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

San Francisco's anti-circumcision initiative faces court challenge

By the CNN Wire Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Belief Blog

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

soundoff (409 Responses)
  1. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    "the loss of tissue," part made me laugh. Rick 'tiny' Johnson, leader of the It should be bigger Bill.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  2. Zippy

    People are making it sound like they're hooking jumper cables up to boy's dangly bits.
    A little pinch and it's over. After the 1001 shots and blood draw's they already do in the hospital on these babies, it's no big deal.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • US Patriot

      Agreed!

      June 23, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • memeplex

      A little pinch, and it's over, and you live the rest of your life missing the most sensitive part of your reproductive anatomy.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Don't Let Facts Get in the Way of your Opinions!

      Of course, 100 infants a year die in the U.S. of complications from circu-mcisions. 100 dead for a completely unnecessary surgical procedure. No big deal.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Steve

      memeplex.... SO?
      For that small price you can also be inline with the creators will.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Why Do I Respond To Morons?

      If it was the creator's will, then you would have been born without it.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • memeplex

      @ Why Do I Respond To Morons:

      Apparently you do so that I don't have to. Took the words out of my mouth, thanks.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • Steve

      morons and memeplex – you could also ask, if the creator wanted us to believe in him, why not just make us believe?
      It's about faith guys. It not cosmetics. – moron.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • Steve

      Bippy – you make the mistake of assuming that medical reasons are the only ones for doing the things people do.
      this is a matter of faith. Get out of my house, get out of my medical office, get out of my church.

      Are abortions ever NOT medically necessary? My guess is that MOST are not necessary. But then again, you probably believe that a person isn't a peson until they pass by the MAGICAL walls of a womans genitalia. So i'll lose this one with you.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:28 am |
    • SportsMD

      It is far more than a little pinch, and cuts off tissue that will grow to become more than 4×4 inches on an adult. There are nerves and sensory components located in the foreskin that make it very erogenous tissue. It also protects and glides over the glans.

      June 23, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • BG

      @ Don't Let Facts Get in the Way of your Opinions!

      Your "100 deaths" statement is false, ergo, your name is a bit f'd up. Isn't it.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • Don't Let Facts Get in the Way of your Opinions!

      Read it yourself, BG. You will need to take the space out of circu mcision to get the article.:

      http://www.icgi.org/2010/04/infant-circu mcision-causes-100-deaths-each-year-in-us/

      Those are the facts. Sorry they get in the way of your opinions.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:21 am |
    • BG

      @ Don't Let Facts etc...

      From your link... here's what popped up:

      "Ooops...Where did you get such a link ?
      Server cannot locate what you are looking for !
      The Server tried all of its options before returning this page to you.
      You are looking for something that is not here. Please try searching or browsing the archives.

      Posted as Not Found"

      LMAO. Your 'study' is a piece of bogus propaganda built on suppositions and presented as fact. You lose.

      June 23, 2011 at 6:10 am |
    • BG

      alright.. goofed on the space. And it's... Thymos! again. The Thymos study isn't a study, per se. It's based on presumption. It's bullsh!t. Read the American Academy of Pediatrics report from 99 if you want facts. Thymos isn't factual. Do you -really- think one hundred kids per year are being killed by circ umcision? Really? Or is that just wishful thinking on your part? What absolute propagandist shít.

      And I actually tried again for Thymos. Well.. f'k me.

      No, no...what're you doing there behind me? Get away.... that wasn't an invitation.

      Thymos. Really. The LMAO stands.

      June 23, 2011 at 6:21 am |
    • Don't Let Facts Get in the Way of your Opinions!

      What a marvelous piece of ignorance, BG! Truly comical! You couldn't even pull it up, but still proclaimed what you didn't see was "a piece of bogus propaganda built on suppositions and presented as fact." You had not even seen it, you didn't even know what it was, and yet you jumped to your unsupported conclusion. Ignorance!

      Then you actually saw it, and without supplying any support or evidence for your already existing opinion, came to the exact same conclusion as you had when you failed to open the report and didn't even know what it was.

      Ignorance at its worst.

