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June 7th, 2011
04:18 PM ET

Opinion: Parents, not government, should decide on circumcision

Editor's note: LZ Granderson writes a weekly column for CNN.com. A senior writer and columnist for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, he has contributed to ESPN's "Sports Center," "Outside the Lines" and "First Take."

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor

Grand Rapids, Michigan - Just so I'm clear, the state of California is broke, right?

Californians are facing billions in tax hikes and spending cuts that could mean more cutbacks in services and givebacks by state workers.

And yet, for some reason the debate over foreskin has a place.

You read me right, anti-circumcision activists convinced thousands in San Francisco to sign a petition, and now in the fall voters will decide whether to ban the procedure from being performed on boys younger than 18. Don't laugh, Santa Monica was looking at a similar vote up until this week, and the organization responsible for this movement wants to see this on the ballot all over the country.

I can see the lawn signs now - Circumcisions: Nip 'Em in the Bud.

Read LZ Granderson's commentary
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: California • Judaism • Opinion • Politics • Religious liberty • Sexuality

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soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Jovanah

    I think that it the parents decision. I don't think that the government should have any say on what medical procedure a parent wants to have performed on their child. Its strictly the parents decision. But I personally think that it should be performed for health purposes, such as bacteria and infections

    June 19, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  2. 14Mickey

    San Francisco? Last place I would have expected fascist and anti-Semitic, repressive laws. This is the craziest proposed law I've ever heard of in my life. Maybe we need to outlaw people in this city from being US citizens, would make as much sense and be a lot more popular.

    June 8, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Bippy, the Lesser Squirrel-God of Hiccuping Clowns (I got a promotion)

      The really great thing about all these incredibly stupid biases against San Francisco is that people who actually are deluded enough to believe them avoid going there like the plague. That leaves a really great, fun city for those of us who can appreciate great restaurants, beautiful vistas, diverse interesting neighborhoods and so much more.

      Hate all of California while you are at it. And do continue to stay away. We greatly appreciate it.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Eric

      @ Lee

      " avoid going there like the plague."

      "That leaves vistas, restaurants, beautiful vistas, diverse interesting neighborhoods and so much more.

      Hate all of California while you are at it. And do continue to stay away. We greatly appreciate it.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • Bippy, the Lesser Squirrel-God of Hiccuping Clowns (I got a promotion)

      Want to try again, Eric?

      June 8, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  3. frank

    The Ten Commandments read like they were written by a drunken wife-beating imbecile, which they probably were.........

    June 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  4. Tim Molter

    This is anti-Jewish, and just plain wrong.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  5. Marie Kidman

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig
    "

    June 8, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  6. FredR

    If anti infant circ-uncision equates to anti seme-tism , that would imply that the coven-ant law was with a false heavenly godfather, then there would be no chosen race, then there would be no need for the messiah of the chosen race, then there would be no need for the anti-chryst/anti-seme-tic, then there would be no religion. Just think. No more need for geno-cides, G-hads, Halocasts,9/11's, mass murder/suicides,ethnic cleancing. All the paranoid delusions caused before we knew of the exsistance of micro organisms, gone. The benefits of an education on the functions, care and use of the male and female prepuce could replace the benefits, risks, and harms of circ-uncisions and Xcisions.

    June 8, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  7. Wylie

    They want to make parents responsible for something? Good luck with that.

    June 8, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • BG

      @ Wylie

      Not all parents should be judged by yours having screwed-up....

      June 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  8. brenda

    This is a personnel dicision whether religious or not and should be left up to the parents. Just as little baby girls are stabbed with needles to have their ears pierced, it was the parents dicision again not the childs. We as parents decide lots of things for our chldren. The government needs to back out of micro managing our lives.

    June 8, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • Luke

      I wonder if you would feel the same if we were talking about female cli-torial removal at birth. Yes, they do this in some parts of the world (mainly Islamic nations) to deny women pleasure when they reach s-exual maturity. Yet we do this in the USA to men. Still on board?

      June 8, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  9. Keith

    This San Francisco proposal is anti-semitism. Does this jerk hang out with A-jad? His foreskinman comic really speaks volumes. Is this 1936 and this country a bunch of Neville Chamberlins? Wake up and speak up against this guy.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:45 am |
  10. heidi

    Everybody whigged out when they thought that mom had injected her daughter with botox, i.e. performed an invasive, unnecessary, cosmetic procedure on the child – but nobody seems to care that everyday this invasive, unnecessary, cosmetic surgery is performed on infants. For goodness sakes, kids aren't even allowed to get tattoos until they're eighteen in most states because it is considered "permanent scarrification" – there is an abundance of double standards going on here, for what? The medical benefits are practically nil and still somewhat controversial.

    sincerely,
    a pediatric nurse.

    June 7, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • Squirrel-Juggling Jesus

      Ignorance thrives in tradition. Yes, circ-umcision is a totally pointless procedure kept alive by mindless conformity and uncritical dingbats. Just like religion. Hmmmm, I never thought about that before – religion is just like circ-umcision: totally pointless and kept alive by morons.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • Cari

      Wow have none of y'all done reasearch on this issue or what this proceedure is done or in the case of my son was done because i did my reasearch it lowers the risk of contracting STD's later and also lowers the risk of Urinary Tract Infections at the younger age y'all are morans

      June 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Squirrel-Juggling Jesus

      Cari, removing the breasts of 12-year-old girls greatly reduces the chance of breast cancer. Is that a good reason to force all women to have their breasts removed before they are old enough to have a say in the matter?

