Dadvice #6: Is Circumcision Unnecessary And/Or Immoral?

16 months.

In this anticipated sequel to “Dadvice #5: How Is It Natural To Circumcise Your Son?” my goal is to answer whether or not it’s necessary to circumcise your son, and more importantly, whether it is morally wrong to do so.

Interestingly, I never would have been asking myself these questions today if it weren’t for the overwhelming number of comments I received in such a short amount of time regarding my personal view on circumcision.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing I learned through this process is that there exists a passionate, underground movement known as “Intactivists” who strongly oppose circumcision and references to Wikipedia.

I didn’t realize I was participating in a debate with them nor was I aware of their existence until I wrote about the hot topic last week.

The way I see it, I’m nothing more than the blog version of a talk show host whose job it it is to initiative engaging conversations. I simply pitch the issue to the crowd, accented in my personal angle, then I step back and see if anyone joins in the from there.

So while Wikpedia is obviously not the most professional, legitimate source for the medical aspect of circumcision, I do find it to be the best source to catch a glimpse of what main social perception of it is.

Because after all, this isn’t simply a medical issue. That’s not why people are fired up about it. Instead, it’s incredibly personal and social.

Normally, I always credit the winner of a debate to the side that refrains from getting overly emotional, shouting (ALL CAPS is the blog equivalent), speaking in a condescending tone, and attempting to prove that the opponent’s moral character is flawed.

And while many of the Intactivists did those exact things, I still think they won the debate. Yes, that’s right, Intactivists. I think you won.

By “won,” I mean that you made my reasoning of pro-circumcision seem to be about as legitimate as the illegalization of marijuana.

The way you to got to me was by showing me that circumcision is not necessary, despite it being “normal” here in the United States. I now agree that there is a lack of overwhelming evidence that circumcision prevents a plethora of health concerns.

Something my previous Dadvise post exemplified was that A) my suspicion of possible health concerns along with B) a peculiar fascination for the commandment for circumcision from God to Abraham (regarding Jews, not Christians) both seem to represent a lot of Americans and why they un-passionately (and maybe even carelessly) say yes to circumcising their sons.

But wait, there’s more…

As I’ve talked to friends and coworkers about why they chose to circumcise their sons, I got the same answer every time: ”I was circumcised and I’m fine, so I didn’t really think about it. I just had my son circumcised too.”

I asked one of my doctor friends in Houston for his take on if circumcision is necessary and I think he summed up it up perfectly: “There are medical benefits but I think it’s still more personal preference and psychosocial than medical.”

Because honestly, why else is circumcision the norm here in America?

He’s right: the psychosocial factor possibly has everything to do with it. I suspect I will be mauled in the comments section for being this honest, but here it is:

I don’t want my son to be the only one who is uncircumcised in the locker room.

And while stones are being thrown at me, here’s another thing:

Even if I ever decided that circumcision is totally pointless (not just unnecessary), if I ever had another son I would have him circumcised too because I wouldn’t either son to have to feel so confused about himself compared to his brother.

My stance: I don’t believe circumcision is necessary, nor do I believe it is morally wrong. (I can’t believe it is morally wrong because God Himself commanded it; even though only for the Hebrew people.)

That’s right; I stand by my decision to circumcise my son (16 months ago, as if I could change that now) yet I recognize that circumcision is not necessary. And I don’t feel guilty about it.

Here’s what I’m really curious about, though. I wonder if there are any readers out there who oppose circumcision but are pro-choice regarding abortion?

I would love to hear that reasoning. Welcome to the Debate Club.

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  1. by Avalon

    On March 26, 2012 at 12:49 am

    Im pro-choice. No one has the right to do anything to YOUR body that you do not wish. No one has the right to mutilate your genitals or make you carry a child you did not want.

  2. by melissa

    On March 26, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Pro-choice. Anti-circumcision.

    Not everyone agrees that an embryo in the first trimester is a baby. However, I think we can all agree that a newborn boy is a human. With regards to pregnancy (in the early stages)- her body, her choice. With regards to circumcision- his body, his choice. I could not send my brand new baby, fresh out of the womb, to be strapped down and cut against his will. It is not my penis, nor my husband’s. It is his choice, not a parental decision.

    Also, as far as being the only kid in the locker room? well, in my state less than 25% of parents circumcise. If I’d circumcised him he would be in the minority.

  3. by Wendy

    On March 26, 2012 at 10:07 am

    His body, his choice. Any and all arguments made in favor of male infant circumcision are similarly made in other parts of the world to justify female circumcision, yet females are protected from even the slightest pin prick in the US. Our baby boys deserve no less than the same right to their whole bodies!

    As far was the locker room argument (as if that were even a good enough reason which it is not), have you looked at the current rates of routine infant circ? It’s less than 50% in most of the US now. Chances are the circ’d kid will be in the minority now and the rates continue to drop.

