Dad Performs (and Botches) Circumcision on His Four-Year-Old Son

This is disturbing beyond belief. On several levels.

A Canadian father tried to perform a circumcision on his son (because he believed the Bible wanted him to)… and failed.

He should’ve known it would end badly, considering he had screwed it up before when he performed a circumcision on himself:

In April, 2007, [father] D.J.W. dosed his son with honey wine, placed him on clean garbage bags and a diaper on his kitchen floor, and used razor blades boiled in water as well as a veterinary powder suitable for livestock and horses to deal with bleeding. The boy said “ouch,” cried for less than two minutes and fell asleep. The father gave the boy ice cream “and told [his son] he could pick all the movies for a week,” said the ruling.

The man testified in court that, after the boy consented to the circumcision, he fed him some mead — a biblical beverage made from honey — lay him on the kitchen floor, stretched his penis across a cutting board and cut off part of the foreskin.

When asked in court whether the man used ice to ease the boy’s pain, he replied, “Where would the Israelites have found ice?”

“Ouch”?! That’s it? I’ve had worse reactions when stubbing my toe. This kid has his foreskin cut off and he cries for only two minutes? Damn.

And how on earth does a four-year-old boy consent to anything like this? I thought that pathetic defense was only used by pedophile priests.

But there are even more disturbing parts to this story:

The man’s lawyer, Doug Christie, told Judge Allan at the outset that he would try to have the case tossed out on constitutional grounds, saying his client’s religious motive negated any criminal intent.

There’s a defense than could also be used to justify a person killing someone else because he/she committed blasphemy or happened to be gay.

Religion should not be a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

As Physicist Steven Weinberg said so well, ”With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

And you know what’s even more disturbing than all that?

The man was found not guilty of aggravated assault.

He was found not guilty of assault with a weapon.

He was only found guilty of criminal negligence.

The sentencing will take place on December 10th.

I’m very curious how this situation would have been handled if we were talking about this dad’s daughter instead of his son. Certainly, there would’ve been more of an outcry and I would think his crime would be considered far worse.

But why?

(Thanks to everyone for the link)

"AAACCKKKK! I took a fall and fractured my knee on October 14th. I've had a ..."

A Broken Bone is Just God’s ..."
"Even when they brag about it, as in the Great Orange Maggot's case?"

Christian Groups Said Nothing as Teen-Groping ..."
"Abortion. There is nothing worse than that in their distorted minds - and it is ..."

Franklin Graham: Those Denouncing Roy Moore ..."
"The Bill and Monica incident was consensual, as between adults. Do you not understand the ..."

Christian Groups Said Nothing as Teen-Groping ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://logofveritas.blogspot.com Veritas

    OW OW OW OW OW OW.

    This son of a bitch needs to go to jail for child abuse. Period.

  • cathy

    Look, I’m not pro-circumcision, but implying that it is equivalent to female genital mutilation or intersex genital mutilation is downplaying those issues. People who are circumcised can still orgasm. People who are circumcised can do physical activity, ride bikes, and sit down without pain. The level of physical damage done by FGM or IGM is closer to removal of the entire penis. I agree both issues involve medically unessecary, nonconsensual genital alteration, and I do oppose circumcison, but don’t minimize FGM and IGM. To give an analogy, if someone cut off their kids’ pinky fingers, I would say that this was terrible, but it’s not as bad as cutting off the kids’ heads.

  • http://www.snowcoveredhills.com Megan

    He got his son drunk, or at the very least tipsy, and cut off part of his body.

    I’m SO proud to be Canadian.

  • Steven Hall

    Your last full paragraph asks why this instance would have been different if the circumcision had involved a daughter instead of a son. Primarily it would have been different in that the Criminal Code of Canada specifically mentions female genitals in the sections on assault.

    To quote sections 268(3) and 268(4):

    (3) For greater certainty, in this section, “wounds” or “maims” includes to excise, infibulate or mutilate, in whole or in part, the labia majora, labia minora or clitoris of a person, except where

    (a) a surgical procedure is performed, by a person duly qualified by provincial law to practise medicine, for the benefit of the physical health of the person or for the purpose of that person having normal reproductive functions or normal sexual appearance or function; or

    (b) the person is at least eighteen years of age and there is no resulting bodily harm.

