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Author Topic: is it sinful to oppose circumcision?  (Read 8569 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ebor
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« Reply #45 on: May 28, 2004, 09:41:55 AM »

-No, I do not generalize about parents!!! I am dealing here with those with whome there is a problem. My mother was smothered by her mother. Later, she also smothered me. I have known people who needlessly impose their will on their children (I've seen some of this in the country I'm in now. Not to generalize but Czech parents are known to treat children like objects) and I want to deal with those, not with those who aren't. Also, I do not think there are parents everywhere who are actually cruel, but recognize their existence. However, I don't recall discussing them anywhere above.

Some of your earlier posts certainly seemed to be generallizing parents. I would submit that you cannot extrapolate from your experiences to a general application. Parenting is different not just from country to country but subgroups within those countries.

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As I just said above, they do apply to some people including apparently some I know (I'd say MANY Serbian parents are like this) and I want to deal with these.

And they do not apply to other people.  It is your broad brush applications that I would hope you will see are not the "Only Possible Way" to do things.

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Guess what? One of the healthiest, most honest and clean living school friends I can think of has had parents who are "very lenient" by her own description.


The definition of "very lenient" is one that would be helpful here. But it is probably not easy to describe.

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Yes, you may make some mistakes, but you can as a parent: learn from your parents' mistakes instead of repeating them, think before you act (yes! Some parents don't), not impose your personal wishes and tastes on your children (as opposed to things having to do with morality), learn from others' mistakes, be compassionate etc.

And this is also nebulous.  I would wish that my children not make a mess and leave it or help with certain chores because it is for the common good of the family.  My taste is that they do not go to school looking like they just came out of the dustbin nor may they get tattoos or piercings.  At this stage of their lives, I am providing some structure and instruction on how act so that when they're adults they don't have chaotic lives.  Otoh, if they want to ramage in the garden being dinosaurs or draw or be interested in robots from their own tastes or any other of a number of things that are not harmful or illegal, that's fine.  

Once they are adults and taking responsibility for themselves and accepting the costs of their choices, that's their lives.   For us, "Parenting" is shaping and forming a Human Being and an adult, not keeping them children and dependent to us all their lives.

Quote

For that matter, it is not true that I have no clue what parenting entails. Some of what I promote re child rearing is endorsed by parents who have successfully raised children. I have babysat and volunteered in schools, which is not quite parenting, but I believe I have successfully applied some of my principles in these contexts.

No, it isn't quite parenting. It's minding children on a limited basis. It's temporary. You get to stop doing it after a while.  So for now, I do not see why your experiences should be a 'ruler' to measure parenting.

That's a long road away from dealing with a child coming home in tears because they were teased by a bully.  Or getting up a 2 AM with a sick toddler.  Or being a referee between 2 siblings several times a day.  Or dealing with 2 homework projects, a play costume and who needs new shoes, while someone is demanding a snack and another is trying to pester the cat.  Parenting is 24/7 and I don't mean that as dancing attendence or "smothering".  

"Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out."  - Anton Chekov

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Rabbis and imams are a different issue, but I would at least impose certain guidelines on them.

"Impose". And where would the line be drawn I wonder.  At least you seem to have moved from not permitting circumcision for Jews at all.

Ebor
« Last Edit: May 28, 2004, 09:44:00 AM by Ebor » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: May 29, 2004, 06:20:41 AM »

Well, Ebor, I can say that I agree with some of what you say about discipline and parenting, and don't agree on other points. I'd rather not argue with you on the broader issue, which I didn't even want to touch when I started this post.

If I were to continue allowing certain faiths to circumcise boys, these are the guidelines I would put in place: that the amount of skin cut off be kept to the necessary minimum. That a safe anesthetic be administered if possible (the pharmaceutic industry could try and develop one, for that matter. It would solve a fraction of the problem I have with circumcision). That the person doing the operation be trained and qualified and not an amateur. And that it be done on a young baby, not (as is done in certain Moslem countries) forced on an older child who could know what is happening and remember and object.
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« Reply #47 on: May 29, 2004, 09:14:02 AM »

I would prefer not to argue, as well.  You were the one who brought "greater rights" into it.  Best for now to drop it I expect. And regarding parenting, I would suggest that you become one and experience it before you opine to others how they ought to be doing it.  There's an old American Indian proverb: "Never criticize a man until you walk a mile in his moccasins".    