  4. by Gena

    On March 26, 2012 at 10:10 am

    I am pro-choice, anti-circumcision. I am one of those intactivists–but not sure if I would have been had I never met my English husband.

    Exactly as other commenters stated–you are in charge of your own body. Well, at least, you should be.

    I’m American, but here is another point of view–I am in the UK, where routine infant circumcision is not routinely practiced unless medically necessary, which is a very small percentage. The “discussion”, the “decision”… is non-existant here, because it is not medically deemed appropriate or necessary to a healthy, functioning part of the genitals of male infants. You are no asked. No one thinks about it. Most people I have come across, whether work colleagues or even British friends, haven’t even heard of it, to be honest, and are downright shocked when I tell them about the “debate” that exists in the US. They are confused by it when all of them consider, male and females, as they are born, just fine as they are. A great and vast majority of men go on through puberty and beyond with no problems to their foreskin or their genital health and retain all the benefits as it were meant to perform.

    Naturally, my dual-UK/US citizen son is intact (he is not circumcised), and it’s been an interesting position and dynamic between my US family’s questions and the complete lack of questions on my in-law side.

    Why is the information in the US so inadequate? Why is it even an option when in most other Western societies it is not routinely practiced nor recommended?

    The practice of circumcision, male or female, serves no benefit. It is truly just one of those bizarre parts of routine/tradition that will slowly cease to be, at least outside of religious reasons.

  5. by Rose

    On March 26, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Ugh. Your ego is showing…most moms would be in tears after learning what you have, but dad just can’t seem to keep his ego out of the way.

    This is to all the moms out there with partners that have huge egos (like the author of this blog): Grow some backbone, ladies!! This is your son, and it is your job to protect him from your husband’s ignorance! Don’t be that woman who sheepishly says: “well, I didn’t want to, but I let my husband decide. (whilst wiping feces from your son’s open wound)” You, moms, will be the ones handling most, if not all, of the diapering anyhow, so do yourselves and your sons a favor, and don’t listen to your husband if he says he wants junior to “look like him”. Of all the boys being born now, the cut ones will be the minority in the locker room in the future…

  6. by Rose

    On March 26, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Oh yeah, and nice try on throwing the abortion “red herring” argument in there to distract people away from your impressive ego…we intactivsts have never seen that before…pffft!

  7. by Judith

    On March 26, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    It will always amaze me when pro-cutters always play the pro choice card. Others before me have already handled it beautifully, but I will flip the coin on you, since I assume you are pro-life? How can that make anymore sense than being pro-choice and anti-circumcision? In other words how can someone be pro life, and think a fetus has more rights than the woman carrying it, but then think that same fetus loses those rights once he is born and that same woman can do whatever she wants to his genitals? Hmmmm????

  8. by Layla

    On March 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I know LOTS of anti infant circumcision activists who are also anti abortion. But really, as someone else pointed out, it’s a red herring.
    I also know a lot of activists who have had their first boys cut, learned the truth and went on to leave future sons perfectly whole.
    It is easy to explain to them when and if the question of why their genitals look different. “when you were a baby we thought this was necessary, then we got some new information and realized it wasn’t”
    The son who is not cut feels relief. Some parents have to apologize to their cut boys when they realize something was unnecessarily taken from them.
    What to do if one son has blue eyes and the orher brown? One blond the other brunette? One born with a missing finger?
    You going to make them “match”.
    With fewer and fewer boys now getting unecessary, cosmetic penile surgery (close to 60% in the US are now left intact),
    It is the cut boys who are in the minority. I hope they are not teased for missing part of their genitals…
    But boys tend to not check out each others junk anyway for fear of being ridiculed for said checking out.
    But isn’t a bigger issue and teachable moment one about accepting ourselves for how we are born and not succumbing to societal pressures to surgically alter ourselves to fit I todo e twisted mold?
    Only in the US is there such a strange fascination with the surgical amputation of a vibrant, sensitive, errogounous, healthy and beautiful body part.
    Isn’t it time to set aside our defenses and come to terms with and let go of this archaic practice?

  9. by Joe

    On March 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Nick…debate initiated :-)

    So, I get why you doubt it’s morally wrong to circumcise, but you gotta look at the context of the Old Testament. God commanded a lot of things of his people under the old covenant, and we would never think that they were morally appropriate under the new covenant. This includes polygamy, the keeping of slaves, stoning children to death, and genocide. There were arguably points in history where these commandments were pertinent, but were refuted by Christ’s fulfillment of the blood covenant. A GREAT write-up of this idea can be found here: http://www.epsociety.org/library/articles.asp?pid=45&ap=1 (notice that my use of all-caps is to emphasize, not to yell…) I would argue that it is, in fact, morally wrong to cut a child to fulfill a psychosocially and inherently selfish need, especially under the New Covenant.

