religion-as-child-abuse
Extremism

If children need protection from ‘dangerous’ religious rituals, what about circumcision?

Jesus only fasted for 40 days and nights, and that must have been tough in the Judaean desert, especially with Satan lurking around. Was that religious extremism? In India, a young girl by the name of Aradhana Samadaria has tragically died following a 68-day fast as part of a Jain ritual during the holy period of Chaumasa (or Chaturmas) the holiest months in the Hindi calendar. She actually died some weeks ago, but no-one really bothered much until the Daily Mail got on its high horse following a demand from India’s National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. “We are appealing to all communities to ensure that they do not adopt customs and rituals like fasting or self flagellation that will harm their children,” said Stuti Kacker, chair of the Commission. “There is an urgent need to change mindsets.”

And so we read: “The commission has drawn up a plan to raise awareness about religious rituals that it says children shouldn’t be involved in for their own safety. These range from self-flagellation and festivals in which tongues, cheeks and skin are pierced to walking on embers and child marriage.”

There are no hard and fast rules about how Chaumasa should be observed: Jainism, like Hinduism (and Sikhism), is not a religion of law but devotion, so adherents are free to make whatever vows of penance, fasting, silence or other abstention they wish during this period. The important things is to make a vow of some kind to abstain or fulfil something, such as reading the Mahabharata or Ramayana. Therein lies the path to holiness.

It’s easy to blame the parents for Aradhana’s death, as the Mail does, but they are insisting that it was her will and hers alone: there was no coercion or compulsion at all. Should they have prohibited her from fasting for 68 days? Or 40? Or 20? Or a week? Who should set the threshold of tolerance? Who determines when religious devotion becomes child abuse?

Is this child abuse?

cheek-piercing

 

 

 

 

 

Or this?

head-slicing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or this?

What about this?

fgm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or this?

circumcision

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You see the difficulty.

Some may draw the line at ‘life threatening’, which a 68-day fast most certainly would be, especially for a 13-year-old. But seven days would be too much for some children, and even three or four if the fast includes water. But why stop at ‘life threatening’? What about ‘life diminishing’? What about inflicting any pain at all? Isn’t it all just child cruelty in the name of God?

This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant (Gen 17:10-14).

Is this inter-generational brainwashing or obedience to divine precepts? The debate brings to mind a development in Germany in 2012, when a Cologne court ruled that circumcision contravened the rights of the child. Both Jews and Muslims were more than a little concerned that the removal of the foreskins of babies and young boys amounts to bodily injury, and was therefore a violation of German law.

Sweeping aside millennia of religious custom and ritual, the court determined that state law in this regard is above God’s law, and that the child’s fundamental constitutional ‘right to physical integrity’ was challenged by the parents’ fundamental right to freedom of religion.

By inflicting circumcision upon the boy, they reasoned, he is denied the freedom to choose his religion later in life, because the outward change to his body is permanent. This is not, of course, the case with Christian baptism, which is also usually inflicted on babies: the sprinkling of water on the forehead is not deemed to have enduring adverse effects, and any salvific benefits may now be renounced though ‘unbaptism‘. This German court was of the view that boys should have the freedom to choose whether or not to be circumcised when they reach the age of majority and there may be informed consent. Jewish and Muslim boys are born with the right to ‘physical integrity’ which nobody should be permitted to take away (other than for acute medical reasons).

That verdict had a specific context, but the precedent has far-reaching implications. The case involved a four-year-old Muslim boy who suffered serious bleeding after undergoing a botched circumcision. His mother took him to the emergency unit at Cologne University Hospital, and state prosecutors subsequently charged the doctor who had performed the operation.

A lower court found that the doctor had carried out the operation properly and ruled that the child’s circumcision was in his interests as it signified his membership of the Muslim community. However, the prosecution appealed to a higher Cologne court which overruled the lower court’s verdict and concluded that circumcision caused bodily harm and was therefore not justified.

Dieter Graumann, President of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, denounced the ruling as “outrageous and insensitive”. He viewed it as an “unprecedented and dramatic intervention in the right of religious communities to self-determination”, and demanded that Parliament intervene to “protect religious freedom”. Aiman Mazyek of the Central Council of Muslims said the ruling was both “inadmissible” and “outrageous”.

Mindful of past German antipathy toward his people, Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said: “There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell the Jewish people would ever look to a German court, especially when it comes to how we should define our values or fulfil our traditions.”

Well, quite.

There are those who insist that circumcision is not merely gratuitous Abrahamic law: it has been proven to be hygienically preferable and helps to prevent cancer or inhibit the transmission of HIV-AIDS. The debate about banning the practice is even more interesting in the context of Kantian notions of human rights and his categorical imperatives on human dignity and liberty. The UK has banned female circumcision (or ‘genital mutilation’) as it is considered barbaric. Yet if man and woman are equal, the law may not discriminate against boys. Ergo, they must be spared the barbarism of circumcision dogma also.

If you of the view that it beggars belief that ancient religious practices which are symbolic of the sacred Covenant can be overturned by notions of inviolable human rights which have existed for all of five minutes, why will you not also defend cheek-piercing, fire-walking or fasting?

Today is International Religious Freedom Day. As His Grace Archbishop Angaelos writes: “..the opportunity to have and practice one’s religion unencumbered, and without imposition on others, is a right that must be protected for all those who believe and practice peacefully and faithfully.”

No Christian would seek to impose their faith on others; to force them to convert or worship under compulsion. But parents may do it to their children, even through the state education system with its mandatory daily act of collective worship. It is to teach them right from wrong; to distinguish between good and evil; to make them mindful of their Creator; to make them better people. On this day of all days, let us not add to the sum total of global oppression and religious persecution with demands to ban all that some ‘Child Rights’ commission deems harmful. There may indeed be an urgent need to change mindsets, but there is a far greater urgency to spread the fundamental human right of freedom of religion and belief.

  • Dominic Stockford

    This is indeed challenging to us today. We have the JW’s refusing to allow their children to have blood transfusions in the name of their religion, which is frequently struck aside in court.

    Whilst I know that Biblical Christianity IS true, is ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’, does that mean there is a right to insist on forcing some of its precepts on other Christians (some think circumcision should be done). But when I go on to assert that truth to mean that other religions are wrong (which I must do if I really believe it), and that the actions they carry out are wrong, I need to ride a careful line between condemning them because they are contrary to God’s Law, or because they are contrary to ‘what nice people like me’ do. The latter is clearly wrong, the former is clearly my Christian duty.

    And on this day, having spent time this morning praying against abortion, that issue of my duty to speak up about, and to act in ‘the Truth’ weighs heavily on me as a result.

    • Anton

      Circumcision (male) is indeed painful – the baby boy cries – and is not of any obvious benefit unless you live in sandy desert regions. Yet I would not wish to deny Jews the freedom to do this in England. Can anybody offer a secular argument for it?

      • Dude,

        Easier bodily hygiene
        Decreased risk of urinary tract infections
        Decreased risk of sexually transmitted infections and HIV prevention
        Prevention of penile problems
        Decreased risk of penile cancer
        Also, male circumcision doesn’t lead to loss of sex drive or capability and harms no-one.

