Friday, November 21, 2008

Danes to the fore

Well the Danes maybe set to make the best case for immigration to Israel if a law recommended by Denmark’s National Council for Children makes it into law . Ynet News
COPENHAGEN - At a time where anti-Semitic acts seem to be on the rise in Europe, a bill was proposed in Denmark that will affect mainly Jews – the banning of male child circumcision. Denmark's National Council for Children has recommended the legislation of a law banning circumcision of boys under the age of 15.
The passing of this law would make the Jewish mitzvah and tradition of circumcising a child on his eighth day a crime. The country's Ethics Council supported the proposal and now only the parliament's medical committee can intervene and prevent the proposal from being heard. "Circumcision is the irreversible damage to a child's body before he is given the chance to object," the National Council for Children argued.

The Council further claimed that the banning of male child circumcision was a matter of equality among the sexes. "Just like female circumcision was banned five years ago, male circumcision should be banned," the Council said. The new proposal caused a storm among the Jewish and Muslim populations in Denmark, with 95% of the 7,000 Jewish population circumcising their sons.

What a world we live in when circumcision in a male is being preceived seen as equal to the removal of partial or full removal of female sexual organs - nor can the risk of complications arising from both procedures be seen as equal.

And if the Danes are all about the promotion of equality between the sexes and using their reasoning - than why ban female genital mutilation outright? For the sake of equality shouldn’t female genital mutilation be an option for 15 plus year old girls? No doubt the Danes would recoil at that idea. What an ironic time for the Danes to propose this piece of legislation when the World Health Organization is actively promoting circumcision as one tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS transmission.


stageleft said...

I confess to being conflicted...

... on the one hand I am a firm believer that everyone should have freedom of religion and religious tradition in their personal lives.

... on the other hand a piece of a persons body is being removed without their consent, for no medical or biological reason.

Kateland, aka TZH said...

Stageleft, I understand your conflict and I would love to give you a solid secular argument but at this point most of what I would say would come from the religious argument and a great deal of that requires a general discussion of “jewishness’ - and is that a minefield.

The best secular case I can make is that few other than a parent have the same kind of vested interest or stake in the well-being of any given child which is why the state entrusts the parent with the right to make decisions affecting a child’s physical, mentally and emotional health based on their ‘best’ judgment.

Of course, this right is not absolute and the law allows and recognizes circumstances where the state or other authority figure can make a decision which supercedes parental rights in Canada.

A Jewish father is in a unique position as he has usually undergone this same procedure and can stand as a witness to the none or miniscule physical side effects. The case can also be made that circumcision has the potential to improve the overall adult quality of the child’s life (re: some protection from HIV/Aids, HPV etc).While a similar argument could be attempted to promote female genital removal, the evidence of life-long health complications and the potential to negatively impact quality of life issues gives weight to the banning of such procedures.

While I recognize there are those who want to see an equivalency between male circumcision and female genital removal/mutilation I fail to see it. A circumcised male is still able to derive sexual satisfaction while a female who has had her sexual organs removed or mutilated has very limited ability for any kind of sexual satisfaction.

Chris Taylor said...

As a guy who can actually recall recovery from the procedure (I think I was 3 or 4 years old), let me just say that in terms of traumatic lifetime events, this ranks somewhere near the very bottom.

Your willy hurts for a couple of days, maybe a week. There will be scabs of course at the site of the incisions and they take longer to heal up. But it really was no big deal. It is not like losing an eye or a leg or a family member.

Getting dumped by your first girlfriend hurts more.