Every once in a while, the subject of circumcising male newborns and boys rears its ugly head – no pun intended – and the discussion rarely takes long to veer into ethnocentrism, if not outright intolerance.
With the best of intentions, and without realizing it, many people who object to the practice end up making statements that belie their stated respect for the rights of others.
The debate – if we can call it that, since the word connotes a certain civility that’s mostly absent from all the shouting – is usually confined to the fringes, with so-called “intactivists” railing into an echo chamber until something happens to thrust the debate back into the mainstream.
The latest such event occurred earlier this summer when a German court in Cologne ruled that a child’s “fundamental right to bodily integrity” trumps his parents’ religious rights. It said those parental rights “would not be unduly impaired” if children were allowed to decide when they’re older whether or not to be circumcised.
The ruling came in the case of a four-year-old Muslim boy who experienced complications after being circumcised by a doctor. Continue reading