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San Francisco's anti-circumcision initiative faces court challenge
June 22nd, 2011
05:58 PM ET

San Francisco's anti-circumcision initiative faces court challenge

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - The Anti-Defamation League and a number of individuals have filed a lawsuit challenging a San Francisco ballot initiative that would criminalize the circumcision of males under age 18.

The lawsuit asks the Department of Elections to remove the proposal from the ballot for the November election on the grounds that San Francisco would not be able to enforce the ordinance even if it was approved. The petition asks that a judge intervene so the city and its residents will be spared from "wasting resources debating and voting on an ordinance that cannot become law."

"Existing California law is clear," said Nancy Appel, Anti-Defamation League associate director in San Francisco, in a statement. "Only the state can make rules about medical procedures and this initiative violates that law. Not only does this initiative waste time, energy and expense, but it also offends the notions of parental rights and freedom of religion. It is unconstitutional and, as we allege in this lawsuit, contrary to California law."

The San Francisco-based advocacy group known as Male Genital Mutilation Bill collected enough signatures on a petition to guarantee the anti-circumcision proposal will appear on the ballot for the November 11 election.

It would make circumcision a misdemeanor if performed on boys under age 18. It could be punishable by a fine of $1.000 and up to a year in jail.

Opponents of circumcision argue the procedure can cause damage that ranges from nerve destruction and loss of normal tissue to infection, disfigurement and sometimes death. Matthew Hess, founder and leader of Male Genital Mutilation Bill, has said, "Freedom of religion stops at another person's body."

But opponents of the bill say it violates the First Amendment's protection of the exercise of religion and that putting the matter to a popular vote goes against the Constitution's protections of the rights of individuals and minorities.

The Anti-Defamation League is joined in the lawsuit by the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco and Jewish and Muslim individuals who feel their rights would be adversely affected if the bill were to go into effect.

Circumcision is an important element of religious practice for Muslims and Jews, a significant ritual that affirms membership in the group.

U.S. law has long allowed people to follow their religion in refusing medical care for themselves and their children in all but the most extreme situations, when the life of a child is directly endangered.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: California • Courts • Faith & Health • Faith Now • United States

soundoff (409 Responses)
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    September 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
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    August 26, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  5. MrTuningralli

    Are you interested in this kind of question:
    Often caught the eye of ads, such as " selling auto loan , it remains to pay so much at the hands of so many , such a payment " ..
    That should give the seller the amount of " hands on " and pay " payment" on a monthly basis until the extinguish " the rest " – it is perfectly understandable. The very question is: how it is made ?What are the options for processing the transaction ? Just paid , in principle, be enough, but never officially worked . Accordingly, to take credit for new cars do not have the opportunity . So I decided to pay attention to this kind of announcement.
    I would be grateful for any kind of clarification on this matter.
     
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    June 25, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  6. Pete

    Why don't you people understand that GOD wants everyone to mutilate their genitals? That's right – he's an omnipotent, omniscient creator, but he forgot that part. GOD commands ye – snip snip.

    July 11, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  7. Muneef

    Feel many of those circ-um-cis-ed already worried if they will be search and found out and then may be held as expected Islamic terrorist.... Maybe even big brother is worried about that any way wonder if the Jews would suffer with us about that or not...??! Do you think that will take place? I wonder!

    June 26, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  8. Muneef

    Understand that during Alex-and-er the Great time and the Romans time men free or en-sla-ved were taken and for-c-ed into becoming gays,actually they had their private parts taken off into becoming a third kind...heard many others if were not ra-p-ed they will have their private part taken off to live with out,for serving in the name of religions the worship houses or the rulers palaces...

    Guess no one would think to became as gay if was not abused during childhood either by elders or the dominant ones at his age in the neighborhood... There is always a reason for that act and no way related to genetical reasons unless the body was deformed...! Many cases we heard of males had their private parts into the inside and thought of as females,brought up as females, only found out when no pregnancy signs were shown and scanned at hospitals to find out being a male...

