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Death by Circumcision—Religious Freedom or Criminally Negligent Homicide?

March 6, 2012

On March 3, 2012, the New York Daily News reported the death this past September of a two-week-old baby boy, following an ultra-Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual. The report came after the newspaper pressed Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn for information, evidently having heard about the death from other sources. The New York City Medical Examiner’s office is quoted as listing the cause of death as “disseminated herpes simplex virus Type 1, complicating ritual circumcision with oral suction.”

Because some of my readers may not be aware of the ritual, known as metzizah b’peh, I will describe it. Following the “usual” steps involved in a circumcision (i.e., stroking the baby’s penis to make it erect, stripping the foreskin from the head of the penis, and cutting the foreskin off), in metzizah b’peh the mohel (ritual circumciser) then “removes blood from the wound with his mouth” (this is the news media’s description; in other words, the mohel sucks the baby’s bloody penis).  It was this final insult added to injury that caused the death of the poor baby boy in question.

Absent the excuse of religion, this entire event would be classified as assault and battery as well as child sexual abuse, and if the baby were to die as a result, the perpetrator could be prosecuted for criminally negligent homicide.

But that never happens. In fact, ritual circumcision, even in this extreme form, is fiercely defended by those who have a vested interest in its continuation. Last year, religious and physician groups in San Francisco succeeded in removing from the ballot a bill that would have banned the medically unnecessary circumcision of minors in that city. In support, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed an Amicus (“friend of the court”) brief stating, in part, that the proposed bill:

…violate[d] the right of parents to direct their children’s religious upbringing and medical care. Newborn male circumcision is a tenet of the Jewish and Islamic faiths. By criminalizing the circumcision of boys, the proposed ordinance would prevent parents from allowing their children to participate in an essential religious ritual, infringing upon the rights of parents to guide the religious upbringing of their children.…

Yes, the United States Constitution guarantees Americans religious freedom. However, U.S. courts have established that there are limits, and that this guarantee does not extend to practices that violate other individuals’ rights or cause them harm. These limits extend to parents, as elucidated in Prince v. Massachusetts, a famous Supreme Court decision declaring that parental authority is not absolute and may be permissibly restricted in the interest of a child’s welfare. Obviously, it is absurd to characterize the mutilation of an infant’s penis as serving his welfare. Indeed, Federal law already outlaws even the most minor cutting of a minor girl’s genitals, cultural or religious beliefs of her parents notwithstanding.

Further, the notion of an hours- or days-old infant “participating” in an “essential religious ritual” that subjects him to pain, risk and even death is preposterous at best. The baby has no capacity to choose his religion; he has no capacity to consent to having a healthy, normal part of his body removed. And under law and contemporary bioethics, no individual has the right to force either religion or bodily alteration on another.

Alas, to defenders of infant circumcision,  none of this seems to matter. According to an interview last month with Douglas Diekema, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Circumcision Task Force, the AAP is expected to issue its new circumcision statement this Spring, and while it may fall short of recommending infant circumcision, it will more strongly tout the purported medical benefits of the procedure. Nothing about the fact that forced circumcision robs babies and children of their autonomy. And (call it women’s intuition) certainly not a word about the death of this baby from herpes last September, or of Jamaal Coleson, Jr. from a “routine” (i.e., non-religious) circumcision carried out at another New York City hospital last May.

Babies will suffer, and some will die, as long as religious organizations which insist on blind adherence to ancient and outmoded practices, and medical organizations whose members make money from performing procedures with no medical value, continue to endorse the mutilation of male infants and children. How can a civilized society allow this? How can we tolerate even one baby’s death from an utterly unnecessary custom? How many more baby boys will have to die before we stop this insanity?

—Georganne Chapin

61 Comments leave one →
  1. chris permalink
    May 8, 2012 4:05 pm

    This is not “religious freedom” and it is not “negligent homicide” either. This is a rabbi who is literally bloodthirsty savage who gives babies blow jobs. This rabbi literally put a baby’s penis in his mouth and sucked on it. And if literally consuming human blood is not bloodthirsty than I don’t know what is.