        Some subjective comments:

        Women prefer us roundheads as we “last longer”

        Women prefer us roundheads because it looks neater.

        *simples*

        • dannybhoy

          Women prefer us roundheads as we “last longer”

          Women prefer us roundheads because it looks neater.

          You’ve taken a poll?

          • Dude

            I said they were subjective comments…

          • dannybhoy

            You still had to get them from somewhere.. One source hardly constitutes a preference.. :0)

          • Cressida de Nova

            Jews are not stupid. If they do it …it is for a very good reason.That is all I am prepared to say on the matter

          • dannybhoy

            They do it Cressida because God used it as a sign of the Covenant God made with Avram, who became Avraham, the ancestor of many nations Genesis 19.
            “That is all I am prepared to say on the matter..”
            Unlike you…. ;0)

        • Anton

          What’s the prepuce doing there at all?

          • Dude

            What is this “any questions for Sammy?” You asked for secular arguments for the benefits circumcision and not why the foreskin is there in the first instance and that’s the answer you received.

          • Anton

            And neither am I grumbling at your answer. My further question was merely me thinking out loud before our Creator.

          • dannybhoy

            It could have been designed as a protection against dirt etc. But then we get into evolution and Danny doesn’t believe in that, so perhaps God had to design it to keep us both clean, and uhhh..sensitive. As He did with Eve…

          • Dude

            I’ve given an example of Jewish Rabbinical literature to explorer. The thing is Jews have been defending infant male circumcision for a long time. Ancient Greeks, ancient Romans , Nazis etc who all said it was mutilation, barbaric and had to be banned . We’re still here and those just mentioned are ancient history.

          • Anton

            Yes, long live Israel.

          • The Explorer

            The obvious answer to that rather supports Johnny’s (or MacDonald’s) argument. God put it there so it could be removed as a sign of God’s covenant with the Jews. Otherwise, if there are health benefits in its removal, it would have been much better not to have it in the first place.

          • Dude:

            “Then Turnus Rufus said, “well, if He [God] wants circumcision, why doesn’t the infant emerge circumcised from his mother’s womb?” Rabbi Akiva said, “and why does his umbilical chord emerge with him, hanging by the belly, so his mother has to cut it? And regarding your question ‘why doesn’t he emerge circumcised?’ it’s because God gave the Children of Israel the commandments only in order to refine them [the Jews] through them [the mitzvot]….”

            Jews have been answering left wing liberal secular atheists for a couple thousand years.

        • A bad workman always blames his tools, so to speak.

          • Dude

            As a good workmen my tools are looked after and in full working order. …

          • Cressida de Nova

            Jesus was circumcised.

          • Jesus was celibate.

      • dannybhoy

        Phimosis and Balanitis

        • Pubcrawler

          I love the way Greek remains euphonious even when describing the unpleasanter aspects of life.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, but not so pleasing to the part afflicted -as I remember from childhood days..

      • Children cry when they’re vaccinated and when they have dental work. Pain isn’t the measure of “abuse”.

        • Anton

          Those are for a purpose that anybody should see is good. I asked for a similar purpose for circumcision, and have since received some good replies.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Many years ago, when I was in hospital having my wisdom teeth removed (no jokes please) it was a cottage hospital and a mixed ward. I was kept awake by the crying of young child which was having surgical circumcision due to excessive and dangerous tightness of the foreskin. Which is one secular argument for it, sometimes.

  • Albert

    It’s examples like this that show that moral relativism makes no sense. But if moral relativism makes no sense, where does a moral absolute come from?

    • Dominic Stockford

      The Bible, where else?

      By the way, have you got your Opendoors wristband to support Christians in Syria yet? Mine arrived today.

      • Albert

        The question was rhetorical, and directed at secular society.

      • dannybhoy

        Mine arrived yesterday but I haven’t opened the pack yet.
        Just did, but no armband..

      • David

        My Open Doors pack arrived but minus a wristband. Can’t say I feel deprived as I don’t “do” jewellery.

        • magnolia

          Not jewellery unless it was, say, emerald-encrusted!

          • dannybhoy

            Too flash and would clash with my pashmina.

          • chefofsinners

            I thought the Pashmina were busy liberating Mosul.

          • dannybhoy

            I refused to let mine go. Even though it is a noble cause..

        • dannybhoy

          Well I do ducky!
          I had been considering a gilt crosier through the nose, but evidently blowing your nose can be rather painful – not to mention messy, so I’m sticking to wrist bands.
          I have one for a well known military charity, and now I want an Open Doors wristband.
          I phoned them up and they told me you have to fill in the petition in the pack and indicate you would like a wristband. David you can indicate that you want yours to go to me…

  • magnolia

    Part of my difficulty with that original tweet is the word “religion” which is such a mixed and assorted bag of different beliefs that it is barely useful. Many Christians prefer the word ‘revelation’ to ‘religion’ anyway given the unfortunate derivation -“binding” that suggests legalism – of that word. On the other hand those bothered by such exactitude as derivation and definition may not be well represented on Twitter.

    Then after taking a mixed bag the proclamation that it can do both good and bad is well….er….obvious. And then what do now obscure Hindu cults where widows throw themselves on the fire -suttee-after the death of a husband have to do with modern Christian or Jewish belief? Well, less in common than with an atheist who believes in Dignitas, I would think.

    As for the emotive “brainwash” it simply doesn’t clarify debate. Are no atheists open to brainwashing? Seems to me brainwashing is mostly neutral in relation to religion/ non-religion. Derren Brown- atheist- is happy to turn it into a stage act.

    • dannybhoy

      Social/religious conditioning?

      • magnolia

        Yes, we are all to some extent conditioned, but to say “religion…..can also brainwash” in the present cultural context, post Marx, Freud, and Dawkins, carries with it such dangerous cultural emotional baggage that many will take it as a comparison with non-religious belief. I would seek much greater clarification and context, plus the awareness that brainwashing has been a disgrace, particularly of modern times when the means have been studied closely- across many belief spectra. Not libertarian ones though!

        • dannybhoy

          Well Magnolia I think you would agree that our individual world view is shaped by the values of our society, religious or secular. It is received into our consciousness by a kind of osmosis. I think for example that is why an atheist born and living in a Western society will have certain assumptions and expectations, whereas an atheist living in a poorer and less caring society will have a different set of arguments and aspirations.
          We cannot but be influenced by the social context in which we live.

          • magnolia

            Agreed, but that is by no means what is meant by brainwashing, which is a set of specific techniques developed from around Mesmer onwards, and notably so by the Nazis and Communists. I also think that to be an authentic Christian is more than just cultural inheritance, and that the cultural inheritance that makes an atheist from a Christian country more likely to think humility and forgiveness are good things, for instance, than one from a Muslim background come close to the heading of “common grace”, part of which is that there is no permanence to them. Probably not far from your view?

          • dannybhoy

            Agreed,

  • dannybhoy

    ” In India, a young girl by the name of Aradhana Samadaria has tragically died following a 68-day fast as part of a Jain ritual during the holy period of Chaumasa (or Chaturmas) the holiest months in the Hindi calendar.”

