Did you know that Germany banned circumcision in May? True fact!
I … I just don’t know. I know some people get seriously het up about this issue [coughAndrewSullivancough], but I always assumed it was just gay guys and their phallic obsessions. I didn’t know a whole nation has suddenly gone nuts over penises.
I know what you’re thinking: this one of those guideline-type things, and they’re just recommending against it. Maybe they’ll just issue a warning or something.
A complaint was filed in Germany on Tuesday against Rabbi David Goldberg, the chief rabbi of the city of Hof in Bavaria, by a German doctor. The reason for the complaint was inflicting “physical harm” on a boy by circumcising him.
The case comes just as the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, is visiting Berlin in a bid to garner support for the continuation of Jewish circumcisions after a court in Cologne ruled in May that circumcisions cause physical harm and are therefore illegal.
The doctor, a resident of the German state of Hesse, filed the complaint against Goldberg on the basis of the Cologne ruling. The public prosecutor of Hof, Gerhard Schmitt, confirmed the information in a conversation with the Jewish-German newspaper Juedische Allgemeine. Schmidtt added that it has not yet been decided whether legal proceedings would be carried out against the rabbi.
The problem arose after a doctor (not a mohel) botched a circumcision on a Muslim (not Jewish) boy, leading to Widespread Outrage and the general idea the Something Must Be Done to protect the precious foreskins of young German manhood from the death blades of the International Zionist Conspiracy. Or something.
The complaint follows a court ruling banning the procedure for anything but medical reasons. I don’t know why a parental choice about circumcision is anyone else’s business, but some people care way too much about this subject. Go to an anti-circumcision site and read the deranged fantasies about children being strapped down and mutilated against their will by a barbaric religious cult. Good fun, in a Der Sturmerkind of way.
Germany decided that this Final Solution business had resulted in a spot of bad PR, so they’d just go ahead and functionally ban Judaism in their country with a BS ruling that criminalizes the brit milah, still held by the vast majority of Jews to be a Biblically-mandated sign of the covenant. (Yes, there are Jews who reject circumcision and have created various workaround welcoming rituals, but they’re in the minority.)
And before you start revving your dudgeon into high gear: I’m half German. So, honestly: save it.
Now I’m really going to blow the mind of the Uncut Lovers Club with this headline: Declining rates of US infant male circumcision could add billions to health care costs.
A team of disease experts and health economists at Johns Hopkins warns that steadily declining rates of U.S. infant male circumcision could add more than $4.4 billion in avoidable health care costs if rates over the next decade drop to levels now seen in Europe.
In a report to be published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine online Aug. 20, the Johns Hopkins experts say the added expense stems from new cases and higher rates of sexually transmitted infections and related cancers among uncircumcised men and their female partners. They say the study is believed to be the first cost analysis to account for increased rates of multiple infectious diseases associated with lower rates of male circumcision, including HIV/AIDS, herpes and genital warts, as well as cervical and penile cancers. Previous research focused mostly on HIV, the single most costly disease whose risk of infection is decreased by male circumcision, a procedure that removes foreskin at the tip of the penis, hindering the buildup of bacteria and viruses in the penis’ skin folds.
According to the team’s analysis, if U.S. male circumcision rates among men born in the same year dropped to European rates, there would be an expected 12 percent increase in men infected with HIV (or 4,843); 29 percent more men infected with human papillomavirus (57,124); a 19 percent increase in men infected with herpes simplex virus (124,767); and a 211 percent jump in the number of infant male urinary tract infections (26,876). Among their female sex partners, there would be 50 percent more cases each of bacterial vaginosis (538,865) and trichomoniasis (64,585). The number of new infections with the high-risk form of human papillomavirus, which is closely linked to cervical cancer in women, would increase by 18 percent (33,148 more infections).
Stupid doctors and their stupid facts!
UPDATE: I have a feeling this post is about to get buried by angry anti-circumcision comments. I already had a bunch and I’ve let some post. I don’t have time to monitor this right now, and it’s just not a debate that I intend to host, so I’m turning off comments. Bottom line: it’s a parental choice, end of subject.