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June 13th, 2011
03:01 PM ET

Time: Is San Francisco's circumcision ban an attack on religious freedom?

By Adam Cohen, TIME

In the 1960s and '70s, the San Francisco Bay Area was where the counterculture really started — the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley, the Summer of Love in Haight-Ashbury, gay rights in the Castro. Today, the Bay Area is challenging the larger culture in a new and controversial way: there will be a referendum on the ballot in November that would make it the first major city in the U.S. to outlaw circumcision.

The San Francisco debate over circumcision initially centered on the value of the procedure itself — opponents call it barbaric, supporters point to its long tradition and say it prevents disease. But increasingly the debate is becoming one about religion, in which critics accuse backers of the referendum of bigotry and insist a ban would violate the First Amendment's religious freedoms.

Read the full story on San Francisco's circumcision ban
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: California • Islam • Judaism

soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. James Black

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

    June 18, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
  2. Momma Hanna

    To be fair, I think there needs to be a distinction between faith in God versus religion. There is a difference. By definition, religion is a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a group people. There are very few rules within religion that were believed to have been revealed to man by God. All the rest of the “rules” which so many take issue with, were created by man. Jews still practice the laws established by God in the Old Testament. Whereas, born-again Christians, believe that the old laws were replaced when Jesus walked among us and died for our sins.
    I am a believer in Christ Jesus. I also know that what of the biggest sins I can commit is to cause others to turn from God. It is not my job or duty to “convert” you. I will leave that between you and God. However, it is my honor to plant a seed of faith in your life. It may bloom today, it may bloom next year. Again, I leave that you and God. Please don’t let “religion” get in your way of your faith in God.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Momma Hanna

      You said: "it is my honor to plant a seed of faith in your life. It may bloom today, it may bloom next year."
      Since I don't exclude the possibility that there is a god, you could say there is "a seed of faith" in me. Now, to make that seed bloom, you'll need to provide it with facts. Facts require evidence. Provide evidence that there is a god and prove that that god is your god, and I'll believe.

      Until there is credible, verifiable evidence, there is no reason to believe. In other words; believing without evidence is unreasonable.

      June 18, 2011 at 2:09 am |
  3. Mike

    Jews won't be stopped from doing their thing. This is what happens when a country veers too far left. Thank god that we have conservatives even if I disagree with them most of the time.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  4. TCS

    @ David,
    All kids are born without language, but us silly people start to program them with talking right from birth. What language they embrace is probably the language their parents spoke and what society spoke.

    Just because you have a lack of religion doesn't mean you don't indoctrinate that lack of religion onto your daughter. Our children are like lumps of clay and they get molded by how we raise them.

    I too have studied the evidence and have determined that there is a God. The fact that you disagree is saddening, but I'm always hopeful.

    Peace be with you and your daughter

    June 15, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • LinCA

      @TCS.

      Teaching to speak a language or how to solve a math problem or how to play a violin or how to swim is entirely different from making a child believe that there is a tooth fairy or a god or Santa. The first is teaching skills, the latter is indoctrination.

      From Encarta:
      in·doc·tri·nate
      Definition:
      cause to believe something: to teach somebody a belief, doctrine, or ideology thoroughly and systematically, especially with the goal of discouraging independent thought or the acceptance of other opinions
      (emphasis added)

      There can't be indoctrination into atheism as there is no belief involved. Things most often associated with atheism is teaching of critical thinking skills and encouragement of independent thought. In other words, the polar opposite of indoctrination.

      Source: http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861620980/indoctrinate.html

      June 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • TCS

      you forgot the 2nd and 3rd definitions from dictionary.com
      2.to teach or inculcate.
      3.to imbue with learning.

      The absence of a belief is still a belief. It can still be taught. It is taught. Obviously there have been loads of people who come across some form of religion. Now your child happens to come across one of these religions and comes back to ask you about it. What are you going to say? Whatever you do say will highly influence and teach them about the subject.
      "You can't indoctrinate a child into atheism because there is no belief in the first place?!" Come on! The fact that you are so strong in your 'non-belief' that you regularly post on the Belief Blog about being anti-religious is proof enough that you have been indoctrinated into a secular-atheistic belief that you are right and that other people are stupid.

