The View from the Hudson
5 Agosto Ago 2011 1535 05 agosto 2011

The Cruelest Cut

When Jews and Muslims put their heads together, there’s nothing they can’t achieve.

Yesterday, a California judge ruled that a ballot question attempting to establish a law making circumcisions illegal in the city of San Francisco would not be included in the next election. It seems such laws can only be established by the state through normal legislative procedures.

The effort to foil plans by anti-circumcision advocates (sometimes called "the intactate movement") was led by Jewish and Islamic groups, often working in concert. It makes you wonder what else could be possible if we cousins could sit at the same table. Think of the delicious halal/kosher zones we could establish!

All kidding aside, I consider this one of the areas where Liberals run afoul of our own logic. Liberalism is supposed to be tolerant of other ideas, other cultures. In Europe, many leaders have declared multi-culti dead, but what’s the alternative? This is not easy stuff, but if you embrace other cultures, you have to accept the birkas, the Hassidic garb, the hajibs … even what some call the “disfigurement” of our babies.

The defeat of this effort got a bump up from when some of the “intactate” propaganda backfired. The president of a group called MGMbill.org (MGM stands for male genital mutilation) published a comic book of which I believe Goebbels would have been proud. Foreskin Man features an Aryan-looking super hero who goes around defeating mohels and other villains.

So their next step would seem to be a state-wide bill, which seems very unlikely to pass, especially in areas where Evangelical Christians will work against it (that crowd believes that Jews are necessary to bring about the Rapture).

In the meantime, I ask of the “intactate” crowd: Why are you so interested in our penises? I personally only have one child, a daughter, but I’m sure that if we did have a son, we would have had the ceremony on his eighth day, just as my people have been doing for thousands of years. And last time I checked, we were doing fine ... the “mutilation” seems to have no affect on our sex lives and most doctors say that the lack of foreskin even has some health benefits.

But, as a Liberal, I would like to publicly announce, I honor other people's right to not circumcise their children.

I can respect anyone's decision not to perform this admittedly unusual rite just because, in the words of the brilliant writer Shalom Auslander, some “maniac in the desert” named Abraham took a knife to his own private parts.

All I’m asking is that others show the same respect to our customs and traditions. Okay? Can we promise to leave each other's penises alone?

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