    We can’t be afraid to speak out and call it what it is. A blood drinking rabbi who gives little kids blow jobs. Rabbi’s who give babies blow jobs and drink their blood are worse than Nazis! Not even the Nazi’s gave kids blow jobs and drank their blood.

    When rabbi’s start screaming about antisemitism and say “how dare you criticize me!” We just need to get up in their face and say, “look, you are a sadistic cannibalistic, blood drinking pedophile who gives little kids blow jobs”. The only reason why they get away with it is becasue everybody is scared to say something. If we just hold are ground and say it how it is, even 99.9% of people who are pro-circ would agree that this type of behavior is vile, disgusting, and quite frankly is out right Satanic.

  2. Chris permalink
    March 22, 2012 12:47 am

    Perverted Religion,,,, I ABSOLUTELY HATE WHEN PEOPLE SUPPORT CIRCUMCISION.

    stop thinking about yourselves.

    I cannot wait until this is banned in the US

    WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE BEING CUT?

    Erecting and sucking a baby’s penis, how sick can you be.

    Get your head out of your hole and open your EYES.

  3. babno permalink
    March 12, 2012 3:47 am

    religious freedom isn’t even a point here. The child does not choose to be circumcised, his parents force their religion on him to get the circumcision. In what way is having religion forced on you, religious freedom?

    • Dr. Ron permalink
      March 12, 2012 1:17 pm

      To my way of thinking, the concept of religious freedom has been twisted to mean that parents have “rights” when it comes to imposing their religious beliefs on their children. Parents do not have “rights” when it comes to child rearing. There is no constitutional “right”, like a property right, to impose a belief system or to remove body parts in the name of religion. Parents have duties and responsibilities toward their children–not rights. They have the duty to care for the physical well being of their children which includes making medical decisions–when there is a medical need. Parents also make decisions regarding the education of their children–public or private school, home schooling, etc. And parents have a duty to see that their children have a moral upbringing so that the child will become a good citizen who respects the rights of others. Religious training would fall into this latter category. But religious training is a far cry from violating the bodily integrity of the child as a mark of belonging to a religious group. To cross the line between religious training and bodily mutilation on the basis of “religious freedom” is a gross distortion of the concept.

  4. Jason tuohey permalink
    March 11, 2012 12:56 pm

    Jorge,sorry mate,didn’t mean to imply you were a bad father,just,in my opinion you made a bad decision.
    I did not intend to make a personal attack on you,please accept my apologies.

    • March 27, 2012 8:55 pm

      “Failed miserably as a father” sounds like you were more than implying, you are stating explicitly stating he is a a bad father. I guess you had a buyer’s remorse and a severe guilt attack after your statement. You need to give people in Jorge’s situation a break.

    • eshu21 permalink
      March 27, 2012 9:19 pm

      Oh I don’t know about that Henry… someone in the 1950’s or 60’s might really be able to claim ignorance as an excuse to justify their child’s genital mutilation, but there is far too much information available now. Further, his “I did it to my son 7 years ago, and the way we did it is… ” is an explicit “owning” of the procedure. If Jorge had cut off his daughter’s healthy finger or toe, would we be justified in calling him a bad father? If so, then why is it wrong to call him a bad father for mutilating his son’s genitalia? What “situation” did Jorge state he was in, that somehow deserves a break? We as intactivists try to be careful not to alienate parents by being excessively accusatory, but our restraint does not mean an ethical crime has not been committed.

    • March 28, 2012 1:28 am

      You are exactly right. I made a similar “mistake” almost 33 years ago with my son, and I was not only ignorant, I was lied to by a medical professional. Even so, I take full responsibility for not protecting my son and will regret that decision for the rest of my life. Was I a bad parent for making that decision? You bet.

    • March 28, 2012 12:39 am

      ESHU21–I appreciate your many comments, and I have read 99% of them You are a true warrior in the front lines of this battle. HOWEVER, I feel Jason was precisely, as you say, “excessively accusatory.”

      As a general philosophical comment, I believe everyone needs a break in life.

    • eshu21 permalink
      March 28, 2012 4:50 am

      Thank you for the kind words Henry! To me, people like Georganne and Marilyn Milos are my heroes – they fight in this battle personally, every day! I agree that everyone needs a break, and everyone makes mistakes, I just find it sad in this case that it seems Jorge, by his own words, still supports mutilating boys, and that it is his son who suffers for it.

