European Jewish leaders: German circumcision ban “worst attack on Jewish life since Holocaust”

It’s awful! Jews and Muslims in Germany have been told that they can’t mutilate their children’s genitals to satisfy their respective all-powerful deities. Yes, that’s just like genocide.

Calling it the "worst attack on Jewish life since the Holocaust," the Conference of European Rabbis on Thursday strongly condemned a recent German court decision that criminalizes the circumcision of boys.

"A ban on circumcision poses an existential question for the Jewish community in Germany," the president of the organization, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, said on Thursday. "If the ruling is allowed to stand, then I don’t see a future for Jews in Germany."

The rabbi said he believed the German government would take steps to pass a law ensuring that circumcision, which is practiced as a religious tradition by Jews and Muslims alike, be legal in Germany.

He said the ban on shechita, the ritual slaughter of mammals and birds according to Jewish dietary laws, by the National Socialists [in the 1930s] had also been a sign for many Jews that "we need to leave Germany." But he added that a ban on circumcision, given the importance of the tradition, would send a much stronger message.

Nothing prevents adult Jews and Muslims from being circumcised when they are old enough to make the decision for themselves. Rather, the German law prevents adults for choosing to mutilate children who have no say in the matter, and who in some cases are disfigured (more than is intended) through botched circumcisions or even the transmission of herpes to infants.

New York City health officials are pushing a proposed regulation that would require parents to sign a consent waiver before they take part in a circumcision ritual called “metzitzah b’peh,” typically practiced by ultra-Orthodox Jews. The ritual potentially poses a fatal risk to newborns, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The legislation was proposed at a Board of Health meeting last month by Dr. Jay K. Varma, deputy commissioner for disease control for New York City’s health department, after 11 infants contracted neonatal herpes between November 2000 and December 2011, after the circumcision ritual. Two of the infants died.

Jews regularly practice circumcision as part of their religion, but mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews practice metzitzah b’peh, during which the mohel, or person performing the procedure, orally sucks the blood from the infant’s newly circumcised penis.

It seems in the United States, we’re not as concerned about religious liberty as the Germans.

What do I mean, you ask? How can I say that Germans are more respectful of religious liberty when they are denying circumcision for religious reasons?

Religious liberty applies to all people, not just to religious adults in the practice of their own religions. Just as my right to extend my arm ends someplace before my hand hits your face, true religious liberty means that my right to engage in a religious practice ends someplace before it impacts someone else.

A child, contrary to the apparent belief of many, qualifies as “someone else”. A parent’s religious liberty does not extend to having cosmetic surgeries performed on a child who is unable to give legal consent to the unnecessary, and irreversible, procedure. It also does not extend to denying medical care for an ill child who is unable to give legal consent.

Here in the United States, an organization exists to help fight the abuse of children in the name of religion. It’s called “Children’s Healthcare is a Legal Duty“, or CHILD. Based in Iowa, the organization was founded in 1983 by Rita Swan, a former Christian Scientist who abandoned that cult after her 15-month-old child died of meningitis. She’d delayed taking the child to a hospital too long, because her church had informed her that so doing would result in her being “shunned”.

Check them out.

2 Responses to European Jewish leaders: German circumcision ban “worst attack on Jewish life since Holocaust”

  1. avatar sheldon archer

    Good law but they should go further. Ban ALL religious indoctrination of children.

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