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Author Topic: is it sinful to oppose circumcision?  (Read 7432 times) Average Rating: 0
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erracht
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« on: May 20, 2004, 05:01:51 AM »

In the Old Testament, God ordered Abraham to circumcise all baby boys as sign of the covenant between God and the Jewish nation. However, Christianity dropped this practice, no less strict an authority than St. Paul saying that it is not important. Circumcision was one of the things to be kept under the Old Covenant, but the New Covenant no longer requires it.

I would like to advocate against routine male circumcision, which used to be popular in the English speaking world, but now seems to be most popular in the USA whereas other countries have largely dropped it. If I could, I would make any circumcision that is not due to a medical emergency illegal. This would include Jews' and Muslims' circumcision of babies. Let them wait until the boy can decide for himself whether or not he wants it done. Circumcision is an extremely painful opreration and in essence is taking healthy tissue and chopping it off, sometimes for no better reason than for the boy to "look like dad", and at any rate, the baby is not asked for permission. It disgusts me that such a barbarous "medical practice" as routine circumcision is practiced in the civilized world. This webpage gives sound arguments against it for those who want to learn more:
http://www.cirp.org/library/ethics/milos-macris/

Now, my question is: if I denounce the practice of circumcision as something barbarous, which violates children's human rights and should be illegal, am I in any way insulting God, who ordered this practice Himself for Jews in the Bible? Is it okay if I campaign to forbid religious groups from doing so, too (I figure I can, because the true religion, Orthodoxy, does not require it, though I am aware that its predecessor, God-endorsed Judaism, did)?

For the record, God is supposed to be an all-loving God. So it seems strange that He would order the mutilation of every Jewish boy. What do you think was His rationale behind it (I would like to believe that in the days of ancient Israel, God miraculously removed the pain and suffering of every circumcised baby, but what do you know?).
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theodore
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2004, 05:48:15 AM »

I wouldn't say that it's sinful to oppose circumcision, as that was one of the issues brought up at the Council of Jerusalem in the Acts of the Apostles.  The issue of whether gentile converts to Christianity should be circumcised was addressed there (the answer being no of course).  I personally find that there are hygenic reasons for circumcision.  A former co-worker of mine, was circumcised while he was in his 60s for medical reasons.  It's obviously much worse and traumatic to be circumcised as an adult than as a child.  I have heard other, usually older men state about how they wish they had been circumcised, due to health issues.  I believe that male circumcision has valid health reasons as do many of the Jewish dietary laws, but to either advocate or rally against such probably isn't sinful.  As an example, I am an advocate of eating pork.  All that said, for you to want to make a medical practice (as well as a religious practice for the Jews) illegal is going a bit too far.
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2004, 06:47:30 AM »

So Theodore, in much of the civilized world, men are not normally circumcised, yet they have no problems. And no wonder, as this is skin that is a natural part of your body. At any rate, circumcision causes tremendous pain to the child, yet you have been led to think that it's "obviously much less traumatic". The pain lasts a long time, too. Try cutting off a large bit of your skin and you'll know what I mean.
Bottom line, circumcision is unnecessary and very painful. Tons of people have led healthy lives without it. Babies shouldn't have this forced on them.
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2004, 08:24:49 AM »

Erracht,

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.

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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2004, 09:45:19 AM »

I oppose routine medical circumcision for many personal reasons.  For those who argue from the position that it's painful as an adult, the overwhelming majority have no problems ever and it's just as painful for an infant.  Diabetics are the obvious exception.  

That said, I don't think you should want to make it illegal.  I don't think it's a sin to try to make it unpopular, although I wouldn't call all circumcisions barabaric.

Part of the problem is that a circ. done in a bris is quite different from one performed by a doctor (doctors tend to be more exhuberant in their removal and have special tools to make sure they can remove as much as possible).  I oppose routine medical circs. because they provide very few, if any, benefits and can and have caused harm to many people.  

I don't oppose traditional religious circs.
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2004, 10:01:37 AM »

Who are *you* Erracht to tell Jews that a religious obligation is not to be allowed and if you had the power you would make it illegal?  Will you extend them the same power over you and  your religious practices?  I have read things that state that Infant Baptism should not be allowed since it isn't the child's choice and that teaching Christianity to a child is indoctrination and brainwashing.  

We don't ask our children's "Permission" to do alot of things: Vaccinations, other medical procedures, making them go to school and so forth.  Setting up a "right of refusal" of that nature for children has farther consequences then just this particular operation.

You find circumcision repugnant.  That's your right. Advocate if you want.  But if someone does not follow your views, that is their choice and you cannot force them to your way of thinking

Ebor
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2004, 09:44:19 PM »

Isn't that the American way, whether you are liberal or conservative?  If you find something repugnant, it must be outlawed because if you think it's repugnant then it is--that's all there is to it.
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2004, 10:02:27 PM »

Isn't that the American way, whether you are liberal or conservative?  If you find something repugnant, it must be outlawed because if you think it's repugnant then it is--that's all there is to it.  

