the country that exterminated six million Jews some 70 years ago thinks it has the moral standing to rule on anything whatsoever to do with Judaism. It doesn’t.

Of course, something else that boggles the mind is that this court can make this ruling while, in Africa, the World Health Organization has embarked on a circumcision campaign that will end up costing over ONE BILLION dollars. Why? Because there is very compelling evidence that circumcision helps fight the spread of HIV (click here for how) as well as other STDs. Granted, protection is not 100%, but reducing risk is better than nothing.

Of course, rabbinical groups are already urging Jews to violate the ban. Incidentally, the last time that ban was active in Germany, it was put in place by Hitler. However, we can recall another time in history when circumcision was banned – the Greeks. If they caught someone who had circumcised their child, they would tie the newborn around the mother’s neck and throw them both from a wall to their deaths. What was the outcome of that? The Hebrew Hammer, of course. No….not the really funny movie…Judas Maccabeus.

The Bible commands us to circumcise our male children on the eighth day after birth. This is not negotiable. To be a Jew, a male child has to A. be born to a Jewish mother and B. be circumcised. Now, those of us who are Jews by choice know that if you are not born to a Jewish mother, you become a Jew by immersing in a mikveh (pool of water), appearing before a beit den (rabbinic court) and being CIRCUMCISED. Again…not negotiable. If you were circumcised as a child, you still have to have blood drawn from your penis at the circumcision site. Ask any convert….they dreaded it. It filled them with terror. In the end, an IV needle was inserted in their penis and it really didn’t hurt….. but that’s all they could think about for a month before!

This ruling by this German court does not outlaw a medical procedure. It outlaws Judaism. I hope when the ruling is challenged, the higher court has common sense and realizes how important of a religious issue this is.

UPDATE: Germany is taking a lot of heat on this, including a petition with 13,000+ signatures from all over the world, including mine. So, Merkel has spoken up saying Jews and Muslims will not be prosecuted. Now, the parliament is calling for the government to pass a law to enshrine the religious right to circumcise children.

2 Responses to Germany and Circumcision

  1. badocelot says:

    Just to play devil’s advocate here, does the need for religious freedom and parental rights extend to religions who advocate infant sacrifice (including some of the ones criticized extensively by the Bible)?

    If that’s too far, what if a religion required sex with minors? I can’t think of an actual religion that has, but an entire culture — the ancient Greeks — thought pederasty was good for both the child and the pederast.

    Or what about…?

    You see where I’m going with this?

    That said, those who argue from individual rights against circumcision often fail to see that you can’t specify individual rights in a vacuum. It’s just about the flaw in the concept of liberal neutrality: trying to be religiously-neutral quickly devolves into assuming all (other) religions are false.

    I’ve come to see the issue as an unsolvable problem. We either have to give up pretenses religious-neutrality (and step in one political cow pie) or give excessive leeway to abusive practices (and step in another cow pie), or let different communities make their own rulings and draw their own lines (and step in a third cow pie).

    I tend to favor the last one. It’s still shit but it seems like it’ll make the best fertilizer.

  2. Mike says:

    I don’t think culturally appropriate body modification is child abuse. Some tribes have a right of passage where they do scarification in designs on young teenagers. I think it’d be horribly wrong for us to say “No, we don’t do that….you don’t have to do that either”. You’d rip their identity and culture away from them. Face it, Western civilization is great about doing that to cultures.

    For some in Western civilization, piercing an infant’s ears is considered acceptable. For Jews and Muslims, they feel they are commanded by God to circumcise. Of course, circumcision does have medical benefits and doctors are performing circumcisions on people for those benefits. So, to say that it’s horrendous and extreme is just ridiculous.

    The problem is that it deals with the sex organ. People have a lot of hangups when it comes to their sex organs and circumcision is no different. If you listen to grown men talking about how their parents “mutilated” their penis, etc. it really touches home that something deeply psychological is affecting these people. They are entirely too fixated on something that really doesn’t matter that much and should not be affecting them 30 years down the road. Instead of being told to see a mental health professional, people are listening to them and giving them a platform. It neither helps them nor the issue at hand.

Leave a Reply