    Another case was a male who had a stomach pain when taken to hospital it was found out he was a female having a period pain...although she had a small private part as of a male pointing out...as a he she was married to another female and has children... So had to divorce and marry a man after having had an operation...!?!  What we call those who unintentionally had been mistaken for?? Can we call it genetically cases and are excused..

    But now it became a fashion as understand in Far East&S.E.Asia that males have their private part taken off and made as a female with a female breast....so many of them until it became hard to tell which is a female and which is a male!? 

    Am sure non of us non gays would want to get married to find out being married to a male or as you say it be laid by a male rather than a true female and not artificial female....!!!

    No wonder that the world is filled with unmarried single females it is because males are busy looking for males rather than females..adding to that the Polygamy and Divorce laws imposed by some Religions and Countries has deprived those females the chance while married males are left stuck with one female whether there is love and respect between them or not but just because of children or religious ties..!!

    These acts of tyranny has driven married males and females to fall for adultry for their needs...same as well for single females having not found a legitimate male partners,had to seek pleasure by falling into adultery....

    Isn't there some thing wrong with the formula adopted that drives all into adultery and gayness for both $exs...? So where are the human rights they tell us about's when many suffer because of those in this world...it is only for those cases you see people become as good as the "Three Wise Monkeys"...?!  

    June 24, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Muneef

      [6:159] Those who divide themselves into sects do not belong with you. Their judgment rests with GOD, then He will inform them of everything they had done.

      [6:160] Whoever does a righteous work receives the reward for ten, and the one who commits a sin is requited for only one. No one suffers the slightest injustice.

      [6:161] Say, "My Lord has guided me in a straight path – the perfect religion of Abraham, monotheism. He never was an idol worshiper."

      [6:162] Say, "My Contact Prayers (Salat), my worship practices, my life and my death, are all devoted absolutely to GOD alone, the Lord of the universe.

      [6:163] "He has no partner. This is what I am commanded to believe, and I am the first to submit."

      [6:164] Say, "Shall I seek other than GOD as a lord, when He is the Lord of all things? No soul benefits except from its own works, and none bears the burden of another. Ultimately, you return to your Lord, then He informs you regarding all your disputes."

      [6:165] He is the One who made you inheritors of the earth, and He raised some of you above others in rank, in order to test you in accordance with what He has given you. Surely, your Lord is efficient in enforcing retribution, and He is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

      June 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  9. edward

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    June 24, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • fimeilleur

      Give it up... Prayer: a process for believing that you're helping without really doing anything at all.

      June 24, 2011 at 4:20 am |
  10. TimeFlies

    Wow, religions had a hard enough time getting over the Flat Earth idea, so no surprise here.

    Hope they don't drag their feet (as much) when it comes to Cosmetic or Religious mutilation, they'll just be alienating more and more people over time.

    Bottom line – The religions that will hang around the longest will be ones willing to take human progress into account.

    June 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • unbelievable

      Troll alert

      June 23, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • Steve

      hahaha!!! Seee!!!!

      June 23, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • TimeFlies

      Yes, this is 'troll alert', this "Steve" individual has been running his mouth off ALL DAY without making a coherent point, all insults and innuendo. Then he runs his mouth off some more if you disagree with him twice.

      He thinks we'll give hypocrites like him more rights as the only way to shut him pointless gibberish up, LOL.

      June 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
  11. Muneef

    frank.
    Because It was not created for that reason whether were males or females...nor it was meant that men go for men or women go for women... And those laws were among God's commandments to mankind which he had narrated as a sin within his Holy Scriptures and the Holy Quran giving examples of ancient generations that were doomed for disbelieving and breaking heavenly laws...those narrated tales were for us to learn and take heed rather than repeat same ill doing...

    June 23, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • frank

      Well, I think it's great, and I think those books are rubbish written by ignorant spiritually stunted maniacs.

      June 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • Muneef

      Well If you have no shame you may do as you like or please....but just don't get closer to Donkeys may you want to try and be torn into half's haha.