    “Jainism is an ancient religion from India that teaches that the way to liberation and bliss is to live a life of harmlessness and renunciation. The aim of Jain life is to achieve liberation of the soul.”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/
    Sounds admirable don’t it?
    Personally I think many of your examples are demonic in origin, defacing as they do God’s creation.
    (Reminiscent of the “Un Man” in CS Lewis’s Voyage to Venus).
    I believe we are actively or passively engaged in a cosmic other dimensional war, in which fallen beings headed by Satan or Lucifer are out to destroy and pervert mankind.
    The only one on your list I can accept is circumcision because God Himself instituted it with His Covenant People the Jews.

  • Jon Sorensen

    Circumcision should be allowed as long as it is done to a consenting adult. Cutting kids boys or girls is not ok. Kids are not your property, they have right to their life.

    • carl jacobs

      they have right to their life.

      Unless of course they are unborn. But I digress…

      I was circumcised – as was virtually every other male child in my demographic. It was not done for religious reasons, but for health reasons. Please do tell me how I was victimized. I would really like to know.

      Or is the motivation for the circumcision your only real concern?

      • dannybhoy

        “I was circumcised – as was virtually every other male child in my demographic. It was not done for religious reasons, but for health reasons. Please do tell me how I was victimized. I would really like to know.”
        Here in the UK circumcision was also carried out for health reasons..
        http://www.cirp.org/library/statistics/UK/

      • Jon Sorensen

        “Please do tell me how I was victimized. I would really like to know.”
        People should have right to bodily autonomy so someone else should not be able to take your left kidney, appendix, finger or anything else without your consent. In studies of men circumcised as an adult have reported loss of sensation, some immediately after and some gradually losing some of the sensation. Other should not make a decision for you about that.

        So even if you don’t feel victimized, just like many burka wearing women, even if some feel victimized it should be banned. If people want to do it the can do it once they are adults.

        • carl jacobs

          People should have right to bodily autonomy

          It is so painfully obvious that you don’t have kids. I guess you haven’t been paying attention to the “Do it for Denmark” ads. When my daughter was seven, I took her to the hospital and had a doctor surgically remove her adenoids. Truth be told, it was the doctor’s idea. But I guess I should have asked for my daughter’s consent – because (you know) seven year-olds are excellent judges of what they need. No. Come to think of it, I guess you don’t. You probably would pontificate about her “bodily autonomy”.

          So even if you don’t feel victimized, just like many burka wearing women …

          And so to make your case, you have to resort to a claim of “false consciousness”. I’m such a victim I don’t even know I’m a victim. How fortunate I am that you are here to raise my consciousness even if you can’t articulate the alleged damage done to me. You have objectively determined that my subjective experience is diminished. I hadn’t noticed but thanks for your concern. Perhaps if you sent me one of your studies …

          even if some feel victimized it should be banned.

          Good plan. We’ll ban vaccination next. You should listen to how some people claim victimhood because they feel the MMR shot causes autism. We should have thought of this before.

          • Jon Sorensen

            So now you are desperately comparing circumcision to doctor recommended surgery. LOL

            You might not feel as a victim. Others wanted foreskin restoration surgeries. They clearly disagree with you.

            I have no idea where you go with incoherent:
            “You should listen to how some people claim victimhood because they feel the MMR shot causes autism.”

          • carl jacobs

            So now you are desperately comparing circumcision to doctor recommended surgery.

            Umm, yes. Because that is the only reason I was circumcised. Are you having difficulty coming to terms with that fact? The decision of my parents for me was exactly analogous to the decision I made about my daughter’s adenoids.

            Others wanted foreskin restoration surgeries.

            Why am I not surprised? But then … People will ask for all sorts of things if only you can convince them of the deprivation.

            I have no idea where you go with incoherent [blah blah blah]

            You want to ban a valid medical procedure because some people “feel” victimized by it. If you had ever met a parent who blames his kid’s autism on an MMR shot, you would understand. The “feel” victimized. Mostly they just want someone to blame.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “Because that is the only reason I was circumcised”
            I’m not sure about that. Christian doctors are products of their time like we all. But let’s agree that it was the only reason. Now we know that it carries risk and is unnecessary so with new knowledge there is no need to cut.

            “People will ask for all sorts of things if only you can convince them of their deprivation.”
            Well studies of adults circumcision have convince most people….

            “You want to ban a valid medical procedure because some people “feel” victimized by it”
            Sure… “Valid”. Muslims legal amputation of limbs is also “Valid”.
            No medical need for circumcision. Good medical reason form vaccination. Go with evidence not with feel.

          • carl jacobs

            I’m not sure about that.

            So now you claim not only that you can assess my subjective experience. You also claim to know the motivations of the doctor. You are aware, John, that there is no religious reason for a Christian to be circumcised? So why then would a Christian doctor push circumcision for religious reasons when he doesn’t have any religious reason to push it?

            it carries risk and is unnecessary

            I carried more risk the last time I as screened for cancer. And technically the removal of my daughter’s adenoids was elective and therefore “unnecessary”. The doctor recommended it because of repeated throat infections.

            No medical need for circumcision

            Which explains all those men in Africa getting circumcised because of AIDS. I have never had to deal with foreskin problems, and it has cost me nothing whatsoever. My parents made a good decision on my behalf.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “You also claim to know the motivations of the doctor.”
            Not true. I said “I’m not sure about that”. You were too young to remember and don’t know what the doctor said or thought.

            “You are aware, Jon, that there is no religious reason for a Christian to be circumcised?
            Not true. It’s part of Coptic Christianity and the Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. You leader was circumcised and his early followers were circumcised. In the west Christians seem to be the once who defend it..

            “I carried more risk the last time I was screened for cancer”
            non-sequitur cancer screening is not unnecessary

            “Which explains all those men in Africa getting circumcised because of AIDS.”
            Not true. Circumcision is an old African tradition which predates Judaism. Jews might have been a splintergruop of Aten and kept Egyptian circumcision rite.

    • Dude

      Infant male circumcision doesn’t kill you , so no one is denying anyone the “right to their life”. Female mutilation is illegal , but that’s not a discussion starter as they’re not comparable . There is a big difference between male circumcision and female mutilation as I’m sure you are aware.

      • dannybhoy

        But he’ll still argue about it.

        • I hadn’t noticed…..

      • Guglielmo Marinaro

        But both are mutilations.

        • The word mutilation in respect to infant male circumcision, is used in a deliberately emotive way to demonize anyone who does so.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            No matter how the word is used, that’s what it is.

          • The Greeks saw it that way.

          • Wikipedia’s opening sentence on mutilation:

            “Mutilation or maiming is an act of physical injury that degrades the appearance or function of any living body.”

            Male circumcision doesn’t degrade the function of the body . The idea of whether it degrades the appearance of the penis is presumably an aesthetic idea and the fore subjective. Clearly female “circumcision ” does not both with out question..

            The Wikipedia article suggests that calling male circumcision mutilation is part of on going academic debate, whereas the consensus is that FGM is definitely mutilation. So what you are saying isn’t clear cut, as far as secular academia is concerned. Pardon that pun.

          • carl jacobs

            Would you care to try to tell me how I was mutilated? I don’t feel mutilated. I possess no objective evidence that I was mutilated. All I have is an assertion that my experience has been “subjectively diminished.” Can you do better?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            If you’re happy as you are, then it isn’t a mutilation for you.