      But we have gotten off topic. To sum up: Smegma is gross and if parents want to save their child from having a smelly junk, by all means, go for it.

      June 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • LinCA

      @TCS

      You said: "you forgot the 2nd and 3rd definitions from dictionary.com
      2.to teach or inculcate.
      3.to imbue with learning.
      "
      Eh, no, I did not. I picked the one that most closely reflects the practice that I was talking about. The part "doctrine" is essential, and I was obviously not talking about teaching when I referred to indoctrination.

      You said: "The absence of a belief is still a belief. It can still be taught. It is taught."
      Absence of a belief is only a belief if not collecting stamps is a hobby. You can't teach someone not to believe. You can show them how ridiculous some of these beliefs are and teach logic and reasoning.

      You said: "Now your child happens to come across one of these religions and comes back to ask you about it. What are you going to say?"
      My child has come across a variety of religions. He has gone to services for some and is still in the process of making up his mind. I neither encourage nor discourage him.

      You said, when quoting me: ""You can't indoctrinate a child into atheism because there is no belief in the first place?!" Come on! The fact that you are so strong in your 'non-belief' that you regularly post on the Belief Blog about being anti-religious is proof enough that you have been indoctrinated into a secular-atheistic belief that you are right and that other people are stupid."
      See the part about doctrine, above. There is no doctrine for atheism. Therefor there can't be indoctrinated.

      I'd consider myself more pro-rational thought, pro-reason and pro-science than anti-religion. I am only against religion where it affects me. I don't tell anyone what they can or can't believe. If you want to believe that Bob the Magical Blue Sock listens to your requests and acts on the world around you, that is fine by me. Just don't expect me to think that's rational, reasonable or smart.

      You said: "Smegma is gross and if parents want to save their child from having a smelly junk, by all means, go for it."
      Surgery should never be a substitute for good hygiene.

      June 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • TCS

      Then you should clean a 4-year-old's peeps

      June 16, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • LinCA

      been there, done that.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • steve

      everyone believes something. even atheists. you may not believe there is a god but you believe that through human reason you can find purpose and meaning. you put faith in your senses to give you an accurate display of what is around you. men of faith are just men. everyone has faith in something.

      June 17, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      TCS what evidence have you for god? can you present it here?

      June 19, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  5. Archie

    All you have to know is that the comic book "Foreskin Man" is the standard borne for this movement. If you bother to Google "Foreskin Man" and read about it and its characters, you will know whether this movement is an attack on the Jews or not. You won't even have to go back 30 years to the patently antiSemitic origins of the movement in U.K.

    June 14, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • Moshe

      It's not an anti-semitic movement at all. It's an anti-child-abuse movement.
      Foreskin Man is an anti-circu.mcision hero in a comic book.
      He fights ANYONE who mutilates children's se.xual organs.
      Jews were not even featured until the second comic book. I very much doubt they will even be featured in the third.

      Again, this is an ANTI-CHILD-ABUSE MOVEMENT, NOT AN ANTI-SEMITIC MOVEMENT.

      June 15, 2011 at 12:21 am |
  6. rachel

    i believe any kind of body modification should be left up to the person who owns the body... when they are old enough to understand and make an informed decision.

    June 14, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • LinCA

      @rachel.

      By saying: "when they are old enough to understand and make an informed decision." you set the bar unreasonably high for a large part of the male population. 😉

      June 14, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  7. Bibletruth

    What right does a parent have to choose his childs food and sleep time? or any number of things. Those who are so full of invective against Christianity...and I am talking bible Christianity, have no idea of the joy and contentment there is, and holy spirit power over sin, in being a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, Creator and Lord. Christianity is not for everyone...Jesus wants to be everyones Lord, but He never violates His own "whosoever will" principle of love. Some just love their sin life more than they love God.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Moshe

      And some people think they have a religious right to abuse children. They don't and never will.

      June 15, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • jimtanker

      You're right about that. Its not for people who can think for themselves and use logic and reason in their daily lives.

      June 15, 2011 at 6:00 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Moshe- How is circ*umcision abuse? They don't remember having it done and it doesn't effect them later in life.

