Saturday 11 July 2015

The unkindest cut

An estimated one third of males are circumcised. The main reason for this is that two of the Abrahamic religions require it, In addition, about half of men in the USA are circumcised, and that's not for religious reasons, it just seems to be a cultural norm.


I knew about Jews and Moslems, I hadn't known until very recently about the USA. I can sort of understand when people do something insane because their god told them to do it, that's what religion does. But there's millions and and millions of Americans who see their new baby, think, "Oh, how perfect ... but we can improve on God's design if we just hack off a bit."
Or if they aren't Christians, "We can improve on evolution if ..."

When ladysolly got pregnant, we had to start thinking about what we'd do.  When the babies arrived, they both turned out to be girls, and female circumcision didn't even occur to us (besides, it's barbaric and illegal). So we didn't have to consider the issue, but I like to think that we would have refused to let a mohel get his scissors anywhere near our rugrats. By the way, there are lots of good mohel jokes.

 I have no problem with adults deciding to get circumcised - if a grown man wants to cut bits off himself, that's his decision. Likewise grown women. The problem I have, is that infant circumcision is child abuse, and I don't really understand why it's legal.

Yes, I know that god told his Chosen People to do it, but he also told them to stone children to death for disobeying their parents, for adultery, for gathering sticks on Saturday, for a woman not being a virgin on her wedding night, for blasphemy and so on. But somehow, the Chosen People have worked out that stoning people is no longer necessary. Even the most orthodox of jews don't seem to stone people any more. So why is this? It's because they've come to realise that stoning people to death for a wide variety of sins, isn't quite right.

The same is true of circumcision. In exchange for circumcision, god promised to give Abraham's descendants all the land from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates. Well, god hasn't kept his part of the bargain.

Since Abraham's time, a few thousand years have passed, and we no longer endorse stoning or slavery; it's time we stopped mutilating our children. And the Americans don't even have the excuse of religion.

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