      June 8, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  11. batchoftruth

    Children should decide when they are adults, the should not be the victim of deluded parents

    June 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  12. Case Settled

    I totally love you! 😉 😀
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzetqYev_AI&w=640&h=390]

    June 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Britney Spears Loses a Debate with a Chicken

      Catch a clue, dumb-dumb. The only people who would waste over a half an hour on obvious propaganda are the people who already believe in God, and they are the stupid ones who are so lacking in the ability to think that they need to get their ideas and opinions from someone else. Anyone with critical thinking skills will laugh at this garbage, and non-believers will not waste their time.

      June 7, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • Alice Jenkins

      That was an absolutely incredible video! Thanks for posting!

      June 7, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • Luke

      Wow. Just wow.

      Scientific proof, eh? Yet, the scientific community had nothing to do with this. In order to be scientific, the theory must be testable, measurable, predictable and falsifiable. This theory fails this test on many afronts and is therefore junk. If this theory had merit, it would change science as we know it and the authors would instantly win Nobel prizes and rise to the top of the world. In this case, nothing like that has happened or will happen. You have fallen victim to propoganda.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      Assuming, for the moment only, you are not Dr. Schroeder, why do you keep posting this piece of cr-p, but appear to be unable to engage in any reasonable debate about it. In each place you post some variation of "case closed".
      It's not, (or you wouldn't be here). You are unable to state why you think it is. However, I encourage the viewing of this video. Also go look at his, (Gerald Schroeder's) other things on the web. He is the distinguished recipient of the Moron of the Month Award, (9/08). He SHOULD be given the "Most Non Sequiturs in a Half Hour" award, and the "Let Me Show You What's Wrong with Intelligent Design" award.
      Much of his astoundingly illogical and incorrect presentation could be forgiven him, as he claims to be an (MIT) trained biologist and physicist, (and obviously not a theologian or philosopher), but his statement that "A Brief History of Time", (which is supposedly his OWN field) was written by Stephen "Dawking", and that Mcluhan's "The Medium is the mAssage",
      only leaves one to wonder how far, exactly, he is out of touch with reality.

      @Luke
      The problem is he claims to have two PhD degrees from MIT. I can't see how that could possibly be true, as he does lack any semblance of critical thinking skills even though he does throw around some of the terms used in some of the debates. Anyone know a way of verifying this claim ?

      June 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Luke

      Bucky Ball

      This guy is just whacky, althoughl he does hold the degrees. He tries to meld togther the creation story (6K years ago) with the timeline of the actual age of the universe (13.6B years) by using relativeity and something called time dilation. However, his logic blows up in his face because the order of events – no matter how long they actually took – are wrong. That is, the creation story states that light came first and then earth and then stars. Obviously – that's just wrong. Stars created light. It also says life came before stars. He can't wiggle out of these facts.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  13. Frogist

    I don't see how putting a ban on circ-umcision till the child is of age to decide for himself is like having cops arrest you and your partner for having gay se-x. The author is making some leaps here to justify her position.
    The process is irreversible and I have no issues with the ban.
    Is circu-mcising babies just another cultural thing that we can educate out of society? I don't know. It's worth a try too.
    What I am sick and tired of hearing though is this ridiculous argument of "oh no! What if someone saw *it* and freaked out because it had some extra skin." Really? Is that really part of the argument against this ban? I might remind folks that a very similar procedure is being done on girls because "Oh no it doesn't look like a 'normal' girls' body". Can we get past what looks normal and what doesn't please? It's harming kids before they are even old enough to hold their heads up.

    June 7, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Tim in Ohio

      I think waht some don't understand is that these helpless babies are not brain-dead. They perceive what is being done to them as they are held down by adults and se.xually mutilated. I can remember my mutilation. The pain was intense and the wound was like fire when i peed in my diaper. I remember that very well and it became an emotional scar as well as a physcial one.

      June 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Frogist

      You said: "The process is irreversible and I have no issues with the ban."

      You are right. We don't allow religious nuts to not give medical treatment to their kids. You can't brand them, or in other ways deform them. It is the child's body. It should be the child's decision. This is a lot like the abortion issue.

      My foreskin was taken from me, very soon after I was born. I miss it. Sometimes it calls to me, in the middle of the night.

      Cheers!

      It's bad enough that we allow parents to fill their born atheist children with fantasies.

      June 7, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • BG

      @ Frogist

      "I might remind folks that a very similar procedure is being done on girls because "Oh no it doesn't look like a 'normal' girls' body".

      Care to elaborate on exactly which procedure that might that be?

      June 7, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @BG

      "Care to elaborate on exactly which procedure that might that be?"

      I find the subject too absurd, too barbaric to comment on. Google: "Female Circ_umcision"

      Cheers!

      June 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • BG

      @ David Johnson

      Your foreskin called. It said it started therapy because of it's feelings of worthlessness.

      June 7, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • BG

      @ David

      I'm well aware of what consti tutes islamic FMG. I was asking Frogist what she was referring to in her statement.

      June 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @BG

      You said: "Your foreskin called. It said it started therapy because of it's feelings of worthlessness."

      Yes, I just got a letter. My foreskin now has his own place, and has taken a job as a car cover. I am proud of him.

      Cheers!