          • carl jacobs

            You said:

            both are mutilations

            By which you clearly meant circumcision is mutilation. That is a universal statement. Therefore, if circumcision is mutilation, and I have been circumcized, then it necessarily follows that I have been mutilated. Mutilation is objective and demonstrable. One is not mutilated simply because he claims to have been mutilated. It has to be shown. In fact, I should know already how I have been harmed because it should be obvious. So tell me how I have been mutilated.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            The word “mutilate” is derived from the Latin verb “mutilare”, which means “to cut off”, “to maim” or “to diminish”. If having a part, albeit only a very small part, of one’s anatomy cut off, and the organ from which the part has been cut thereby diminished, is regarded as sufficient to count as a mutilation, then circumcision is a mutilation, even if only a very minor one. If, in addition, feeling maimed or experiencing a significant diminution of physical function is regarded as necessary for the excision to count as mutilation, then circumcision is not a mutilation.

      • Jon Sorensen

        “Infant male circumcision doesn’t kill you”
        Nobody claimed that. Removing one of your fingers or a kidney doesn’t kill you either.

        “There is a big difference between male circumcision and female mutilation”
        So why should we allow male circumcision of innocent little babies? Should also allow taking one of your kidneys without your consent?

        • You referred to the right to life as if male circumcision takes life away which it doesn’t .My concern is a religious one primarily for Jews to continue circumcision as they have since they settled in Britain way back in 1656. If non Jewish parents want to circumcise their boys for non religious reasons or not then that’s up to them. I’ve written elsewhere male circumcision comes with health benefits. Female mutilation doesn’t. Neither does removal of kidneys.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Why should religious people have special right to cut their kids? Should they allow to sell their kids kidneys too?

            I’ve and many other people have written elsewhere male circumcision does not come with health benefits. “Benefits” are nonsense. And we don’t see doctors recommending this nor adult Christians doing this for health “benefits”.

          • You asked for my motivation on why I hold the view that I do. It’s clearly obvious that I would be motivated by religious belief . It wasn’t an argument from asking for religious privilege. There’s no privilege in undertaking male circumcision. It is legal in the UK, so I’m not asking for some special right to do something that no one else can do i.e. a privilege.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “There’s no privilege in undertaking male circumcision. It is legal in the UK, so I’m not asking for to do something that no one else can do i.e. a privilege.”
            I love this cute Christian logic. Christians make a law to benefit them so when it’s not illegal and “it is not privilege” just like reserving Christian seat in the Upper house. Imagine:
            “There’s no privilege in charging Jizya. It is legal in this Muslim area, so I’m not asking for to do something that no one else can do i.e. a privilege.”

            LOL Christian logic and privilege to cut kids

          • Dude

            It’s a command not a privilege as far my Jewish (not Christian) religion is concerned.

            As far as secular British law is concerned it isn’t illegal it is legal to circumcise . Therefore there’s no appeal to privilege.

            Privilege means :

            “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.”

            I don’t have a privilege here , because any parent can have their male children circumcised, Christian, Jewish , atheist, Muslim religious or not.

          • Jon Sorensen

            LOL. Privilege is privilege even if you make it a law.

            Did you read the part:
            “available only to a particular person or group.”

          • Dude,

            There no specific statute on circumcision in English law. It is legal on the basis of common law or because it is not illegal it is legal. So no Jews haven’t made a law up for us to a privilege.

            This means that any parent or adult male can be circumcised in the UK . The law of the land allows this , it is open to any parents to do this for their male children or adult men of whatever religion or none, if they so choose to do so . It’s not therefore a privilege given or held by a specific person or group. It isn’t compulsory under UK law and parents and adults can choose as they see fit.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Privileged people don’t often see their privilege even when explained to them. They only see it once they lose it….

          • Ok , can you answer the following :

            1). Where’s the privilege? [Given that the UK secular law doesn’t restricted permission to Jews only to circumcise , in fact any one can ].

            2). How have we lost this privilege, [ i.e. infant male circumcision is actually legal in the UK ] ?

          • Jon Sorensen

            Maybe you are too close to see it. Think about female genital mutilations by Muslims in Indonesia. It’s a Muslim tradition, not illegal and as a Muslim country they will not make it illegal. However you would not be able to introduce that to a new non-Muslim country.

          • Dude

            That’s got nothing to do with my questions or discussion.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Like I said; “Privileged people don’t often see their privilege even when explained to them. They only see it once they lose it…”

          • No privilege has been given , none lost .

          • Don’t 58% of American babies get circumcised? It used to be much higher of course as it was in the UK. There was a recent report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the health benefits of male circumcision.

          • Jon Sorensen

            ” There was a recent report by the US Centers for Disease Control and
            Prevention (CDC) on the health benefits of male circumcision.”
            Yes. It talked about the risks:
            “In the three African trials of adult circumcision, complication rates for adult male circumcision ranged from 2% to 8%. The most commonly reported complications were pain, bleeding, infection, and unsatisfactory appearance.”
            “Male circumcision by medical providers on children tended to be associated with more complications (median frequency, 6%; range, 2%-14%)”

            Are these part of the “benefits” you claimed?

          • Dude
            A quick Google search came up with this , the headline says “Male Circumcision Benefits Outweigh Risks, CDC says”

            https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/male-circumcision-benefits-outweigh-risks-cdc-says/

          • Jon Sorensen

            “Male Circumcision Benefits Outweigh Risks, CDC says”
            These are the typical half-truths Christians push, but once you do fact checking the real truth comes out…

            You forgot to mention that interestingly CDC actually does not recommend male circumcision

            Following peer-reviewed studies criticised CDC
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4364150/
            ” it underestimates the adverse consequences associated with circumcision by focusing on short-term surgical complications rather than long-term harms; that it portrays both the risks and benefits of circumcision in a misleading manner…”

            Do you have any other half-truths you want people to “quick google” rather than get informed?

        • Old Nick

          I thought that the whole point of Original Sin is that babies are not innocent. There is a wonderful description in the first book of Augustine’s Confessions of infant jealousy when the other baby is being fed….

          • Jon Sorensen

            There was no Adam or Even and Original Sin

          • Old Nick

            There are four ways of reading Scripture – fundamentalism is an American invention of the 19th century, and like many American inventions…. The doctrine of Original Sin and the fact that Man has a propensity to do wrong is not dependent on the literal truth of the story of the Garden of Eden. Or perhaps you believe the world is perfect and that you can do no wrong.

          • Jon Sorensen

            I thought there were more than four ways of reading Scripture. You jumped off the rails on “The doctrine of…” it’s que for people to stop thinking for themselves or speak out of both sides of their mouth.

            “not dependent on the literal truth of the…” & the Bible is true word of God
            there seems to no truth to stand on.

          • Old Nick

            Cassian (basing himself on Origen, the most intelligent Christian of the 3rd century) identified four: literal/historical, allegorical, tropological/ moral, anagogical/spiritual. (And FWIW allegorical does not mean free association). Christ, not the Bible is the Word of God – Christians are not People of the Book in the same way as Muslims are. And Christ did not write a book, he started a club.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Not so. Origen is regarded as fairly unreliable writer. Compare his text to Josephus.

