Daring to Speak Up Against Circumcision

December 8th, 2010 by Pelle Billing

Christopher Hitchens, a controversial figure in many ways and not always one I agree with, does an excellent job in this video. He does not back down one inch when discussing circumcision with a rabbi. I have great respect for religious freedom, but there are limits to what you can do to a child in the name of religion. Affecting their sex life for the rest of their life is not a liberty that any parent has.

4 Responses to “Daring to Speak Up Against Circumcision”

  1. Danny Says:

    I have to say that the rabbi’s attitude on this is almost flippant. Mind you Hitchens wasn’t fully civil during this.

    And he makes a point about the Muslim writing off cutting girls. You aren’t going to find too many people being okay with FGM (and I highly doubt that you will hear people who have FGM as a part of their culture call it that, no that’s a name created by the activists who are against it).

    Also I have to say that the rabbi seems to be hinging his justification of circumcision on the idea that “It doesn’t hurt that much so it can’t be that bad. So what are you going on and on about it for?”. By that logic FGM would be fine if it were done in a less painful manner. Just sedate the girls, use sanitary equipment, and properly care for the surgical area. Of course that would not fly because people who rail against FGM also point out that its a means of controlling a girl’s sexuality. Funny how the fact that circumcision also has roots in controlling a boy’s sexuality doesn’t come up.

    And then there are the people who were circumcised and have no problem with it now that they are adults. That’s fine well and good. But are the odds that a baby will eventually grow up with that attitude good enough to justify removing the foreskin at a time when they literally have no say so about it? A grown adult who hasn’t been cirumcised can look up the subject and decide on their own if they want it done. An adult that was circumcised as a newborn can never get that foreskin back no matter how much they don’t like the fact that its gone.

  2. hopeless_case Says:

    The rabbi remarked that his baby cried more at his first haircut than his circumcision.

    That was probably because his baby was in a state of shock and not able to cry.

    Hitchens handled this perfectly. There are so many ways that discussions on male circumcision can be laughed off and subject-changed away from. Indeed, the hostess tries to do just that (saying something like “let’s move on now”) in the video.

    Keeping a discussion of circumcision from being derailed in that way is very difficult, and requires great skill and preparation. Hitchens has obviously thought this subject through carefully.

    edit: Just reviewed the video to see exactly how the “let’s move on” moment happened. Hitchens had just delivered a serious indictment of circumcision, clearly demanding a response from the rabbi. Then hostess says “let’s move on”, and the Rabbi says “Yes, lets”. Hitchens then calls them on their abject cowardice, and the rabbi starts responding.

  3. Jim Says:

    The tide has mostly turned in the US at least and the opinion is settling in against MGM. Proponents and apologists are more and more having to resort to faked or faulty data and hysterical accusations and weepy special pleading and appeals to custom and superstition to even stay in the conversation. And people seem to be noticing. The circ rate is falling off a cliff in this country.

    Whatever happend to unome?

  4. Ma-Li Calder Says:

    ” Affecting their sex life for the rest of their life is not a liberty that any parent has.”

    This view, I totally endorse!!


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