Good point.
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2004, 10:15:31 PM »

Oh something that some people don't like isn't just made illegal, Katherine. For some with power to do so, things that they don't like are not to be spoken or written of.  I was reading "The Language Police" by Diane Ravitch (and if I can find where it's gone or if one of the children has used it as a building block, David said I should review it here.)  It's subtitle is: "How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn"  And that means pressure groups on either "side" of an issue.  

I recall some examples Ravitch gives from being on a panal to choose stories for (I think) a 4th grade reading book.  Many of their choices were turned down by another group for some of the (to me) stupidest reasons:

    A story about a blind person climbing a mountain was thought to be a good real life account to inspire children to try to do hard things.  The second group rejected the story on 2 ground iirc 1) it was insensitive to suggest that because the person was blind it meant that they were somehow not as able as a sighted person  and 2) A story about mountains would not be understood by children who didn't live near them so that they would be somehow 'left out' of the meaning!

Sorry, growing up in Montana, I read stories about the Sea and pirates and England and castles and Japan because I had never been there and *That was how I traveled in my imagination*.  I learnt of new things and wanted to see them for myself someday.

There's a section in the back of the book of words that aren't allowed because they're "Insensitive" (and I don't mean perjoratives or crude insults) or are considered a "sterotype" :"Blind" "Old" "Bookworm" etc.

Here's a CNN article about it:

http://www.cnn.com/2003/EDUCATION/05/28/life.language.reut/

Ebor
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2004, 10:27:23 PM »

Yes, it is sinful in that it is a violation of the conscience of Jews, Ethiopian Orthodox and Hebrew Catholics who also require it.

Fr. Deacon Lance,

I am curious about why these Ethiopian Orthodox and Hebrew Catholics require circumcision.  I thought this issue was settled almost 2,000 years ago, as recorded in Acts.  How can they require circumcision?

I assume that these Hebrew Catholics are the group led by Bishop Jean Baptiste Gourion (whose appointment was strongly opposed by Patriarch Michael Shabbah).

Jason

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« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2004, 11:40:17 PM »

Ironicly Katherine, I believe the poster who started this thread isn't American.  So us evil Americans can't take all the blame!  

Intersting book, Ebor.  The media decption is simply amazing to me.  I see it a lot with the indoctrination I get everyday at school...
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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2004, 08:24:03 AM »

Jason,

The Hebrew Catholics require this because they are Jews who have become Catholics and consider themselves completed Jews and see themselves under the same mandate to continue their Jewsih traditions as the original Jewish Christians.  Please note that the Council of Jerusalem ruled Gentiles could not be forced to adopt Jewish traditions it did not say that the Jewish Christians should cease them.

The Ethiopian Orthodox are the descendents of the Ethiopian Jews so when their ancestors converted they retained the Jewish traditions as well and so it has continued to this day.

Fr. Deacon Lance
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« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2004, 02:41:34 PM »

Deacon Lawrence, why do you worry about the conciences of people whose religion is not the true one? What you're basically saying is that children should suffer and lose a part of their body so their parents' concience would be appeased.

My point is not to say "oh, those evil Americans, look what they're doing." My point is that circumcision is not done in many other countries, and people there are clearly the better for it. Doctors probably promote circumcision at least in part out of greed - every time they get a patient, they receive a healthy fee.  It's in their interest to circumcise for the same reason that it's in the pharmaceutical industry's to easily promote expensive and side effect-ridden drugs for diseases that can be more conveniently cured through holistic medicine. Money is behind a lot of things.

Re:

You find circumcision repugnant.  That's your right. Advocate if you want.  But if someone does not follow your views, that is their choice and you cannot force them to your way of thinking

-That's like saying, "if you think that husbands battering their wives is repugnant, that's your right. But other people think differently, therefore you shouldn't try to make wife battery illegal." But I care more about the wife's right to not be violated than the husband's "liberty" to beat her. You know the adage "your right to strike someone ends where their face starts". I am not condemning legal circumcision because I find it "repugnant". I find oral sex repugnant too, but I would not make it illegal for two consenting people. The problem I see is that circumcision in the 21st century violates a child's right to bodily integrity. It causes horrendous pain which lasts for some time, has been known even to cause death, may be botched in some cases and also may affect their sexual potency later. All this because of some misconceptions. Routine circumcision started in the 19th century when parents deliberately wanted to curb their sons' sexual potency. Then it continued to be promoted for "hygenic" reasons. The only people that are really likely to suffer from having a foreskin are guys who don't keep their privities clean. And because of a few of these guys, we will subject many children to a mutilatory operation?

