The recent German attempt to end the religiously-mandated circumcision of infants brought predictable denunciations from advocates of the genital-mutilation of children:

We consider this to be an affront to our basic religious and human rights.”*

It’s a tricky one. On the one hand forced circumcision of a minor is clearly an act of child-abuse, on the other hand it was prescribed by the deranged and depraved Abraham and so should definitely be exempted from the standards of mere civilisation.

Merkel has said Germany risked becoming a ‘laughing stock’ if Jews [and Muslims] are not allowed to practice their rituals.”**

It is imperative we practice our rituals, so I wonder if believers and humanists could settle for a compromise on this issue: if you sincerely believe that it is the divinely-decreed Law then you may mutilate your newborn baby, on the condition that you don’t skimp on the rest of God’s Law: circumcision isn’t the only rule set down in the Torah. Among many other gems we find this in Deuteronomy: “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death.”*** The authority that commands the knifing of the babe is the authority that commands the stoning of the lippy kid; we must not baulk at savagery.

* http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18909640

** http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/07/19/german-mps-vow-to-protect-circumcision-after-controversial-court-ban/

*** Deuteronomy 21:18-21


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