      June 7, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • BG

      @ David Johnson

      "My foreskin... has taken a job as a car cover."

      For a Shriner's parade car no doubt...

      June 7, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Moe

      @BG: yea I suppose having a normally functioning part of your body is worthless

      June 8, 2011 at 4:05 am |
    • Frogist

      Hi BG: I was actually not referring to female gen-ital mutilation as performed in certain muslim cultures. I was referring to procedures done in these United States on girls whose parts appear too large or on inters-ex children to assign them a gender at birth. Oftentimes parents are confused about what to do and are so afraid they act to make them "normal". The problem with this rash action is that the consequences last a lifetime for the child who had absolutely no say in the decision. Many little girls, who would have grown into their bodies, are instead surgically reshaped so they appear normal despite loss of sensation which could very well make their future se-xual lives uncomfortable even painful. It is the western equivalent of FGM. As for interse-x children, there are too many stories of them growing up as one gender but finding out they really are another. There is usually no harm whatsoever in letting children grow up to the point they can decide for themselves the necessary course of action instead of rushing into actions that do potentially more harm than good. We are far too concerned with appearances in this country when we resort to harmful surgery to perpetuate some imaginary idea of normalcy.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • BG

      @ Frogist

      I asked you that question in earnest, so thanks for the clarification. All I can say for 'clinical corrective' surgery is that the parents and doctors are making their best guesses as to how to go about establishing some normality in these kids futures. If they left them alone, what sort of damage would the child be subjected to? Maybe none, in a perfect world. However, in our imperfect world that's probably not the case.

      With respect to gender as signment or reas signment, no surgeon is going to go ahead without having had multiple parent / second opinion / social worker, etc.. conferences, and only then after the child begins to socially and emotionally demonstrate a tendency towards a gender ident ity. Are parents biased? Of course. Do they have moral, legal, and ethical responsibility for their child? Yes. Can they be over-ridden in extreme cases by the state? Yes. And after all those considerations, will the child's gender identi ty change over time as they continue to physically and emotionally change? Who's to say... Are reas sigments performed later in life? Certainly.

      You're talking about very specific, limited, and specialized procedures that are not the norm. It's a awkward parallel, at best, to routine male circu mcision, and an extraordinarily poor comparison to Eastern FGM, which is not remotely concerned with any clinical / surgical issues.

      Nice talking with you again.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  14. Winkies

    wink wink, nudge nudge, eh?
    We all know what child mutilation does to their nervous system. It makes them more sensitive.
    Who woulda thougt?

    June 7, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  15. Lycidas

    How interesting. My bad. 😉

    June 7, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  16. Lycidas

    Ahhh

    June 7, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  17. HotAirAce

    If it is ok to circ-umcise males for religious reasons, is it ok to circ-umcise females for religious reasons too?

    June 7, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • BG

      @ HAA

      You're an idiot for even attempting that pathetic analogy. Let's see.. for Islamic FGM the issues include, but aren't limited to: lack of sterile enviroments and 'tools' used, total absence of anesthesia when performing the mutilation on girls later in life, total absence of medical training or technique by the 'mutilator,' absence of antibiotics or preventive care against infection, complete absence of the victim's choice... etc..

      People making this comparison are simply Islamic apologetic ass holes. I'm tired of 'civil discourse' with their ilk, and to them I offer my most genuine and heartfelt "F'k you."

      June 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • BG

      btw, Ace, do you actually know what muslim "female circu mcision" involves?

      They aren't cutting off just a foreskin, kiddo.

      June 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @BG

      It seems that I have hit a nerve with my simple question...

      I am not a doctor, but I have done some reading.  I've tried a few times to post the first few paragraphs about female circ-umcision from http : / / www . historyofcirc-umcision . net, but can't isolate an offending word fragment.

      My belief is that unnecessary surgery driven by religious beliefs is equally bad, regardless if performed on males or females.  You seem to think otherwise.  Please explain your view in an adult manner.

      June 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • BG

      @ HAA

      " My belief is that unnecessary surgery driven by religious beliefs is equally bad..."

      Fine. When you have offspring you are welcome to apply your beliefs to their lives. Just as I did with my offspring. Do I have to justify myself? No. Do you? Not at all. At least not until such time that you become an advocate of government making the choice on anyone's behalf. If you even remotely side with these California gays and liberal nanny-staters you may directly, and at your earliest opportunity, get stuffed. Oh, that's right... you're Canadian. Your government's been stuffing you for years... you're probably used to it on a regular schedule like chicken for dinner on Wednesdays....

      ..and please. Understand that having a conversation in an 'adult manner' does not mean agreeing with you. Nor does it even mean being polite. When folks -like you- desire to serve as mouthpieces for the collective consciousness, it's a perfectly adult response to tell you where to go.

      FGM is absolutely heinous. Is it 'surgery?' No; cutting the labia, hood and cli toris is simply mutilation, and if you happened to want to do it to -your- daughter, I'd be the first one to call the cops, just as I would if you wanted to cut your son's glans. But cut your son's foreskin? You son, your choice. Congratulations. Just stay the hell away from my family.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @BG

      Ok, so mutilating a male is acceptable while performing a similar act on a female is not. How do you define the boundary between acceptable and un-acceptable?

      June 7, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • BG

      @ HAA

      It's not a "similar act", but I'm not going to continually beat my head on the wall over your inability to comprehend this.