For the time being you have no power to allow or prevent circumcision.  As I wrote before, speak against it if you like.  Don't expect other people to just follow along with programs that you deem Right and Good without good reasons.  Hyperbole may sway some, but in the long run it may not further your cause.  Just declaring that something is bad and that you would not allow it comes across rather like "Because you say so."  and because "You know best".

And for the record: in American hospitals they *do* use anesthetics before the procedure and give the parents ointments to apply afterwards.

Ebor
« Last Edit: May 29, 2004, 01:13:03 PM by Ebor » Logged

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« Reply #48 on: May 30, 2004, 08:09:15 AM »

I will drop the argument at hand but will continue arguing with others. I also do not feel that I'm telling people these things without backing up with arguments.

Now, where did you get the information that they do use anesthetics? My info from several sources tells me that babies are circumcised with either inadequate or no anesthetic (reportedly because this isn't safe for a baby) and that doctors are known to do the operation very violently.
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« Reply #49 on: May 31, 2004, 01:46:12 PM »

I will drop the argument at hand but will continue arguing with others. I also do not feel that I'm telling people these things without backing up with arguments.
You "feel" that, but is it always true.  Hyperbolic comparisons aren't arguments.
And not all backup arguements may be valid or convincing to others even if you find them to be so. Regarding greater rights for children you didn't explain or give arguments at all.  But as you say, lets drop it.

Quote
Now, where did you get the information that they do use anesthetics? My info from several sources tells me that babies are circumcised with either inadequate or no anesthetic (reportedly because this isn't safe for a baby) and that doctors are known to do the operation very violently.

And other doctors are known to do it as gently and painlessly as possible.  There is no universal that applies in all cases. There have been idiotic doctors who have done major surgery on infants w/o anesthetic because they said that the immature nervous system could not feel pain. That has changed at least in some places.

I've gotten information from the American Association of Pediatrics statement on it.  Personal knowlege. Procedurals from various hospitals such as:
http://www.lpch.org/DiseaseHealthInfo/HealthLibrary/newborn/circum.html
You have sources that say otherwise.  Likely both are true depending on time and place.

I'm not saying here that the procedure must be done or must not be done. But I'm trying to get a point across to you to go along with your strong feelings on the matter.
Step outside of your own likes and dislikes and look at whether you would take it well for someone to come to you and dictate that you would not do something that you held to be of great importance for religious or moral or ethical reasons.  Fit your words into another's argument directed at you... would you automatically agree with it? would you go along?  

People who disagree with us are still Human Beings. They have their thoughts and ideas and beliefs.  We can try persuasion, not force our ideas.

With respect,

Ebor
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« Reply #50 on: February 11, 2005, 11:29:36 AM »

In light of recent event here in NYC, I thought I'd open this discussion again.  This story is the extreme end of circumcision but worth reading nevertheless

Please see  http://nydailynews.com/front/story/277069p-237314c.html

Also, I've read most of the discussion herein and I must really say I think I disagree with a lot of what has been written.

First and foremost, the practice of circumcision  amongst Jews has never been universally accpeted practice by Jews themselves.  Morever some of the primary reasons for Jewish circumcision were stated by Maimonides...

One thousand years ago, Maimonides said that the effect of circumcision was "to limit sexual intercourse, and to weaken the organ of generation as far as possible, and thus cause man to be moderate... for there is no doubt that circumcision weakens the power of sexual excitement, and sometimes lessens the natural enjoyment; the organ necessarily becomes weak when... deprived of its covering from the beginning."

This is almost the exact reasoning in support of female genital mutilation in Africa.

Whether or not it is a sin to oppose it, I would defer to others, but my mind and heart say that we probably have a moral and philosophical obligation to oppose circumcision.

Anecdotally, I will tell you that I was medically circumcized at the age of 3.  I can assure you that it was easily the most excruciating procedure which I've ever had performed (including two other major surgeries). 

My parents now believe the doctors, 30 years ago, were far to eager to perform such a surgery.  I think trends and times are changing.
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« Reply #51 on: February 11, 2005, 05:14:35 PM »

In the Church, we have circumcision of the heart.
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« Reply #52 on: February 11, 2005, 05:18:07 PM »

Romans 2:25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?
28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit [NIV: a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit], and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

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« Reply #53 on: February 11, 2005, 06:12:30 PM »

Dcn. Lance,

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Yes, it is sinful in that it is a violation of the conscience of Jews, Ethiopian Orthodox and Hebrew Catholics who also require it.  Not to mention the precendent it sets.  Perhaps someone will some day feel the practice of baptizing infants is violating the rights of the child who should get to decide for himself?  It is not for you or anyone else to decide that an immemorial religious practice is barbaric especially one God commanded be done.  Instead of wasting time trying to curtail parent's rights, put that effort into the pro-life movement.