      June 15, 2011 at 7:31 am |
    • Moshe

      I don't know where you got such misinformation, but you are entirely incorrect.
      Some remember. And it does affect them for the rest of their lives. We're talking bodily mutilation here.
      There are lots of after-effects besides the gross physical change of having part of your body cut away.
      And why would anyone ever think that just because a victim does not remember make any difference?
      A crime is a crime regardless of whether the victim has blocked it out or not.
      Your excuses could also be used to defend rapists. Are you a rapist?
      A little chemical in their drink and you can do what you like and they won't remember.
      Yet you would have done it against their will, had they known.
      See the similarities? The victim's knowledge is not required for a crime to have been committed.
      A crime is a crime. To say that nothing happened is to say a bald-faced lie.
      Circmcision does not happen by accident, either. It is done with a purpose that violently and forcibly violates the rights and the body integrity of the infant. That violation is little more than raape regardless of how painless you can make it at the time.
      The infants are violated in the most visible way: the cutting of the flesh. A violent act without any medical justification or any other justification other than religious or aesthetically motivated.
      Religion is not based on reality, but upon delusion. Mental illness is not a good reason to cut an infant.
      Aesthetics are not a good reason, either, but in extreme cases a medical recommendation would be made anyway.
      Child abuse is child abuse. Having religious reasons for child abuse does not change the essential nature of the crime.

      June 15, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Moshe- "I don't know where you got such misinformation, but you are entirely incorrect."

      Co*ndsidering that I was asking a question...I couldn't have been incorrect or correct really.

      "We're talking bodily mutilation here."

      So any altering of a babie's body would be mutilation? Ear piercing?

      "There are lots of after-effects besides the gross physical change of having part of your body cut away."

      Like what?

      "And why would anyone ever think that just because a victim does not remember make any difference?"

      Because like one's ap*pendix, the foreskin isn't vital. One's self worth is more than some skin.

      June 15, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "A crime is a crime regardless of whether the victim has blocked it out or not."

      We are not talking about repress memories you know. There is a difference between forgetting something and never having the men*tal cap*acity to remember anything.

      "Your excuses could also be used to defend rapists. Are you a rapist?"

      Your straw man makes no real sense you know.

      "A little chemical in their drink and you can do what you like and they won't remember.
      Yet you would have done it against their will, had they known."

      What little chemical is given to babies to forget?

      "See the similarities?"

      Nope.

      June 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "A crime is a crime. To say that nothing happened is to say a bald-faced lie."

      To say it is a crime is a lie.

      "Circmcision does not happen by accident, either. It is done with a purpose that violently and forcibly violates the rights and the body integrity of the infant."

      So doesn't partial birth abo*rtion. Getting that ol brain sucked out vi*olates a lot. But that's another subject.

      "That violation is little more than raape regardless of how painless you can make it at the time."

      I doubt ra*pe victums would agree.

      "The infants are violated in the most visible way: the cutting of the flesh. A violent act without any medical jus*tification or any other jus*tification other than religious or aesthetically motivated."

      Not quite, there are many theories on the medical ben*efits of having the pro*cedure done. But you don't see many doctors speaking out against it.

      June 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Momma Hanna

      For those of you claiming mutilation, look it up. It means to deprive a person or animal of a limb or other essential part; the fore*skin is not vital, just ask any doctor if it is vital to living. It all boils down to preference. Some people prefer to keep it, others have religious views on the subject. Rather than force your personal opinion on everyone, why don't you invest your energies into something useful, like balancing the federal budget. I don't know pick something else. But I am sick and tired of having YOUR preferences forced on my life. How about you just put out phamplets about your views and have OBs or hospitals pass them out. Make it about FACTS, not your twisted and heated words like "mutilation".

      June 15, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Momma Hanna

      You said: "It all boils down to preference. Some people prefer to keep it [...]"
      I would agree. Why anyone would deprive anyone of that choice is beyond me. Let the boys make their own choice when they reach maturity.

      And you said: "others have religious views on the subject. Rather than force your personal opinion on everyone, why don't you invest your energies into something useful"
      Correct. Nobody should be allowed to force their religious views on anyone, including infants.

      By the way, circumcision is mutilation if it is done without medical necessity.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:48 am |
  8. Religion...

    If they're not trying to mutilate young boys, they're trying to F them in the A-H.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:53 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Why even come on here if you can't offer up something decent?