Child abuse, eg. beating up your kids, locking them in moldy closets, not feeding them well, is illegal. Why? Because it causes suffering and damage. It doesn't matter if you do these things because you're religious or not, it's illegal. It would be different in ancient Israel. There circumcision would not qualify as child abuse, because it was mandated by God. But we're not in ancient Israel - God released us from the duty to circumcise. So I would worry more about preventing serious suffering and possible future damage (there are people who are furious at their parents/doctor because they feel that by circumcision, they have lost something, that it has affected their sexual potency etc) than about the parents' concience. If they have a concience problem, let them go to another country.

Re:

Who are *you* Erracht to tell Jews that a religious obligation is not to be allowed and if you had the power you would make it illegal?  Will you extend them the same power over you and  your religious practices?  I have read things that state that Infant Baptism should not be allowed since it isn't the child's choice and that teaching Christianity to a child is indoctrination and brainwashing.  

-By that standard, if someone is a satanist, should it be legal for them to have horns implanted in their kids' head? If someone is sadistic, should they have the right to just cut off a piece of their kids' skin, pull their teeth out etc? The US supreme court has I think ruled that you can't remove organs and tissues from a child without a medical reason. So unnecessary circumcision is technically illegal already, nobody wants to enforce this, however. Something similar can be said for the Canadian situation.

By the same standard, Muslims should have the right to mutilate their daughters with "female circumcision" (removal of her clitoris). That IS illegal, you know.

God does not ask us to mutilate ourselves today. Circumcision was a temporary command for the old Israeli state. Orthodoxy doesn't promote it. So if I could be allowed, I would worry more about the health and welfare of kids who don't have a choice.

Teaching your child something (eg. Orthodoxy) is not brainwashing because the kid can form their own opinion later. Baptizing them does not do more than dunk them in water. This is a one-time ritual. So I don't see anyone who is not fanatical about this making it illegal, at least not someone who has a healthy understanding of what I'm trying to achieve. But circumcision, at least as it is done today, directly harms the child. If rabbis can do smaller circumcisions than the horror that the doctors do, perhaps it can be legal IF they are forced to use some kind of anaesthetic.

Here I am just stating my opinion and furthering some arguments. I don't mean to offend any of you above. I hope you realize that I am doing this all out of love toward my neighbor (i.e. innocent kids who are suffering), not to blast anyone.

I wonder how much this whole discussion has to do with religion and how much with accepted societal norms. I'm one of those people who don't accept things just because "everyone else" does; I think critically. I know that this is a controversial subject, and one that people would probably avoid. I think I'll ask my pastor about this; he will not be an American, but someone from a country where people do not circumcise. His answer as to whether or not it is sinful to oppose circumcision today should therefore be rather unbiased!
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« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2004, 03:20:36 PM »

By the same standard, Muslims should have the right to mutilate their daughters with "female circumcision" (removal of her clitoris). That IS illegal, you know.

Yes, it is, because the Muslim's wait to do this until the girl is a pre-teen, when she is fully cognizant (sp) of the event...an 8-day old infant (or younger, usually) has NO memory of said event which, as has been said, is primarily done for ease of hygine nowadays.
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« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2004, 03:35:55 PM »

Yes, it is, because the Muslim's wait to do this until the girl is a pre-teen, when she is fully cognizant (sp) of the event...an 8-day old infant (or younger, usually) has NO memory of said event which, as has been said, is primarily done for ease of hygine nowadays.

There is also nothing in the Koran that demands the girls be circumcised -- it is a cultaural thing for them -- not religious.
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« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2004, 03:39:35 PM »

Erracht....

I agree with a previous poster

Rather than expend energy and resources opposing circumcision...why not put those energies into use opposing abortion....which is the greater sin?

I am circumcised...wish I was not...my son is not circumcised...it is no big deal.

But had I been conceived a few years later than I was (post Roe V. Wade) I probably would never have been born.
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« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2004, 03:57:05 PM »

It's also the case re that the procedure done to girls is actually of cultural origin as there is nothing that I know of about it in the Koran.  It predates Islam.  It is also not practiced by the majority of Muslims according to Amnesty International.  It is not integral to the religion.  And just to be accurate, it can involve cutting off not just the clitoris but the labia and then sewing the girl up; there are several variations. Not pretty and due to lack of hygiene infections are common.

I find it over the top to compare Male Circumsion with Wife Beating, Child Abuse or implanting horns. Such hyperbole does not further discussion.  It is also a "one time ritual" like Baptism, and one that is integral to being a Jewish Male.    

And how do you know that it causes "Horrendous Pain that lasts for some time"?  Was it done to you as an adult?  Do you have sons?  You say that "People are clearly better for" not having it done?  Clearly?  In what way? You have made many assertions, but have not backed them up.  I'm sorry, Erracht, this all seems predicated on you don't like this, therefore it is Evil.  

You say that teaching children Christianity isn't Brainwashing.  I don't either. But there are Atheists out there who do.  Just telling someone that a thing is true doesn't make it so.

