German appeals court decides against religious circumcision of children.

I don’t have all the facts about this, but found this definitely worthy of debate.



One more overview of circumcision:


To me, there’s a very interesting balance of things going on.

Take away the health benefits and I can see the court’s point of view with no problem. Children should be spared from permanent body modifications based solely on religious ideas. At the same time, parents should be able to raise their children as they see fit. But sometimes the parents ideas are not beneficial for their children’s health. Then again, this is something that the child will have to deal with once they become an adult.

Frankly, I can see it both ways.

Honestly I wonder if this has anything to do with circumcision being a Muslim and Jewish thing. How does this fit into the EU’s ideals about religious freedom?

Hmmm… two snips in the OP.

I wonder if circumcision was a Christian ritual if the German court would have ruled differently. I suspect not.

One can debate the health benefits to a draw, it comes down to personal preference. I think it’s a matter of parental choice.

IANAL but as I understand it, the EU has a Charter of Fundemental Rights and freedom of religion is one of them (Art 10) but this says:

The Charter also says (Art 3):

So - from the quotes in the OP - the judges are saying circumcision infringes the individual’s right to physical integrity and the right to change religion. Whether this will stand when it gets to higher courts, who knows. Art 7 says:

and Art 22 says:

It is the courts that have to balance the conflicting rights and it always seems a lottery which one any particular court will decide is most important!

I think in 100 years we’re all going to look back on ritual circumcision and slap our foreheads. In the short term, I worry about it going underground. People with religious convictions aren’t going to suddenly stop.

This is something I have thought carefully about for more than 10 years, and I’ve come to the conclusion that genital excision (of either gender) is indefensible in a democratic society. My freedom of religion ends at your body. I have the right to teach my (hypothetical) kids whatever religious beliefs or non-beliefs I wish, just as I have the right to educate them on other matters as well. But permanently removing bodily tissues as part of religious indoctrination seems to me to contradict an individual’s right of self-determination. (And, for that matter, so does any other kind of religiously-encouraged bodily abuse, including molestation and violent physical discipline.)

Parents who make excisions or slices on their child’s body for non-religious reasons are usually treated with revulsion. If an obscure religious sect mandated that its children’s earlobes be cut off, its members would be prosecuted. Why should any other religions or cultures be given a pass?

Because they are the majority and the majority will have it’s way God DAMN IT!

Or something like that.

Why can’t circumcision wait until the child can make up his own mind?

If the answer requires reading from a passage of bronze age sheep herder lore and mysticism, well that’s your answer.

I had to giggle at your “SNIP” in the quotes. Anyway. I don’t think Jews will stop circumcising their boys. I wouldn’t. And I’m not sure how many Jews and Muslims are in Cologne. According to Wiki, about 4,000-5,000 Jews.

As for the rest of the German states…I mean, the larger EU has never really appealed to me as a place that values religious freedom. So I assume they’ll fallow suit.

But I’m an American, so I’m spoiled. :slight_smile:

Underground? In Jewish circles, no doc is necessary. A mohel does it for a living. Your kitchen table, the shul, you name it.

Since when does religious freedom include messing with other people’s bodies for the single reason of enforcing those religious beliefs?

Religious freedom should also be freedom FROM religion.

Adults have always had a considerable amount of say-so in a child’s upbringing. In Judaism (and I assume Islam), you are required to make these decisions for your child.

I’m wondering if you can spank your child in Cologne but not have him circumcised.

I’m not going to get into an argument over it. I was commenting on the ruling.

And if mohelim can’t operate in public? Presumably even they know about sterile tools and proper procedures. I would guess that many if not most of them have some kind of medical background. If they’re not free to practice their craft in public, they’ll disappear and be replaced by less savory types who are willing to risk jailtime to make a buck. Or by people who just really enjoy cutting up dicks. I’m not sure I’d want either of those types around my kids’ junk, if I were so inclined.

Good, religious freedom doesn’t extent to mutilating an infant even if it is your own.

They have no medical training, and even reject sterile technique out of tradition. There was a mohel in the USA giving kids herpes by putting his mouth on their penile wounds.

I don’t think it’s treated with revulsion when parents have their children’s earlobes pierced, although it may be a mildly controversial thing to do to an infant. I haven’t heard of other “excisions or slices” actually being done, so I can’t say how they’re “usually treated.”

Plenty of boys have been circumcized for non-religious (e.g. health) reasons instead of (or in addition to) religious ones. Their parents or doctors may have been misguided in choosing to have them circumcized, but unless you’re an anti-vaccination nut, there’s nothing inherently wrong with parents or doctors choosing to have what they believe to be beneficial medical techniques performed on infants.

Speaking as someone who was essentially coerced into being Confirmed as a Roman Catholic, I can only imagine how much MORE annoyed with my parents I’d be if they had decided for me before I was able to decide for myself that I would be permanently physically injured in support of their religion. This is so obviously completely different from spanking that it’s disingenuous of you, IMHO, to bring it up.

Don’t Conservative/Orthodox conversions of adult males require a ritual/symbolic circumcision with at minimum drawing of blood, anyway? It looks like, in Germany, some male children are going to have to elect for the real thing when and if the time comes.

I can’t say I have a problem with that. It seems to me that any religion that was at all sure of itself would leave ALL these decisions to adulthood. (Catholicism and Judaism, with confirmation and bar/bat mitzvah, both try in some regards and fail in some regards.)

Full disclosure–my wife and daughter are both Jewish. Had we had a son, it would have been very interesting in my household for a while. Regardless of that, she’s not so much as getting her ears pierced until she’s old enough to decide that’s what she wants.

Non-medical genital mutilation is indefensible in our society and there is no compelling reason for religion to get a free pass.

If you think circumcision is an important part of your religion and can justify it on those grounds then what is stopping people explaining that to their children and letting them make the decision themselves? Are they worried that a rational adult might see it as a bad idea?

I think it is an excellent decision.

Yes, there are orthodox outliers. No medical training is required, but I suspect that this is typical:

All of the mohelim that I’ve seen advertising their services tout their medical experience. Your experiences may be different, but to say that mohelim have no medical training isn’t very accurate.

The AIDS statistics as I understand them are more a consequence of lack of access to clean water than the practice of circumcision. And I see no mention in the OP of the diseases that are protected against by the foreskin.

Seems like a no-brainer today. Cut off a part of an infants anatomy? Or your God is going to do… what? Gimme a break. Barbarism should lose every debate.

The standard policy ought to be for circumcised individuals to shun their parents as soon as they are able. People considering circumcising their children should fuck the fuck off (for lack of the formal legal terminology).

It sounds like Jewish and Muslim parents can still circumcise their children, they just have to say they’re doing it for medical reasons.

Considering that probably around 90% of all American parents circumcise their children for non-religious reasons this shouldn’t be a problem.