  5. Jason tuohey permalink
    March 10, 2012 8:39 pm

    eshu21,amazing comments friend,hope your words travel…

    • eshu21 permalink
      March 10, 2012 9:55 pm

      Thank you very much!

  6. Jason tuohey permalink
    March 10, 2012 8:15 pm

    Hmmm,was written thousands of years ago…written..hmm..that sounds to me that somebody made it up…or have I missed the point?….

  7. Jason tuohey permalink
    March 10, 2012 8:07 pm

    Jorge Frater,sorry pal,but think you have failed miserably as a father.
    I can understand that you have been brainwashed by ridiculous “tradition”.I have been an observer of this practice from the outside for some time and can only feel sad when you describe your son’s circumcision as such an obvious,normal procedure.
    Jorge,your son was perfect.
    Now he is not.
    I hope he is forgiving.

  8. Jason tuohey permalink
    March 9, 2012 8:41 pm

    Those poor kids,what the hell are the people that inflict this awful torture on babies think they are doing?.
    I’m English,was born in England and am so glad this barbaric,harmful and unneccesary practice is not even an issue for the majority of boys born here.
    It’s amazing that a country like the USA,which has given the world so many innovations and inventions can still disregard the fundamental rights of a baby to have an intact body.
    It makes me sad when I read these things.
    We are born intact,that’s the way nature intended,anything else is a blasphemy of evolution.
    Look forward.

  9. roger desmoulins permalink
    March 8, 2012 10:37 pm

    France banned metzitzah in 1854!

    “…ritual circumcision flies in the face of the most elementary principles of hygiene. For example, traditional Jewish law requires the circumciser, the mohel, to perform the ritual act of metzitzah, which consists in taking the circumcised penis in his mouth and sucking out the blood, an act that must be repeated three times. Around the turn of the century, concerns over the documented spread of tuberculosis and syphilis from mohel to infant caused American Jews largely to abandon this element of the ritual. As recently as 1962 Charles Weiss, writing in Clinical Pediatrics, felt it necessary to repeat the call to outlaw this practice. In France, legislation enacted in 1854 prohibited the practice of metzitzah and mandated that circumcision “be performed in a rational manner” (Remondino 1974, pp. 147, 157).” Thomas Szasz (1996)

    http://www.historyofcircumcision.net/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=70
    *************************************************************
    Marilyn Milos wrote above: “That experience literally changed the course of my life.”

    Thus Mrs Milos lit a candle in the darkness, a darkness that blinded all of America to the ethical horror that is routine infant circumcision without anesthesia, an act that is raw sexual violence.

    @Michael W N: I agree with you. Intentional and unwitting antisemites must be banished from our cause. The Foreskin Man comic has done a great deal of harm.

    • roger desmoulins permalink
      March 8, 2012 10:46 pm

      For a mohel to perform metzitzah while knowing he is infected with herpes, is manslaughter. If he did not know he had herpes, he commits assault and battery and/or criminal negligence. Either way, he should hang up the scalpel forever, out of an elementary respect for common decency.

  10. March 8, 2012 1:41 pm

    There are a number of comments about the stroking of a penis prior to circumcision. Let me explain. Prior to any surgical procedure, the skin is scrubbed (the recommended time is five minutes) with an antiseptic solution to kill bacteria that live on the tissue to keep the bacteria from invading the body and causing infection. When the penis, which consists of erectile tissue, is scrubbed, it functions normally by becoming erect. There is no need for a doctor or nurse to do anything more than scrub the tissue to stimulate an erection, and this surgical scrub is done–or should be–in medical as well as religious or ritual settings. This is why I have said, “Circumcision is where sex and violence meet for the first time.” I’ve also said, “This is the baby’s first shared sexual experience.” Babies have erections in utero but, the first time someone else stimulates the baby’s organ of pleasure and procreation, in the case of circumcision, the pleasure is immediately followed by the excruciating pain of circumcision. Every sexual experience a male has from then on throughout life is on a neuronal background of pain. Even if a male doesn’t remember it, the body remembers.