    Consent
    (4) For the purposes of this section and section 265, no consent to the excision, infibulation or mutilation, in whole or in part, of the labia majora, labia minora or clitoris of a person is valid, except in the cases described in paragraphs (3)(a) and (b).

    see: http://www.lawyers.ca/statutes/criminal_code_of_canada_assault.htm

    The courts probably used section 265(3)(d) “the exercise of authority.” as its basis for finding him not guilty of the assault charges.

    I don’t agree with the man’s actions. If you feel that circumcision really is necessary for your child then have it done by a professional—whether that is a surgeon or môhel.

  • Josh BA

    @Cathy
    Even if something equivalent ad been done to a girl (lets pretend they both had their ear removed) I find it very hard to believe that the person who cut off the girl’s ear would not get a harsher sentence.

    We have a pathological tendency to minimize any damage done to males and maximize any damage done to females in our society.

    A boy punches another boy and it’s just roughhousing—boys will be boys, toughen up. If a boy punches a girl it’s horrible—you don’t hit girls, he’s a bully.

    A girl gets molested by a male teacher: the man is a monster, what a horrible thing to do/happen, don’t even think of implying it was consensual. A boy gets molested by a female teacher: the boy is the luckiest guy on the planet, were were the teachers like her when I was in school, it’s no big deal, the kid wanted it.

    Yes, most kinds (I fail to see the difference between removing the clitoral hood and foreskin) of FGM is horrible in ways that circumcision is not, but to pretend that that was what Hemant was implying is at the very least, dishonest and minimizing of what the dad did. The idea was that if the dad did the exact same thing to a daughter instead (not just something with a similar name), would the punishment have been different? I don’t see how anyone could, without lying to at least themselves, say that he would not have had the book thrown at him instead. After all, females are sacrosanct, males are disposable.

  • Richard Wade

    When asked in court whether the man used ice to ease the boy’s pain, he replied, “Where would the Israelites have found ice?”

    Where would the Israelites have found steel razors? He should have used a bronze blade sharpened on a river stone, or a chip of obsidian. After all, some eye surgeons still use obsidian scalpels. They’re sharper than steel.

    Where would the Israelites have found “a veterinary powder suitable for livestock and horses to deal with bleeding”? Salt maybe? Urine in sand? Spider web? Guano?

    If he had done some other idiotic thing, what would the Israelites have done with a tribe member who was so spectacularly stupid? After all, the survival of the whole pack is at risk from such a moron.

  • Arlo

    How is this not child abuse? Shake your baby or hit it and it’s child abuse, get it drunk and cut off a part of it’s body and it’s negligence. Right.

    From the article,

    A doctor testified that the boy’s penis has healed nicely and looks normal.

    NORMAL? The normal human penis, for millions of years, has foreskin. Ugh.

  • http://kitchenfallout@blogspot.com DianaG

    Where the hell was the child’s mother during all of this?!

  • Jen

    It never even occurred to me that its legal to get a 4 year old drunk. It must be incredibly easy to work day-care in Canada.

  • stephanie

    Poor kid. At least authorities seem to have removed the other children in that household.

    Just to pick nits, female ‘circumcision’ is not circumcision, it’s castration. The equivalent is removing the penis, not just the foreskin. Circumcision is awful, but castration is horrific.

  • Kayla

    Including the fact that he got the boy drunk, there’s a reason he had such a little reaction. Children that young just can’t ~deal~ with that sort of physical trauma. They aren’t capable of handling it. So they withdraw. That’s why so many (newborn) boys don’t react to their circumcisions. They go into themselves so they can’t feel the pain.

    Children that have been abused repeatedly are good at doing this the moment they feel threatened. One second they’re there and the next.. just gone. There isn’t anything behind the eyes.

  • Joe

    Actually ‘castration’ would involve removing the ovaries. Mutilating a child’s genitals, male or female is despicable. We should be protecting both male and female from such abuse.

  • Anonymous

    After all, females are sacrosanct, males are disposable.

    What? Males are the disposable ones? Erm, when was the last time you watched the news, or a movie, or an ad?

    Yes, there are some situations where boys get the short end of the stick, justice-wise, and that is wrong. (Relating to this discussion, I think circumcision’s something a person can seek out from a certified professional once they’re old enough to make that decision for themselves. It’s not unheard of for women from FGM-practising cultures to do the same. I don’t support either practice, but I do support personal liberty.)

    However, even if we’re just looking at Western cultures, when you take into account all the deeply ingrained sexism and the rape culture that permeates so much in our day-to-day lives, you cannot deny male privilege. I’m sorry, you can’t. I know personal privilege isn’t fun to examine, but this isn’t an attack against you.