            “Christ did not write a book, he started a club”
            True. But then Paul came along and started another club.

          • Old Nick

            I have no idea what you mean. Even a minimalist understanding of the historicity of Acts would suggest that despite disagreements with the Church at Jerusalem, S. Paul was preaching the same Gospel as Ss. Peter, James the Just etc. and his epistles are the earliest surviving evidence for Christianity, even if they happen to be printed after the Gospels in your pocket New Testament.

            And the significance of Origen is not as a source of facts about the 1st century (where Josephus is obviously valuable, whatever you make of the Testimonium Flavianum) – how could he be seeing he was writing in the 3rd century. He did however apply the principles of intelligent reading to Scripture, and (to judge from the work of J. Daniélou) his methods were as firmly rooted in Christian custom as they were in the practice of Greco-Roman secular schools. Those who in later centuries disliked Origen were mostly obscurantists who thought he over-explained things.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Act was written by Paulinists way after Galatians. If you read Gal 2 you would understand that Paul and James would not even share a meal together. James did not believe that Jesus was God nor Trinity. Paul did.

            BTW Origen read Josephus but his copy did not have Testimonium Flavianum

    • Royinsouthwest

      When does their “right to life” begin? At birth, five minutes before birth, one month before birth, or even a certain period after birth?

      • Jon Sorensen

        This is off-topic, but unborn should have the same right to life as adults. Let’s stay on circumcision topic.

  • In Chapter 3, pages 43 and 44, of A People That Shall Dwell Alone, Kevin MacDonald considers Jewish circumcision from an evolutionary aspect:

    The ideology of the separateness of the Jews is apparent throughout the Tanakh. Many of the statements encouraging separatism were inserted into the earlier passages by redactors during and after the Babylonian exile, and, indeed, recent scholars have emphasized that the entire Pentateuch must be seen as a statement of the priestly group writing during the Babylonian exile. The importance of circumcision and the Sabbath as signs of separateness were contributions of the Priestly (P) source stratum from the exilic or the post-exilic period, and the entire Book of Leviticus, which describes elaborate rituals that separate Jews from others, derives from this stratum.

    Moreover, the P stratum is responsible for the exclusive covenant between God and Abraham’s descendants (Gen 17), complete with the mark of circumcision. There is thus an indication of an increased emphasis on the importance of practicing endogamy, maintaining separateness, and tracing purity of descent during and after the Babylonian exile.

    The nature of the Israelite God is also a mark of separateness and is closely linked with an abhorrence of exogamy and with aggression against foreigners.

    The groups that surrounded Israel appear to have been polytheistic and the different gods served different human purposes. Indeed, at the time of the writing of the Tanakh, the religion of Israel was the only monotheistic religion.

    For the Israelites, there was really only one purpose for God—to represent the idea of kinship, ingroup membership, and separateness from others.

    • Anton

      I don’t know whether the 4-sources (acronym: JPED) theory of the Pentateuch is a major part of what you are saying here, Johnny, but it is liberal-theological crap, and typically believed most strongly by the very church liberals who tell us to let in all immigrants unconditionally. PJ Wiseman is the guy who worked out how Genesis was written and knocked down Wellhausen’s JPED stuff in the process.

      • @ Anton—Not my words, Kevin MacDonald’s. The PDF lists his sources, the details of which are as follows, in the order they appear in the text:

        ● Neusner, J (1987). Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Exile and Return in the History of Judaism. Boston: Beacon Press
        ● Ackroyd, PR (1968). Exile and Restoration. Philadelphia: Westminster Press
        ● Fohrer, G (1968). Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World: Attitudes and Interactions from Alexander to Justinian. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
        ● Schmidt, WH (1984). Old Testament Introduction, trans MJ O’Connell. New York: Crossroad Publishing Co
        ● Johnson, P (1987). A History of the Jews. New York: Harper & Row
        ● Baron, SW (1952). A Social and Religious History of the Jews. Vol I: To the Beginning of the Christian Era. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America
        ● Goitein, SD (1971). A Mediterranean Society. Vol II: The Community. Berkeley: University of California Press

        • Anton

          An awful liot of people have been taken in by the liberal scholars. But I’m not sure what point you are making above and whether, therefore, what I am saying is peripheral.

          • @ Anton—I’m not sure what point you are making

            I’m not sure I’m making any point, just sharing information in the hope that it may lead to an increase, however small, in human knowledge.

    • dannybhoy

      So the Israelites invented their concept of God so as to promote unity and separation from other nations?
      Sounds like something Josef Goebbels might have come up with..

      • IrishNeanderthal

        That sort of thinking is an example of what Own Barfield called Logomorphism

        Simply put, logomorphism is the fallacious habit “at present extraordinarily widespread, being indeed taken for granted in all the most reputable circles” of “projecting post-logical thoughts back into a pre-logical age” (Poetic Diction, 90), of surreptitiously substituting our own phenomena for those which [our predecessors] were in fact dealing with” (Saving the Appearances, 45). More broadly, logomorphism occurs when we read–anachronistically–into the experience, the thought, the literature of a given stage in the evolution of consciousness the “logos,” or world-view of a later age.

    • Dude

      As you are constantly citing this guy I thought I’d try to get hold of a copy of his works. Alas I couldn’t, until a couple of weeks ago. You see the elders of Zion are in between plots to take over the world and the destruction of the UK – “bake off” is a Zionist plot which sends subliminal Zionist messaging via the pastry – I found MacDonald’s books at a car boot sale, on offer for 50p each. Managed to haggle the cost down to 5p each and then 5p for the job lot. Must be one of my evolutionary traits?

      • The Explorer

        What happens once ‘Bake off’ is finished? ‘Master Chef’?

        • Dude

          Nah “little chef”!

          • chefofsinners

            Ahem. I have a suggestion…

      • @ Samuel—Must be one of my evolutionary traits?

        To pay for something when it is available free online?

        • Dude,

          I like hardback books and they aren’t they free as he’s still trying to flog them off. Besides which they’ve been great for a wobbly table…

    • Malcolm Smith

      For the Israelites, there was really only one purpose for God—to represent the idea of kinship, ingroup membership, and separateness from others.
      I would have thought the reverse was the case: the whole emphasis on separateness from others was to preserve the purity of worship of the One True God.

  • Dreadnaught

    A brave post Cranny that needed to be said.

    • dannybhoy

      Which bit?

      • Dreadnaught

        The overall tenor of the subject matter that holds fast that not all religions are on balance as humane as today’s English version of Christianity.
        I say deliberately ‘English Christianity’ as I have no problem that it exists in its several guises, so long as it retains the characteristic that it retains the English tradition I grew up with, that it is a person’s personal belief and not to be imposed on others and that includes children. Its when I read bumptious pronouncements from the like of carl such as – Because circumcision is a positive good in itself. It tracks with vaccination in terms of parents making decisions for their children. that I feel even intelligent people are capable of holding incredible misconceptions and divergeance if it suits their purpose.
        The statement in the banner headline echos my own view on religion as a broad whole. I recently viweed some of the content on one of the religious channels that focused on comments made by bible-belt children who were totally focused on ‘walking with Jesus’ etc, and trotting out parrot fashion what clearly had been instilled into them by adults. This was absolutely brain-washing if not child abuse. It was easy to see the comparison of what is termed ‘radicalisation’ amonst Muslims and the moulding of childrens minds to accept without question the ‘truth’ spoken by the Elders.
        Religion on the historic spectrum, has done and is doing today, more harm than good in this world.