      I provided a study. Now you must provide some other RELIABLE source to support your prejudged (prejudiced) opinion. that the study is flawed. Otherwise, your opinion is nothing but biased partisan hot air, completely unsupported, the exact same kneejerk reaction you had before you could even fing the study. Good luck on finding a rebutttal – I searched for it and there are no scientific rebuttals.

      Thanks for the comedy! You made quite a fool of yourself.

      June 23, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • BG

      @ Don't Let Facts, etc...

      My first comment was in expectation that you would be citing Thymos. I've seen the "study" cited frequently on this blog. Did you actually read the "study methodology" and how they arrived at their "facts?"

      Thymos is bullshít, and anyone who quotes from it as "fact" is a propagandist liar.

      June 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  3. KBinMN

    O.K. then. Let's go all the way on this and agree that no child has to undergo any medical procedure they do not consent to. That includes immunization shots and such.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • frank

      You're not very good at seeing distinctions, are you?

      June 22, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • KBinMN

      Frank – I think I am actually. I used an absurd comment to point out the illogical thinking behind this ban. If I as a parent feel that there is medical benefits from having this procedure performed on my child who in the heck is the City of San Francisco to tell me otherwise?

      June 23, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • frank

      fair enough

      June 23, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Bippy, The Lesser Squirrel-God of Rapped Polka

      KBinMN, if a parent decided that having the breasts removed from their 13-year-old daughter had medical benefit – preventing breast cancer – by your argument they should be allowed to.

      There must be limits to what a parent can do. The medically unnecessary removal of tissue should be beyond those limits. Vaccinations are crucial to the health of not only the child but the society as well. The crucial concept here is "necessary." Circu-mcision is not medically necessary.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • Steve

      Steve

      Bippy – you make the mistake of assuming that medical reasons are the only ones for doing the things people do.
      this is a matter of faith. Get out of my house, get out of my medical office, get out of my church.

      Are abortions ever NOT medically necessary? My guess is that MOST are not necessary. But then again, you probably believe that a person isn't a peson until they pass by the MAGICAL walls of a womans genitalia. So i'll lose this one with you.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Bippy, The Lesser Squirrel-God Of Rapped Polka

      Try to stay on topic. This is about circu-mcision, not abortion. You only change the subject to abortion because you cannot respond directly to the matter at hand.

      The reason I discussed the medical aspects is because that was that the original argument stated that. I will happily say that mutillating a child purely to obey an ancient supersti-tion is ignorant and downright weird. There are a great many 'laws" in the Old Testament that have been and should be ignored, like circu-mcision selling your daughter into slavery.

      If you are doing something sick like mutilating your children, government damn well belongs in your house, your medical office, and your church.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:47 am |
    • Chuck

      Kim, then I guess you would be perfectly OK with making it legal to cut off a part of female genetalia, or any other appendage for that matter. I mean, who is San Fran to tell you otherwise?

      June 23, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • Steve

      Bippy - thats funny how you said i was off topic with abortion.
      I mean, it's not like i was talkinga bout chopphing off a daughters chest or anythingl... sheesh man! cmon cut me some slack will ya?

      At least abortions ACTUALLY HAPPEN!!!!

      What a nut u r.

      June 23, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • Steve

      Bip – " an ancient supersti-tion is ignorant and downright weird"

      Have angry, atheistic, faith-hating tendencies much?

      Seriously, if you're not a believer then... we get it. You think we're all nuts got it. But interjecting your lack of faith in God is REALLY off topic for this discussion. dont you think?

      To have a dicussion here is more for faith-based people to discuss.
      If I was an un-believer as you, I woudl agree with you. does that make you happy?

      June 23, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • Bippy, The Lesser Squirrel-God of Rapped Polka

      Well Steve, you are really flailing away now. You have totally abandoned the topic for some rather bizarre rants. That's basically an admission of defeat, so since you feel defeated, I guess we are done.

      June 23, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • Steve

      Bippy – haha... classic. "I win!". "Im leaving!"
      hypocrite.

      You really shoudl be careful about how easily you wisk away our freedoms just for your own anti-religion beliefs. For all our sake.