      June 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Huhu

      I think you hit Uncouth Swain too close to the truth. He has ra-ped children, I guess. Why else would anyone complain about the horrible truth of religion?

      June 14, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Huhu- because there was no truth in what he said. Unless you are foolish enough to believe all of religion wants to do what he said. But plz...keep guessing. It's somewhat obvious that logic and reasoning is beyond you.

      June 15, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  9. FairGarden

    ??? America should ban Sodomy( but let the people live) instead of persecuting the Jews and Muslims.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:33 am |
  10. Two Witnesses

    San Francisco is America's Sodom. The real question is, when will the fire and brimstone start to rain down?

    June 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Autumn

      Do you know how right you are? Truly when will the brimstone rain on it?

      June 13, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Revenge of the Return of the Attack of the 400 Foot Fluffy Bunny from Beyond the 433 Dimension

      God is too busy punishing the Bible Belt with tornados and hurricanes and floods and poverty and ignorance to have any time for San Francisco. Maybe God's telling you something.

      June 14, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • Fluffy Bunny Hasenpfeffer for Everyone!

      beeelch. No thanks. Inter-dimensional fat ass rabbit gives me gas.

      June 14, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • BG

      Seems that god "had time" for San Francisco in, when was it now? Oh yeah...

      1989

      June 14, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Nice Try

      I was there in the 1989 Lom Prieta Earthquake, and the damage was very minor, especially compared to the average tornado. The press WAY overplayed the destruction by showing the same couple houses over and over, giving the impression that the destruction was widespread. 1989 was a hiccup, comparable to one moderately small tornado.

      And the Castro, the gay district, was virtually undamaged.

      June 14, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • BG

      I didn't realize that this was a contest. My tornado, your earthquake. w t f is the matter with you?

      And there are those who would disagree with your assessment of Loma Prieta.
      http://www.vibrationdata.com/earthquakes/lomaprieta.htm

      Besides, when the one that really matters does hit, a big chunk of California will simply become an island that needs a new name. Maybe they can name it "The Castro Island." That'd be good.

      June 14, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Mark

      Castro Island. Sounds like you'd have to ride the fairy to get over there.

      June 14, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Death of The Froth-Mouth Jesus Howlers and God-Screamers from Beyond Hell

      Castro Island. Let's see, great restaurants, economic prosperity, colorful people, and no religious nutters. I'm straight and I would choose that over any part of the Deep South any day.

      Of course, the whole "California will fall into the sea" thing is geological nonsense – oh darn that pesky science stuff anyway.

      And BG, catch a freaking clue: it was your side that started the whole "brimstone falling on San Francisco" thread anyway. Of course someone will state the fact that the Bible Belt undergoes far more natural disaster than the rest of the country – oh darn that pesky science stuff anyway.

      June 14, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • BG

      @ Dude

      Exactly what "side" do you think I'm on?

      This should be interesting...

      June 14, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • FYI

      California will NOT be falling off of the continent and becoming an island.

      "The key thing to remember about the San Andreas is that it is a right-lateral strike-slip fault, with the land to the east is moving south relative the land in the west...the motion along the fault is lateral, not apart. As a matter of fact, there is even an element of compression along the boundary that continues to keep the two plates together. The movement along this plate-boundary fault is very slow, about 35mm per year. To put it into perspective, about 14-MILLION years from now, Los Angeles and San Francisco might become suburbs of one another...if both cities still exist (imagine the traffic!).

      So, the bottom line is that there is no way for California to fall off into the ocean or for part of it to become an island, like in the miniseries "10.5." – California Geological Survey

      June 14, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • It's pretty obvious

      Side? You're on the Gump side of the IQ scale, BG

      June 15, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • John Richardson

      When will the fire and brimstone rain down on SF? Right about never!

      June 15, 2011 at 5:46 am |
  11. Ben Dover

    I am not a religious person but I would have to say it is an attack on religious freedom

    June 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • BinMN

      Um...no.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • Kc

      Um..yes

      June 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • He Who Juices Cactus

      Definitely an attack on religion. Just look where it's taking place. This isn't downtown Detroit we're talking about. The gay community may be a lot of things, or not, but pro-religious is certainly not one of them. Give me a break people. Do your homework on San Francisco before you make statements like this.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • He Who Juices Cactus

      Above comments meant for BinMN.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Fight for the children

      No one has the right to abuse children. No one.