    • Howard Smith permalink
      April 11, 2012 6:41 pm

      Marilyn, your observations are very astute. I wish everyone could see as clearly as you. Thank you for continuing to fight for the rights of our most helpless citizens. You are one of my heroes.

  11. Melissa permalink
    March 8, 2012 9:51 am

    @ Michelle, during circumcisions the infant penis is masturbated to an erect state (typing that makes me want to vomit) It is easier to separate the foreskin from the glands with a medical probe once the glands/shaft is hard. AFTER the skin has been separated using a medical probe, then the actual removal of the foreskin via devise or scalpel can be accomplished.

    I still feel the need to vomit.

    I saw a great quote once, Circumcision, where pain and sexuality meet for the first time.

    • March 8, 2012 12:08 pm

      The quote is mine, “Circumcision is where sex and violence meet for the first time.” I recognized that as I watched a nurse scrub a baby’s penis with an antiseptic ointment (used on skin before any surgery) prior to the circumcision Sheila Curran and I were videotaping in 1982 for NOCIRC’s first documentary, “Informed Consent.” As the baby’s penis became erect (as erectile tissue does when stimulated), I got the same feeling in my stomach as I had when I was sexually abused as a child. Then, the doctor clamped the foreskin with two hemostats and the baby let out a scream I’d never heard come from the mouth of a baby. That scream intensified as his foreskin was torn from the glans (head of the penis), crushed and cut lengthwise to allow insertion of the circumcision device between the foreskin and glans, supposedly but not always successfully protecting the latter from amputation, and crush and amputate the foreskin. The baby gasped, choked, and became limp. I was in shock, and I was simply a witness to the horrific event. That experience literally changed the course of my life. Some think analgesia makes circumcision okay, but no analgesia eliminates the pain of circumcision or the lifelong consequences of the loss of this normal, protective, functioning part of the organ of pleasure and procreation. Circumcision leaves both physical and psychological scars that last a lifetime. The body belongs to the baby and his right to bodily integrity trumps personal, parental, cultural, and religious preference. National and international laws are in place to protect infants and children from this violent, inhumane act. When, oh when, will we implement them?

    • March 8, 2012 2:33 pm

      Thank you Marilyn, for all your tireless efforts to educate about circumcision and it’s detrimental effects!!!!!!

    • March 8, 2012 1:44 pm

      The head of the penis is called the “glans” because glans in Latin means acorn. The shape of the head of the penis and the head of the clitoris are like the shape of an acorn, hence, “glans penis” and “glans clitoris.” This name is different than glands that signify the other glands in the body (lymphatic glands, et al.).

    • Michelle2 permalink
      March 8, 2012 3:50 pm

      In my experience performing circumcisions, the infant’s penis was not erect even after cleaning with Betadine. I suppose it might make it easier to perform the procedure, but that was certainly not my experience.

  12. March 8, 2012 3:06 am

    Criminal conduct. It’s just needs a NEW awareness. If it is NOT ok, repulsive, gut wrenching for you to have the clitoris or labia removed from your baby daughter, why is it ok for your baby boy? Can it be just because it has been like that for thousands of years? But this is also true of Slavery, burning “witches”, Becoming a Christian or Death, keeping women from entering universities, etc. Not a good reason in other words. Age doesn’t make a bad idea a good idea, it doesn’t make a lie a truth. Respect your son’s body. We are their parents…to love and protect. They are our children, not our property to do as we please or worse, someone else’s old ideas.

  13. March 8, 2012 2:40 am

    Morality…derived from a book written 3000 years ago by dessert nomadic men, somewhere in the Middle East. According to them, a universe creating god told them to write these moral codes…3000 years ago. Proof? “What do you mean? It’s written!…We told you, God told us! It’s not what we think, it’s God’s words!”.

    Ah, OK… :-)

  14. Dr. Ron permalink
    March 7, 2012 11:08 pm

    The Book of Genesis, the source of the divine covenant with Abraham that Jews rely upon to justify circumcision, says nothing about sucking blood from the penis of the newly circumcised infant. This unhygienic and, frankly, repulsive practice is an invention of later generations of rabbis. This tradition is just that, a tradition, not a biblical imperative. Traditions can and do change over time. It is clearly time for this tradition to be abandoned.