      June 23, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • Muneef

      Consumption of swine-flesh reduces the feeling of shame and as such the standard of modesty.

      Consumption of swine-flesh creates lo-wli-ness in character and destroys moral and spiritual faculties in a man.

      Those nations, which consume pork habitually, have a low standard of morality with the result that vi-rg-in-ity, ch-ast-ity and bas-h-fulness are becoming a thing of the past.

      http://www.zamha.com/announce/halaal%20articles/That%20Filthy%20Swine.pdf

      June 23, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Muneef

      When You Feel No Shame, Then Do As You Wish; What Does This Mean?

      http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=4540&CATE=120

      http://www.pureislam.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=280&Itemid=32

      June 23, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • frank

      No anal sex and no bacon??? What diabolical insanity is this?!?!?

      June 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • Muneef

      frank.
      Sorry but that is the right truth although would really wish if you would read what is in this link to explain you what our faith order us although it is a pity that not all Muslims are as supposed to be...

      http://www.pureislam.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=280&Itemid=32

      June 23, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      @ Muneef,
      You said: "Consumption of swine-flesh reduces the feeling of shame and as such the standard of modesty.

      Consumption of swine-flesh creates lo-wli-ness in character and destroys moral and spiritual faculties in a man.

      Those nations, which consume pork habitually, have a low standard of morality with the result that vi-rg-in-ity, ch-ast-ity and bas-h-fulness are becoming a thing of the past."

      Can you please explain how these measurements were taken? How do you measure "shame" and "moral faculties" to observe a decrease? Also, is it just one piece of Bacon? Or do you have to eat a whole pig?

      June 24, 2011 at 4:24 am |
    • Muneef

      fimeilleur.
      Am not sure where to get you such tables of measurements if not mentioned in the link that was provided earlier....but for not having such resources or the proper wordings or time...have no option but to provide you links and you find out for your self what you need...

      http://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/57074/1/Brophy_umn_0130E_10733.pdf

      http://www.textlibrary.com/download/ruins.txt

      June 24, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Muneef

      "You are what you eat" – Native American proverb

      In folklore terms, eating the meat of the pig is said to contribute to lack of morality and shame, plus greed for wealth, laziness, indulgence, dirtiness and gluttony. We insult a person by calling him or her a "Pig" when they demonstrate these characteristics. Muslims are forbidden by God to eat the meat of the pig (pork).

      http://www.themodernreligion.com/misc/hh/pork.html

      http://www.mesmarty.com/2009/01/19/harms-of-eating-pork-according-to-modern-research/

      Guess if you would disbelieve every thing that you read then there will be nothing that will make you believe what you do not want to believe...!

      June 24, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      "You are what you eat" – Native American proverb

      In folklore terms, eating the meat of the pig is said to contribute to lack of morality and shame, plus greed for wealth, laziness, indulgence, dirtiness and gluttony. We insult a person by calling him or her a "Pig" when they demonstrate these characteristics. Muslims are forbidden by God to eat the meat of the pig (pork).

      http://www.themodernreligion.com/misc/hh/pork.html

      http://www.mesmarty.com/2009/01/19/harms-of-eating-pork-according-to-modern-research/

      Guess if you would disbelieve every thing that you read then there will be nothing that will make you believe what you do not want to believe...!

      ========================================

      You know what? I think it's just easier to call you a moron and leave it at that.

      June 24, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Muneef

      God only knows whether it is me or you who you call as moron...
      All these I quoted are from the net and are not of my words, if you do not agree to it just ignore it rather than insulting me for researches made by westerners them selves to the harm of consumption of this animal which was forbidden the consumption of which in all the heavenly holy books...at least this time the whole holy books have agreed on one thing although they had their differences about many other things...

      Some one else said that the consumption of same is towards protein...well if that so maybe tomorrow even pet animals and humans would be considered as a source of protein with out any considerations to the warnings and teachings of the holy books since many consider them as rather words and books of men and not as of God...well already understand that there are countries consume stray animals and dead babies as a source of protein ....! So are you happy with that to happen because of the no faith that is being followed by many who are in favor of "Jungle Law" rather than any heavenly law...???