      Pretending this is a religious right is disgusting. Child abuse is not a religious right and never will be.

      The children have been abused for long enough. When will we put an end to it?

      June 13, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Cactus Yes, look where it's happening: in the city where the rights of one particularly persecuted minority were first and most effectively defended. SF has a laudable history of being on the cutting edge re issues of social justice.

      June 14, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • BG

      "Social Justice," hmm?

      So San Francisco has frequent gay rights parades and this:
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/07/MN7T1JB8JF.DTL

      They're a regular beacon of social awareness... and they want everybody to be... just – like – them. Compliance is always better than acceptance, right?

      F'k 'em. Oh, that's right... that's also a part of their 'social awareness' agenda. Preferably a big, uncut part.

      June 14, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Cliff Edge

      BG is a hom-ophobic, Islamophobic, rabid "conservative" who likes to abuse children and anyone else who he doesn't like.

      June 14, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • BG

      @ Cliff (sir, please step back a few feet) Edge

      I see you liked that 'big uncut part.' The floppy skin on the end adds an inch. Actually, it' just an optical illusion.

      June 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Speaking

      And BG fell for the obvious troll post. And with yet another nasty little post.

      You're acting a bit "mongy" here, BG. Why don't you take a break and go have s.ex with something.
      Don't worry, we can't do anything stupid without you, so we'll be here when you get back.

      June 15, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • Marnina

      Thank you!

      June 15, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  12. edwardo

    I think the interesting question is not the law itself, but why the city leaders of San Francisco don't have anything more important to do.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • He Who Juices Cactus

      Because they're gay and weiner is is all they think about rather than balancing the budget. Oops, I meant to say all they think about is REP. Weiner. So sorry for the confusion.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • BinMN

      Well, it is a barbaric act that should be banned.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • He Who Juices Cactus

      Based on who's assessment? Yours? What are your credentials and what makes you an authority on such things? Some, including doctors and the decidedly NON-religious, say that this is a healthy thing to do that prevents infection and causes no problems whatsoever. That being the case and, since we are getting this from highly educated people, then I beg you to tell me what is it about this that is so barbaric?

      June 13, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Sean

      @He Who Juices Cactus
      "...causes no problems whatsoever." The 100-or-so parents who lost their infants sons to this procedure last year (in this country) might disagree with you.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • He Who Juices Cactus

      @Sean, 100 out of how many millions that were performed safely and medically correct with no problems what so ever? Sounds to me like you risk more crossing the street. By the way, how many of those 100 were done in a sterile hospital setting by a licensed surgeon? I'm not talking about a hack job by a back room wanna be with a pair of hedge shears.

      June 14, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • BG

      @ Sean

      The study that you're quoting was 'published' (and use I the term 'study' liberally...) in "Thymos – The Journal of Boyhood Studies," Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 2010. Excerpted from the description of the 'study' by the Mens Studies Press, an organization referenced on the Thymos website:

      "Circu mcision-related mortality rates are not known with certainty; this study estimates the scale of this problem."

      "This study also identifies reasons why accurate data on these deaths are not available..."

      Whaaaat? You mean the conclusions aren't verifiable? All their 'assertions' are really just suppositions? Apparently it's just another editorial from an activist (oh, sorry.. 'intactivist' ) group based upon nothing more than partiality and contrivance, but being promoted nonetheless as an authoritative tool with which to legitimize their agenda. Hey, wth.. if you can't find something legitimate to support your case, just make something up.

      Here's the reality...

      http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;103/3/686

      So this 'study' that you incessantly refer to on these CNN circu mcision stories is just selectively interpreted propagandist crap, isn't it? That's ok, Sean.. I'm sure that you'll keep quoting it as if it were really true.

      June 14, 2011 at 3:09 am |
    • Suzanne

      amen!

      June 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Cliff Edge

      It's hilarious to see a christian trying to argue about facts. What a clueless fu-ck.

      June 14, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • He Who Juices Cactus

      @fell off the Cliff Edge.
      I guess that makes you an un-clueless fu-ck? Good luck with that. By the way, that's Christian with a capital C, Mr. poopie mouth meanie. So there.

      June 14, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • BG

      @ Cliff Notes

      What's hilarious is to see someone assuming that I'm a Christian.