        • dannybhoy

          “I recently viewed some of the content on one of the religious channels that focused on comments made by bible-belt children who were totally focused on ‘walking with Jesus’ etc, and trotting out parrot fashion what clearly had been instilled into them by adults. This was absolutely brain-washing if not child abuse. It was easy to see the comparison of what is termed ‘radicalisation’ amonst Muslims and the moulding of childrens minds to accept without question the ‘truth’ spoken by the Elders.”

          I think we have touched on this before, and I agreed with you then. I certainly do on your tv examples. Here’s one from youtube that I find particularly objectionable.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpMqMW5ilFQ
          However as I think I said before children need guidance, and if I had children I would have expected them to come with us to Church and do Sunday School etc., until they became mature enough to start asking their own questions. Then I would (hopefully) have let them decide whether they wanted to attend or not.
          Children naturally absorb their parents attitudes, mannerisms and values, but they must be allowed to decide for themselves what they want to follow and what their own values will be.

          • Dreadnaught

            Teach the children right from wrong within their mental understanding of what it means in general terms. If a child/young adult wants to adopt religious beliefs then let them do so formally on maturity or at least when they are old enough to form their own opinions. In my opinion Familial coersion into following the religion of the parents is not the way to bring up a child.

          • dannybhoy

            I just said that.
            But you also have to take into account that children usually want to please their parents or at least, not be outshone by their siblings. And parents brought up in a rigid and conformist society will expect conformity from their children..
            Have you got children Dreadders?

          • Dreadnaught

            Yes indeed; and child bearing daughters they are too.
            Secondly as Cranmer has shown, some religions encourage parents mutilate themselves and their children by adherence to religious conformity.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes but Christianity is essentially a relationship rather than a religion. That’s why Christianity has spread all around the world and even though there are cultural differences the essentials remain the same.

          • Dreadnaught

            Yes Dan I’m fully aware of all that but as an entity focused on living again in some other dimension, it is doing nothing to preserve its legacy in this world.. Neither does it do anything to protect its followers; while they are being murdered and driven out by Muslims all over the world but instead exhorts them to welcome their ambassadors into its own sphere of origin.

          • dannybhoy

            Well Jesus Himself said that his followers would experience persecution> He also said,

            John 16 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you[a] because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when the[b] time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.
            And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.”

            and Hebrews 11 says,
            “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted,[f] were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.”

            And yet Christianity endures and flourishes Dreads. I believe that God could step in and sometimes does step in to protect His own, but ultimately Christians (which may or may not include church leaders). trust God with their lives, because they know that He loves them.
            ps are you a ‘never believed’ or a ‘once believed’?

          • Dreadnaught

            Once almost believed; untill the scales fell from my eyes so to speak. I will however always have a soft spot for English Christianity that did so much to forge our national identity from 19th Century.

          • dannybhoy

            You’re a decent fellow Dreadders. Sorry if I appear nosey but I am always interested in people who post here, especially those who are not believers.

          • Dreadnaught

            No probs Dan – I only engage with people I respect.

        • carl jacobs

          Its when I read bumptious pronouncements from the like of carl…

          If you think I was mutilated or harmed in any way, I suggest you tell me how.

          But of course you won’t. Because you can’t. This isn’t about circumcision at all. It’s about delegitimizing religion as a motivation. If the motivation is better health, no one cares.

          • Dreadnaught

            Its about circumcision and other violence directed against the unempowered and without consent on many religiously based conclusions.
            Its the same deluded mindset that believes child sacrifices.
            You’d be the first to claim that humankind are products of a perfect Creator – so it appears to me that you must be assuming a higher station than the diety you worship if you think you can do better by making modifications to his work; (unless of course for some critical medical reason) which implicitly infers that you think you can ‘improve’ on an imperfection arising from the evidence that the Creator has not been so attentive in his task in the design/construction stage.
            On a more personal level, Did you agree to your owm circumcision?
            What age were you?
            I’m not pressing you to respond to my last points of course, which is really all about consent or ability to understand the oxymoronic religious ‘logic’ that lays behind the various acts as outlined by Cranmer.

          • carl jacobs

            Its about circumcision and other violence directed against the unempowered and without consent on many religiously based conclusions.

            My emphasis. That’s why I made a point of saying that I wasn’t circumcised for religious reasons. Did I consent? Of course not. I was circumcised right after I was born. Do I think about it? Not at all unless the subject comes up in a thread like this. I don’t think about it any more than my daughter thinks about the adenoids that were removed from her when she was seven.

            Circumcision is not “directed violence”. It’s no more violent that having a tooth drilled, or a wisdom tooth pulled. It’s no more violent than receiving a vaccination or having your tonsils surgically removed. It’s a medical procedure that trades off certain benefits for certain risks. Who complains about “bodily integrity” in such situations? And guess what? Parents make those kinds of decisions all the time. They are supposed to make those decisions for the well-being of their children. It’s their job.

            This is why I participate on these threads – because my experience conclusively establishes what underlies this assault on circumcision. Did you have a tooth pulled on the advice of a dentist? Well, that’s OK. It was for your own good. Did you have you adenoids removed on advice of a doctor? Well, that’s OK. It was for your own good. But when it comes to circumcision, suddenly it’s all talk of “mutilation”. But I was circumcised upon advice of a doctor for medical reasons. Why is it suddenly not OK?

            Of course, you have already admitted why. It’s about the religious motivation. People on your side of the argument try to keep these two topics – medicine and religion – hermetically separated. I won’t let you.

          • Dreadnaught

            I won’t let you. So you say.
            Unless there is an unduly problematic foreskin, simple regular hygiene taught at an early age, is all the attention requires to keep you tackle in tip-top fettle.

          • carl jacobs

            Stuff I have never had to deal with in my life at the cost of … pretty much nothing whatsoever. It’s tough being a victim when one hasn’t been damaged.

        • chefofsinners

          Children’s minds always mould to the adults surrounding them. If you mould a child to moral relativism you are no different.

  • David

    As long as there is no serious danger of death or serious permanent harm to the children concerned, I’d say that the state and all the other assorted supra-state meddlers, like the EU, the UN and the rest of the job creating empires loved by lefties, should butt out of family’s decisions.
    Faith is interwoven with culture, sometimes hopelessly intertwined in very muddled-headed and non- thinking ways; these rituals, abhorrent as they may be to the western 21st century perception, are part of their faith and culture. Without faith and culture individuals and societies are adrift without moral compass, or the context of cultural history within which to live their lives as useful people, family members and citizens of their town and country.
    When Brits ruled India the Raj for all its faults never interfered in Indian religious practices. The only exception was stamping out the ritual of widow burning or suttee. This was the correct approach. But of course the west’s left-liberal ruling clique are such superior creatures they wouldn’t feel constrained by such “wicked” Imperial constraints, springing from such non-progressive and inappropriate respect for other peoples native customs !

  • carl jacobs

    why will you not also defend cheek-piercing, fire-walking or fasting?

