San Francisco may ban circumcision

San Franciscans may soon have the opportunity to ban circumcision in their city:

Self-described “civil rights advocates” say that a ballot proposition to ban circumcision is on track for gathering signatures, meaning that San Franciscans may vote on the measure this November.

The proposed law is being spearheaded by local resident Lloyd Schofield, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

It’s part of a national push to end the procedure, which some say is steeped in tradition but poses risks and has little medical benefit. TheAmerican Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association do not recommend routine circumcision.

Browsing the various comments, it appears that most conservatives oppose such a ban because it would infringe on freedom of religion.  I think it goes without saying that freedom of religion should only apply when no real harm is done to the child.  Thus, male circumcision is okay but female mutilation is not okay.

One comment, in particular, seemed more rational than the rest:

BRANDONCHESHIRE Regarding Free of Religion arguments: This is protecting the religious freedom of the infant strapped into the circumstaint who may not grow up wanting half his penile skin system removed and/or participate in the parent’s religion. There is nothing in this law preventing adults from circumcising themselves if they so choose it for themselves and their religious beliefs. If your religion wants to perform rituals on those who cannot give consent or decide for themselves whether they want to be a part of your religion or not, you need to rethink what religious freedom means.

Brandoncheshire’s comment makes sense, at first glance, because he adopts a position of total individual freedom and this appeals to libertarians like myself.  But I think that an important element is missing from the whole debate: ownership of our own children.  As a libertarian, I am somewhat hesitant to make this point, but it seems obvious that many of the things we call “ours” are located at different points in the ownership continuum – at least in relation to morality.   Absolute ownership and absolute morality often find themselves at odds.  Absolute ownership implies that I may do anything I wish with the object I own.  Hence, since I own my cat, I may do away with her by any means I choose if I no longer find her convenient.  But by doing so, I would be violating a moral code and a bystander would have the right to intervene and rescue my cat.  But what if I choose to have her declawed?  Few would claim the right to intervene and rescue her from this fate.

We own our children.  This ownership is not absolute; it does not give us the right to torture them or do away with them at our whim.  But, just as we may choose to declaw our cats, so too may we subject our children to certain ritualistic modifications.  Where do we draw the line?  This is a question that can only be answered, with authority, by the moral compass of our culture and community.  Though most of us consider female genital mutilation to be inexcusable, would we invade a country in order to save their girls from this fate?  A better approach would be to try to enlighten them through peaceful means.  If this does not succeed, it is unfortunate but no escalation is justified in my opinion.

The only way to make moral decisions, and to justifiably uphold them by law, is through our culture and community.  Multiculturalism, by definition, destroys cohesive cultures and communities.  It replaces them with a hotchpotch of values and mores.  A confused jumble of definitions of right and wrong.  It should not be surprising when moral chaos ensues.  It is the equivalent of trying to use a compass in outer space, where there is no North or South, up or down.

As Western civilizations fall to multiculturalism, and their moral codes are eroded, so too do their property rights erode.  It used to be that a business owner could choose his employees based on whatever criteria he chose.  But now that there are numerous peoples and cultures in close proximity, government has an excuse to slide his ownership ever more to the left in order to accommodate the “new morality”.  Morality inflation comes at the expense of ownership rights.  It used to be that few would question an individual’s right to own a gun.  But now multiculturalism has thrown our old morality into uncertainty, more individuals become confused even when it comes to taking another human life.  This gives government an excuse to slide gun ownership ever more to the left in a vain effort to offset the violence that its own multicultural policies have wrought.

As multiculturalism eats away at property rights, it was only a matter of time before the matter of circumcision became a referendum.  It is also not surprising that it would take place in a city like San Fransisco.

This entry was posted in Jewish stuff and Israel, libertarian thought, pan-nationalism and multi-culturalism, shenanigans of the Left and of non-white activists. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to San Francisco may ban circumcision

  1. John McNeill says:

    I agree with you, jewamongyou. Let’s hope this movement stays in Frisco and doesn’t become the cause du’jour of the Left once gay marriage has been legalized in all 50 states with collective bargaining rights and amnesty for all. >.>

  2. fred says:

    With the obvious exception of medical necessity, I prefer my body as nature intended. Considering your previous threads on plastic surgery I assumed you’d agree. Indeed, I’ve often wondered how Judaism justified circumcision in light of commandments not to mutilate one’s body.
    Anyway, I found an interesting discussion on another site arguing that body modification is “part of [their] tradition and tradition must go on.”
    I’m sure some may find the comparison insulting. Even more so because it is a valid comparison.

    • jewamongyou says:

      Rhinoplasty is usually done because a person considers her nose to be unattractive – often because she rejects her own racial heritage. Circumcision is done, among Jews, as a ritual initiation into one’s own ancestral people. It is done as an affirmation of one’s heritage.

  3. John McNeill says:

    fred, I’ve heard that there are medical risks associated with uncircumcised bodies, but I don’t know how valid the studies are.

    • fred says:

      It lowers the risk of some infections and cancers. But the effect is so small that no major medical association recommends it as a preventative. Indeed, no one circumcises their children for medical reasons. They do it for the same reason these people do it.

      • jewamongyou says:

        I can see why the child in her arms is crying; it’s as if she knows that some day this will be done to her! But I wonder if it is even possible for Caucasians, with their smaller lips, to do this.