      June 23, 2011 at 2:35 am |
  4. Jim970

    Only in San Francisco. There are valid, health related reasons but San Francisco goes hippie again.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • ThinkHarder

      "There are valid, health related reasons"

      No, there are not.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  5. Zeke2112

    Leftie viewpoint:

    Fetus at 8 months: "Abort away! Mom's rights trump the baby's."
    Four weeks later: "Don't you dare cut off a piece of skin and inflict pain that cannot possibly be remembered weeks from now! Baby's rights trump the mom's!"

    Can someone explain that to me?

    June 22, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Wakey Wakey Little Zekey!

      Sure I can explain it. You are using stereotyping a straw man argument. You presume that ALL people who favor abortion also are against circu-mcision. Not so. You presume that late stage abortion is acceptable to all liberals who support the right to choose. Not so. You presume that all abortion is just women being irresponsibe, as opposed to the reality that some are in response to ra-pe or health crises or other real problems.

      Let me explain it a different way – you don't want to discuss the actual matter; you just want to invent a simplistic fantasy demonized opponent to pretend to conquer. Reality is much more complex and requires more intelligence, however. Sorry you are not up to the task.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • Steve

      Yes!!! I can.

      You see the lefties are OBSESSED with body their body parts. So in their eyes there is something ABSOLUTELY MAGICAL about a womans private parts that makes magic happen to a fetus and transform it into a baby... presto!

      June 23, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • SportsMD

      Yes, I can explain that to you. Abortion is the mother's decision since the baby is growing within and as a part of her body. The mother can choose to abort the baby as part of having control of her own health care as an adult. Once the baby is born, the baby's body must be left intact until he is of age to understand the risks and benefits of modifications to his body. Once he is 17 or 18 he can decide to do whatever he would like to his body, and make health decisions related to how he feels. It is not his mother {or father's} decision to make elective surgical modifications to the baby's body without his consent or immediate medical necessity.

      June 23, 2011 at 2:14 am |
    • Steve

      Cool, so sportMD tell me.

      How do you know that the mother has the all powerful decision making power to end a human beings life and for that to be an "ok" thing... just a standard medical practice?

      is it because "that is the law of the land?" Is that the only way you know something is good? And so, if Roe v Wade were revisited by a right leaning bench and it was thrown out and abortion was again illegal, you would swap your statement that easily? Or, is there a different reason why you feel a woman should be allowed to terminte without any input from... lets say... the father?

      June 23, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • Frogist

      @Steve: So if the problem were reversed and you had something growing in your body that you were not ok with and your wife, or worse the govt, told you you have to keep it in there for 9 months no matter how you felt about it, you would just do it no matter how wrong it felt to you?

      June 23, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Steve

      frogist – cmon dude! your scenario doesn't work because it forces me into a scenario that I would not have gotten myself into in the first place. i would not have done THE ONE THING that makes it so I have a "thing" inside of me. I would not have had s-ex with someone if I didn't want a child in the first place.

      but of course that takes us back to your concerns over a woman's body and her having total control to do whatever she wants and you will TOTALLY ignore the responsibility we all have when it comes to creating life. You do this by letting yourself believe that it's not a life and that somehow the magical gentalia transfom a fetus into a human being. that makes it okay to commit what IS murder.

      All this uproar over people who want to perform circ-umcision and NOT A PEEP from you all about MURDER. Backward, insanely warped logic that is convenient for those who wish to live that way.

      June 23, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  6. Jew

    If Orthodox Jewish stop making kids, then HONDA van dealers will go bankruptcy & loose business lol

    June 22, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  7. Kim C

    Maybe the Orthodox Jewish would stop making 15 kids.... Good job SF! Babies have pain and it hurts cutting off the skin of their penis. Can you imagine the pain?

    June 22, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Veritas

      Maybe you should stop being anti-semitic and spewing hate.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • Cluess people

      Actually I can't imagine the pain, can't remember it at all, and really think after it was performed on me as a baby I am thankful that it was done. For as a nurse in a hospital and I have seen the cottage cheese funk growing in men's foreskins which is more common than not for the nursing home generation, I am really thankful.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • jonathan

      You give Kim a bad name...you ought to change your name...to something more masculine..

      June 22, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • KBinMN

      Well Kim it was done to me and while I imagine it hurt I really can't recall. I do remember getting shots that hurt though. Perhaps we should ban those as well. After all I never consented to those either.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • Matt

      yeah, people in nursing homes can't wipe their butts either, let's cut of their buttcheeks at birth!

