Life as an Extreme Sport

the cutting debate

There is an article in the Boston Globe talking about the continuing debate over male circumcision in the United States. It covers all the typical pro and against arguments, but one in particular leapt out and grabbed my attention: that people could have religious reasons to circumcize their boys, and therefore should be allowed to, regardless of medical indication.

This strikes me as flawed logic.

We don’t allow parents to do what they like with their children, willynilly – the best case and point of this would be children whose parents only believe in faith healing, or shun medical care. We don’t allow those parents to endanger their children’s life by refusing to treat, by only praying. We get court orders and mandates to force treatment, because we reason that a child cannot consent to anything, including their allegiance to their parents religion. But, we make an acceptance for this argument in the case of circumcision? That seems to me like it’s an easy out, an effort to not draw the ire of people who want circumcision for religious reasons, simply because there are more people who want the religiously mandated circumcision than those who believe in faith healing.

One comment

  1. Is that true? I think that by-and-large we do let parents do what they like willy-nilly with their children, barring abuse and other criminal acts. The Cherrix boy was an interesting case, though.

    Ah, but just to throw a complete curveball to your argument: what if the child in question is not yet born? Should we be able to “force treatment” on the woman if she objects to treatment of or for her fetus because of religious objections?

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