Washington Post: The Misguided Push To Ban Circumcision


brisThe following is a Washington Post editorial:

Financially troubled Europe has plenty to worry about. Yet some in the Old World have decided this is a good time to pick a fight with Islam and Judaism over a ritual that both have practiced for many centuries: circumcision of young males.

In June, a state-level appeals court in Cologne, Germany, released a ruling making it a crime to circumcise a male younger than 18, except to treat an ailment. The case involved a 4-year-old Muslim, circumcised by a Muslim doctor at his parents’ request. The court said parental autonomy and religious freedom must yield to the child’s right of “physical integrity.” The ruling did not set a national precedent, but it put an accepted practice under a legal cloud – to the point where the German Medical Association advised doctors to stop elective circumcisions for the time being.

To her credit, Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized the ruling, and last week the German parliament passed a resolution calling for legislation that would clarify the law to permit Jewish and Muslim practices. But at least one German opinion poll suggests that the public opposes such a law.

Meanwhile, the Cologne case reverberates. On Tuesday, the governor of the Austrian state of Vorarlberg ordered public hospitals to cease religious circumcisions in view of the ruling. In Zurich, the children’s hospital has suspended circumcisions until at least next month, pending a review of what a spokesman called “medical and ethical issues” raised by the Cologne court.

The court’s case against circumcision mixes extreme and insensitive secularism with unstated but radical mistrust of parents. Though aimed at religiously motivated circumcisions, the ruling would also bar those carried out for hygienic reasons. “The experts confirm that – at least in central Europe – there is no need to carry out circumcision for preventive health care,” the court explains. This strangely provincial formulation wildly oversimplifies global evidence on the risks and benefits of neonatal circumcision: While hardly a must, it can help prevent certain diseases, almost always without serious complications, such that a perfectly reasonable parent could conclude that the procedure is beneficial, not a criminal assault, as the Cologne court would have it.

The United States has its own “intactivists,” who succeeded in getting a referendum banning under-18 circumcisions onto the San Francisco ballot in 2011 – until a judge ruled it out for technical reasons. Wherever they might occur, circumcision bans that disrespect religious traditions, or parents’ ability to weigh medical evidence, would be profoundly misguided.

Read the full article at THE WASHINGTON POST.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. In Jew York (I mean New York), Mayor Bloomberg is interfering with Milah! Attempting to ban Metzizah BPeh is his first step.

  2. Love the picture because it shows religious Jews of all colors must come together to defend the heritage Avraham Avinu left us.

  3. The only way, is to give Gov’ts exact boundaries as to where they should get involved.
    We all know that if a Religion is going to encourage its members to do extreme things like, cut off fingers from children, the Govt will and should get involved.
    Even if the Religion and practice is as old as the Bible, where certain religions used to throw their kids into the fire as a sacrifice to their God.
    How about, if the Halachas of Ben Sorer were around today; How about the selling of ones daughter as an Omoh Ivreiyo; Yiftach the Shoifet killing his daughter in order to be Mekayem his Neder?
    Can we tell Govts, never to get involved?

  4. Pieces of the hologram…

    Brit milah is a mitzvot from G-d. The Jews are a minority of 14 million in a world of 6.9 Billion. That’s just 0.202% of the total population. The number of Mohels in the world is also relatively tiny. So when little decent bits of the hologram are attacked G-d doesn’t like it. Some German “judges” are playing with fire at the moment. Remember all…Germany was a pagan culture 3,942 years ago when King Solomon reigned from Jerusalem and the First Temple stood.