      June 22, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Duane W

      Uh Kim, really? I don't remember the pain and my son doesn't. There is nothing traumatic about this and it works. BTW, not Jewish

      June 23, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • Memoria

      I remember the pain, the terror, the suffering afterwards.
      It is real damage. Real trauma. Just because many "blank it out" does not erase the crime.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • Memoria

      I should add that trauma, whether remembered or not, has real effects on the brain and thinking processes of the victim.
      You might like to wave your junk around like it means something, but the fact is you never really thought about it, that's why you did something so damn stupid in the first place.
      Just ask any criminal in prison if he/she really thought hard about it before they committed the crime.
      Most would say no.
      Criminal activity is usually done in ignorance and stupidity. Physical trauma is a fact of circu-mcision.
      Even if there was no pain, the physical scar remains. The flesh does not grow back.
      The nerves are damaged. They don't grow back either.
      That part of the brain that handles that section of nerves is no longer able to function as it was grown to do.
      Circu-mcision is perverted.
      It is changing the physical to conform to something nonsensical and causing real harm in the process.
      Do that crap after you're old enough to know better. Or are you guys a bunch of wimps who are afraid to damage their junk when they are older? If it's so great, why not wait and make a big coming-of-age ritual over it like some people?

      June 23, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "Physical trauma"?? You mean like the most traumatic event ever to happen to you? Being born? Oh those selfish parents bringing us all into this horrid world. Sure I don't remember the horror of being ripped away from the womb and I doubt anyone ever thought about the trauma of it....but they should shouldn't they?

      My gosh ppl on here can be so whiny. No damage is done to the baby. Their ability to live a productive life is not damaged in any way is it? Shoot, keep those needles away from the baby...don't check it for PKU...you are hurting it.

      June 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Uncouth Swain: Actually damage is done to the baby. The cutting and removal of the foreskin which is an organ is damage. It can leave scar tissue and in some cases it can cause se xual disfunction over the course of a person's lifetime. It's unfair to dismiss this as unimportant simply because it happens regularly.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Frogist- I am not dismissing anything. But the way some ppl are behaving you would think someone was lopping the whole organ off instead of cutting off a useless piece.

      Here is what it comes down to...if you want it off for religious reasons, it's your right as a parent.
      If you don't want it off because you see no purpose in having it off....fine, your choice. You're the parent.

      June 23, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  8. PR

    California is like a bowl of granola...throw out all the fruit and nuts and all you have left is flakes. This bill proves that California is full of fruits, nuts and flakes.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • frank

      Don't quit the day job.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Matt

      Never heard tha joke before. What a moron!

      June 22, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • BretLA

      Just because you're trapped in Arkansas doesn't give the right to bash Cali.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • memeplex

      Thanks for that last sentence, explaining the meaning of your joke. I hadn't laughed prior to reading it. I was all "Granola? Nuts? What's this fellow getting at?" Then you made it all perfectly clear to me with the explanation, and I LOL'd so hard milk came out my nose.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  9. Jimmy Swaggart

    Hygienically, it makes more sense to have this done any way, aside from religion reasons. A penis that hasn't been cut stinks.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • steve

      you stink!

      June 22, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • jimmmyc1955

      Witty comeback – how many years of post secondary education were required to sharpen that razor like wit?

      June 22, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • ThinkHarder

      moron

      June 22, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • BluegrassHoney

      You ever heard of soap and water? I mean seriously, my husband is 'intact' and he never stinks because he knows how to clean himself. Wish I had a rolling eye smiley to insert here.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • Memoria

      So Jimmy Swaggart goes around sniffing men's penises? That's just sick.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:57 am |
  10. icedawg

    The political process has been hijacked by incompetents. Eventually the government will implode. Majority has been hijacked by minority. Chaos is increasing across the social landscape.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Friend, that is why we have a court system. To rid us of laws that are not permitted.
      This is simply a case of SF v the first amendment. The first amendment wins every time, per article 6.
      As long as that city remains a part of the United States of America, that first amendment will overrule their idiocy. And it didn't turn out too well for the states that tried to leave the union without permission.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • BretLA

      wow are you a drama queen. this isn't exactly armageddon-type news...