Ebor
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« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2004, 05:22:08 PM »

In the US, it would be impossible to outlaw circumcision (for Jews at least) because the First Amendment to the US Constitution established the Freedom of Religion.  When prohibition was passed, it was still lawful for Churches to make and possess wine for the purpose of communion because to deny them this would be to violate the 1st Amendment.  I'm certain that the same would hold true for circumcision as well.  No nation which has religious freedom is therefore able to ban circumcision, just as communion wine wasn't able to be banned when the US passed an Amendment banning alcohol.
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« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2004, 08:41:39 AM »

My assertions, Ebor, are a result of many studies and are backed up by pediatric societies etc in several countries. Reported experiences play into my opinion too. The idea that cutting off a piece of someone's flesh does them no harm is ludicrous. Logical reasoning is part of it too. Men are okay in countries without circumcision, foreskins are a natural part of the body. So why should a child be exposed to an unnecessary operation? Maybe to put money in the doctors' pockets?

If you don't think that circumcision is a major thing, have a look at these pix of a circumcised baby (WARNING - VERY DISTURBING MATERIAL). Maybe rabbis do a milder job than this, I don't know. But what the doctors do is heavy duty:
http://www.cirp.org/library/procedure/plastibell/

So Pedro, do you think that if Muslims could "circumcise" baby girls, and deprive them of their clitoris, it's okay because they're babies? You think it's okay to hurt someone just because they are babies and supposedly won't remember? So if I said to you, let me mutilate your genitals, but you'll forget about it. Would you let me?

This guy: http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org/ says that the original torah does not contain circumcision. I'm not assuming this is true, maybe this is a patent lie, but I'd like to see if his claim can be substantiated.

As for the argument that to ban circumcision goes against freedom of religion, it is near-sighted. Suppose a guy started saying that God doesn't want us to pay taxes and he and his followers refused to do so. Or that murder and rape are mandated by their religion. Would they be allowed to do these things by law? Communion was allowed during prohibition - but this is an exception to a general rule. You can't get drunk when communicating, it's for a special purpose. But if circumcision is harmful, then it can theoretically be disallowed in a country that promotes freedom of religion. Your freedom of religion does not allow you to break laws, including those on bodily integrity and assault. I'll cite some court precedents to explain this if necessary.

I have STUDIED this issue. Some people, I suspect, haven't however. They just assume it's okay because society does it.

But I will ask my pastor when I get time and submit to his teaching.
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« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2004, 09:59:07 AM »

Are you assuming that people that disagree with you do not have reasons and thought for doing do? That they are just going along with the herd?  That any disagreement with your view is evil?

Again, equating Male Circumcision to Rape and Murder is excessive. Such hyperbole does not help get people to take you seriously.  

Re "Bodily Integrity"?  Where does this "right" come from?  And will you take on people who get babies/small childrens ears pierced?  It's painful and can lead to infections.  Sometimes children are born with an extra digit or a birth mark which is surgically removed without the child's consent but by the parents.

Ebor
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« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2004, 07:40:36 AM »

No, Ebor, I am not assuming that people go along with the herd. It does seem common, based on my experience, though. I am not calling anyone evil. Nor am I saying that others don't have the right to their opinion, but I sure won't shut up about mine. My views are the result of critical thinking on my part, I do not assume anything is good or bad. I get the feeling, however, that some others are afraid to challenge established norms.

So Ebor, you don't think people should have bodily integrity? Or that a child is an object that can be treated as one pleases? As a matter of fact, I sure would take on people who have their childrens' ears pierced without asking them. Why in blazes would they do that? There is nothing like a necessity to have one's ears pierced. I personally believe that piercing anybody's ears without their complete consent is a violation of their bodily integrity. But you seem to see in the parents some kind of entitlement to treat their children as objects. In your head, it seems, it's okay to cause pain to a child's ears, risk infection, impose some arcane tribal custom or something (very common in society but still arcane) and your own tastes. What good does this all do the child? None to my knowledge.

Deformities are a bit of a different story. Those things directly and substantially help a child and may be classified I don't see a problem with operating on cleft palates, harelips etc on a baby if the operation is reasonably safe to perform.

I am a voice for the voiceless. I fight for the rights of every human being under the sun. I suggest, Ebor, that you think what you are saying. Have you arrived at your opinions carefully and critically or do you just assume that because treating children like objects is legal, it is right? Children are small and defenseless, and thus easy for grownups to undermine them. I suspect that this is related to why abortion is legal - just like society doesn't want to see a fetus as a person with rights, so many people don't care much for fully protecting the littlest members of society.

I know why you say that comparing male circumcision to rape or murder is excessive. When I made the above comment, I believe that I was talking about something in a different context. I mentioned wife battery, which at one time was reportedly a problem overlooked in society "to preserve the privacy of the family from undue government interference". A euphemism for saying the authorities won't meddle when they could step in and protect people, so there won't be scandal in "respectable" families or what have you. I think that parents having the "liberty" to pierce their children's ears or cut off their foreskin for no good reason (some people just do it so the boy will have genitals "like dad's") is like saying that husbands have the liberty to lord it over and beat their wives or that whites have the liberty to keep their black slaves at home. In the past, people said such things, I think, because men thought they could treat women as inferiors and white people felt they had a right to keep slaves. Nowadays, many people still see children almost as their property. It begins with the fetus, which many people completely disregard, and continues on to the defenseless child.