    Citing one or two examples of male victims not receiving the justice they deserve when a female might does not erase the reality that many female victims do suffer great injustices.

  • stephanie

    I stand corrected with the term ‘castration’, because you are not removing ovaries (nor the testes.) The equivalent to removing the clitoris is to remove the penis. The equivalent to removing the foreskin would be removing the clitoral hood.

    IMHO, none of these situations should be acceptable, and particularly not for a four year old doped with mead and spread out on a bunch of garbage bags.

  • Eric

    It doesn’t matter, the point is that regarding the cutting of one sex’s genitals as mutilation and the other’s as acceptable is terribly sexist. Especially when the World Health Organization defines FGM as
    “* Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons”
    (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/)

    How about removing the word “female” and defining genital mutilation as any procedure that intentionally alters or injures genital organs for non-medical reasons. This is NOT a medical reason. This IS mutilation.

  • Lynet

    Eric, I would regard the removal of the hood of the clitoris and the removal of the foreskin as roughly equal in acceptability (that is to say, they are both somewhat suspect when done to a child who cannot consent), but neither of those things is equivalent to the removal of the clitoris, which truly is more horrific than either. That position is not sexist.

  • muggle

    It is time we took children away from religious fanatics of any ilk. No, they can’t hide behind religious freedom bullshit. That only goes so far. We don’t allow human sacrifice or polygamy in the name of religious freedom, so why in the hell are we allowing just horrific abuse of children to continue?

    And to call this negligence is laughable. He fed the kid alcohol and cut him and that doesn’t qualify as active abuse? Negligence, as was argued in Kara’s case, is supposed to be passively letting something happen to your kid. Like killing her by refusing to seek medical help when she’s writhing on the floor in pain.

    Lock these shitheads up and throw away the key and involuntarily sterilize them.

    And, God’s sake, get this poor little boy some help to deal with this horrific trauma.

  • cathy

    I agree that this is mutilation, but the degree of damage is not equivalent. I agree with Eric that all non-medical alterations or injuries should be prohibited, but we must remember that doing these things to intersex people’s genatalia should be prohibited as well.

    “a surgical procedure is performed, by a person duly qualified by provincial law to practise medicine, for the benefit of the physical health of the person or for the purpose of that person having normal reproductive functions or normal sexual appearance or function” That law allows for removal of small penises/large clitorises of intersex people when there is no physical need, because a penis too small can’t penetrate, ‘normal sexual funtion’ is seen as impossible, because you know, if you can’t have penetrative hetero sex, the ability to orgasm is meaningless. Intersex people have the same rights to consent and non-mutilation as the rest of us. Let’s not forget that in the US virtually ever intersex person has their genitals mutilated soon after birth.

  • http://www.michiganskeptics.com killyosaur

    he fed him some mead — a biblical beverage made from honey

    Biblical? What, are they hindu? The earliest records of this in any “biblical” text was in the Rigveda. And last I checked, mead was the drink of the Vikings, not anyone in the bible, that I am aware of.

  • Carlie

    Can we just say “any mucking about with private parts of babies and children is a no-no”?
    And maybe “any fuckoff idiots who try and operate on children in a kitchen get thrown in jail and never get to be around children again”?
    And “religion makes people do cruel and stupid things”?

  • http://web.utk.edu/~bvanderf/ Hazor

    How do people like this manage to reproduce? Natural selection, you’re failing us!

  • Jonas

    Speaking from the Jewish perspective, Circumcisions are done within a few weeks of birth, and generally by a trained professional. (Doctor, or Mohel) As a secular child, I can say it was common in the mid sixties, when I was born, but still controversial. To claim a ‘Biblical Defense’ and not involve Rabbis, Mohels and other professionals is a little wacky.

    If any are interested Penn and Teller did a section about Circumcision on their show B*LLS**t a few seasons back.

  • Michael

    I’m pro-circumcision, but the least this man could have done was take his son to a clinic and have someone with proper experience do it. What he did was definitely not safe and should have gotten him a child abuse charge. Way to make Christians (such as myself) look bad, jackass.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    JulietEcho pointed something out this morning on the forum about this. Both parents were brain damaged which must mean that they have some diminished responsibility.