      June 14, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
  13. Timoteus

    In the larger article, Cohen states, "If the referendum passes, it is unclear whether it would survive a const.itutional challenge. The First Amendment protects people against laws that unduly interfere with their religious rituals. The question is, How would the courts see this particular interference? In 1972, the Supreme Court upheld the right of Amish parents to not send their children to school past the eighth grade. Yet more recently, it held that the "free exercise" clause does not protect Native Americans who want to engage in ritual use of peyote, an illegal drug. Under the logic of the peyote case, the ban could well survive. The ban could also be challenged under California's state consti.tution, which might contain broader religious protections than the U.S. Const.itution."

    As Cohen is described as being a lawyer, I am guessing he isn't a very good one and thus no one need worry that he will be tapped to sit on the SCOTUS.
    The Amish case is narrowly construed because of the unique circu.mstances of the Amish. The harm of letting kids stop going to school after the 8th grade is minimal when they are living in an Amish community – yet some of them leave the community and are thus harmed by their lack of education in the modern world, so the SCOTUS was wrong about that.
    In the case of Native American rituals involving peyote, the harm is not necessarily limited to the peyote-user, as peyote is a strong hallucinogen. As an analogy, this case also sucks.
    Cohen rightly dances away from pointing out the legal requirements surrounding any such case involving circu.mcision. He doesn't know enough about law to keep things in their proper places regarding the legal issues. Maybe that's why he is writing articles and pontificating instead of weighing the issues from a bench...

    June 13, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  14. Steve T

    Just one more reason to stop the medieval lunacy known as religion.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Jim

      To Steve T
      "Medieval lunacy"? I have my traditions based upon a loving god. He states life is not easy.
      What is your life based upon?

      June 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • apostate

      @Jim
      Your life is based on an ancient myth. What is life like without the imaginary sky fairy? It's called "reality."

      June 14, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @apostate- Explain will you how being ancient makes them not as good as the modern man on the topic of faith? It doesn't.

      June 15, 2011 at 7:36 am |
  15. Fidei Coticula Crux

    The First Amendment to the United States Const-itution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF;...”

    If you are willing to deny the rights of others regardless of how foolish, stupid, or retarded that right may seem to you, then you will have set the precedence for anyone in the position of power to dictate your very lives.

    Benjamin Franklin said it best when he stated: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither…”

    June 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      What has this to do with cutting up a kid?

      June 13, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • LinCA

      @JohnQuest

      I think what Fidei Coticula Crux is saying, is that those that oppose the ban are "foolish, stupid, or retarded" for wanting to walk all over the religious freedoms of the infant by forcing their distorted religious views upon the defenseless child.

      June 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Niall

      Fidei said, "If you are willing to deny the rights of others regardless of how foolish, stupid, or retarded that right may seem to you, then you will have set the precedence for anyone in the position of power to dictate your very lives."

      So you are for protecting the rights of children? They are the ones being denied their rights here. You are an idiot to think otherwise.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Jim

      You all are missing the point. This is a religious practice that has been carried out for over a thousand years.
      San Fransisco urges laws making it common place for men now to "legally" marry and stick their "..s" in each others "..s" but they want to stop this? Does it make sense?

      June 14, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Jim

      It makes absolutely perfect sense. Consenting adults may do whatever they like, within duly established laws, regardless of what anyone's book of tribal mythology says. On the other hand, defenseless children should not be cut upon without their consent, regardless of what anyone's tribal book of magic says, including their parent's.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Jim

      And furthermore, what doesn't make sense is your, and most/many/all believer's, apparent fascination with what one person does with another when they get naked. I suspect you are just trying to be shocking, but perhaps you should give it a try – you might like it.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Hells Angel

      Have aids yet, fa ggot? You will.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  16. batchoftruth

    No its a ban on child mutilation.

    June 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Jim

      It has been a tradition for over a thousand years. It is not mutilation.
      What IS mutilation is the continual practice of men sticking their "...s" in each others "b...s" – THAT is mutilation

      June 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Jim.

      You seem inordinately preoccupied with "men sticking their dicks in each others asses ". It sounds like you are in the closet and in denial. It's OK you can come out. I won't think any less of you.

      June 14, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
  17. Reality

    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.