    My next question is this. Do you have brothers? If so, how many times did you actively compare genitalia over the years? Do you care what their penises look like? Under your reasoning, your sons will all be cut just so they might have more similar-looking privates. Does this translate to other body parts? If your first son had to have some of his toes removed, would you do the same for each subsequent child, so as to avoid any perception of mismatching bodies?

    What many parents whose minds have been changed do, after learning about the horrors of circumcision, is keep their sons intact, and IF the question ever comes up (many times, it seems that nobody takes the time to compare genitals with their brothers), they answer questions of ‘why does mine look different’ by having a simple, straightforward conversation about it. Something along the lines of “well, I didn’t know better when _____ was born, but then we learned about it, and we didn’t want to put you through the same painful, unnecessary procedure as we did with him.” This, it seems, is generally responded to with a ‘thanks, dad, for not cutting off my junk’ or something similar. I’ll send you a Facebook message linking you to the group Keeping Future Sons Intact. They’ll have tons of personal testimonies and non-judgmental advice to share.

  10. by Joe

    On March 26, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    PART 2

    On the flip side, if I learned about circumcision, and was against it, and then went and asked my dad about it and he said, “well, I knew it wasn’t necessary, but your brother was cut, so I wanted you to match”, I’d probably be pretty pissed off about it.

    Turns out, there’s actually been a precedent set. In 1997, they passed a law making it illegal to circumcise a girl for any reason. Under the 14th Amendment, boys and girls have the same protection. Thus, it is, legally, speaking, against the law to cut a boy. It’s just that it’s kinda like driving 5 miles over the speed limit; everybody’s doing it, and the authorities look the other way with it, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is, in fact, illegal. So, therefore, if a child decides to sue the doctor performing the circumcision, or even his parents, he can do so and win for having his rights violated. The typical payout seems to be around 10,000 dollars. There are actually lawyers who specialize in circumcision harm cases.

    Psychosocially speaking, if you desire to do this to your sons, it is because you do not fully appreciate the damage that was done to you when you were a newborn. After researching it, I know what was done to me, and that’s why I could never cut my sons. See for yourself: http://www.norm.org/lost.html
    The bottom line is that the more you know about it, the more you’re horrified that it still happens every day.

    Hopefully you’re seeing that we’re not calling you a terrible person. We’re not judging you. We’re trying to change your way of thinking before it’s too late for your next son.

    It’s hard to stand up to ‘popular’ culture and say, ‘yeah, no thanks, I know better’, but the reality is that we as Christians are called to do just that. I promise you that if you research this more, with an open mind, there will come a point where something will click in your mind, like flipping on a lightswitch, or like the scales falling from Peter’s eyes in Acts 19. You’ll see it differently. I promise.

    I’ll leave you with this quote from Maya Angelou. She says, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

    I await your reply.

    In Christ,
    Joe

  11. by Joe

    On March 26, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    PART 2

    On the flip side, if I learned about circumcision, and was against it, and then went and asked my dad about it and he said, “well, I knew it wasn’t necessary, but your brother was cut, so I wanted you to match”, I’d probably be pretty pissed off about it.

    Turns out, there’s actually been a precedent set. In 1997, they passed a law making it illegal to circumcise a girl for any reason. Under the 14th Amendment, boys and girls have the same protection. Thus, it is, legally, speaking, against the law to cut a boy. It’s just that it’s kinda like driving 5 miles over the speed limit; everybody’s doing it, and the authorities look the other way with it, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is, in fact, illegal. So, therefore, if a child decides to sue the doctor performing the circumcision, or even his parents, he can do so and win for having his rights violated. The typical payout seems to be around 10,000 dollars. There are actually lawyers who specialize in circumcision harm cases.

    Psychosocially speaking, if you desire to do this to your sons, it is because you do not fully appreciate the damage that was done to you when you were a newborn. After researching it, I know what was done to me, and that’s why I could never cut my sons. See for yourself: http://www.norm.org/lost.html
    The bottom line is that the more you know about it, the more you’re horrified that it still happens every day.

    Hopefully you’re seeing that we’re not calling you a terrible person. We’re not judging you. We’re trying to change your way of thinking before it’s too late for your next son.

    It’s hard to stand up to ‘popular’ culture and say, ‘yeah, no thanks, I know better’, but the reality is that we as Christians are called to do just that. I promise you that if you research this more, with an open mind, there will come a point where something will click in your mind, like flipping on a lightswitch, or like the scales falling from Peter’s eyes in Acts 19. You’ll see it differently. I promise.

    I’ll leave you with this quote from Maya Angelou. She says, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

    I await your reply.