      So exactly what is it that you're so hell-bent on having an argument over? That I don't agree with you? I don't. Sorry. That society doesn't agree with you? It doesn't. Too bad. That the 'definitions' of all this stuff are a little too fuzzy around the edges for your preference? That's life.

      Your incessant objections and failure to demonstrate tolerance for personal choice show you to be nothing more than another sanctimonious, self-righteous "one of them" who would like to restrict all definitions to the 'approved' definition, and all choices to the 'right' choices.

      It must be a bi tch to be you. Here I thought a little time might have been spent towards your personal growth and development.

      But 'nah.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @BG

      Hey, you are the one that's getting hot and bothered here – I'm just asking simple questions! And please show me where I tried to impose anything on anybody. Re: similarity of un-necessary surgery, did you read anything at the link I provided? It's not just me that thinks male circ-umcision is unwarranted, and that society treats male and female circ-umcision differently, for no good reason. But as you seem to like to say so much, phuck you!!

      June 7, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • BG

      Ace, I read the site. It's all very proper, complete with citations and cross references. Although it obviously wasn't trying, it missed my point just like you have.

      It remains a matter of personal choice not subject to the social mores of any one group. Not the Jews, not the medical historians, not the gays, and certainly not the (God forbid) atheists. I'm glad you have an opinion on this; most of us do. But, like good BBQ, it's an incredibly personalized choice and anyone trying to legislate their opinion over others should be dismissed out of hand. It is, properly, an internal family matter. That's all – It's that simple.

      "...society treats male and female circ-umcision differently, for no good reason."
      Stop being thick. Which "society?" Yours? Egypt's? You continue to equivocate the two, oblivious to the difference, so go argue with yourself. I'm done with you.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • Moe

      @BG: you are the one who is thick-headed. Mutilation, by any other name, is still mutilation. Read a book, this society treats them differently. Are also against the federal ban on FGM (no religious exemption)? Some consistency/knowledge in your arguments would be appreciated.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:11 am |
    • RiddlemethisRiddlemethat

      Sure!! What's a woman need a foreskin for anyway?

      June 8, 2011 at 6:26 am |
    • Frogist

      @BG: "it remains a personal choice..." you listed everyone but the owner of the penis. It is not a personal choice for him and this ban would make it so.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • BG

      @ Frogist

      Hey, Frogist – long time. Trust you've been well.

      " you listed everyone but the owner of the penis. It is not a personal choice for him and this ban would make it so."

      Legally speaking, the parents 'own' the child (and everything attached to it...) until the age of 18. Are you a parent? If so, you understand. If not, when/if you have a child you will. You make decisions. That's what parents do. You conceive, birth, nourish, provide, guide, etc.. And then you get an 'outcome' which, (granted, only in part) reflects their upbringing. If they were circ umcised and object to it, then they won't have it performed on their sons. If they consider it tradition, or simply prefer the appearance of a circ umcised penis, then they will continue the practice.

      But it's not up to nanny-state liberal nit-wits to legislate -their- preferences upon anyone else. All this proposed 'ban' succeeds in doing is to further ostracize the gay/liberal component of our society from the rest of the reasonable people who enjoy their personal freedoms. My question to Peace2All (below) stands.

      Why do you care, and, for a follow-up,
      Why do you care enough to impose a mandate restricting free choice?

      I need to understand the radical liberal mind, not because I have to, but because I want to...

      June 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • BG

      @ Frogist

      Oops, I failed to mention, infant circu mcision is a minor procedure. Adult circu mcision is a much more complex and painful procedure, and is usually not performed because of that. Just fyi for the "let 'em choose when they're older" crowd.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @BG

      Hey bud...

      Sorry for the delay, been busy... and will not be on much until Monday. But, didn't want to leave you hangin' (hmmm... probably not the best choice of terms given this article), however, apparently you asked a question of me...?

      I must not have read your post as clearly as I could have.

      So... Here we go:

      You Said to -Frogist: "But it's not up to nanny-state liberal nit-wits to legislate -their- preferences upon anyone else. All this proposed 'ban' succeeds in doing is to further ostracize the gay/liberal component of our society from the rest of the reasonable people who enjoy their personal freedoms. """"(My question to Peace2All (below) stands).""""

      You Said to ME below: "Further, you have to wonder why the gay community in San Francisco (and other 'supporters' of legislated control over this otherwise incredibly personal of choices) are so adamant. Why? Concern for others?"

      My guess is that you were positing a question for all of us to consider...? I truly don't know 'why' the initiators of this legislation is more focused in San Francisco...? I've heard that they are putting on some kind of prank, but truly, i don't know.

      I am 'not' a supporter of 'banning' parents from making decisions for the male children as far as circ-umcison is concerned. As I stated my reasons earlier... 'safety' and 'health' #1 ! Otherwise, I agree as I have to this day seen very mixed reviews either way as for studies on the matter. So... I think it becomes a personal choice or decision.

      So, we are in agreement.

      However, I will point out your 'ad hom'-'over-generalization' comment about "nanny-state liberal nit-wits" That, I'm sure you know, is a blatant over-generalization and mis-charaterization. Yes, yes... I know there are 'some' that might fit that label, but it serves no real purpose. It is akin to calling republicans, etc...etc... Oh, heck... you know what I mean.

      Anyway, that's it. We are pretty much in agreement on your thoughts regarding the article...not so much on your attacks on liberals ! And, I think you already know that !