If you could say no to the circumcision performed on you as a newborn, I bet any money you would.
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« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2004, 07:49:01 AM »

And what does "Bodily Integrity" mean?

I didn't say just "deformations". Birthmarks that only have cosmetic impact are sometimes removed surgically on the parents wishes.

Ebor
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« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2004, 07:51:30 AM »

I'd have to think about the cosmetic changes/birthmarks for awhile. I won't say anything until I've thought critically about it Smiley You'd have to draw a line somewhere, though.
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« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2004, 01:13:49 PM »

Erracht, how do you *know* that the "voiceless" would want  you to be their "voice"?  You "fight for the rights of every human being under the sun."? Including those of people who disagree with you? How is it that you percieve yourself as Arbiter of what is right?  

regarding your last post: Why would you be the one to draw the line for other people? Why do you know better then others?  This world is not a on/off, binary, all or nothing place.  

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Have you arrived at your opinions carefully and critically or do you just assume that because treating children like objects is legal, it is right?


This is a binary strawman.  Children are not objects neither are they fully formed adults. They are Human Beings, immature growing Humans in the process of becoming adults.  They do not have the full rights and responsibilites of adults.  They may not vote nor drive nor engage in contracts nor many other things.  It is not treating them as objects if they do not have a veto in some matters that affect them. Sometimes the parents or other adults do know what is best.  

Ebor
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« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2004, 03:22:50 PM »

So Pedro, do you think that if Muslims could "circumcise" baby girls, and deprive them of their clitoris, it's okay because they're babies? You think it's okay to hurt someone just because they are babies and supposedly won't remember?

If the pain brings about a medical improvement, I see no problem with it; you've said that circumcision provides no hygenic advantage; fine.  The foreskin, however, is more difficult to clean (though, obviously, not impossible) than the head of an uncircumcised penis; circumcision therefore provides a convenience.  

This is in stark contrast to female "circumcision," as there truly is no improvement upon the female -- there is, actually, a detriment, as it hinders her from having orgasms, which aid in conception of children.  And this is only the mild version; those women whose genitals are sewn up have no way to reproduce at all, IIRC!

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So if I said to you, let me mutilate your genitals, but you'll forget about it. Would you let me?

If the "mutilation" brought about a benefit to my life and would not otherwise hinder the natural function of the organ, then sure, why not?  I had my jaws "mutilated," if you will, in order to align my teeth for easier eating.  I could eat before, but this provided a convenience.  Was this wrong?  Would it be wrong to do this to a child who had no say, if said operation would grant him ease in eating?

Your analogy fails, sir.  I am not convinced.
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« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2004, 05:26:49 PM »

This is in stark contrast to female "circumcision," as there truly is no improvement upon the female -- there is, actually, a detriment, as it hinders her from having orgasms, which aid in conception of children.  And this is only the mild version; those women whose genitals are sewn up have no way to reproduce at all, IIRC

In some places the women thus treated are "opened up" for the husband and then resewn  up repeatedly.  It is "infibulation".  It makes reproduction exceedingly difficult with all the scar tissue and pain.

Ebor
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« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2004, 07:32:42 AM »

Well, I'm sorry, but I just can't agree with these opinions. I believe kids should have more rights than they do. I also believe you should have the right to be protected from unnecessary pain. Circumcision is unnecessary, otherwise we'd have no foreskin. It's part of our natural bodies, for crying out loud. Being easier to clean is a trifling thing. Many, many uncircumcised males do just fine (and I'm one of them) and live normal, healthy, sufficiently clean lives with their God-given foreskin. Having a piece of your skin cut off is NOT a trifling matter, however. I think it's terrible that some people can be so insensitive to a child's suffering. Let me challenge the way you think: suppose you're right that children need adult authority. Wouldn't you say that instead of grownups taking this arrogant stance that "we know best" (which has been used to justify all kinds of abuse and unnecessary actions, and taking advantage of children), that instead, a compassionate grownup would HATE this authority, see it as best as a (figuratively) "necessary evil" and only use it when they really really have to? Yet you almost scoff at the child's suffering.

There is no good reason to impose heavy pain on a child's genitals. Maybe if they were defective, but even there, some kind of safe anesthesia could be developed. You may disagree, but I'm convinced that male circumcision is unnecessary under normal circumstances and should therefore nort be imposed for some minor (perhaps even spurious) "hygienic reason".

Erracht, how do you *know* that the "voiceless" would want  you to be their "voice"?  You "fight for the rights of every human being under the sun."? Including those of people who disagree with you? How is it that you percieve yourself as Arbiter of what is right?