    In Christ,
    Joe

  12. by Joe

    On March 26, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    On the flip side, if I learned about circumcision, and was against it, and then went and asked my dad about it and he said, “well, I knew it wasn’t necessary, but your brother was cut, so I wanted you to match”, I’d probably be pretty pissed off about it.

    Turns out, there’s actually been a precedent set. In 1997, they passed a law making it illegal to circumcise a girl for any reason. Under the 14th Amendment, boys and girls have the same protection. Thus, it is, legally, speaking, against the law to cut a boy. It’s just that it’s kinda like driving 5 miles over the speed limit; everybody’s doing it, and the authorities look the other way with it, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is, in fact, illegal. So, therefore, if a child decides to sue the doctor performing the circumcision, or even his parents, he can do so and win for having his rights violated. The typical payout seems to be around 10,000 dollars. There are actually lawyers who specialize in circumcision harm cases.

    Psychosocially speaking, if you desire to do this to your sons, it is because you do not fully appreciate the damage that was done to you when you were a newborn. After researching it, I know what was done to me, and that’s why I could never cut my sons. See for yourself: http://www.norm.org/lost.html
    The bottom line is that the more you know about it, the more you’re horrified that it still happens every day.

    Hopefully you’re seeing that we’re not calling you a terrible person. We’re not judging you. We’re trying to change your way of thinking before it’s too late for your next son.

    It’s hard to stand up to ‘popular’ culture and say, ‘yeah, no thanks, I know better’, but the reality is that we as Christians are called to do just that. I promise you that if you research this more, with an open mind, there will come a point where something will click in your mind, like flipping on a lightswitch, or like the scales falling from Peter’s eyes in Acts 19. You’ll see it differently. I promise.

    I’ll leave you with this quote from Maya Angelou. She says, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

    I await your reply.

    In Christ,
    Joe

  13. by Joe

    On March 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I keep trying to post a comment here but it isn’t showing up. So I put it on the Facebook page.

  14. by MrBBQ

    On March 26, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    You know, the latest figures show roughly 50/50 split between intact and circumcised babies. It’s not like the olden days, where 90% were cut. Now, your baby may be in the majority or in the minority, depending on the region he lives in. But one thing’s for sure, being intact is now acceptable in the wider culture, and that is never going to change. Being made fun of for being intact is dying out.
    However, one huge difference exists: Even though most circumcised men don’t talk about circumcision very often, they’re still on some level deeply aware that they have been surgically altered in a very private way. In modern America, you can bet it will be a lot more painful to be different for being circumcised–made fun of for having a surgically altered penis, rather than simply for being left natural and whole.

    As for abortion, they have nothing to do with circumcision. A circumcision is done on a living, breathing baby who has full legal rights. That baby will one day be an adult who lives with that decision which was unnecessary and irreversible. An abortion is done on a fetus that is not developed, and which terminates its existence. No comparison.
    But, if you want to bring that logic into it:
    -You are pro-choice because you believe that the person who owns the body should be the only one making decisions about it? Then you are anti-circumcision, too.
    -You are pro-life because you think that the wishes of a fetus or baby would have wanted should be given priority? Or that no harm should come to them? Then you are anti-circumcision.

  15. by AP

    On March 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    In 2009 only 32% of boys in the US were circumcised..leaving 68% intact….it looks like your boy will be the minority in the locker room, so that argument flies out the window.

    As far as comparing genitals, between siblings or yourself….if you had a daughter, would you want her genitals to look like your wife’s? Yeah, how creepy is that. Would you want your daughter’s genitals to look like her sisters? Would you cosmetically alter your 2nd daughter’s genitals to look like your first? Or lets move away from genitals…lets look at noses or boobs…would you cosmetically alter your daughter’s nose or later on, her boobs, to look like her sisters or your wife’s? See how illogical this argument is. We don’t do this to our daughters, why to our sons? My husband is circumcised, but my son is intact….neither of them care that the other one’s penis looks different. My nephews are circumcised, my son is not….my nephews have asked why my son’s penis looks different…their mother answered appropriately and they were totally unfazed by it. We would never consider surgically altering my daughter any where on her body to look like me for any reason. It’s just ridiculous.