      June 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  12. frank

    Why are so many of you perverts against anal sex?

    June 23, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  13. Muneef

    Turkey as an Islamic model
    Giving Islamists more political space within a democratic framework has produced interesting results. http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=190784

    June 23, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  14. Robert

    hmph.. I can't believe that someone is pursuing this issue. What a waste of time. these people need to get lives and let their own children keep that nasty piece of skin. I'd be so upset if I had to figure out, as an adult, that I really, really want that removed for convenience sake if nothing else.

    June 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  15. Reality

    Once again, from a previous topic write-up:-

    "Jews, Muslims, and Christians all trace our spiritual heritage back to Abraham. Biblical circu-mcision begins with Abraham,” said National Association of Evangelicals president Leith Anderson. “No American government should restrict this historic tradition. Essential religious liberties are at stake.”

    Hmmm, according to 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis including Rabbi Wolpe, Abraham (and Moses) probably did not exist.

    So apparently circu-mcision is not an Abrahamic (god- influenced) procedure so where did it start?

    We have this short summary from Wikipedia:

    "The oldest docu-mentary evidence for circ-umcision comes from ancient Egypt.[6] Circ-umcision was common, although not universal, among ancient Semitic peoples.[7] In the aftermath of the conquests of Alexander the Great, however, Greek dislike of circu-mcision (they regarded a man as truly "naked" only if his prepuce was retracted) led to a decline in its incidence among many peoples that had previously practiced it.[8]

    Circu-mcision has ancient roots among several ethnic groups in sub-equatorial Africa, and is still performed on adolescent boys to symbolize their transition to warrior status or adulthood.[9]"

    June 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  16. And i want..

    We should totally keep circu-mcision but i also want the law against slav-ery repealed because my holy book says that is ok as well! yay for holey books! And i should be able to sell my daughter if i want and marry children.

    June 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  17. guest

    how ignorant you are, and bigoted. since you identify yourself as German, i can also say that you are an anti-semite. having said that, how can your compare a piece of skin (as you properly put it) to a finger or other body part????

    June 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • And i want..

      R-acist much? also why not get rid of the ear lobes at birth? they are useless, and also get rid of the appendix straight away (why not, it's useless) and while we are at it cut off male ni-pples, they are useless too.

      June 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • European

      Did I say anything r-acist? Please explain! And by the same standard, please explain why you are not r-acist when you tell me that my being German should prevent me from speaking out on this issue. Please enlighten me.

      June 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Joel213

      I was calling "Guest" R-acist for what he said about you being German....

      June 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Joel213 aka All i want...

      which is why i made a reply to his comment not yours why the heck would i call you r-acist?

      June 23, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • European

      My reply was to "guest". I am glad to read your comment, Joel213 – a bit of balanced sanity is needed here!

      June 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Joel213 aka All i want...

      Ahhh haha no problem mate :)

      June 23, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  18. European

    Being German, I am very happy that my parents left my privates as it was intended!
    I find it comical how the Jews and the Muslims now combine forces – they chop each others head off but – god forbid – someone wants to prevent them from chopping the skin off their newborns!
    Let's assume some religion wants to chop off the a finger of newborns. Nothing life threatening, just some expendable body part. Would we, as a society, grant them this right? Certainly not!
    And everyone who thinks that salvation depends of a bit of skin on or off is still living in the middle ages! As much as I respect Judaism – that part certainly bugs me.

    June 23, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Muneef

      Hahaha 
      See Germany is talking?? how many were gas-s-ed off? Other than roamers of ra-p-es? Is that to be Happy about?
      Then still you talk about others chopping this and that forgetting what your mentality have done and caused as a re-ac-tion to the world by all that is there happening in the MidEast today!? So just suggest to keep mouths shut from flies not to fall into it.... 

      June 27, 2011 at 8:07 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.