Okay, I see this has garnered some strong opposition. Ebor said:
Regarding your life goal. As Voltaire is alleged to have said: "I disagree with what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it." But, that does not condone any percieved right to act upon it by force. One may attempt persuasion, not force an acceptance.
That is because But I follow it with the old Latin adage: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" "Who will guard the guardians?"
in conjunction with Lord Acton's words: "Power tends to corrupt, Absolute Power corrupts absolutely."
No human being can be totally trusted with knowing what is best for all of humanity. Only God has that.. Your ideals, your likes, your thoughts are not necessarily the Only Way to Be. Neither are mine, nor anyones. But a tyrant who percieves himself as benevolent is still a tyrant.
Erracht, you say you don't see things in such a 'black and white way". But that is not how your writing conveys your ideas. It comes across more that on this particular subject you will brook no disagreement; that you are exceedingly sure that you hold the moral high ground and all who do not go along are "arrogant" scoffing or cruel.
-I was only speaking about one aspect of the situation. I hold the position that too many things are imposed on children and that circumcision is one of them. It is unnecessary and causes suffering. It is not the same as just giving a vaccine or filling a cavity. I do not think that everyone who disagrees with me is arrogant, just that I think it's arrogant to assume that a parent by definition knows best. Yes, maybe the parent does know best, or maybe they don't. Anyone who can sex can be a parent, not just those who are able to do so. Do you think those women who sleep around and have lots of kids so they can get more welfare know best?
I completely accept you guys' right to voice your disagreement. I just haven't been convinced by your counter-arguments that I'm wrong. I'd say to you, Catherine, Cizinec and Pedro - here's an example to illustrate the reason I would make circumcision illegal. You say I would be a "tyrant, even a benevolent one" if I made routine and religious circumcision illegal. You say that because other people don't share my opinion, therefore, making it illegal would be an imposition on their rights. But think: when women were given the vote, many men were of the opinion that nice women wouldn't and shouldn't want the vote. When slavery was abolished in the USA, there were scores of people who were of the opinion that they were having a right infringed on. Just some time previously, the US Supreme Court had condoned slavery. But these legal steps were taken in spite of the anti-rights people, and consequently the human race is that much more free. See, here I would not be making it illegal to circumcise YOURSELF. That would be being a "benevolent tyrant". I would be making it illegal to circumcise a child without a medical reason, because the child is ANOTHER PERSON and I would thus be protecting ITS liberty. In essence, I would be stopping YOU from being the "benevolent (or not so benevolent?) tyrant you describe.
I did say that I think children should have more rights, but I never said that parents are by definition stupid, or that their guidance is not required. I did say above that I was not opposing medically necessary operations. Katherine2001 said:
I hated getting shots as a kid. I guess my parents were horrible child abusers for forcing me to be immunized against polio and other diseases, when I probably would not have chosen to get if the choice was mine. Personally, I'm thankful that they were so *mean* and *arrogant*. Actually, I'm very thankful that they were *arrogant* and required us to do a lot of things as a child that I thought was mean at the time because in the long run they were right. I have seen too many children who were raised by *cream puffs* and haven't liked what I've seen.
-I didn't say that immunization against polio was child abuse. Or that your parents were arrogant. Immunization against polio not only very blatantly protects the child but also the common good (by stopping this horrendous disease from spreading among children). Routine circumcision doesn't. It essentially harms the child, causing not only horrid pain but sometimes being botched (occasionally causing death), and possibly affecting the child's sexual potency in later life. The hygienic advantage is pithy in comparison, but even if it weren't IT'S JUST NOT NECESSARY. Scores of men are perfectly fine without circumcision. Yes, appendixes, tonsils and wisdom teeth are natural, but note that WE DO NOT ROUTINELY REMOVE THEM, ONLY WHEN THEY CAUSE A PROBLEM! So why should the foreskin be treated differently?
That being said, some people will look at the evidence and decide to do it anyway. Cursing that person or being angry at that person would be wrong. They may end up with a child that has to have a lot of medical attention because of their choice. They may have a child that gets angry at their parents IN ADULTHOOD because they realise that they didn't want it done. Most of the folks will end up like the people here. The parents will have to live with the consequences. Don't hate them. Don't waste your time trying to make it illegal or change the minds of people who are dogmatic about it. When someone asks me what I think, I tell them in a loving way. They decide. Some listen, some don't. Some have wished they had listened and some haven't said a thing since.
-I am not cursing or hating anyone. What I'm trying to do is establish some rights.
I am of the opinion that if "they decide", the world is simply a worse place for it. I think it's disgusting that you can decide like that about another person when it's clearly not necessary and can have such serious consequences. I'm more concerned about the CHILD not having to live with the consequences.
Like almost all American men, I'm circumcised, and if I had it to do over again with any choice in the matter, I'd say "Sure. Go ahead. Whatever."
I'm not interested in seeing pictures, anymore than I'm interested in seeing pictures of a tonsillectomy, which I've also had, and which was probably no fun at the time. I have no memory of either surgery.
More to the point, the issue has no moral or theological ramifications WHATSOEVER; it doesn't belong in an Orthodox Christian forum, except to say this: We don't do it anymore for religious reasons, but to oppose it so vehemently when God once commanded it and our Lord submitted to it sounds Gnostic or Manichean to me -- that the God of the Old Covenant isn't the same as the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
-Well you may have no memory of the circumcision, but believe me, it was probably a horrendous experience at the time. It someone told me "let me mutilate your genitals. You'll experience sharp pain for some time after it's done, and it'll take a few days before it completely stops or you can even really use them. But don't worry, you'll forget about it soon after, and you'll be more of a man!" I'd say a big fat NO to that. As for your tonsilectomy, it probably can't be compared. It may have left your throat sore, but you had anesthesia during the cutting, sparing you most of the pain, and you quite possibly were given some fair rations of ice cream after. And the tonsillectomy was necessary to make you healthy. The circumcision probably wasn't.
I am also not saying that God is evil because He required circumcision of the Ancient Jews. Or that that God is not the God of the Old testament. What I'm saying is that it was required of the Ancient Jews, but only as a temporary thing of the Old Covenant. Therefore, I don't see why it could be sanctioned today. Note some other things that were required by the Old Covenant in Mosaic Law that are 100% illegal today: stoning to death adulterers, homosexuals, dissolute sons. But they were required in those days.
The thing I find arrogant is the attitude that "whatever I decide for my child IS the best" or even "I'll do whatever I think is best, even if it turns out to be a mistake". I think a better attitude would be "It would really be nice if I didn't have to make any decisions for my child, but because I believe I do, I'll only do so if I really have to. Circumcision is not necessary to protect my child's health and safety, and it will cause suffering; therefore, I have no right to impose it." I don't expect people to just agree with me. But I most certainly will promote the opinion. I certainly think a parent should expect moral behavior from their children, and there are situations when a young child may not be mature enough to make safety/medical decisions. But to allow parents to obsess about health and welfare, impose anything they see fit, mold the child into a clone of themselves, etc. there's a big problem there.
I should see my priest in about 2 hours and will talk to him about it. My first pastor had nothing against my human rights activism, but as this one is in charge now, I'll submit to what he says.