    Because circumcision is a positive good in itself. It tracks with vaccination in terms of parents making decisions for their children.

    • Just think of the unnecessary shock to a baby surrounded by adults and being held over a font by a stranger whilst having cold water poured on his/her head. Shocking.

      • Old Nick

        That is why S. Ambrose calls baptism the ‘spine-chilling rite of initiation’.

    • Anton

      i did a firewalk three decades ago, arranged by secular scientists to show that no miracle is involved. Ash might be red-hot but it transfers very little thermal energy to the foot. What you don’t do is walk on equally (red)hot metal (with dry feet, at least).

      • dannybhoy

        That’s right, start putting ideas in people’s heads…
        I hope you’ve got good legal insurance.

        • Anton

          No, but I got a very small (and not very painful) blister.

          • dannybhoy

            You’ve probably got huge plates of meat and calloused skin; whereas mine are beautifully and delicately formed..
            Why’d ya do it??

          • Anton

            I was an atheist in those days and I wanted to make the point that it was not miraculous. I’d do it again, though.

    • Malcolm Smith

      Cheek-piercing and fire-walking are cultural practices, not required by any religion. Fasting is required by some religions, but only to a limited degree. Even the Muslims agree that fasting during Ramadan should not be imposed on the sick or the very young.
      As for religious practices, let’s not forget that Britain has a state religion. So we should stop talking as if all religions are equal. The teachings of the Bible are correct, and must be protected. The teachings of heathenism are false, but they can be tolerated – but only if they cause no physical harm.

    • writhledshrimp

      Because circumcision is a positive good in itself.
      In what way?

      • carl jacobs

        It provides inherent health benefits.

        • writhledshrimp

          Minor at best – slight reduction in frequency of UTI in first year of life and reduction in transmission of Herpes / HIV virus, but the studies are moot at best and area specific. They are also at pains to point out that the benefits are not significant enough to negate the need for condoms. Reduction in promiscuity achieves better results.
          If male circumcision was an unequivicol good like vaccination as you suggest it was be ubiquitous.

  • The Explorer

    “The UK has banned female circumcision (or ‘genital mutilation’) as it is considered barbaric. Yet if man and woman are equal, the law may not discriminate against boys. Ergo, they must be spared the barbarism of circumcision dogma also.”

    Something wrong here. Equal is being defined as meaning the same. But the foreskin and the clitoris are not the same, and will not be until such time as social engineering manages to ensure that we all have one or the other, or both.

    Otherwise, the NHS is doing things wrong. Flu jabs for seniors do not discriminate on the basis of sex, but pregnancy tests and cervical smears are only for women. Prostate cancer checks are only for men? What’s going on, if both sexes are the same?

    • dannybhoy

      But in many cultures they are not the same.

      • The Explorer

        And in no culture are they biologically the same. Yet.

        • dannybhoy

          Cue conspiratorial music for Phase IV…

    • Royinsouthwest

      Although it does not affect ability to reproduce female circumcision has more in common with castration than it does with male circumcision when it comes to its effects on the ability to experience pleasure from sexual acts.

      • Dreadnaught

        Pleasure? Pleasure from the sexual act? Blasphemy! – Pichforks, Firebrands at the ready – we must alert the Elders.

  • The Explorer

    When I was a kid we had a spaniel. She had a little stump of a tail. I wondered why God had made her like that when other dogs had long wavy things they could wag. My parents explained to me that her tail had been docked before we got her. That explained why she had no proper tail, but not what made it necessary to remove it in the first place.

    Nowadays, spaniels keep their tails. I believe removal is illegal. That seems an improvement.

    • Anton

      I believe that their tails are too long and not docking them is liable to cause spinal problems later in life. Just one of many problems that humans have caused to dogs by selective breeding, mainly for the strange purpose of hunting various types of furry creature.

      • David Harkness

        Spaniels are gun dogs, they spend a lot of time rummaging through brush, brambles etc for downed birds. The tails are docked so that the tails don’t get snagged and collect loads of thorns and so on. All done to improve their function as sporting dogs.

        • Anton

          I bow to superior knowledge. Still a strange way to have fun.

          • dannybhoy

            Similar to waltzing on hot coals one would imagine…

  • When Jack worked in London, scarification of young girls faces was a popular pursuit of some African peoples. It was deemed child abuse and, in Jack’s opinion, at the time, rightly so. But was it? Would we tolerate footbinding?

    • The Explorer

      Strict multiculturalism ought to tolerate both of those. After all, all cultures are equal: even when they do things a little differently.

    • carl jacobs

      Would we tolerate footbinding?

      No. And we shouldn’t. Neither should we tolerate a woman being thrown into her husband’s funeral pyre. Or the Hindu Caste system. Or pretty much anything that passes for religious law in Saudi Arabia. Religion is not a “get out of jail free” card.

      Religious freedom has limits just like every other freedom. The fact that religious freedom will be regulated is a given. The important question is always “By what authority?”

      Aye, there’s the rub.

      • The Explorer

        Modern secular states would say regulated by scientific truth. If it’s biologically harmful, it should not be allowed.

        • carl jacobs

          Science is orthonormal to moral truth. You can’t derive moral imperatives from an equation or an experiment. The Secularist will typically say “Reason” but this only hides his metaphysical presuppositions in a cloud of smoke. He means “Reason informed by what I believe to be true.”

      • Charles Napier who was the British commander of forces in India in the 1840s replied in this manner to Hindu priests protesting the British abolition of suttee.

        “Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

        • Obviously Napier wasn’t a left liberal then, given the objection by some to infant male circumcision face value at any rate , isn’t the procedure itself , but that inability of the child to consent. Presumably in your example , the women could give consent to being burned alive. Ergo a left liberal wouldn’t have any problems with it.

          • dannybhoy

            Liberals never built empires Samuel..

          • Not the point I was making. But….. oh . We can leave a discussion on 19th century liberal imperialism and white man’s burden for another day .

        • “…Let us all act according to national customs.”

          Unfortunately, the Muslims in Europe seem to agree with Napier.

      • Thankfully, Chinese foot binding and Suttee are not practised today. As for the Hindu caste system, it was abolished by law in India a decade before the American blacks received their civil rights.

        But, I agree that all nations should have the right to ban customs that are cruel or offensive to the local culture, and most nations do. Therefore the West should not allow FGM or similar practises in their own countries, but when such things happen elsewhere it is best to lead by example and education, rather than to try to impose it in any other way. Many evil customs die away naturally as a result of increased prosperity or education.

        • dannybhoy

          Gladys Aylward became a foot inspector..
          “A few weeks after the death of Mrs. Lawson, Miss Aylward met the Mandarin of Yangchen. He arrived in a sedan chair, with an impressive escort, and told her that the government had decreed an end to the practice of footbinding. (Note: Among the upper and middle classes, it had for centuries been the custom that a woman’s foot should be wrapped tightly in bandages from infancy, to prevent it from growing. Thus grown women had extremely tiny feet, on which they could walk only with slow, tottering steps, which were thought to be extremely graceful.) The government needed a foot-inspector, a woman (so that she could invade the women’s quarters without scandal), with her own feet unbound (so that she could travel), who would patrol the district enforcing the decree. It was soon clear to them both that Gladys was the only possible candidate for the job, and she accepted, realizing that it would give her undreamed-of opportunities to spread the Gospel.”
          Pictures and additional info on footbinding here..
          http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/why-footbinding-persisted-china-millennium-180953971/

          • No one can disagree with that approach – the Chinese themselves recognising the dangers of foot binding and deciding to ban it, with the help of foreigners they felt they could trust. The trust factor, I believe, is very important.