    Likewise, the current Jewish ritual practice of removing the entire foreskin is also non-biblical. Genesis commands “circumcising the foreskin” (cutting around the tip of the foreskin), not removing the entire foreskin. This “tradition” is a later invention of rabbis to diminish the sensitivity of the penis to take control over the sexuality of Jewish males.

    Why do medical practitioners and politicians not know this basic information?

    • eshu21 permalink
      March 7, 2012 11:59 pm

      Actually, circumcision in its entirety may be a later addition to the Bible. According to modern scholars, circumcision is not even mentioned in the earliest, “J”, version of Bereshith (“Genesis”) nor the next three rewrites by other authors. Most importantly, the story of Abram/Abraham is there in its entirety, except the part about the Covenant being “sealed” with circumcision. The parallel Covenant story of “a smoking kiln and its blazing torch” passing between the halves of animals and birds sacrificed by Abram is in J. Many biblical scholars agree on this point, and it is in accord with the mitzvot against desecrating the body (see Harold Bloom’s “Book of J” at http://www.amazon.com/Book-J-Harold-Bloom/dp/0802141919/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331180861&sr=8-1).

    • March 8, 2012 12:20 pm

      Interestingly, Leonard Glick, MD, PhD, in his book, Marked in Your Flesh: Circumcision from Ancient Judea to Modern America, says that Genesis 15, where there is no mention of circumcision, is the original covenant between God and Abraham. Apparently, Genesis 17, a part of the P text (written by the priests), was inserted about a thousand years after Abraham allegedly walked the earth. Following destruction of the temples, where blood sacrifices took place, the blood sacrifice of circumcision was written into the Bible. Seems likely, doesn’t it, that this is a man-made invention rather than something God would inflict upon a precious baby.

  15. March 7, 2012 10:59 am

    Ugh, this is horrible. Just curious, in medical (non-religious) circumcision, do they have to make the baby’s penis erect?? Or is this just done as part of the religious ritual?

    • March 7, 2012 11:29 am

      Not at all! I did it to my son 7 years ago, and the way we did it is that the doctor places a small “cup” on the tip of the penis and then ties the foreskin over the cup, afer about a week it just fell off by itself, same as the bellybotton. It’s safe, and not painfull at all.

    • March 7, 2012 6:10 pm

      Just the words, “I did it to my son”…makes me cringe. And by saying it was not painful for the baby, it is clear that you cannot speak for your son’s pain. Yes, people do live from amputated body parts….the question is, how can you rationalize amputating a perfectly normal, healthy body part on your son’s body? He is your child, but you don’t own him or his body. There is NO way in the world you can know that he would want you to do this to him….NO WAY!!!!!

    • March 7, 2012 11:00 pm

      Why is the penis made erect for religious circumcision??

    • eshu21 permalink
      March 7, 2012 12:19 pm

      Jorge, how do you know it is not painful? If it was done to you as an adult, do you think it would hurt? And how do you know it’s safe? Have you researched the infection rates of similar methods?

      I think there is something a bit sickening about the way you verbally own and participate in your son’s mutilation – “I did it to my son” and “the way we did it”… Are you aware that some people believe there are men who persist in supporting circumcision, in jealous revenge against their own precious child’s intactness?

      Further, did you know that the umbilical cord (not the belly button) dries up and falls off on its own, as it is supposed to, but the foreskin left intact actually stays with the child for life – as it is supposed to? That is because the foreskin has a lifelong function, as the umbilicus does not.

      Finally, did you even begin to consider that your mutilating your child’s genitalia was a significant ethical violation that would deprive him, potentially for life, of the complete pleasure his body was designed for? I hope by the time your child grows up, that foregen.org has completed their research and is sponsoring true genital tissue regeneration to make up for the terrible violation of his body you willingly participated in.

    • Michelle permalink
      March 7, 2012 12:23 pm

      In non-religious circumcision, the penis is not made erect.

