There are some things that are clearly wrong. Obviously wrong. Obviously immoral and against human rights. There are some traditions which obviously deserve to be modified or abandoned. I ask that the Jewish community recognize this, and when presented with a call for change simply acquiesce. Agree. It won’t kill you. Nor will it damage your culture. In a generation or two your descendants will be wondering why it took you so long to make the change.
I’m thinking now of the initiative in San Francisco to make infant male circumcision illegal. Why are the rabbis fighting this.? Why can’t they just look at themselves and their culture and say, yeah, right. We should change this. It’s obvious. But instead they gird their loins for a fight, join forces with the Muslim community, and vow to continue to define their culture by the bris, no matter how barbaric and ill suited to the modern world it seems to everybody else. Why? Your culture is bigger than this, better educated, more thoughtful, and more moral.
Guys, you’re WRONG. It’s that simple. It’s not right to cut off a part of an infant’s body without permission, and I mean permission from the owner of the body. Not the parents. Not doctors. Not religious leaders. Not anybody but the person who will have to live with that body for the rest of his life. There’s a simple solution. If you think circumcision is important, if you really believe it’s important to cut off the end of your penis, have a ceremony when your son is eighteen. Invite your son to VOLUNTARILLY join your culture and community, instead of forcing it on him with irreversible surgery before he has any ability to make a choice or defend himself. Isn’t that obviously the more correct, the more moral, way to go. Come on now. Rabbis are the authority on morality. What do you see as more moral here?
Isn’t ending infant circumcison the right thing to do?
I know. I know. It feels like you are being pushed around by outsiders. And that naturally causes a reaction. But please, think about it. Sometimes individuals are wrong. Sometimes a whole culture is wrong. Isn’t this what’s happening here? Fight this initiative, and you just polarize your community and increase anti-Semitism. Go along with the initiative, even wholeheartedly support the initiative, and you are seen as progressive and flexible and intelligent and willing to change with the changing times.
Circumcision is genital mutilations. Performing the operation on a helpless infant is wrong. Clearly wrong. Obviously wrong. Indefensibly wrong. Now, just agree with this, and agree to stop doing it. End of conflict. Where are the Jewish leaders when we need them?
The alternative – you fight. And you will lose. Eventually you will lose. Why? Because circumcision of infants is wrong. You can’t keep doing something that is wrong forever without raising opposition. The practice will end. It might as well end now. You might as well help end it.
On a personal note:
I am not Jewish, though I have many Jewish friends and feel a close affinity to the Jewish community. I was circumcised as an infant. Why? Because of absolutely idiotic anti-sexual attitudes by doctors with a lot of authority, doctors like John Harvey Kellogg, a man we now classify as a klismaphile, doctors who decided with no evidence at all that masturbation was not just bad but dangerous. I would find the whole situation unbelievable if the proof of the damage weren’t on my body in a way that is hard to ignore.