      June 22, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  11. tb2

    there's a reason most of you hicks commenting in this section are in the fly-over states ...

    June 22, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • jimmmyc1955

      What you call hicks and dismiss as "fly over country" is where we have surrendered common sense to fashion or our sense of justice and culture to wave after wave of fads designed to appeal to the superficial of the coastal elite. In short – we aren't impressed with ourselves – and certainly not with you and yours.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Kid, I'm no hick. Indeed, I'm from Philadelphia. The very birthplace of this nation.
      The United States of America outranks little San Francisco, whether they like it or not. Some first amendment will win over the city's idiocy every time, so long as that city remains a part of this union.
      And if the city decides to depart the union, ask the south how well that worked out for them.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Wzrd1: Did I miss something? What's this talk about secession? Come on. Did you really have to go there?

      June 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  12. 1ofTheFallen

    Just goes to show that there is always at least one idiot liberal in every crowd. San Francisco just seems to afflicted by a much higher percentage. What is obvious to many Americans is that stuipidy is a disease that is easily spread just take a look at California's state budget woes shows as proof.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  13. Jon

    Where are these guys in SF going to stop? Ancient rituals much older than America being questioned? Integral religous ceremonies being stopped. We stop them here or think what else they will ban. Being left is getting the rest of us in danger.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
  14. oddduck

    I find it strange that the same people that are against female mutilation are for male mutilation.

    Freedom of religion does not allow you to harm another individual, or break any laws. For example, suppose a new religion believed in drilling holes through babies feet, someone would be arrested the first they tried (or got caught at least).

    June 22, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Maria

      I agree my friend. Please read my comment. I would not disfigure my sons. And am grateful my parents did not participate in female genital mutilation. Both are a very wrong and sad practice.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      There is no religion on this planet that permits female genital mutilation. To say that is utter foolishness. That is the islamophobe argument that is false. The few nations that DO practice this and claim it as religion are wrong, as Saudi clerics have repeatedly tried to teach them.
      But, that is irrelevant. The first amendment is king, not some little city. They'll find out one of two ways, but court order or by disobeying a court order and the US government moves in and explains it to them.
      If you are unhappy with that amendment, move to China, where it does not exist.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
  15. back2basics

    Why are the liberals in San Francisco such hateful people trying to force their views on every one? If you politely disagree with these self-righteous people, they attack you with pure hate.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • edvhou812

      Because so many people in San Francisco think they are "open minded" and "intellectual" so they are always right and anyone that disagrees with them is just a hateful, stupid person. There are those in San Francisco that are not like that, but a fair size of the population and the Bay Area has that mindset.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Matt

      The thing is that a child has no choice in the matter. The child might not choose to follow the religion of their parents, and once the foreskin is gone, it's gone for good. What happens to someone's body should be their own choice, especially since removing foreskin is not necessary. By the way, if "god" designed man in his image, then why are we born with foreskin and why does it NEED to be removed?

      June 22, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Matt, it is not your place to question the religious views of your neighbor. GO look up the 9th amendment. Your right of free speech may NOT disparage their right to exercise their religion.
      It is very, very simple. No city or state may overrule the first amendment. At all. Period.
      Ask the south how well it worked out for them when they tried. Both times, the US Army showed up with bells on. One was a war, the other desegregation. The latter, I watched live on TV as a kid.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Saying Stuff

      Wzrd1
      If we are not allowed to criticize and condemn the wrongs we see happening, then you'd better shut up first.

      Your religion has no legal standing. That is what the First Amendment is about.
      Religions are not based in fact, and thus have no authority or standing in any legal case.
      That is why the government is not supposed to give any religion preferential treatment of any sort.
      Your religion has no protection. It is on its own.
      When you feel like bringing your fake god into the courtroom, go right ahead. But you can't because your god doesn't exist.
      You keep seeking preferential treatment without understanding of the legal consequences.
      And you also keep seeking to violate the rights of everyone else, but your religion does not give you that right.
      If you want equality under the law, I am with you on that, but the rights in this case are the rights of the child.
      You don't have parental rights in violation of your children's rights.
      That's why people who abuse their children get those children taken away from them.
      Religion is no excuse for violating the rights of others.
      Not in this country.
      Not if you want this country to be a country of freedom and good morals.
      Equality under the law does not exclude anyone. Not even children.
      All we need is some intelligent legislation instead of the crazy religious crap that gets shoved in our faces.
      You want to live by religious law? Then GTFO and go live in Saudi Arabia. They'd love to cut your junk.