While I'm not advocating a complete ban on circumcisions, I don't think your reasoning that it's an "immemorial religious practice" stands.  It assumes falsehood has intrinsic rights for one thing.  But perhaps more illustrative, is that this kind of reasoning could be used for almost anything.  For example, there have been many cults (including that of my Incan ancestors) which involved human sacrifice.  In fact, human sacrifice is probably almost as old as "sacrifice" in general, being present in almost every civilization that I've read about at some point in time.

Personally, I think greater harm (relative to the harm of circumcizing a child) would be done making it absolutely illegal - Jews and Muslims should probably be exempted, or the other groups you mentioned.  However the idea of circumcizing male children in general (which is a uniquely American phenomenon, which never caught on quite as much up here in Canada - and it never caught on anywhere else either, save in the Islamic world) is another matter entirely, and I would support making it illegal on the following grounds.

1) The hygiene benefits are dubious, and highly contested in the medical profession.  Also, this was not the stated reason for this practice amongst the Hebrews anyway - Genesis 17:11 clearly states that circumcision was given to Abraham as a sign of the covenant He was making with Abraham, a promise regarding his descendents, and their descendents - IOW, a promise intimately linked to the generative organ of the male.  Obviously this is no longer relevent, and cirtainly not for the Christian, since the "seed of Abraham" has come and the basis of man's covenant with God now is one made in His Blood.

2) Any surgery which is not necessary, should not be performed.   Circumcision is not necessary, and it was not "medical necessity" which caused this practice to appear amongst the Semites to begin with.

3) Circumcision is an extremely painful affair.  The idea that it's less painful to an infant is not demonstrable - it's only because they cannot as eloquently vocalize their discontent, that we believe it's less painful.  Having seen the proceedure done before and the state of the child in the period afterward, I'm hardly convinced that this lack of verbalized suffering proves anything but their lack of vocabulary.

As an aside, I find the "Hebrew Catholic" and "Ethiopian" practice to be dubious, theologically speaking.  There is no Christian basis for this practice.  It is true that early on, there was some confusion on this topic as the ramifications of Calvary set in and had to be thought out - so obviously there were those in good faith who continued many such practices without it emplying a repudiation of the Cross.  However, to insist on these practices for anyone is untenable - this is precisely why certain Hebrew groups remained self segregated and became schisms, while others simply continued onward as one with their other Christian brethren, no longer making such distinctions as "Jew" and "Gentile", since their ultimate identity and their basis for a relationship with God as sons, is established in the "covenant in My Blood".  The Hebrew Catholic groups you mention, in such extravagances as insisting on circumcision, seem to be relatively modern.  As for the Ethiopians, I honestly don't know enough about them, but would assume it's just a carry over from the Falashas that was just allowed to continue "as is", however theologically groundless.  The only good thing is that I'm quite sure no Ethiopian would regard another uncircumcized Christian as being "un-Christian" or "less Christian" for this.

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« Reply #54 on: February 11, 2005, 06:22:51 PM »

It should be rather clear in Paul's words that it is not sinful to oppose circumcision.
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« Reply #55 on: February 12, 2005, 02:50:29 PM »

Out of interest, Sweden recently enacted a law saying that when Jews perform circumcision, there must be a medic/nurse at hand, and the child must be anesthetized.
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« Reply #56 on: June 01, 2009, 09:58:04 AM »

Moved to politics:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21590.0.html
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« Reply #57 on: June 01, 2009, 02:24:45 PM »

This reminds me of a book i just read, which stated that all the points the OP raised about circumcision are basically the same points the pagans used in their opposition to Judaism, and is why many "God fearers" (gentile believers in the one God, but who didn't officially become Jews) never took that last step in converting to Judaism. It's also why Christianity quickly gained so many converts because pagans didn't have to undergo the "barbaric" practice of circumcision. They could be "true Jews" without undergoing the Jewish rite of circumcision.

I only make that observation because such disgust with the "practices of the Jews" is not at all new, but goes back 1000's of years.

