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Fight over Circumcision Dividing German Parliament

Left-wing German MPs are threatening to oppose their government’s attempt to keep male circumcision legal in Germany. More than 50 MPs from three parties are now proposing that parents should have to wait until their son is 14 so he can give his informed consent to the operation.

Last summer, a regional court ruled that circumcision could amount to criminal bodily harm.

It should be noted that circumcision is by far less painful and traumatic to an 8-day old infant than it is to a teenage boy.

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31 Responses to “Fight over Circumcision Dividing German Parliament”

  1. Surprise! Surprise! Germans find a means to distress the Jews!

  2. Anti-semitism in the raw d- pardon the pun.

  3. Hugh Intactive says:

    Nobody is trying to make circumcision illegal – just age-restrict it until the person most concerned can decide for himself. It is simply not true that it is less painful and traumatic for a baby. He just can't express his distress so clearly – or resist. (Nor of coulse would many aduts choose to have it done if it had not already been forced on them.)

    German law is solidly based on the Unversal Declaration of Human Rights (which guarantees bodily integrity, with Mengele in min) both put in place to ensure that th horrors of 1933-45 could never happen again.

    "Always the left"? It should be conservative, individualistic politicians who protect the right of each person to decide the fate of his (or her) own body.

  4. "The issue of circumcision, in my view, is whether we want submission and wounding, as a symbolic act, to mark a man's relationship to God and to the community in general. I no longer believe such a wounding is defensible."

    "There is more emotion about eliminating circumcision than perhaps any other traditional practice. But it is time to find a different symbol of a boy's entrance into the community. Instead of cutting our sons, we might celebrate their masculinity. A more appropriate symbol would be a nurturing act, one that would affirm a boy's relationship to a loving father, both his own and that of his God. We might, for example, feed our sons, since a meal is also a traditional symbol of covenant. Indeed, in one text, Moses and Aaron and the elders go up to the top of the mountain, and when they see God, they eat and drink. Feeding our sons, rather than wounding them, would be a symbol of our nurturing relationship to them."

    - Rabbi and Professor Howard Eilberg-Schwartz.

  5. Circumcision for a Jewish boy on the eighth day of his life is a commandment from the Torah. This is Jewish law and there is NO way to avoid it. This is a Jewish boys' first covenant with G-d. Aside from that, it is also much healthier to be circumcised than to leave the foreskin. Also, it is much more painful and traumatic to be circumcised as a teenager or as an adult than as an infant. Those who say otherwise are lacking in their knowledge.

  6. Jason Maas says:

    Simcha, first of all there is no "God." So let's just take the myth that there's any "covenant" with that imaginary character right out of the equation.

    Next, the Torah was cobbled together by countless authors over centuries, and circumcision was actually one of the last things added. Circumcision was thrown in there because totalitarians know that if you control peoples' sexuality you control almost every other aspect of their lives — love, pleasure, marriage, offspring, etc. They decided that infants should be circumcised because no sane adult would consent to such a thing.

    Adults who do want to be circumcised, however, actually face a much easier time than infants. Adults can take advantage of pain medication that would kill an infant and can at least conceptualize what is happening to them whereas all a child experiences is sheer, irrational terror at having the most sensitive part of their body butchered.

    And finally, it is absolutely NOT "healthier" to be circumcised. The United States has the highest rate of circumcision of any western nation and also the highest rates of HIV and other STDs. If there were any benefits at all to circumcision, we would see that in the US. Instead we see just the opposite.

    In any case, the debate in Germany doesn't threaten Jewish values, practices, or beliefs one bit. Under the new proposals put forth by the Left, Jewish males would still be free to choose circumcision once they reached an appropriate age. This is completely reasonable, and Jews who reject such rational limits end up looking like radical religious nuts, akin to the Taliban or "kill the Gays" Christians in the US.

  7. How did you come into this world if it weren't for G-d creating you? To be honest with you, you have serious emotional problems that must be dealt with before it is too late. This is for your own good. Did something happen in the past that makes you feel this way?

  8. Jason Maas says:

    Simcha, I think the people who believe in 3,000 year old fairy tales and imaginary "gods" and then use those beliefs to genitally mutilate babies are clearly the ones with the emotional problems, here.

  9. Hugh Intactive says:

    Simcha, Here are contact details for more than 80 celebrants of non-surgical naming ceremonies, 40 of them rabbis, one also a professor of religious studies, in 30 US states and several other countries, including Israel: http://tinyurl.com/britshalom

    What probably happened in Jason's past that makes him feel that way is that he was held down as a baby and a part of his penis was cut off, and he's since learnt what it does.

    Without you having to become an atheist, there are many good books, such as Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True, and Lawrence Krauss's A Universe From Nothing, that explain why the argument for deities' existence from design is faulty.

  10. Catherine Schau says:

    "It should be noted that circumcision is by far less painful and traumatic to an 8-day old infant than it is to a teenage boy."

    This is false. The teenage boy can ask for and receive proper pain relief as well as understand what is happening to him. A baby does not get proper pain relief (in many cases they get no pain relief at all) and cannot understand why he is in pain. Inflicting surgery on an infant because it's "painful and traumatic" for a teenager ignores the well-being of the baby.

  11. Catherine Schau says:

    Pro-human rights is not anti-Semitism. Infant circumcision is a human rights violation, even when performed for religious reasons since the religious rights of the parents do not apply to the baby. He has rights of his own and choosing whether or not to have his foreskin removed in the name of religion is his choice, no one else's.

  12. Catherine Schau says:

    Right. Person A's religious rights end where Person B's body begins, even if Person A is the parent and Person B is the child. Well said.

  13. Catherine Schau says:

    This is a human rights issue and has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. The fact that it is impossible to raise a genuine concern about the well-being of these baby boys without having the term "anti-Semtitc" thrown about does more harm than good. This issue has nothing to do with hatred against the Jewish religion and everything to do with protecting the rights of the boy to decide for himself.

  14. Ron Low says:

    Circumcising an older male is physically much EASIER and SAFER than cutting an infant. And it has the advantage that he can tolerate REAL pain control and that his rational informed consent can be secured rather than forcing the amputation upon him.

  15. Matt Keto says:

    Yeah, the Jews should be left to commit as many atrocities as they want like mutilating baby boys' genitals without their consent, sucking blood off their dick, and often giving them fatal herpes infections, all because of the holocaust.

  16. Amit Melamed says:

    Still, why support it ?

  17. Amit Melamed says:

    It's stupid and wrong at any age.

  18. Peter Turland says:

    Sadly Ron, the forces of culture and the forces of science pull in different directions.

  19. Greg Hartley says:

    Hugh – excellent description of the issue. Whose Body, Whose Rights?

  20. Greg Hartley says:

    It takes courage to oppose unethical practices from within a religion. An infant might not choose to follow the religion of his parents. Thank you for speaking our for those who cannot speak.

  21. Greg Hartley says:

    Really?! Why is such a benevolent "G-d" forcing a religious belief on a non-consenting infant? Apparently, this deity doesn't believe in freedom of relgion. Whose Body, Whose Rights?

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