Well there must be some standards or everyone will do what they want to the weaker and to their neighbor. I have taken up the cause of protecting freedom and preventing unnecessary suffering. It's like a life goal. Yes, I wholly support your freedom to disagree with me. But I will also take actions to promote, and if I acquire the power, to enforce, rights you may disagree with.
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« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2004, 07:16:24 PM »

Well, I'm sorry, but I just can't agree with these opinions. I believe kids should have more rights than they do.

Would it be a sliding scale?  A 4  year old is incapable of some of the decisions and responsibilities of a 10 year old who has lesser capacities then a 15 year old and so forth.

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I also believe you should have the right to be protected from unnecessary pain. Circumcision is unnecessary, otherwise we'd have no foreskin. It's part of our natural bodies, for crying out loud.

So are the Appendix and Wisdom Teeth and aforementioned birthmarks and extra digits. Natural does not always equal useful or needful or desireable. Natural bodies can also be born with genetic disorders.  So an argument from Nature has holes in it.

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I think it's terrible that some people can be so insensitive to a child's suffering.

You say that people are "So insensitive to a child's suffering". There is no "People". There are myriads of individuals, all different.  It is a spectrum.  To use parental authority wisely is not the same as child abuse.  Sometimes the exercise of parental authority is to prevent suffering.  Example: a child wishes to eat only sweets. Parents say 'no' because it can lead to stomach aches, cavities and poor nutrition.  Child wishes to do something that parents know from their own experience in youth can lead to serious physical or moral consequences and do not allow it.

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Let me challenge the way you think: suppose you're right that children need adult authority. Wouldn't you say that instead of grownups taking this arrogant stance that "we know best" (which has been used to justify all kinds of abuse and unnecessary actions, and taking advantage of children), that instead, a compassionate grownup would HATE this authority, see it as best as a (figuratively) "necessary evil" and only use it when they really really have to? Yet you almost scoff at the child's suffering.

Well, I would disagree with the way you set up your "Challege" to my thinking. I can think of many other ways to describe the situation then yours.  Also, how many children do you have?

One, I would challenge you that "we know best" is always "arrogant".  Two, I would challenge your "supppose you're right"; this sets up the counter that it is "supposed to be wrong". Three, I would like to know what you consider "Really really necessary"?  Stopping them from physical harm? moral turpitude? Teaching them manners and courtesy?

You only seem to see it as "Authority".  What about "guidance"? What about the exercise of wisdom attained from living longer, and experiencing more situations?  You seem to only see it as leading to "abuse" and "taking advantage", with nothing between a "Brute" and a "Cream puff".  It is not a black or white situation, Erracht.  There is a long way between "abuse" and letting the child do what ever she or he wants.  If one of my children wanted to dance on the edge of a cliff, I *do* know best that it could lead to a deadly accident and I would stop it.  If they were eating with their hands (and it wasn't say Ethiopian food or a picnic or a situation where it is proper to do so) I would tell them to use their fork.  

You think I "scoff" at a child's suffering.  You do not know me nor my situation. You are reading that into my writing because I do not agree with you, may be.

And just for the record, in the US they *do* use anesthetic on children and pain meds. I have a medical armamentarium to care for my children's health and well being.

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Well there must be some standards or everyone will do what they want to the weaker and to their neighbor. I have taken up the cause of protecting freedom and preventing unnecessary suffering. It's like a life goal. Yes, I wholly support your freedom to disagree with me. But I will also take actions to promote, and if I acquire the power, to enforce, rights you may disagree with.

There are standards. Different ones in different times and places, but often there is common ground, a thread, as it were, of What Humanity Agrees is Good Behaviour.  I recommend reading C.S. Lewis' "The Abolition of Man". In part of it he writes of what he calls the "Tao" not in a Lao Tzu sense, but in the meaning of the "Way" of human moral standards.  He quotes from many cultures certain ideas that developed on how to behave and treat others.

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.

Ebor
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« Reply #28 on: May 26, 2004, 02:19:49 AM »

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But I will ask my pastor when I get time and submit to his teaching.

Erracht,

Seeing as how it has been a few days since you posted the above in regards to this matter, I was wondering what your priest had to say about this.

I am curious to know.

In Christ,
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« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2004, 08:20:43 AM »

Arystarcus - I wanted to see the priest yesterday, but he cancelled. I'll hopefully talk to him tomorrow.

Ebor - I don't see things in as black and white a fashion as you think. Only I am addressing certain concerns directly, so what I write may seem one-sided. But I will elaborate my views later. I'm working out of town today so will respond more thoroughly to the above later.
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« Reply #30 on: May 26, 2004, 02:45:58 PM »

Ebor--

Very nice post.
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« Reply #31 on: May 26, 2004, 05:28:20 PM »

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.

Forgive me if I'm skirting what is and is not acceptable in this forum, I'm not even real clear on what UNcircumcised would look like... and not interested. (Please, don't send me pictures of that.)