      June 23, 2011 at 4:29 am |
    • Steve

      sayin stuff – wow you are woefully uneducated on the matter of the 1st amendment.
      You think the 1st amendment due to the founders believing that all religion is bogus?

      Go read the first amendment. Pay special attention to the words "free exercise"

      June 23, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • Saying Stuff

      Steve – You insist on misunderstanding the First Amendment, I see. When you feel up to it, why don't you look up the legal interpretations of the First Amendment? There are limits to free speech, free press, free religion.
      You don't have the right to abuse, molest, mutiliate, torture, terrorize, or murder ANYONE regardless of what puny fake god you worship. That's just good law, but you don't like that. What a surprise.
      You are seeking special consideration for your religious beliefs that violate established law.
      Stabbing your children with a knife because your god "told" you to is insane and illegal.
      Care to try again? There are limits to freedom, otherwise we have anarchy. But that's too complicated for you, I guess...

      June 23, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • HotAirAce

      And while folks are checking out the details of the const!tuition and it's amendments, they should look at the provisions for amending the const!tuition. The const!tuition is not written in stone!

      June 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  16. ShreveGuy

    So, its ok to abort a baby before it is born, but don't you dare clip skin off its wee-wee!! I'm just sayin'...

    June 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • Keith

      I've never heard of aborting babies. Are you trying to equate aborting a fetus with a baby?

      June 22, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Kimberly

      @ Keith – obviously you've never heard of partial live birth abortion. Where they prematurely induce the mother's labor and then leave the poor little pre-mature infant to die...

      June 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Kimberly, you've obviously never heard of partial birth abortion either.
      They induce labor and the fetus has its brain suctioned out before it departs the birth canal. THAT is partial birth abortion.
      And the last time I checked, it was banned in the US, to much fanfare.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • SportsMD

      Abortion is the mother's decision since the baby is growing within and as a part of her body. The mother can choose to abort the baby as part of having control of her own health care as an adult. Once the baby is born, the baby's body must be left intact until he is of age to understand the risks and benefits of modifications to his body. Once he is 17 or 18 he can decide to do whatever he would like to his body, and make health decisions related to how he feels. It is not his mother {or father's} decision to make elective surgical modifications to the baby's body without his consent or immediate medical necessity.

      June 23, 2011 at 2:16 am |
  17. Believer

    Freedom of religion trumps everything. When it does not, and that day is coming, then America will have totally failed. Because it was founded by those wishing to worship as they saw fit. It is amazing that in this so called Christian nation that we have attacks on religious freedoms. I think the San Francisco has enough problems already to solve without meddling with the few Christians left there. But maybe that is the point.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • Bob

      Careful. That's the sort of thinking that lets criminal groups like Scientology get away with highly illegal things and brainwash their followers into doing same, thinking it's "freedom of religion" to frame people for crimes for example...

      June 22, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • AllReligionIsEvilYouKnowItsTrue

      You're right! I've been waiting for SOMEONE to recognize my right to permission to drink the blood of live infants in the name of satan! Barbaric ancient nonsense trumps all! Yee-haw!

      June 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      AllReligionIsEvilYouKnowItsTrue, you are absolutely right! We will immediately repeal the entire first amendment.
      Only one official religion will be permitted, anyone deviating from that standard will be summarily executed.
      You shall attend your assigned church or be summarily executed.
      You will submit anything you wish to say in public or private to the appropriate government authority, you shall be issued authorized phrases. Deviation will result in summary execution.
      The press shall only report what the government authorizes. Failure to abide by those instructions will result in summary execution of the entire staff and the media outlet seized by the government as excess inventory.
      Assembly will only occur when and where the government authorizes by edict. Failure to attend your assigned assembly or attempt to perform an unauthorized assembly will result in summary execution.
      There is no right to seek redress with the government of redress, to do so is to claim the perfect government is wrong, that is an offense that shall result in summary execution.
      Happy now?