    To wit:

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    "New Torah For Modern Minds

    Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument. "

    "The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "litany of disillusion" about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel – not one shard of pottery."

    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 13, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • TCS

      Thanks for the usual cut and paste job Reality.
      Just leave your opinion like everyone else.

      June 13, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Steven

      While the organization has changed the content/orientation of the book, most of the 1.5 million were raised with the older version and aren't likely to change the core of their faith just because a group of rabbis decided it was time for a change. If a a group of ministers decided that the New Testament story of Jesus' journey, teachings and resurrection were only an analogy and not actual truth, most Christians would disagree and stick to the core of their faith.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • Reality

      Reiteration is great for the learning process. As is reading and rational thinking followed by conclusions based on all of it.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Big Resurrection Con/Disease:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      o An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      o p.4
      o "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      o p.168. by Ted Peters:
      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      o So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      June 14, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "Reiteration is great for the learning process."

      No, what happens is the same thing like the annoying vids. Ppl just skip over the obvious copy/paste and move on to what we hope is real thoughts.

      June 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Reality

      More required reiterations:

      "John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

      The Situation Today

      Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. " J. Somerville

      It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to radomness of birth. Maybe just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions."

      June 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  18. Doc Vestibule

    I head the circ ward is a great place to work.
    Four skins a week and lots of opportunities to get ahead.

    June 13, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • NOo..oON

      Who handles the member services there?

      June 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Elton John

      Here's a little number I just tossed of in the Caribbean

      June 13, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  19. Hooray for Your One-Eyed Trouser Snake

    Oh, the ban won't stand First Amendment review, but it is still a shame that religious people would even want to perform genital mutilation on their children.

    Other parts of the Old Testament that, unlike circ-umcision, have thankfully become ignored:

    "And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death." Leviticus 24:16

    ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. 18 No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed." Leviticus 21:17-18

    And that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to really bad morality in the Bible. So add circu-mcision to the list.

    June 13, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Arthur Cromwell

      I guess God had to obey the Americans With Disabilities Act and stop banning the blind and the lame.

      June 13, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Why won't stand First Amendment review? It seems to me that it is trying to protect the First Amendment rights of the infant, or do infants have no rights?

      June 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Hooray for Your One-Eyed Trouser Snake

      I hope you are right, John, but you have to remember that Bush stacked the Supreme Court so heavily with right-wing judicial activists that it now more resembles a bowling team of drunken used car salesmen than the protectors of Consti-tutional liberties. The child's right to it's own freedom of religion and freedom from harm will almost certainly be unrecognized.

      June 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Sadly I must agree with you. They want to practice their religion by have a needless surgery done on a child (an infant no less). They have no respect for the rights of the individual (child).

      June 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Joshua

      You're mistaken on that verse from Leviticus. The context of that quote comes from Parshat Emor, the section of the Book of Leviticus that refers to laws pertaining to the Kohanim, the high priests. In this context, you can see that the dictum against people with defects refers ONLY to the sacrificial rite in the Temple. In this sense, the priests are supposed to be as pure and unblemished as Glatt Kosher meat. I suggest you actually read the Bible rather than quote liberally from it for the purpose of slamming it.

      June 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Joshua

      And another thing: your translation of Lev 24:16 sucks.
      "And one who blasphemously pronounces the Name of the Lord, shall be put to death; the entire community shall stone him; convert and resident alike if he pronounces the [Divine] Name, he shall be put to death."

      From this verse, you can see CLEARLY that what is being referred to is the Holy Name of G-d, which is the Tetragrammaton (YKVK). And the context shows that its use was clearly in vain, being used as a curse. The only reason we still don't follow this is because nobody knows the proper pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton, which was only recited on Yom Kippur in the days of the Temple. So I say, once again, read the Bible rather than merely quote liberally from it.

      June 14, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Hooray for Your One-Eyed Trouser Snake

      You said: "you have to remember that Bush stacked the Supreme Court so heavily with right-wing judicial activists that it now more resembles a bowling team of drunken used car salesmen than the protectors of Consti-tutional liberties."

      Yes, I fear for Roe v. Wade, for the same reason. The Religious Right wants a Theocracy, with Jesus as Head of State. I am afraid. Very afraid.

      Cheers!