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.
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« Reply #32 on: May 26, 2004, 05:58:07 PM »

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.
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« Reply #33 on: May 26, 2004, 06:57:45 PM »

I agree that this topic is questionable.  Since some of you have answered this issue with some very personal information . . .

I think, however, some of you are a bit in the dark about the medical REASON for doing this.  For those of us who have been injured by this procedure (by that I don't mean we oppose it, I mean we had to have medical treatment - some of us surgery - because it was done improperly) we have to ask the question of whether the benefits outweigh the risks.  To us, it seems the benefits are negligible and the risks are quite high.  This isn't an innoculation against disease.  It won't stop aids and it won't do some of the fantastic things bandied about here.  "First, do no harm . . ."

Katherine,

I'm not a "cream puff," and I don't think that taking away a foreskin is going to make someone a tough stud or a "real man", whatever that is.  Try taking away their Nintendo and making them go outside.  

Opposing it the way it is being opposed here is wrong.  It's okay to ask the question, "What did we get for the risk?".  It's okay to wonder why many insurance companies refuse to cover the procedure.  It's okay to point out the argument for not doing the popular thing and asking what you are doing before you put a knife to any part of your child.  

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.

There are a lot more important things in this world.
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« Reply #34 on: May 26, 2004, 10:13:36 PM »

Thanks, Pedro.  Smiley

Well, Timotheou, Erracht has brought this up, I think, with the idea that it *does* have moral ramifications.  It's that he's gone beyond saying so, and seems to hold that the world must follow what he believes on this point.  

My position is that no one person has a claim on the obedience of all of humanity.  And that extreme assertions and strawmen will not foster serious consideration of ideas that could possibly lead to being persuaded of the others position.  

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.

Ebor
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« Reply #35 on: May 27, 2004, 06:24:51 AM »

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.

and also:

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?

Cizinec:

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.

Timotheou:

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.
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« Reply #36 on: May 27, 2004, 09:16:13 AM »

I'm sorry, but if I don't remember it at all, it was hardly "horrendous." (I'll bet getting born was worse, not to mention giving birth!) Calling it "mutiliation" borders on silly. It's a routine surgery everybody in America has; it's a non-issue.
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« Reply #37 on: May 27, 2004, 09:43:03 AM »

Not everybody in America gets circumcised.
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« Reply #38 on: May 27, 2004, 09:51:27 AM »

timotheou,

you are incorrect.  not everybody has it.  i believe the numbers are now around 64% of males.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics has been debating this issue for years, vacillating between discouragement of routine circumcision to a more neutral position.
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« Reply #39 on: May 27, 2004, 10:15:06 AM »

Just wanted to add in that during my younger brother's circumcision, the doctor hit a vein or artery of some sort and my brother lost a lot of blood until they were able to repair the damage(it was performed at a pediatrician's office and they weren't planning on complications).  He's currently 13 so I have no idea if there are any permament problems from this, but if so I would be pretty well sold on not cirumcising any theoretical sons I may have in the future.  As it is, I remain neutral on the issue, but I don't see where the benefit makes it worth the risk of surgery.
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« Reply #40 on: May 27, 2004, 10:31:56 AM »

I'm circumcised and haven't had any problems.  I don't think, though, that I'll have any sons of mine circumcised because I really don't see the use at this point in time.  Nothing against it, but nothing for it, either, just like David.
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« Reply #41 on: May 27, 2004, 08:15:12 PM »

-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.
To a devout Jew it *is* necessary.  

Quote
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.
Well that would depend then on each situation, I should think.  
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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?
No, anyone who has sex and is fertile may cause a child to come into being.  Being a "Parent" is different from being the biological source material.  Just a definition idea.
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I completely accept you guys' right to voice your disagreement. I just haven't been convinced by your counter-arguments that I'm wrong.


My argument here is that *you* do not necessarily "know what is best" for other people and in particular that you do not know what it is like to be a "parent".  Why should I take your word or ideas as the ideal method?

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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.
You have not stated just what sort of rights nor what age nor what responsibilities would rest on the child in gaining those "rights".  With rights comes responsibility.
The only thing you address is circumcision which seems to be your particular bugbear.

Further note: often wisdom teeth *are* removed *before* they cause trouble because they will be impacted since there's not enough room in the jaw.  

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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. "

First, *Why* would it be "really nice"?  
Second, Well, it would be nice for a parent in that they would be freed of dealing with the nurture and education of a Human Being. Sort of a "laissez faire" rearing. But would it then be "Parenting"?
Third, What would involve "Really have to?".  I've asked this before.  What is the line of necessary decision vis a vis unnecessary?  "You may not run outside naked?"  You must say "please"? "You may not eat only candy?" "You must come to church with the family"?  
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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.

"May not be mature enough"??  Have you dealt with young children much?  They are often totally unaware of dangerous situations because they lack the knowledge, and ability to reason and understand.  