    • Michelle permalink
      March 7, 2012 12:38 pm

      The plastibell procedure described by Jorge Frater is not safe. Many boys have lost part or all their penises because of the plastibell cutting off the blood supply. Also, there are risks of infection. Sometimes the plastibell becomes embedded so deeply that it causes major damage and can’t be removed properly. I doubt it is painless, especially not initially. Basically, it just ties a string around the foreskin and the foreskin becomes necrotic and falls off. If someone tied a string around your finger, it would be quite painful until the finger died and fell off. Face the facts, infant circumcision is torture.

    • March 8, 2012 2:16 pm

      Jorge, the plastibell is not a pain-free cutting-free circumcision as you were lead to believe. Google plastibell infant circumcision, you will see.

  16. Petite Poulet permalink
    March 7, 2012 10:31 am

    After reading about this story, I couldn’t help but thing of Bob Dylan’s “Who Killed Davey Moore (Why and What’s the Reason For)”

    There is a lot of blame to go around:

    1. The parents who asked that he be circumcised (excuse: they were only following God’s commands)

    2. The rest of the baby’s family who likely insisted that he be circumcised (excuse: they were only don’t what their people have been doing for millennia)

    3. The mohel who infected the child by taking the child’s penis into his infected mouth (excuse: he was only doing what the parents wanted and what God has commanded)

    4. Thomas Friedan, now head of the CDC, was the head of the New York City Department of Public Health when the last child died in a similar fashion and did nothing to control or stop the process (excuse: not enough political pressure for him to act and he was afraid to offend his fellow Jews)

    5. Mayor Bloomberg was the mayor of New York City when the last child died in a similar fashion and is still the mayor of New York City and did nothing about it then (excuse: he was afraid to rattle his fellow Jews in New York who helped get him elected)

    6. The prosecutors in New York City in 2005 could have prosecuted the mohel for homocide, wreckless endangerment, and child sexual abuse, but chose not to (excuse: afraid to rattle the Jews in New York who helped get him elected)

    7. The State of New York for allowing mohels to practice medicine without a license or any regulation (excuse: mohelim have done circumcisions for millennia and they wouldn’t want to interfere with religious freedom or rattle the Jews in New York who helped get them elected)

    8. Aaron Tobian, Ronald Gray, Robert Bailey, Little Danny Halperin, and all of the other circumcision enthusiasts who push infant male circumcision with thinly veiled hate speech directed at any male who has a foreskin. They push out the lies to make mutilated families to feel better about what they do and to propagate the practice so no one can have more sexual pleasure than do (excuse: their message is well received. All of the editors of medical editors and newspaper editors are falling over themselves to publish our twaddle. We could sell chalk as cheese, and nearly everyone would buy it. They are only telling people what they want to hear.)

    9. The editors of medical journals, newspapers, and magazine for falling all over themselves to assist in the circumcision lobby in the propaganda campaign against the foreskin instead of looking and publishing the truth (excuse: just telling the readers what they want to hear and the fear of being labeled anti-Semitic)

    10. The American medical establishment for looking the other way while infant boys are mutilated. This creates a climate of tolerance and indifference that allows a human rights violation to occur unimpeded (excuse: only doing what parents want. If parents stopped asking, they would stop doing it. They also are being well paid for it by insurance companies. Insurance wouldn’t pay for it if it was a bad thing. Afraid of being labeled anti-Semitic)

    11. Medical insurance companies (and Medicaid in 33 states) pay for infant circumcision even though they know it is non-therapeutic and is not cost effective (excuse: there is a high demand for the procedure and covering the procedure makes their product more marketable, so it is worth the cost)

    Lots of blame to go around and all of these people have blood on their hands. If any of those in 11 categories of people had the courage to do what was right, this baby boy would still be alive and the family would not be grieving the loss of an infant.

    • roger desmoulins permalink
      March 8, 2012 10:43 pm

      I like the way you write and invite you to contact me via Facebook.

    • Howard Smith permalink
      April 11, 2012 6:24 pm

      A very well thought out response. So many culpable people, but because each has a vested interest in this ‘custom’, basic human rights are ignored and discarded. The lack of ethics in so many public personna is disturbing at best.