      And... I live in California, so don't be baggin' on my state. Grrrrrrr.... remember, 'fight club' Ed Norton...? 😀 Just kiddin !

      Alright, -BG... take care pal.

      Catch ya' on the flip' !!

      Peace brother...

      June 9, 2011 at 1:29 am |
  18. Free

    It's generally irreversible surgery and it isn't being done to save anybody's life. If this were anything else, like wanting to put a huge tattoo on your baby's face, people would be outraged and we'd say that the child had a right to choose this for themselves when they reached adulthood, right?

    June 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Yes

      June 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      One problem is that no one has tried to put a tattoo on a baby's face for religious reasons right? Bad co_mparisson.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Free

      Uncouth Swain
      Maybe no one has tried simply because it's a stupid, outrageous thing to suggest doing, right? It's more likely that there isn't a tradition for tattooing infants on the face which puts infant curc.umcision in a rather unique category, doesn't it? Tell me, if a parent wanted to have plastic surgery performed on their infant's nose just to make it prettier, would that be within their right?

      June 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Tim in Ohio

      its all about tradition being turned into an excuse for outrageous behavior. try looking at it from the baby's point of view sometime.

      June 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • BG

      @ Free

      "Tell me, if a parent wanted to have plastic surgery performed on their infant's nose just to make it prettier, would that be within their right?"

      Corrective surgeries are done all the time. Noses. Hairlips. Eyes. Ears. Not only is it the parents' right, it's their responsibility. Thank goodness my parents didn't want me to have a dick that, in their opinion, looked a dog's.

      June 7, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "Tell me, if a parent wanted to have plastic surgery performed on their infant's nose just to make it prettier, would that be within their right?"

      Doesn't sound like a religious thing, another bad c_omaprisson.

      June 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Free

      BG
      I said
      "Tell me, if a parent wanted to have plastic surgery performed on their infant's nose just to make it prettier, would that be within their right?"
      Then, you said
      "Corrective surgeries are done all the time. Noses. Hairlips. Eyes. Ears. Not only is it the parents' right, it's their responsibility."
      Now, notice that I wasn't referring to 'corrective surgeries', but to cosmetic ones. Do you have an opinion on cosmetic procedures being done on infants, and couldn't circu.mcision not be classified as a cosmetic procedure?

      June 7, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • BG

      @ Free

      " I wasn't referring to 'corrective surgeries', but to cosmetic ones. Do you have an opinion on cosmetic procedures being done on infants, and couldn't circu.mcision not be classified as a cosmetic procedure?"

      Not to wallow around in semantics, but most pediatric maxillofacial surgery serves both to correct physiological functions and cosmetic appearances. Is the infant's nose objectionable because it's not a cute little 'button' nose? Or is one nostril shut due to a deviated nasal septum? Whatever. You want to talk about foreskin, so..

      When my boys were born both the OB (same) and the pediatricians (different) asked my wife and I for our.... repeat.. 0UR.. choice as to with or without. Now.. we're not Jewish. There's no external motivators involved here. We asked the pediatricians (one was a Chinese FMG (foreign medical grad), the other was born in our hometown and graduated from a large stateside medical school) what were the medical pros and cons. Should we.. or not? Here was the answer from both of them.

      It doesn't matter. There's no definitive evidence supporting the benefit of either choice. It was an appearance issue only, and it was entirely up to the parents as to what they thought was better, yes, cosmetically. The caveat was this, however... If you're going to do it, do it now while the child was in it's early infancy. No memories. Nada. However, if you wait (read, if you let your son grow up and make an independent choice when he's of age... It really, really... REALLY hurts – a lot – if it's done later. As we age the foreskin is completely vascularized and a has fully-developed nerve endings. That in and of itself is a very influential factor in the young man's choice. When this is done in infancy, however, no one remembers it. If they tell you they do, they're lying to you.

      So, would I equivocate my son's being 'intact' with a hair lip or deviated septum or any other congenital defect? Of course not. I would, however, consider what I, as the parent, feel is best for the kid. If he had a cosmetic deformity I would want it corrected as soon as medically possible – the sooner the better. Do I consider a foreskin a deformity? Yes, I do, but only to the effect that I consider buck teeth a correctable deformity, in the same light as bowed-legs, cab-door ears or extreme acne. It's a parent's job. If you have kids you'll understand. If not, you will when you do. Things change. It's less (if none at all) 'you' and all 'them.' The realities outweigh the trivialities of rhetorical argument. Should you or shouldn't you? Only you and your wife will know when the time comes. Hopefully you've already talked it over.

      But the doctors will only look to you and your wife for an answer. They won't ask the city council or CNN.... thankfully.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:47 am |
    • Moe

      BG reveals his lunacy and destroys any semblance of credibility he had. Foreskin a deformity? What, like having 2 eyes is a deformity? 2 arms? 2 legs? 2 hands? 2 feet, etc? Simply absurd.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:21 am |
    • Free

      BG
      Along the lines of 'slippery slope' arguments, isn't it just a small step then from your position to actually 'engineering' children genetically? Surely in today's highly competi.tive society giving your child the advantage of clas.sical beauty and superior intelligence (if you could swing that too) would be every parent's wish, so why not use genetic manipulation to create the 'perfect' child? Remove the 'defect' of being born average. They'll only go through pain later in life trying to compensate otherwise, and what parent would want that?