    Also, what God commanded of the Israelites in the Bible as a covenant between them and himself, is NOT what modern medical circumcision is. Traditional Jewish circumcision as commanded in the Bible to ONLY the Jews is NOT the same thing. It was a simple blood letting ceremony that removed little to no flesh off the tip of the foreskin (leaving the rest of the foreskin totally untouched and intact) as a sign of the covenant, leaving a tiny scar as a reminder of this covenant. It was only commanded to the Israelites, and in the New Testament Jesus said several times that circumcision (speaking of the traditional Jewish type, not the type you’re talking about – what’s done here in the US) is totally unnecessary and unnecessarily binds a man to the law. Modern medical circumcision removes up to 50% of the penile skin, it removes the most sensitive part of the male body, and it leaves the glans (head) of the penis to become calloused and dry instead of remaining the sensitive mucous membrane that it is, and it is done in a hosptial setting by a doctor and not done on the 8th day(a traditional Jewish circumcision is not done by a doctor, and in fact most Jews do not consider modern medical circumcision a valid Biblical circumcision because it is not done by a Rabbi with a religious ceremony). You cannot compare the circumcision in the Bible to what we have in the US today.

    As far as personal preference goes, shouldn’t that be YOUR SON’S personal preference, not yours? What do you have to do with your son’s genitals anyway, and why do you have a preference? Again, same analogy, do you care what your daughter’s genitals look like (and if you don’t have a daughter, pretend)? Would you argue for surgically altering her genitals cosmetically to fit your personal preferences? That’s just creepy, isn’t it?

  16. by Zorky Charlemagne

    On March 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Actually, more babies born in the US today are NOT circ’d- So your sons are in the minority already.

    And locker room argument? How many men are going to freely admit “Hey I was checking out your penis the other day in the locker room and noticed that you have a foreskin..”

    My son is intact and my husband is circumcised. They have never once decided to whip out penises and compare them to one another. One family member being circ’d does NOT mean the rest of them have to be.

    It is about knowledge.. when you KNOW better you DO better. Parents who circ their boys without knowing the facts are not wrong, just misinformed- but parents who circ their boys even after knowing there is no medical reason for it is just plain sad.

    WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER YOU DO BETTER.

  17. by moozikteacher

    On March 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    http://www.lulu.com/product/13990851

    Instead of wasting your money on cutting another son, get this book and have a conversation. What’s more mature? Keep cutting when you know it’s wrong or explain a simple matter to your children? Your future son deserves better than having his penis cut because you’re scared of words.

    Oh…and the locker room? No straight teenage boy would be caught dead staring at another boy’s penis. The starer is going to get way more grief than the stare-ee.

    http://www.mgmbill.org/statistics.htm

  18. by Stephanie

    On March 27, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I happen to be pro-life.

    I believe in the rights of the child whether in the womb or newborn.
    If you are pro-life then you should also be anti-circumcision, no matter what the social norms are.

    The rights of the child should never be ignored whether your speaking of ending his/her life in utero, or altering his/her genitals once born. How can one be OK but not the other!! That’s a slippery slope to define where the child’s rights end and begin.(And I’m not trying to spark an abortion argument with my pro-choice intactivist friends)

    Based on the argument you just made about why you would still circumcise, then it should be OK to abort too. After all it is also the social norm…

    As far as the morally wrong aspect of circumcision because of it being a command from God, I found that to be a hard pill to swallow, as I am a believer and believe in the inherent word of God. But as I researched and read I found there to be strong evidence that the current circumcision performed is not at all similar to the one performed in ancient Israel.

    If around 100 babies die every year currently from complications of circumcision, how could they have not been dieing all over the place back then!?! It was more of a ‘ritual nick’ to draw blood in order to have a blood covenant. And plenty of reading in the new testament will reenforce the fact that it is absolutely unnecessary for Christian believers.I personally think that God’s heart is grieved at the mutilation that is done in His name currently.

    As believers we often have to choose to go against the social norms (although circumcision isn’t the norm as much now).

    I hope you continue to research and ask the hard questions. Thank you for providing a place for debates that result in more knowledge.

  19. by vanessa

    On March 27, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I’ll bite.

    I’m pro-choice and anti- circumcision (barring absolute medical necessity) and i am a mom with three boys.

    My reasoning for being pro-choice is that, even though i personally couldn’t agree with abortion for myself that doesn’t give me the right to decide what is right or wrong for another person or their body.

    My reasoning for being anti- circ is that it’s not my right to decide what is right for another person’s body, even if he is my child, and even if he is a baby.

    Under the law a fetus does not have the same rights as a baby.
    Once you have a baby is born he is a human being. He has rights. If i decided to strap my husband to a board and have someone hack of bits of his penis i would go to jail,same with if i decided i wanted my daughter circumcised, yet we do that to our sons every single day & no one seems to have issues with it.

    As his mother the only time i should be able to choose to cut or remove a viable piece of his body is if there is a valid medical reason.

    It is illegal to circumcise your daughter in our culture, yet we allow our sons to be circumcised legally every day. Do our sons not have the same rights as our daughters? I thought under human rights laws male & females were equal?

    As for your comment “I don’t want my son to be the only one who is uncircumcised in the locker room.”

    This was my husband’s response when i told him i was against circumcision. The chance of him being the only one is rare. Intact boys are on the rise, and there’s about a 50/50 shot that a boy is left intact now.