      • John McNeill says:

        Yikes. I’m glad lip plates have no presence in the West, and hope it continues to remain that way.
        And I understand where you are coming from as far as seeing a comparison between circumcision and lip plates, and I respect your decision to not engage in it or have your family practice it.
        However, I personally do not see it being similar, since I was circumcised as an infant, and do not remember any pain. As an uncircumcised adult I certainly wouldn’t try it.

      • John McNeill says:

        According to Wikipedia, lip plates were practiced in the Balkans around 5000 BC and Iran in 6400 BC, so apparently it “worked” for Caucasian women at some point.

  4. jewamongyou says:

    Re: John McNeill. Somebody out there is going to use this as “proof” that the original inhabitants of the Balkans were black. Also, I wonder how large the Balkan plates were compared to the African ones.

    • John McNeill says:

      The same thought cross my mind. It made me think of Afro-Europe, a rather interesting blog that tries to justify the African conquest of Europe by looking for proof that Europe was always a “black continent”. They spend a lot of time examining the portraits of white European nobles and looking for traceable African traits, because apparently “European blue blood is black blood” or says one of the bloggers. I am NOT making this up.
      As for your question, I too would like to know. My computer currently can’t view pdfs online due to some adobe malfunction, but here is the article that Wikipedia cites.

  5. Eugenicist says:

    I view circumcision in the same way I view getting a tattoo, or amputating a toe.
    If someone, of any age, needs to get a toe amputated for medical reasons, that should be open to them. And if an adult wants to get a tattoo, they should be free to. But making a child get a tattoo or amputate a toe, because it’s traditional, isn’t something I agree with it.
    JAY, I disagree that it’s okay to “subject our children to certain ritualistic modifications.” After a certain age, an adolescent or a young adult should be free to choose if they want pierced ears or not, for example.
    But I’m not sure how partial ownership of one’s own child translates into owning their body, esp. changes that will stay with them into adulthood (self-ownership?). Any parent can prevent certain things from happening (“You can get a tattoo when you’re living on your own”) or require certain things from their children after a certain age (“No circumcision, no trust fund”) but beyond that I don’t see it.

    • jewamongyou says:

      We’ll probably have to agree to disagree. In my view, the way a child is taken care of is subject to cultural norms. A minor body modification fits into the category of cultural choice. A circumcised man is a fully functional human being. He is not crippled in any way. So, arguably, his parents have not harmed him.

  6. stevn says:

    reminds me of a joke…
    Why do jewish women insist on circumcision?
    They want 10% off of everything.
    Why does San Francisco want to ban circumcision?
    The queers don’t want to waste 10%.

  7. Lasse says:

    I have strong objections to the content of this post and the tone in which it is written.
    Some facts: The number of baby-boys that are killed annually by circumcision in the USA is estimated at 117 (see reference below). So do you honestly think that it is okay for a parent to kill their babies or subject them to operation that can only be described as torture because it is a part of their religion?!
    You do know that the foreskin is attached to the gland at birth like a fingernail to the nail-bed and only separate naturally between ages of about 4 and 8 years of age, right? So you do realise then that when the circumcision performed on an infant the foreskin is ripped from the gland the same way a torturer might pull off someone’s fingernail. This is acceptable behaviour you think?
    Circumcision is a Bronze Age ritual based on superstition and every child should be protected from this form of abuse, male or female. If they want to circumcise themselves then they are of legal age to do that then it is their business, but nobody should be allowed to force genital mutilation on anyone.
    Furthermore you do NOT own your child at all, contrary to what you claim; you are the legal guardian of it. You may own and sell a pet but you can’t do that with people. Ownership of people in the USA ended with the American Civil War when slavery was abolished and people were no longer seen as property! This is true for both adults and children.
    [THYMOS: Journal of Boyhood Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 2010, 78-90, “LOST BOYS: AN ESTIMATE OF U.S. CIRCUMCISION-RELATED INFANT DEATHS”- Dan Bollinger ]

  8. +There is a movement of Jews who are questioning circumcision, and working to end this abuse of children. The movement ranges from the Orthodox to the secular, and includes mothers, fathers, scholars, historians, medical professionals, activists, and intellectuals.
    * Jews Against Circumcision
    * The Current Judaic Movement to End Circumcision: Part 1
    * The Current Judaic Movement to End Circumcision: Part 2
    * Jews Speak Out in Favor of Banning Circumcision on Minors
    * Brit Shalom Celebrants by Mark D. Reiss, M.D.

  9. Lasse says:

    This is very interesting and promising. I hope that reason will prevail in this and that circumcision against ones will, will end.
    I think one reason for Orthodox Jews to go out against Circumcision is that the Torah also tells you:
    Leviticus 19:28 “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.”

    • jewamongyou says:

      Obviously the verse you quoted does not refer to circumcision. If you disagree with the ritual, then so be it – but to try to use the Torah to support this opinion is absurd. Circumcision is not a cut in the flesh for the dead, nor is it a tattoo. In other words, I can appreciate y’all’s anti-circumcision position; let it stand on its own merits without taken Biblical verses out of context.

      • Lasse says:

        Actually it does. This is about ritual cuttings in your flesh in honour of your ancestors (the dead) and circumcision is just that.
        Yes the Hebrew Bible states that circumcision is a symbol of the covernant with God. But it also is strongly against doing any form of cosmetic surgery (and other body alterations) for non-medical reasons (especially for men) and circumcision is a, not medically nescessary, cosmetic surgery.

  10. Monika Jacob says:

    I don’t see any medical reason for officially banning circumcision.

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