            The problems occur when foreigners try to impose their ways on others – whether democracy in the ME, abolition of FGM and promoting SSM in Africa, or Sharia law in Britain. Persuasion through education is a better way.

          • dannybhoy

            “The problems occur when foreigners try to impose their ways on others..”
            Yes in general, but no one can deny the benefits Great Britain brought to various parts of the world through Empire. Commerce, trade, infrastructure and laws. Regardless of what we think of that time the British Empire did do a lot of good in an age when European colonisation was de rigueur.
            Apart from that I am all for nations being left alone.

    • dannybhoy

      Yes.
      It was wrong from our point of view because it spoils the girls looks.
      If in the context of a multicultural society it is okay, then we have already given up the values that made us a desirable destination for those people.
      They could have stayed at home.

    • No, it’s all barbaric nonsense.

  • The Explorer

    Adding bits to the body to remedy defects (spectacles, dentures) is readily understandable; so is the removal of a health hazard such as a gangrenous limb. But routinely removing something undiseased, such as the foreskin, seems strange. Why did God/Nature put it there if it is not needed?

  • By any standard, the death of a child following a fast is gross parental negligence and possibly manslaughter. Jack would arrest and charge them.

    • The Explorer

      Agreed. What would a multiculturalist do?

    • carl jacobs

      Word.

      • Eh?

        • carl jacobs

          “Word” in the sense of “You have said something profound and true”.

          I forgot you speak a British dialect.

          • chefofsinners

            We Brits might say ‘Amen’. Spurgeon has a good sermon on the subject.
            http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols10-12/chs679.pdf

          • Oh, that reminds Jack. Did you catch the result of the Manchester derby yesterday?

          • carl jacobs

            A small disturbance in the natural order of the Universe – quickly dampened such that no trace will remain of its occurrence. Not unlike a small stone dropped into a large sea.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I might be tempted to think that my manager chose to lose….

          • carl jacobs

            Anyways. There are more important matters that should concern you. If the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, it will create a singularity in the space-time continuum that will end existence as we know it. The EPL seems rather insignificant by comparison.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Goodness! You make small bears play football? We stopped bear baiting years ago. One is shocked…

          • carl jacobs

            Baseball.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Ah…rounders

          • carl jacobs

            Surely a woman as cultured as yourself knows that Baseball is a derivation of Townball and not Rounders.

          • Chicago Cubs … World Series … What is this strange talk?

          • Pubcrawler

            An international rounders competition for Cub Scouts, perhaps?

  • Inspector General

    The Inspector, a long-time admirer of peoples with bones through their noses, suggests the following as to why these practices and worse are endured by primitive humanity (that is, most of us, especially football supporters, but excluding Inspectors). The reasons being…

    1) To foster a group / tribal identity (Very important that, if you like throwing spears at anything that moves – you don’t want to shish kebab your own.)
    2) To submit the victim to the notion of a greater authority than that which he possess as an individual (up to and including deity)
    3) Notions of beauty
    4) Something to do in the evening (It’s a form of entertainment for all, as is watching the local wildlife copulate, or for that matter, the neighbours doing it or even your wife doing the neighbours)

    • They are early forms of control.
      But in our modern world today those sorts of controls are redundant. If they want to do these things they should not consider a life in our country.

      • Inspector General

        You have something there, Marie.

        A new question on the application form….

        This question – Africans only. Assuming you are allowed to settle in the UK, and you have a family including at least one daughter, how likely are you to practice FGM?

        Very Likely
        Likely
        Depends if we can get away with it
        Unlikely, but if granny turns up on our doorstep…
        Not at all

  • Oisín mac Fionn

    I have no particular beef with male circumcision in that it’s in no way disabling and there are clear long-term health benefits to the practice.

    Female circumcision on the other hand is much more radical and disabling and doesn’t just diminish sensation. It completely suppresses it.

    Some argue that male circumcision is wrong because it reduces sensation, although I don’t think this has been clinically proven. But in any case, to slightly reduce sexual sensation in exchange for proven health benefits is not the abusive act that removing it altogether constitutes.

    Parents’ religious beliefs will inevitably play some role in how they raise their children. If this involves minor body modifications like the piercing of ears or circumcision, I for one can live with such practices with complete equanimity. But if it involves disabling a child for life, then I believe the state can legitimately intervene to stop it. Abuse is abuse whether it’s motivated by religion or not.

    • dannybhoy

      Well said.

  • len

    To compare circumcision as ordained by the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob with ‘other religions’ is I believe plain wrong.Circumcision as defined in the Bible is a sign of Covenant between the Jews and God.Circumcision is also’ a type and shadow’ of what was to be revealed after Christ’s atonement for the sin of mankind at Calvary.

    Through faith in Christ God was going to circumcise the heart of flesh in man and to give men a clean heart which could respond to God.

    “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision
    merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly;
    and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the
    written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God”
    (Romans 2:28-29).

    There is a thread which runs through the entire bible which reveals God’s Plan to redeem mankind.

  • chefofsinners

    Female ‘circumcision’, so-called, is not required by any religion. It’s utterly barbaric, without any redeeming features and should not be mentioned in the same context as male circumcision.

    • Inspector General

      …and the number of successful prosecutions in the UK for that crime is.

      • chefofsinners

        … in the 31 years since it was made illegal…um…

        • Inspector General

          By the way. Mrs Chef hasn’t contacted the Inspector. Just so you know…

          • chefofsinners

            She is a woman of taste.

          • Inspector General

            Never mentioned this before, but the on line Inspectorate is managed by “It’s like a baby’s arm” productions….

          • chefofsinners

            You mean ‘I’d like a Babycham’ Productions.

          • Inspector General

            Might go over to “Too much fighting juice” Prods instead. A much calmer crowd…

      • Royinsouthwest

        It is very unfair of you to criticise the authorities for the lack of successful prosecutions for FGM in Britain, Inspector. If resources were unlimited I’m sure there would have been many such prosecutions but it an age of austerity the CPS has to give priority to far more urgent matters such as dealing with Christian bakers who refuse to bake a cake endorsing gay “marriage”.

  • chefofsinners

    What do ‘inviolable human rights’ have to say about the new rite of passage: first piercing? Or the right to a family dog when there are 7000 hospital admissions for bites each year and 13 child deaths in the last 10 years?

    • IanCad

      So that’s why you’re not entirely delighted with the prospect of seeing our pets in Heaven, as you made so plain a few weeks back!

  • In a pluralistic democracy your can change your religion regardless of the length of your foreskin AND male circumcision protects your partner against certain forms of cancer. Female genital mutilation, on the other hand, is nothing to do with religion and everything to do with holding a woman as a possession: its rationale is to make sex so painful for the adult woman that she won’t commit adultery. They’re not comparable.

  • av4tar

    But, Cranmer, you haven’t told us what you think!