    As JE wrote

    Here’s a case of clear mental illness/mental damage that might not have happened without religion. In most cases where crazy people hurt themselves/others and claim religious reasons, I think that the crazy person would have just used another outlet for the crazy to vent itself. In this case, this man latched onto a book that much of society lauds constantly and takes seriously (and vocal minority argues should be taken literally), and his resultant obedience to it led to horrible harm.

    If he had latched onto some other obsession – something else to give his life meaning – he may have stayed nonviolent.

    Badshit crazy religion isn’t dangerous per se but combine it with a crazy or vulnerable person and you have a recipe for disaster. I would have thought a please of insanity would have been a better option for the defence. It may have got the father the treatment he clearly needs and that would protect society from any more harmful effects of his damaged mind. Instead religion has been used to try to excuse his actions.

    I remain at a loss as to why religion is granted this special place in society especially in the light of the clear harm that often follows from the application of religious thinking. Why not grant religion no special place, no special pleading and no special defence? Assess the impact of religion on it’s pros and cons and not on the traditional place that it held. In this case religion has not only contributed to the mutilation of a boy and the distress of an entire family but may very well limit the help that the father needs.

  • MaryQ

    … Is this the same Doug Christie that makes a living defending neo-nazis (like Ernst Zundel before he got deported) and those accused of committing Nazi war crimes in WW2?
    Huh.

    More Here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doug_Christie_(lawyer)

  • jemand

    OW OW OW!!!

    I think the hesitation on the part of some people who oppose both the removal of the male foreskin, and the removal of the female clitoris, to oppose them both “the same way” is that there is SO MUCH social support for circumcision that we’re a little afraid that instead of eroding that support, we’ll *build* support for female genital mutilation.

    I dunno. Both are horrible. Both must stop. Like yesterday. But I think it’s a tactical question, about what’s practical to do at this time.

    But WOW, operating in your kitchen? Just *negligence???*

  • Staceyjw

    Here’s the perfect example of punishment based on completely on “thought”- which is a common objection to having “hate crime” statutes (for gays anyway).

    I’m surprised it was even charged the way it was (a step ahead), but the actual conviction was based wholly on intent.

    We have far to go as a society when religion has such respect and understanding that you can mutilate your child in this way, and get a slap on the wrist- wonder how many wanted to let him off 100%?

    Poor kid- if his dad could cut his penis up while he’s conscious (wine doesn’t count- hey, isn’t THAT illegal???) what else is he capable of?

    I hope he had child services take the kid away- but I doubt it, as religious insanity is OK in the US…….

    Staceyjw

  • H

    We have a pathological tendency to minimize any damage done to males and maximize any damage done to females in our society.

    A boy punches another boy and it’s just roughhousing—boys will be boys, toughen up. If a boy punches a girl it’s horrible—you don’t hit girls, he’s a bully.

    A girl gets molested by a male teacher: the man is a monster, what a horrible thing to do/happen, don’t even think of implying it was consensual. A boy gets molested by a female teacher: the boy is the luckiest guy on the planet, were were the teachers like her when I was in school, it’s no big deal, the kid wanted it.

    This is all very true. Anyone who denies this is fooling themselves.

  • Staceyjw

    Sorry, didn’t catch that it was in Canada, which makes it a little more shocking. I wonder if it had happened in Alabama if he would have even gotten arrested?

    Staceyjw

  • jemand

    @stacey, if it was Alabama, I’m sure the dad would have been able to find a doctor to do it for him. He did go to a couple doctors who refused to do it– which *might* have reduced the sentence? Perhaps Canada is at a strange place where there are some doctors who refuse to do the procedure, but there’s still enough social support to understand wanting it done?

    Once I learned that part of the case I’m wondering if this isn’t some twisted indication that circumcision is being slowly abandoned.

  • Heidi

    Michael Says:

    I’m pro-circumcision

    Why? What on earth would posses you to want to chop off part of a child? Yes I’m American. Yes I have a son. No I did not have him circumcised. What a horrifying thought.

  • H

    Why? What on earth would posses you to want to chop off part of a child? Yes I’m American. Yes I have a son. No I did not have him circumcised. What a horrifying thought.

    I’ll answer for him (and debunk his answers):

    It’s cleaner: So what else do you want to cut off so you won’t have to clean it, hmm? Ears, hair, teeth, etc.

    Prevents infections: Same argument. What other things do you want to cut off to keep from infections?

    Everyone else does it / It’s normal: Popular doesn’t mean right.

    Your move, Michael.