  17. Michelle permalink
    March 7, 2012 10:31 am

    Good blog. Contemporary Pediatrics (a medical journal) apparently did a survey for February, 2012 asking physicians if they advise parents to have their newborn sons circumcised. The results were 60% NO and 40%YES out of 778 responses. This can be found by googling contemporary pediatrics surveys. A few months back (I believe December, 2011 or November) the same journal published a news update about how the CDC was going to update recommendations regarding circumcision. The article sounded like it was written by Gray and Bailey as it rehashed the same old propaganda. I wrote a long letter outlining the many inaccuracies in the article and asking for the opportunity to write an opposing viewpoint. I never heard back. The editor-in-chief is Julia A. McMillan MD at jmcmillan@advanstar.com. It is time she heard from all of us since Contemporary Pediatrics continues to mention circumcision in just about every issue. She works at Johns Hopkins. Thank you to all of you who fight the good fight.

    • Petite Poulet permalink
      March 7, 2012 10:40 am

      The survey results should indicate to the editor that the claim that the medical establishment is clamoring to recommend circumcision is not true. Instead she, being at Johns Hopkins, has been listening to Tobian and Gray and has agreed to drink the Kool-Aid. Wonder if they will acknowledge these result in the print form of her journal.

  18. March 6, 2012 8:21 pm

    I just don’t know what to say…..I totally respect the Jewish people who are working hard to stop genital cutting as a religious ritual….but do not at all respect anyone who does not recognize when a child is being abused and assaulted sexually! It matters NOT what the religion of the parents is, doing this horrid thing to babies is a horrendous, barbaric act, no matter which way one is looking at it. The Anti Semetic crap is just that, crap. It’s just one more lousy excuse to get people to look away from the real issue here, and that is babies being cut and violated in the name of religion. It makes me sick, really sick.

  19. March 6, 2012 5:26 pm

    I always wonder in these instances what the child might have wanted for himself given the choice. Might he have chosen a secular life in Manhattan rather than swanning around Brooklyn dressed like a 14th-century merchant? Would he have been willing to bet his life on the arrival of a maybe-Messiah? And for what earthly reward?

    It strains reason to think he would take the risk of losing decades of sentient existence and the manifold joys of youth, love, marriage, children, —life itself– to humor his parents or accommodate some deluded and scrofulous old mohel infected by centuries of superstition –and worse.

    And he is one of perhaps hundreds of thousands of boys over the centuries; yuucchh, drek, kock, cak.

    Nauseating, completely nauseating…. and utterly, utterly, unforgivable.

    I defy anyone to come up with a viable and credible defense of the principals in this case in any terms, of any kind, however tortured the reasoning and subtle the evocation of ‘spirituality’ and ‘tradition.’ This is manslaughter, pure and simple.

    But they will all get a pass, will they not? Meanwhile the child who wanted merely to ‘be’ will be forever in oblivion.

    John Geisheker
    Doctors Opposing Circumcision

    • Jonathan Cabot permalink
      March 6, 2012 5:54 pm

      Couldn’t have put it better if I tried, sir. Well spoken.

    • Petite Poulet permalink
      March 7, 2012 10:13 am

      Around 1900 there was an outcry about the number Jewish boys who had got tuberculosis from having the mohel suck blood from the wound of their fresh circumcision. No tuberculosis is not as much of a problem, but herpes is. Nothing was really done then, and nothing is being done now.

  20. Tim Foxx permalink
    March 6, 2012 3:24 pm

    This is nothing but perverts hiding behind some faith! Shame on people for allowing such to continue. This kind of action is criminal to say the very least and VERY perverted. This criminal deserves to be in prison with the rest of his kind, ie sex offenders….

  21. Jack permalink
    March 6, 2012 2:56 pm

    I guess girls are more equal. It would be such a huge deal if the reported male circumcision deaths were instead female circumcision deaths. I guess we all do need to redouble our efforts to defend the rights of male babies.

    In any case, I still believe baby boy penis parts removal should be considered illegal NOW under the 1996 federal law banning genital cutting — 14th Amendment equal protection clause.

  22. March 6, 2012 2:42 pm

    Such rubbish.

    80% of the world male population is intact, and they’re not all on their deathbeds.

    In fact, HIV transmission rates are higher in the US, where 80% of the men are already circumcised from birth, than in countries in Asia and Europe where circumcision is rare.

    Remember, readers, *we* are the “extremists.”