      June 22, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
  18. fimeilleur

    The rights of the parents STOP where the rights of the child begin. End of story. I would love to be un-circu_msized today... but my parents took that away from me... where was MY choice for freedom of religion (freedom from religion)? I was born into a catholic family, but I renounced that religion long ago... now I am permanantly "scared" because of two peoples unfounded beliefs that their god loves forskins.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Maimed for no reason

      My experience and opinion exactly. I was maimed for no good reason, without my consent, for no medically legitimate purpose. It's just a freakish ancient supersti-tious practice that should have stayed in the Middle East, that great land of enlightenment and progress.

      Where was my freedom of religion?

      June 22, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • George

      Just be happy your parents didn't decide to abort your birth. That's a "parental right" isn't it? Where would your choice be then?

      June 22, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Jesus Loves You! Be Afraid!

      That's really lame, George. The fact that they did not abort me gave them the right to mutilate me? Nice non-sequitur

      June 22, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
    • but what about your name, silly rabbit ?

      Didn't pick your name either, did ya ? Poor sweet baby.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Where was your freedom of speech as a child? You could have said no.
      Why did you go to bed when you were taken to bed or told to go to bed?
      Where was your freedom of diet, choosing whatever you wanted to eat?
      Parents make decisions for the children. If you want to remove that, you've destroyed parental responsibility AND endangered every child in the nation.
      Because, that infant now has peritonitis, secondary to a septic appendix. Can't mutilate the child without informed consent, gotta wait until it's 18. Poor, rotten, dead kid.
      No more teeth, can't mutilate them!
      No more immunizations, the child can't decide if the risk is worth it. Welcome to pandemics of infantile diseases killing tens of thousands per year and paralyzing more!

      June 22, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • Why Do I Respond To Morons?

      So in your rarely-used mind, physically mutillating a child's genitals is no different than naming him? Nice thunking, brainiac!

      June 22, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      @Wzrd1, First off, in your "great" country, fat kids are successfully sueing their parents for the food choices that were made on their behalf. Second, Immunizations are for the benefit of not only the child, but the family unit AND society as a whole. Imagine the futur law suits because some parents got duped by a bogus research that claimed a link between autism and childhood vaccinations. (small pox had been irradicated in the western world up until the last 8 years... why the resurgeance? Incomplete vaccinations) As for the hypothetical peritonitis... this is caused by the foreskin? or are you trying to compare a necessary medical intervention to a religious one? Your argument is bogus, and you (and everyone else) know it.

      June 23, 2011 at 4:31 am |
  19. Muneef

    Strange really how they are jumping upon Muslims for practicing their ritual which is to them is like baptism to a Christian..!
    But stranger is that no action is sought by them for the Gay Marriage proposal...?
    As it seems it is easier to stand up against believers but not against disbelievers who will be dragging the world in to further sins...

    June 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Muneef..rituals that involve hacking body parts off of a body just to satisfy a unproven supernatural being, performed on a victim who is to young to make a rational decision about it.. whether that is FGM or circu-mcision is a "sin". While you are correct that Christian baptism is also ritual i have heard of very few drownings because of it and most body parts stay attached afterwards.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • ThinkHarder

      Nothing in the bible says that a governmental financial contract (state marriage) is a sin for two people of the same gender.

      If you wanted to argue that two same gender people gettin' nekkit with eachother is a sin, you might have actually had some relevance.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Muneef

      E.DNA.

      It is easier the younger you are to get circ.but the older you become the harder and more painfully difficult it becomes...there must be wrong practices made by by the practioner or then by the parents for it to heal...

      But for those thinking harder am not sure which part of their body they use to think harder !!? Surely not above their waist rother from under their waist....

      June 23, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  20. HotAirAce

    Assumming the ADL is correct, that only the state can make laws about medical procedures, then it should be a simple matter to change the ballot question to something like "Do you agree/endorse/support the City of San Franciso pet!tioning the State of California to..."