  20. by Catie

    On March 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Nick!

    First I want to say that I think you’re pretty awesome for
    being so involved with the upbringing of your son! Your son is just adorable. Great job!

    Moving on.

    I am a mom of three handsome little men ages 2,4,&7. Full disclosure: I had my firs two circumcised and my third is not. I can honestly say that my third was going to be circumcised but at his birth it quickly became clear that he had two congenital defects. The first being hypospadias, and the second being partial (his is 50%) Aposthia. What’s that? Hypospadias is when the urethral opening is not in the correct location, top and center, on the glans. His is at the sub coronal margin. Aposthia is the birth defect, let me reiterate defect please, when a baby is born without a foreskin. Yes , my son has only half a foreskin. (so literally, to circumcise is to give your child a defect right?).

    Getting to the point of when I changed my mind.

    So as we are being discharged the pediatrician comes in and tells us not to have our son circumcised yet because the foreskin will be used in the surgery to repair the hypospadias. Say what? But this foreskin is just a useless flap of skin! So how is going to be any good in fixing the hypospadias? It’s about as useful as say…finger nail clippings. Right? Oh boy was I sadly and very poorly misinformed by my sons’ former pediatrician. This skin is actually FULL of very amazing things. (yes I am now pretty pissed at my mother in law too!). Here is a link with great info on what this foreskin is all about:
    http://www.drmomma.org/2009/09/functions-of-foreskin-purposes-of.html?m=1
    I went home and researched the risks of the corrective surgery, how it’s done, part of the surgery is circumcision. Wait? But circumcision isn’t surgery! It’s like getting a haircut. Seriously, I was told that with my first son. And was dumb enough to believe it. Then I watched a video on circumcision. I did what to my babies?! Yes. I was rudely awakened. I told my husband I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go through with the surgery. It was only cosmetic. He was upset at my decision, but really I was feeling like it wasn’t my decision to make. He told me that I had to be the one to explain it to the boys and I’m ok with that. I can say that at this point, my oldest does not care that his baby brother is different. They do care who can pee the furthest though.

    The one thing I can honestly recommend you do, before continuing the arguments, is learning what this useless flap of skin really is, ad then answering one question.
    Is taking all that away from your son (and future daughter in law!) really worth it so they can match?

  21. by AP

    On March 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    In 2009 only 32% of boys in the US were circumcised..leaving 68% intact….it looks like your boy will be the minority in the locker room, so that argument flies out the window.

    As far as comparing genitals, between siblings or yourself….if you had a daughter, would you want her genitals to look like your wife’s? Yeah, how creepy is that. Would you want your daughter’s genitals to look like her sisters? Would you cosmetically alter your 2nd daughter’s genitals to look like your first? Or lets move away from genitals…lets look at noses or boobs…would you cosmetically alter your daughter’s nose or later on, her boobs, to look like her sisters or your wife’s? See how illogical this argument is. We don’t do this to our daughters, why to our sons? My husband is circumcised, but my son is intact….neither of them care that the other one’s penis looks different. My nephews are circumcised, my son is not….my nephews have asked why my son’s penis looks different…their mother answered appropriately and they were totally unfazed by it. We would never consider surgically altering my daughter any where on her body to look like me for any reason. It’s just ridiculous.

    Also, what God commanded of the Israelites in the Bible as a covenant between them and himself, is NOT what modern medical circumcision is. Traditional Jewish circumcision as commanded in the Bible to ONLY the Jews is NOT the same thing. It was a simple blood letting ceremony that removed little to no flesh off the tip of the foreskin (leaving the rest of the foreskin totally untouched and intact) as a sign of the covenant, leaving a tiny scar as a reminder of this covenant. It was only commanded to the Israelites, and in the New Testament Jesus said several times that circumcision (speaking of the traditional Jewish type, not the type you’re talking about – what’s done here in the US) is totally unnecessary and unnecessarily binds a man to the law. Modern medical circumcision removes up to 50% of the penile skin, it removes the most sensitive part of the male body, and it leaves the glans (head) of the penis to become calloused and dry instead of remaining the sensitive mucous membrane that it is, and it is done in a hosptial setting by a doctor and not done on the 8th day(a traditional Jewish circumcision is not done by a doctor, and in fact most Jews do not consider modern medical circumcision a valid Biblical circumcision because it is not done by a Rabbi with a religious ceremony). You cannot compare the circumcision in the Bible to what we have in the US today.

    As far as personal preference goes, shouldn’t that be YOUR SON’S personal preference, not yours? What do you have to do with your son’s genitals anyway, and why do you have a preference? Again, same analogy, do you care what your daughter’s genitals look like (and if you don’t have a daughter, pretend)? Would you argue for surgically altering her genitals cosmetically to fit your personal preferences? That’s just creepy, isn’t it?