      June 8, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • Peace2All

      @BG

      Hey buddy...

      I agree to a certain extent with what you are saying... and... I think IMO, I would add that this particular procedure being discussed, at least for me, should be about 'safety', and 'health' factors first.

      Peace brother...

      June 8, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • BG

      @ Free

      You're trying to make a connection from male circu mcision to eugenics? That's more of a leap than a slippery slope... When eugenics becomes an issue (and I have not doubt it will be an issue that will demand being dealt with) people aren't going to credit the foreskin as a precursor. Besides, it's going to be a long, long time before any of that happens. Consider the difficulty we're having harvesting stem cells – but that's a whole other story for CNN later...

      @ Peace

      Hey, bud! Hope you're well. One of my points to Free was that there are no appreciable medical differences in developed civilizations. I'm sure the 'uncut' have about 3 seconds added to their hygiene routine, but from a purely medical perspective there are no definitive studies with substantially conclusive data that sway physicians one way or another (or at least not enough for them to give their medical advice to patients based uniquely upon any specific 'study.') Re: safety, when it's performed by a physician I have no qualms. I might feel differently about a mohel. Check that.... I'd definitely feel differently.

      Further, you have to wonder why the gay community in San Francisco (and other 'supporters' of legislated control over this otherwise incredibly personal of choices) are so adamant. Why? Concern for others? Then start a support group and influence people's generational choices. But to suggest a law is asinine and intrusive and comes down to a simple control freak issue. Once I married a control freak... talk about issues – yikes! Gotta watch out, they're out there...and it seems that bunches of them are in California.

      @ The Confused Among You

      Eastern FGM is -not- the same as western male circu mcision.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Free

      BG
      Maybe sooner than you think. Your children or grandchildren may be the ones struggling with the ethics of eugenics again, right?

      I doubt that circu mcision would be one of those things engineered before birth for religious reasons anyway because most of it's value lies in the ceremony of removing the foreskin. A boy born without a foreskin, while not undergoing any pain whatsoever, would not have made the sacrifice denoting membership in God's chosen people, right?

      June 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • BG

      @ Free

      Ah, there's the nasty little truth... I knew it'd show up sooner or later!

      I'm fairly confident that, for atheists, this whole circ umcision 'issue' isn't grounded so much in anatomy as it is in offensive religious dogma. Bet against that?

      " ... the sacrifice denoting membership in God's chosen people.."

      You lose.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @BG

      Duh! Of course there's a religious angle to this! I'm shocked that you just figured this out. Perhaps if you read for comprehension and stopped foaming at the mouth, you would have noticed the religious aspect much sooner.

      To perform unnecessary surgery on a perfectly normal body because of some tribal myth and imaginary god, not to mention suffering from the delusion that you (the general "you," not you specifically) are a member of the chosen people, is wacko. To believe that you can do the same simply because you "own" the child is sick! In your opinion, what are the limits as to what a sicko parent should be allowed to do/have done to their unfortunate child? What distinctions do you make as to what can be done to a male vs. what can be done to a female? What exemptions would you make for religious beliefs?

      June 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • BG

      @ HAA

      " Duh! Of course there's a religious angle to this!"
      I love the Duh. Always a good lead-in that sets juuuust the right tone. I'll dial it down a notch if you will. I would hate to make as sumptions about our relationship...

      "I'm shocked that you just figured this out. Perhaps if you read for comprehension and stopped foaming at the mouth, you would have noticed the religious aspect much sooner."
      Down... dial it.... downnnnn. That's better.

      "To perform unnecessary surgery on a perfectly normal body because of some tribal myth and imaginary god, not to mention suffering from the delusion that you (the general "you," not you specifically) are a member of the chosen people, is wacko."
      Firstly, thanks for that exclusionary acknowledgment. So let's bring the conversation down to a more basic level. I think it looks better. Moreover, my wife -demanded- that both boys be circu mcised. I agreed. Why did the mother want it done? She thought it looked better. She and I share the 'belief' that an uncircu mcised penis looks unfinished. So there. No god/God involved. (Of course I said this repeatedly to Free earlier, so the 'content' was there for your review.. but let's not digress. Dialing down...)

      "To believe that you can do the same simply because you "own" the child is sick!"
      I've gone on record here as having kids. The law says that they're mine, and their actions are my responsibility as well. I must provide for their every need. I don't want them to have ugly penises, so I provided for circu mcisions, which licensed physicians were glad to perform in sterile, state of the art medical facilities. They even wrote in the childrens' medical records that the circu mcisions were performed. Day, date, time, names, nurses in attendance, the whole nine yards. It's all there if anyone wanted to bring charges against the doctors or, for that matter, me. Prima facie evidence. Guess what? No one's ever complained. Not even the kids. Never heard from a state social worker or district attorney... imagine that.

      "In your opinion, what are the limits as to what a sicko parent should be allowed to do/have done to their unfortunate child?"
      Withholding medical treatment due to religious belief and anything that's harmful to the child's mental, physical or social well-being. Oh, you say... cutting the foreskin doesn't qualify under all of that? Sadly... no. No one remembers their circu mcision. They're too young. If you say you remember, you're lying. Do the research for yourself under neonatological neurology.