  23. Michael W. N. permalink
    March 6, 2012 1:52 pm

    It is indeed difficult to overlook the sexual undertones in this ritual. Consider for a moment a future scenario where ritual circumcision can only be legally performed when the candidate is old enough to give his consent and make an informed decision. If, after completion of the surgery, the mohel were determined to suck the bloody penis of the candidate, this would require that the candidate had reached the age of consent to sexual intercourse. Sucking the penis of an underage boy is a criminal act and carries serious penalties. It is a great paradox and a great injustice that, because we are talking about newborn babies, the state simply ignores the laws that protect our children from the vilest of predators.

    That said, I do realize that discussions of this kind can easily degenerate into racist and anti-Semitic diatribes; cf. Foreskin Man. Intactivists can improve their image and further their cause by preventing this from happening.

    • Tim Foxx permalink
      March 6, 2012 3:28 pm

      You are very right about this! There are sexual undertones involved here that needs addressing…

  24. Maria permalink
    March 6, 2012 1:51 pm

    What about the baby boy’s “civil liberties?” Like the right to his life, intact body, sexual wholeness and his own choice of religion?

  25. RewriteLady permalink
    March 6, 2012 1:31 pm

    The decision to amputate the foreskin belongs with the owner of the penis… period. Parents do not own the bodies of their children, regardless of the religious beliefs of the parents.

  26. March 6, 2012 1:07 pm

    Preaching to the choir! This needs to be posted onto other sites so that people besides our tiny community will see it.

    • March 6, 2012 1:22 pm

      CC, please feel free to use the sharing links above (at the bottom of the post), to help get this message out there.. and ask others to share as well. Thank you!

  27. eshu21 permalink
    March 6, 2012 1:00 pm

    Speaking as someone raised Jewish, I can think of nothing more repulsive than the use of “religious freedom” as an excuse to mutilate a child’s genitalia, including my own. Are we still so backward, so superstitious, that we can even begin as humans to justify this barbarity? And the fact that my relatives for example will use anything – God, the Holocaust, phony medical justifications, their parental “rights” and “ethics” – anything – to justify this continued assault on the helpless bodies of male infants shows that deep down, they know they are committing an immoral act that must be disguised by a fog of misdirection (my own brother told me he would cut off helping to support his unexpectedly pregnant 21-year-old daughter if she refused to have her son mutilated).

    The fact that an organization like the ACLU would assume that the only religious “freedoms” involved are those of the parents does nothing but add insult to injury. What about the child’s right to an intact body, to make their own decision as an adult whether or not they wish to be mutilated for God? Can Mormons, according to the ACLU, force underage girls into polygamous marriages? Can Christian Scientists refuse medical care for their children? Can Native Americans force children into eating peyote, or snake handlers throw rattlers into cribs? Can African or Middle Eastern immigrants mutilate the bodies of their girls?

    What makes the ACLU draw a line in which only baby boys are allowed to be mutilated in a sick conception of God’s will? Was it their funding? Or the fact that so many ACLU members might wish to impose religious mutilation on their children? I accuse this organization of gross hypocrisy, an utter betrayal and violation of its stated principles, in their defense of this grotesque assault on baby boys. Does the ACLU have any real defense for their support of this attack on the religious freedom of America’s boys? None, other than their own bigotry, and fear of loss of financial support. What a sick act, on the part of a once-important organization. I hope the ACLU is proud of its betrayal; I am not, and am ashamed I ever supported them.

  28. March 6, 2012 12:46 pm

    How many more boys must die before we stop this barbarism? Thousands have died during this sordid period of American history.

  29. March 6, 2012 12:42 pm

    I’ve said for 15 years that all infant circumcisions, including secular ones, are an unprosecuted sexual assault on a minor. I don’t care if it is de facto. At one time beating your wife or slave was acceptable, too.

    For a culture that is hyper-sensitive to persecution you’d think that Judaism would treat their children with more respect by removing them from harm.

Trackbacks

  1. “Death by Circumcision—Religious Freedom or Criminally Negligent Homicide?” « Circumcision Wisdom
  2. The Male Infant Circumcision Information Site » Blog Archive » Death by Circumcision—Religious Freedom or Criminally Negligent Homicide?

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