      June 14, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  20. LinCA

    If this proposed ban has anything to do with religion, it is by protecting the freedom of religion of those that this mutilation is otherwise inflicted upon.

    June 13, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Britney Spears Loses a Debate with a Chicken

      Sadly enough, children do not have freedom of religion from parents, only government. The one thing religious parents absolutely do not want their children to have is the freedom to choose any other religion.

      June 13, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • TCS

      Britney, you say that, and yet you would probably chose to raise your kids the way YOU want them to be raise (probably atheists). How is that any different? Or are you going to expose them to all of the religions out there equally and let them chose.
      You talk of children having freedom of religion from parents. You wrote that sentence wrong. What you meant was 'freedom from religion'

      June 13, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Britney Spears Loses a Debate with a Chicken

      Not true. My wife and I generally have not discussed religion with our daughter. We feel it is up to her to choose. I am not going to expose her to any religons – she is on her own if that is what she wants to do. She does not even know how we would identify ourselves (my wife is not atheist). If she decides to be a Mormon or a Evangelical, well, it's her life.

      Freedon of religion means freedom from religion for those who so choose. My writing is accurate. Get over your stereotypes and learn to see the real world.

      June 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • LinCA

      @TCS.

      "None of the above" is a valid choice. Freedom from religion is an integral part of freedom of religion.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • He Who Juices Cactus

      Hi Britney. One question, if you're so sure of yourself and you're wife's plans on child-raising then why the double jab at TCS? Seems to me that your defensive attack (final sentence) takes something away from everything you said. Just stating the obvious.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • shamgar50

      TCS, That’s the thing genius, the children will be exposed to religion, one way or another, they just won’t be indoctrinated the way most children are. When they have the ability to make an informed decision, they will. Unlike children who have religion rammed down their throats from birth.

      June 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • TCS

      shamgar50, everyone indoctrinates children into everything, not just religion. I'm going to teach my children that pulling a dogs tail is a bad thing (I'm assuming you will) he can find it out on his own and eventually choose to not do that, but I think I'll just teach him anyway. Just because it is religion doesn't make it bad. Saying that it is...... well religionist (racist against religion)

      June 14, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Jim

      It is NOT mutilation. It is a tradition that is over a thousand years old.
      What IS mutilation is men sticking their "...s" in other men's rear ends. This is common practice amongst gay men. Daily! It causes cutting and infection spreading at the highest levels.

      June 14, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @TCS

      You said: "Britney, you say that, and yet you would probably chose to raise your kids the way YOU want them to be raise (probably atheists). "

      All kids are born atheist. The believers begin to program the silly into them, almost from birth. What god a person embraces, is largely due to what god their parents worship and the society they grow up in.

      An atheist does not believe in any gods. We don't indoctrinate our children. Being an atheist is the default position.

      I have a daughter.

      I never sent her to Sunday school, Christian summer camp, or bible school. I never bought her books about Jesus, to read before bedtime. We did not say prayers before eating, or before sleeping.

      There are no comparable atheist functions. Being an atheist is not a religion. We have examined the evidence, and determined that a god is very unlikely.

      In the real world, any object that provides no evidence for its existence is classified as imaginary.

      My daughter grew up, with a love of math and science. She graduated from college.

      And yes, I left her, as god created her...an atheist. I'm very proud of her.

      Cheers!

      June 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Jim

      You said: "What IS mutilation is men sticking their "...s" in other men's rear ends. This is common practice amongst gay men. Daily! It causes cutting and infection spreading at the highest levels."

      What do you care, it's not your rear end? Let consenting adults do what they want in the privacy of their bedrooms. Like everyone else in this country, gays deserve their civil rights. They have the right to be happy.

      Cheers!

      June 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Jim

      If there is no "religious tradition" involved – the parents don't practice a tribal mythology that requires their child to be cut upon and they don't particularly care if their (abused) child takes up such tribal superst!tions, they simply want their child to look a certain way – do you still support the parent's alleged right to have their child cut upon? If yes, what are the limits of unnecessary body modification you are comfortable with?

      June 14, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Jim..so mutilation is ok if its been done for a thousand years? how many virgins, goats, sheep are sacrificed in the US in churches each day? these are also throw backs to your pagan supersti-tions which have long lost any validity.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:48 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.