    In any event, the discussion should be had as enough citizens have indicated that there is an interest or concern. Seems democratic and reasonable to give all citizens a chance to hear both/all sides of the debate and to cast a ballot.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Lycidas

      There should be a discussion of course but I'm not quite that convinced that there is a real large group of ppl that this really concerns.

      June 22, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      According to information at h t t p//ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/San_Francisco_Circu mcision_Ban_(November_2011), 7,168 signatures were needed to get the measure on the ballot. 12,265 signatures were submitted, of which about 7,700 were established to be valid. This article does not say if validation was stopped after it was clear the minimum number of valid signatures was achieved or that all the other signatures were not valid. Let the conspiracy theories begin!

      June 22, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Lycidas

      With a population of 7,468,390, even with 12,265.....that is a paltry amount. That would be what? .1% of the city's population.

      If .1% of the city's population came out to say they want to shoot down any and all gay marriage legislation, I doubt we would be seeing a "let's discuss the measure" type talk as much.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      No matter how the bar was set, and it seems low to me too, it was achieved so the question should go forward.

      If someone was to propose a measure such as you mentioned, I would support their right to do so, and for it to be on a ballot if all requirements are met.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • Just the Facts, Ma'am.

      Lycidas, get your facts together. The population of San Francisco is 800,000. You gave the population for the entire Bay Area, which is not relevant. It is only the city that is involved in this.

      The number to get something on a ballot is always way below the total number of voters. Your whole point is meaningless.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Just the Facts, Ma'am- oops....yeah, quoted the wrong one. Sorry.

      Not really pointless unless you think the govt only represents the voters.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      So, essentially, you want the ballot to say, "Do you agree that we should ask the state of California to violate the first amendment and incur the wrath of the US Government?"
      No matter HOW you disguise it, it's a first amendment issue. The US government did NOT permit segregation and Jim Crow to continue. Even to the point of sending troops.
      Do you honestly think things have changed and states suddenly outrank the first amendment?

      June 22, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I personally believe that parents should not be able to allow the unneccessary cutting upon of their children. I think the issue should be discussed. I have confidence that if such a ban is unconst!tutional, it will be declared as such by some level of government or courts. I trust the processes of governments enacting laws and judical review more than I trust the judgement of people who believe in imaginary sky daddies and base their lives on barbaric customs and books of questionable authenticity and accuracy.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "the unneccessary"

      The catch is, who decides what is unneccessary for a child? The govt or the parents?

      June 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Uncouth Swain

      Good question, one that I think would be answered by the discussion such a measure will cause. As discussed in the first thread about this, I think this is about what are the reasonable limits of what a parent and/or religion can decide, and what should be left until the person being directly affected can meaningfully participate in making the decision. With respect to (un)necessary medical procedures, and being an atheist, *I* don't believe there are, or should be, any necessary medical procedures that could be justified on a religious or purely cosmetic basis. But that's just my admittedly biased opinion – I would defer to medical professionals to make determinations, without reference to books of tribal mythology, as to what is, or is not, medically necessary.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "without refe_rence to books of tribal mythology"

      Exactly how can anything "tribal" be instantly bad? Mythology is an opinion.

      June 23, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      But we have to go back on something here. Are we appro_aching this from a medical pos_ition or a religious one? It seems that many ppl are hopping from one to the other like they are co_nne_cted and they really aren't.

      June 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      In my view "tribal mythology" accurately describes what various ethnic/geography/religious groups believe, and that various tribes believe various things about their god(s), none of which I believe, of course. Tribal mythology is not necessarily bad, nor necessarily true.

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

      My view is mostly medical but I readily admit my bias. I don't think anything medically unnecessary should be done on a minor. If it is to be done for religious or cosmetic purposes, I really really don't think it should be done, but know that there are a few thousands of years of tradition and emotion invovled here, so it is not likely an outright ban will be achieved. I am not a lawyer, nor did I ever want to be one, but I think there is a reasonable chance a law about unnecessary medical procedures will be enacted (if there isn't already one that can be applied), and that it will go to the Supreme Court, who will defend the child's rights to a great extendt, but that there will be some accomodation for religion, and perhaps some for parental rights. So this will come down to what's the accomodation – how much cutting and mutilation will be permissable by a parent and how much is too much?

      June 23, 2011 at 6:47 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.