      "What distinctions do you make as to what can be done to a male vs. what can be done to a female?
      Alright, once again, western circu mcision is NOT THE SAME eastern FGM, for all the reasons I've all ready given you and Free above. And once again, the example: the police will not allow anyone to cut your son's glans, nor your daughter's labia, hood, or cli torus, unless under the direction of a licensed medical doctors as a part of a planned procedure that falls within the guidelines for modern medical intervention to correct a specific medical problem.
      If you can't digest that, then you're back to arguing with yourself again.

      " What exemptions would you make for religious beliefs?"
      Male circu mcision by a licensed physician. As I told Peace, I am uncomfortable with a mohel. Personally, I think anyone touching a knife to human anatomy needs to be a medical doctor, not a rabbi/mohel, imam, shaman, or a snake-charming baptist preacher. MD, DO, or a CRNP, PA, etc. under the guidance of an MD in a reasonably sterile environment.

      Now, as far as the 'atheist complaint' about circu mcision, let me ask you the same question I've asked others. So far it's gone unanswered.

      Why do you care? What difference does it make to you that my wife and I think our son's penises look better cut? Or why a Jew thinks he should demonstrate his son's cultural allegiances? What possible concern is it of yours? In all seriousness and with respect, I ask: If it's not your son, what's it to you? Because from my perspective, it would appear that the atheists are willing to attack personal choice involving genitalia by discrediting any religious motivations. I think that approach is nothing short of dispi cable. Here I've removed that argument. The parents think it looks better. God didn't weigh in. My sons are cut. No harm, no foul, nothing illegal, no complaints. Strictly an internal family matter between doctor and patient. For that matter, a relationship that's guaranteed confidentiality. You don't even have the -right- to know whether someone is circu mcised or not unless they tell you.

      So what possible business is this of yours or for that matter the city councils of San Francisco, Santa Monica, or Edmonton?

      June 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @BG

      I have clearly stated my beliefs on this subject, and religion in general. If this question was on a ballot in my area, I would vote for the ban – that such cosmetic surgery, particularly with no clear boundaries and especially when driven by religious beliefs, should only be performed when the patient makes an informed decision. I'm in favour of anything that legally impedes the spread of religion. That being said, what parents do within the law is their business alone. Discussion of existing laws and potential changes is everybody's right, if not a duty. Where's the problem?

      June 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • BG

      @ HAA

      Where's the problem, you ask... the answer is that the problem is you, thinking that by attempting to ban a choice that has historically been made by parents for their children, that you're hindering the spread of religion. Not everything is driven by religion, Ace. If you think confidential family decisions made between doctors and parents aren't unassailable, then your hate for religion has successfully clouded your common sense. You and those like you are off the deep end on this one.

      The 'law' will never come to pass. I'll let you figure out why. Good night, Ace.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @BG

      You seem to have only comprehended half of why I would support a ban. I don't think parents should be allowed to arbitrarily have their children cut upon without stated limits and I like the aspect of exposing barbaric religious rituals.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • BG

      @ HAA

      "stated limits" Established by who? You? Liberals? You avoided my question, again. Religious considerations aside, what business is it of yours? How exactly does it affect you?

      June 8, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  19. Reality

    They want to ban circu-mcision but they have no qualms about ripping an analogous growing child to pieces with a vacuum hose?

    June 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Free

      Anything to save a life, eh? How do you feel about mandatory organ, bone marrow and blood donation? That'd save lives too, right? Sure, you even have a spare kidney that you can give right now. So what if it's taxing and intrusive upon your body, and maybe even a bit risky? It's no more than what you're asking every woman to do.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Free How many abortions actually save lives? Don't get me wrong, I think the current law is about as good as it'll ever get in this grayest of gray issues. But the hype on both sides irritates me.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Free

      John Richardson
      I was actually arguing for choice and against the pro-life argument that it's all about saving lives. The pro-life camp argues that it's worth whatever a woman has to go through, including the risk to her life that is a part of carrying every pregnancy to term, in order to save a human life, right? So, I argue that, by the same line of thinking, we all have organs, blood and tissue that can be donated to the same cause, so why is this left to choice when actual people are really dying when people chose 'no?'

      June 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Free Gotcha!

      June 7, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Reality

      The reality of the abortion and STD epidemics:

      o The numbers, the calculations and two "bottom liners":

      "Facts on Co-ntraceptive Use

      http://www.gu-ttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

      January 2008

      WHO NEEDS CONTRACEPTIVES?

      • 62 million U.S. women (and men?) are in their childbearing years (15–44).[1]
      • 43 million women (and men) of reproductive age, or 7 in 10, are se-xually active and do not want to become pregnant, but could become pregnant if they or their partners fail to use a contraceptive method.[2]
      • The typical U.S. woman (man?) wants only 2 children. To achieve this goal, she (he?) must use contraceptives for roughly 3 decades.[3]

      WHO USES CONTRACEPTIVES?
      • Virtually all women (98%) aged 15–44 who have ever had inte-rcourse have used at least one contraceptive method.[2](and men?)
      • Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using one.[2] (and men)
      • 31% of the 62 million women (and men?) do not need a method because they are infertile; are pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant; have never had inter-course; or are not s-exually active.[2]
      • Thus, only 7% of women aged 15–44 are at risk of unwanted pregnancy but are not using contraceptives.[2] (and men?)
      • Among the 42 million fertile, s-exually active women who do not want to become pregnant, 89% are practicing contraception.[2] (and men?)