  22. by Harmed

    On March 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    It doesn’t matter which side of the abortion debate you’re on. Neither side of the abortion debate can successfully argue in favor infant genital mutilation (male or female). If you are “pro-choice,” then you must believe the maxim “my body, my choice” applies to BOTH sexes. And if you are “pro-life,” then you must certainly advocate for a child’s right to his own body, as you do his “right to life.”

  23. by Ashley

    On March 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    I admire your bravery in re-visiting this issue and appreciate your wisdom and maturity in considering the opposition’s viewpoint. That alone speaks volumes about the kind of person and father you are.

    So often in life we don’t know what we don’t know. Sometimes the opportunity arises to learn more and make changes accordingly. You seem to have seized that opportunity. I wish you all the best in your journey toward truth and understanding.

  24. by Brad

    On March 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    How can chopping off part of a child’s dick without need be morally neutral?

    Is chopping off part of a girl’s genitals morally neutral?

    Isn’t it sexist to say one is and one isn’t?

  25. by Brad

    On March 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    No god worth worshipping ever commanded a child’s genitals to be cut. Who would want to worship such a psychopath?

  26. by Jennifer Young

    On March 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I am pro-choice and anti-RIC (routine infant circumcision.)

    Here’s why.

    My body, my choice. If I choose to carry the pregnancy and birth a baby boy, then, it’s

    His body, his choice. I don’t have the authority to cut off a perfectly healthy, functioning (and as a female, I’ll tell you, it makes sex SO much better) piece of tissue.

  27. by Kate

    On March 27, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    As others have said, abortion and circumcision are separate issues entirely. Furthermore, circumcision is no longer commanded by God, as we clearly see in Corinthians:
    1 Cor 7:17 “As God has called each man, in this manner let him walk. And thus I command in all the churches. Was any man called in the circumcision? Let him not try to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in the uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised! Circumcision is nothing. And uncircumcision is nothing but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called.”

    We see in Colossians that the reason for the Old Covenant in which circumcision started (which was just a prick of the flesh, NOT the removal of the foreskin) is null and void:
    Col. 2:8-14 “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men… rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form and in Him you have been made whole… and in Him you were also circumcised, with a circumcision *made without hands* [emphasis mine]… He made you alive together with Him… having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us which were hostile to us.”

    And then, of course, there is Genesis:
    Genesis1:27 “So God created man in His own image”
    God made us perfect. Removing a body part such as the foreskin for no legitimate medical reason is challenging His design.

    I thank you for bringing attention to this very important topic. I hope that you, along with many others who read this may open their minds and their hearts and consider this topic seriously.

  28. by Heather

    On March 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    I know you say you’d circumsize future sons but before you do I encourage you to learn about what the function of the foreskin is. Once you understand what it is you are missing you may decide not to take that away from them. There is a facebook group called “Keeping Future Sons Intact” that is for parents who circumsized their first sons but did not for later ones because of what they learned after the fact. I know you also say you did it for religious reasons but what if your son chooses a different religion or no religion at all? You have amputated a functioning portion of his body for beliefs he may not agree with when he is old enough to make that decision for himself. For now it is still legal for parents to make this decision for their sons but I believe it will one day be illegal just as it is for girls.

  29. by Hugh Intactive

    On March 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I don’t know about Intactivism being “underground”. My site, The Intactivism Pages, has being going since 1998, but it’s been an uphill job trying to gain any publicity. We’re more of a grassroots movement, with multiple sites, multiple leaders, and plenty of internal disagreements.

    Interesting you focus on Wikipedia, because it’s a special case, the circumcision-related pages having been virtually taken over by one man, an expert Wikipedian, and hence able to get his way in the Wikipedia community, but with a bee in his bonnet about the benefits of circumcision (English, he wanted to be circumcised throughout his childhood and adolescence and finally had it done as an adult, so hardly a dispassionate observer). There are several other sites by circumcision advocates that pass themselves off as “balanced”.

    Abortion and circumcision are two different issues, with different beings involved. Nobody is FOR abortion, some of us just disagree about when, in the course of the extraordinary journey that is a pregnancy, it should no longer be permissible.
    I don’t know about Intactivism being “underground”. My site, The Intactivism Pages, has being going since 1998, but it’s been an uphill job trying to gain any publicity. We’re more of a grassroots movement, with multiple sites, no formal leadership, and plenty of internal disagreements.

    Interesting you focus on Wikipedia, because it’s a special case, the circumcision-related pages having been virtually taken over by one man, an expert Wikipedian, and hence able to get his way in the Wikipedia community, but with a bee in his bonnet about the benefits of circumcision (English, he wanted to be circumcised throughout his childhood and adolescence and finally had it done as an adult, so hardly a dispassionate observer).