Speaking as a circumcised man, I frankly am glad I went through it when I was an infant than if I were to go through it now....LOL!

sorry, I didn't realize this thread was so old...how did it ever get on the top of the page like that? curious........
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« Reply #58 on: June 01, 2009, 08:10:08 PM »

This reminds me of a book i just read, which stated that all the points the OP raised about circumcision are basically the same points the pagans used in their opposition to Judaism, and is why many "God fearers" (gentile believers in the one God, but who didn't officially become Jews) never took that last step in converting to Judaism. It's also why Christianity quickly gained so many converts because pagans didn't have to undergo the "barbaric" practice of circumcision. They could be "true Jews" without undergoing the Jewish rite of circumcision.

I only make that observation because such disgust with the "practices of the Jews" is not at all new, but goes back 1000's of years.

Speaking as a circumcised man, I frankly am glad I went through it when I was an infant than if I were to go through it now....LOL!

sorry, I didn't realize this thread was so old...how did it ever get on the top of the page like that? curious........
The post above yours bumped it to the top.
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« Reply #59 on: June 01, 2009, 08:27:38 PM »

This reminds me of a book i just read, which stated that all the points the OP raised about circumcision are basically the same points the pagans used in their opposition to Judaism, and is why many "God fearers" (gentile believers in the one God, but who didn't officially become Jews) never took that last step in converting to Judaism. It's also why Christianity quickly gained so many converts because pagans didn't have to undergo the "barbaric" practice of circumcision. They could be "true Jews" without undergoing the Jewish rite of circumcision.

I only make that observation because such disgust with the "practices of the Jews" is not at all new, but goes back 1000's of years.

Speaking as a circumcised man, I frankly am glad I went through it when I was an infant than if I were to go through it now....LOL!

sorry, I didn't realize this thread was so old...how did it ever get on the top of the page like that? curious........

Sorry if this is a weird, or inappropriate question, but I'm wondering if you have any recollections/traumas/flashbacks, whatever, pertaining to this procedure in your infancy (I'm assuming you don't, but just wondering).
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« Reply #60 on: June 01, 2009, 09:54:46 PM »

The way that a mohel does a circumcision is COMPLETELY different than how doctors do it. A mohel is really fast- like about 3 seconds. A doctor straps the baby to a board and then clamps the penis and takes more time. My son didn't really notice his circumcision at all. He was given sweetened wine and barely bled. His penis was healed in just a few days. And of course, he nursed within seconds of being circ-ed. Our healthcare would have covered 100% of a doctor doing a circumcision. But the way that medical doctors do it now is downright barbaric. We paid $300 out of pocket to have a mohel do it, and it was WELL WORTH ever penny.
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« Reply #61 on: June 01, 2009, 10:16:05 PM »

This reminds me of a book i just read, which stated that all the points the OP raised about circumcision are basically the same points the pagans used in their opposition to Judaism, and is why many "God fearers" (gentile believers in the one God, but who didn't officially become Jews) never took that last step in converting to Judaism. It's also why Christianity quickly gained so many converts because pagans didn't have to undergo the "barbaric" practice of circumcision. They could be "true Jews" without undergoing the Jewish rite of circumcision.

I only make that observation because such disgust with the "practices of the Jews" is not at all new, but goes back 1000's of years.

Speaking as a circumcised man, I frankly am glad I went through it when I was an infant than if I were to go through it now....LOL!

sorry, I didn't realize this thread was so old...how did it ever get on the top of the page like that? curious........

Sorry if this is a weird, or inappropriate question, but I'm wondering if you have any recollections/traumas/flashbacks, whatever, pertaining to this procedure in your infancy (I'm assuming you don't, but just wondering).

For myself no, nor anyone I've know who had it done as an infant. As an adult or teenager, it's a memory, painful but definitely not traumatic.  My brother has had to have it redone I think three times, the last time I think he was 35. My son might have the same problem.  Btw, my ex's nephew almost had it done for medical reasons in Romania, where practically no one is, so it is not an issue of the American medical profession pushing therapeutic circumcision.
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« Reply #62 on: June 01, 2009, 11:51:05 PM »

Interesting, Ialmisry and Quinault. Thanks so much for sharing! Your poor brother Ialmisry-that can't be easy to have it re-done... Sad

Quinault, I didn't know the mohel would perform circumcisions on gentiles (of course you had to pay though!). I can perfectly understand that they'd do a better job than a regular doctor. If I would have been able to have had a little boy, I'd have wanted that too. Good choice!
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