  • thatguy

    Everyone who has a shred of moral decency is against nonconsensual circumcision of either sex.
    But, in regards to Hemant’s comment about if it had been a girl, the fact still stands that in most civilized countries in the world there are laws preventing the mutilation of girls.
    Yet there are none for boys.
    I believe that that is the point.

  • http://untheist.wordpress.com untheist

    What if this had been a Muslim parent performing female circumcision on his daughter?

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    Circumcision for non-medical (ie cosmetic) reasons is wrong. Doing it for religious reasons is doubly wrong.

    I think there’d be a very different response to the issue of comparing female and male circumcision in England, say, where male circumcision is abnormal by a large margin. To debate “degree of damage” is missing the entire point that both are cruel mutilations of genitalia. Just because it’s easy enough to see that female genital mutilation is worse doesn’t mean that male genital mutilation is in any way not bad. And just because way too many american boys had it forced upon them before they could have a will of their own to object doesn’t make it any less worse.

    And this is a clear case where religion has “normalized” a barbaric act of mutilation, that would be easier to see in it’s true light as a barbaric act if the evil practise was not common among certain religious communities.

  • cathy

    Prime numbers, not a one of the people making the level of damage point also supported circumcision. I was very clear that I thought that circumcision is terrible, but, comparing to it FGM and IGM minimizes the severity of these. Also, when you do this it alienates people who do work around FGM and IGM and hurts your cause. Also, IGM is incredibly normalized within American culture and causes extensive damage.

  • Liudvikas

    Thats it I’m no longer an atheist, I’ve adopted a new religion named “I-can-do-whatever-the-fuck-I-wantism”

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    Cathy, my comment rambled on a bit and was not as coherent as I would have liked.

  • keddaw

    Circumcision is wrong on all levels. I had an argument with someone who had a medically necessary circumcision when he was a kid and he was trying to defend it, basically by comparing it to piercing a girl’s ears and I compared it to choppinga child’s finger off.

    In hindsight his response should have been “well, you agree with allowing the removal of a child’s 6th finger for cosmetic reasons.” A great response and would have stumped me at the time.

    On refelction though, it’s not that great. A 6th finger is not natural (albeit not harmful either) any more than a tail is. We remove the unnatural appendages. Foreskins evolved. They are there for a reason that may not actually be relevant anymore (like the appendix) or we may discover they are important, but since we don’t routinely remove the appendix I don’t see why we should remove the foreskin.
    Since the invention of soap I don’t see how it could ever be regarded as cleaner to have it removed?
    The studies that suggest circumcision leads to a lower chance of STDs (because of scar tissue?) are refuted by other studies that say the lesser feeling that a circumcised penis has leads to harde thrusts which cause more tearing (in their partner at least.)

  • jemand

    but I *DON’T* agree with removing a 6th finger! Some children have six, naturally functioning fingers in a well formed hand. It would be mutilation to chop one off. It’s only if the finger is rudimentary, in fact doesn’t work well, and gets in the way of the child’s other fingers that it would be justifiable to cut it off.

    Like a “medically necessary” circumcision. (Usually there are other treatment options, but circumcision is so common anyway it’s usually used first. I imagine there are *some* cases where it might actually be warranted.)

    Also note that EVERY study about std transmission and circumcision has focused on men circumcised as adults. It can’t be used in support of neonatal circumcision.

  • thatguy

    Any study about STD transmission cannnot be used to support neonatal circumcision. Babies don’t have sex. By the time he is he will be probably old enough to make this decision by himself.

  • Eric

    A few things I want to respond to.

    Lynet: Yes, removal of the clitoris is worse than removal of the foreskin. So? That’s not the position I call sexist, the position I call sexist is the cutting of female genitals=bad and cutting of male=good to neutral.

    Cathy: Yes, exactly. Degree of harm doesn’t matter, harm is done for no good reason.

    Keddaw: I have a friend with three thumbs, I don’t see why he needs the one removed.

    Also, the STD argument is bullshit.
    http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/HIV/vanhowe4/
    An analysis of the scientific literature, published in The International Journal of STDs and AIDS, shows that men with circumcised penises are actually at a greater risk of HIV.

  • pete

    DianaG Says: “Where the hell was the child’s mother during all of this?!”

    Id say most likely quietly hiding.

    Religion ..It allows for the craziest stuff to happen and people to get away with doing it.

    Here is a sample from our own country http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.d613788a0b5b84549b2785a128bb7236.981&show_article=1