    The psychosocial issues around circumcision are complex and unresolved, but I have tried to encapsulate them as a memeplex – a cluster of units of culture, transmitted by imitation: http://www.circumstitions.com/meme.html – which you may find useful.

    Abortion and circumcision are two different issues, with different beings involved. Nobody is FOR abortion, some of us just disagree about when, in the course of the extraordinary journey that is a pregnancy, it should no longer be permissible.

    But whenever they may begin, human rights do not END at birth.
    But whenever they may begin, human rights do not END at birth.

    As for being teased, now that the circumcision rate is about 50:50, he’s sure to be differnt from some of his peers, so which would you rather have to tell him – “They’re different because their parents all had part cut off of theirs, but we didn’t”? Or “You’re different because we had part of yours cut off so that you wouldn’t be different – but theirs didn’t, so you are.”?

    A similar position applies to his younger brother: “We found out it did no good, so we left yours alone” vs “We found out it did no good, but we wanted you to look like him”. To which he might well reply with perfect childish logic, “But I want to look like ME!”

  30. by Hugh7

    On March 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Sorry about the duplications.

  31. by Tammy

    On April 4, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I think the decision is a very personal one, and should be left up to the parents. And others should not judge because they would choose differently.

    Here are some of the facts we considered when making the decision for our son. I happen to know several men who had to have circumcisions later in life for health reasons. What each of them went through is much harder than a circumcision an birth! Just about every woman I know who’s had partners with and without having had the procedure, has a strong preference towards men who are cicrumcised for several reasons, including medical: less UTIs and yeast infections for the female partner. Also less chances of STDs – including HPV, which is proven to be responsible for 85% of cases of cervical cancer.

    Finally, some people here are raising the topic of “female circumcision”. That term should be erased from everyone’s vocabulary! It’s Female Genital Mutilation. It is NOT the female equivalent to circumcision, and it should never be allowed anywhere, anytime.

  32. by Kate

    On April 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Dear Tammy,

    Although we disagree on whose rights are involved when it comes to infant circumcision (parent’s rights versus child’s rights), I feel it is necessary to point out that female circumcision IS in fact analogous to male circumcision. Females have foreskin too, and in fact while in utero at a certain stage of development the genitals are exactly the same.

    You can see an article (a quick read) comparing male and female circumcision here:
    http://www.circumstitions.com/FGMvsMGM.html
    This website also has some information regarding the other myths you mentioned in other articles found on that website.

    There is one other point I’d like to address that you mentioned. You said that adult circumcision is “much harder” than a circumcision at birth. Why do you say that?
    As others have mentioned, about 100 babies die each year from circumcisions (Bollinger, D. [2010]. Lost boys: an estimate of US circumcision-related infant deaths. Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies, 4(1), 78-80). Although attempts at managing the pain are sometimes made, many analgesics are not safe to use on newborns. Adult circumcisions on the other hand, carry far less risk of death and their pain can be managed during and after the procedure. Again, I respectfully invite you to respond.
    Thank you,
    Kate

  33. by babalooey

    On April 8, 2012 at 11:16 am

    When the Jews in Gernmany failed to convince the people to circumcise their children they got them to bob their schnausers instead. But that made the fuhrer very angry.

  34. by Babalooey

    On April 8, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Enough of this stupidity. How about letting your kid decide when he’s 18 if he wants a piece of his weenie cut off.

  35. by LBN23

    On April 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for continuing to talk about this. The biggest problem is that most people don’t think about it at all and the default is to cut.

    PLEASE think hard about the second son issue. How will you live with yourself? You know better now — you have to DO better. And you tell your kids (if they EVER ask, which I doubt), that medical opinion on the issue was confusing to you and you made what you thought was the best choice for each son out of love and compassion. Point out that their ears, eyes, hair, or whatever also is different. Similarity of what they look like is not what makes them brothers and that is not how we judge people.

  36. by YourDumb

    On June 5, 2012 at 4:17 am

    God himself commanded it? That’s why people flying planes into towers don’t think it’s immoral. You sir, are a moron.

  37. by Nick Shell

    On June 5, 2012 at 6:30 am

    You’re hilarious. Seriously, I don’t mean that in a sarcastic way. But the fact that you purposely misspelled “you’re” in calling me dumb to prove a point.

  38. by Ned

    On July 17, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Time to get conscious. Circumcision is child abuse. The only way to argue that it’s not is to pretend that it means nothing to cut part of another person’s genitals off. If you did it to another adult you would be charged with assault and grievous bodily harm. As a parent it’s your job to protect your child. Abuse breeds abusers. Circumcision breeds circumcisers. The way to break the cycle is to say ‘no’.

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