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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.
Can you give examples of this?  And what is your definition of "obsess about health and welfare"?  My kids aren't kept in cotton wool in a box. They get dirty and sick sometimes, but they get meds and baths and all that.  You toss off high sounding phrases, but you don't explain what they mean to you.  It sounds like you think parents are on the one hand cruel oppressors and on the other neurotic smotherers who allow no freedom.  

Do you know some people who are molding "clones" from their offspring? Who decide every detail of their children's life?  Well, that's not anyone I know.  Your views of "parenthood" do not necessarily apply to much of the human race.

Ebor

edited for spelling and grammar
« Last Edit: May 27, 2004, 10:08:29 PM by Ebor » Logged

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katherine 2001
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« Reply #42 on: May 27, 2004, 09:46:16 PM »

Also, there are parents who haven't thought vaccinations for their children were necessary.  Some diseases that had been practically eradicated in this country due to everyone being vaccinated are making a comeback due to the fact that people are not having their kids vaccinated.  Parents have to do what they think is for the well-being of their children, within certain limits (I'm certainly not going to back someone who would beat their kids or molest them arguing that it is for their good).  Children are often not capable (especially when they are very young) of knowing what is good for them.  Of course, what is often good for you is not pleasant, so we don't like doing them.
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Keble
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« Reply #43 on: May 27, 2004, 11:41:26 PM »

-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.

Your use of the word "mutilation" is inflamatory. It implies a disfunctional result.

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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".

What you'll find when you actually have to deal with this issue is that you cannot do otherwise. Yeah, you'll make mistakes, and you will regret them. But how can you make never to have happened? You can't.

Really, I'm not going to be swayed by the words of young men who demonstrate, by their words, that they haven't a clue what parenting entails.
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erracht
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« Reply #44 on: May 28, 2004, 07:53:59 AM »

Okay. I spoke to the pastor I'm currently seeing (I am between spiritual fathers, and am deciding whom to chose in the city I'm now in). On one hand, he voiced some of the concerns mentioned above. On the other he would not forbid me outright to oppose circumcision, it would depend on the degree to which I oppose it, how I do it etc. We basically came to an understanding: when and if I am about to oppose circumscision, I will check with him (or presumably whoever is my pastor at the time) re exactly what I'm doing, and we'll decide if it's acceptable.

Re your further arguments against my position, here's what I have to say re Ebor's coments:


First, *Why* would it be "really nice"?  
Second, Well, it would be nice for a parent in that they would be freed of dealing with the nurture and education of a Human Being. Sort of a "laissez faire" rearing. But would it then be "Parenting"?
Third, What would involve "Really have to?".  I've asked this before.  What is the line of necessary decision vis a vis unnecessary?  "You may not run outside naked?"  You must say "please"? "You may not eat only candy?" "You must come to church with the family"?  

-The reason I didn't answer deeply to this is that in my original post, I did not debate discipline. I debated the issue of my wanting kids to have the right not to  be circumcised without a medical reason. I have certain views on disciplining children, but it's not the issue I was discussing and I had no intent to debate this (likewise controversial) topic. It was just touched upon in this discussion. But further:


"May not be mature enough"??  Have you dealt with young children much?  They are often totally unaware of dangerous situations because they lack the knowledge, and ability to reason and understand.  

-My comment that "may not be mature enough" essentially agrees with part of what you say, Ebor. I was not debating you HERE, rather I was calmly agreeing. I do think that very young children normally as you say.

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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.
 
 
Can you give examples of this?  And what is your definition of "obsess about health and welfare"?  My kids aren't kept in cotton wool in a box. They get dirty and sick sometimes, but they get meds and baths and all that.  You toss off high sounding phrases, but you don't explain what they mean to you.  It sounds like you think parents are on the one hand cruel oppressors and on the other neurotic smotherers who allow no freedom.  

-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.

Do you know some people who are molding "clones" from their offspring? Who decide every detail of their children's life?  Well, that's not anyone I know.  Your views of "parenthood" do not necessarily apply to much of the human race.

-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 Keble:

Your use of the word "mutilation" is inflamatory. It implies a disfunctional result.

-Yes, there are people whose potency has been affected by it. Circumcision is not only painful, it can be harmful.

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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".
 

What you'll find when you actually have to deal with this issue is that you cannot do otherwise. Yeah, you'll make mistakes, and you will regret them. But how can you make never to have happened? You can't.

Really, I'm not going to be swayed by the words of young men who demonstrate, by their words, that they haven't a clue what parenting entails.

-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. However, there were clearly values taught in the family and kids were taken care of. So she turned out a healthy, happy, good member of society. By contrast, people who have lorded it over their kids have produced various dysfunctions. 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.

I never meant for this discussion to go in the field of discipline. I simply saw harm in circumcision and thus wanted to discuss the issue of opposing it. 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.

At any rate, I believe the medical community is not responsible in endorsing routine circumcision, should be allowed to circumcise only when medically necessary, and should be required to develop a safe anesthetic. Rabbis and imams are a different issue, but I would at least impose certain guidelines on them.
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