      WHICH METHODS DO WOMEN (men?) USE?
      • 64% of reproductive-age women who practice contraception use reversible methods, such as oral contraceptives or condoms. The remaining women rely on female or male sterilization.[2]

      FIRST-YEAR CONTRACEPTIVE FAILURE RATES
      Percentage of women (men?) experiencing an unplanned pregnancy (a few examples)
      Method ....... Typical
      Pill (combined) 8.7
      Tubal sterilization 0.7
      Male condom 17.4
      Vas-ectomy 0.2
      Periodic abstinence 25.3
      Calendar 9.0
      Ovulation Method 3.0
      Sympto-thermal 2.0
      Post-ovulation 1.0
      No method 85.0"
      (Abstinence) 0
      (Mas-turbation) 0

      More facts about co-ntraceptives from
      guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

      "CON-TRACEPTIVE METHOD CHOICE
      Con-traceptive method use among U.S. women who practice con-traception, 2002
      Method ..... No. of users (in 000s) ...... % of users

      Pill 11,661 30.6
      Male condom 6,841 18.0

      i.e.
      The pill fails to protect women 8.7% during the first year of use (from the same reference previously shown).
      i.e.
      0.087 (failure rate)
      x 62 million (# child bearing women)
      x 0.62 ( % of these women using contraception )
      x 0.306 ( % of these using the pill) =
      1,020,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of pill use.

      For male condoms (failure rate of 17.4 and 18% use level):

      1,200,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of male condom use.

      The Guttmacher Insti-tute (same reference) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate
      (35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).

      o Bottom Line #1: The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

      Bottom line #2-
      Currently, a perfect birth control/STD barrier system does not exist. Time to develop one! In the meantime, mono-ma-sturbation or mutual ma-sturbation are highly recommended for hete-rose-xuals who need a contraceptive. Abstinence is another best-solution but obviously the se-x drive typically vitiates this option although being biological would it not be able to develop a drug to temporarily eliminate said drive?

      June 8, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Again, and probably not for the last time, believers can eliminate 70% of the abortions in the USA simply by living up to their stated values. No changes in laws required, no need to impose any religious views on others.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  20. Lycidas

    It is due to the Jews controlling Hollywood that created this reaction. Jesus was a foreskin removed, so Christian voters just need to vote against this.

    June 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Lycidas

      It's such an honor in having someone want to be me. Obviously they don't have enough of a personality of their own.

      Now for my real opinion. The lady that orginiated this bill was aiming toward circ*umsision in non-religious ways. She didn't even have a problem with it in the religious sense, but in the secular kind of way. She believes that the medical benefits do not justify the procedure.

      I sort of agree. In that if it is a religious procedure, they should be allowed to have it done. With the medical questions, have a independent study done to see if their isn't a good reason not to hve it done for babies.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Ok

      So, where's the mommy comment? Usually when there are two of you the mommy issue comes up.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Lycidas

      On another thread if you're interested.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Lycidas

      ...and I see my copycat is still around. How flattering to see my little student learning so quickly!
      btw, Eric and Mark both say hello, little friend.. 😉

      June 7, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Ahhh

      .

      June 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Nose Something

      somebody smell that? I smell something burning. oh, wait, you can't smell the smell of burning flesh yet, can you? Don't worry, God will provide. 😀

      June 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Friend

      Americans are the anti-Christ. God will strike you down as he has done already for your sins! Repent and seek God.

      June 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Nose Something

      You said: "somebody smell that? I smell something burning. oh, wait, you can't smell the smell of burning flesh yet, can you? Don't worry, God will provide."

      If god is all loving, all good and all just as Christians profess, how do you reconcile this with the fact, that there is a place called hell?

      How could an all good, all merciful, all just god, spend His time constructing such a place? Did he whistle while He worked?

      If god is all loving, all good, all merciful and all just...how do you reconcile this to the fact that god would burn humans for all eternity? What crime could justify such a punishment?

      Man lives a finite number of years. Only a finite number of "sins" could be committed in this finite time. How is it just to punish a finite number of sins with eternal agony?

      Christians also claim their god is all knowing (omniscient). If this is true, then He would know who will be saved and who will be damned, even before they are born. Yet, god lets them be born knowing their ultimate fate is eternal punishment. Seems wrong somehow.

      You fundies often prattle on about accepting Christ or spending eternity in hell. But, this is not a choice. This is Vito Corleone making a choice that cannot be refused. Pfui!

      If a puppy peed on the floor, would you hold it over a burner, even for a second? I couldn't. Not a puppy and certainly not a human. I am more moral than your vile god.

      Like many of your fellow Christians, you seem to like the idea that people who do not agree with you, will be horribly punished. If I am wrong, and there is a god and there is a Jesus...you and I may be roomies.

      Cheers!

      Cheers!

      June 7, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Keith

      Now here this: the highly moral David Johnson has entered the room. All hail the mighty moral one.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:39 am |
    • Keith

      here=hear, oops.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:40 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Keith

      You said: "Now here this: the highly moral David Johnson has entered the room. All hail the mighty moral one."

      Definitely not mighty and only "highly" moral, when you compare me to your desert war god.

      In all fairness Keith, if you really believe that this monster exists, why do you believe He is worthy of worship?

      Cheers!

      June 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "desert war god"

      Baal?

      June 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Keith

      David Johnson, you are not a moral man, nor am I. The Ten Commandments make that clear.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.