Respecting rights is not the controversial stance.

From yesterday, this article discusses the factors that play into the parental decision to circumcise or leave their sons intact. It’s mostly accurate, although it tries a bit too hard to be balanced and unbiased in countering clear logic. I understand that the logic is not accepted by society, but that doesn’t change its objective truth.

That’s not what interests me. This does:

The opinions of friends and Berkeley, Calif., neighbors Judith Barish and Denise Leto epitomize the controversy.

Barish, a stay-at-home mother of an 8-year-old daughter and two boys ages 3 and 6, decided on circumcision. Although she says the medical reasons at the time were not altogether compelling, the decision was made for other reasons. “Our children are half Jewish. We debated the issue and really looked into it,” she says. “The medical benefits versus the risk seemed like a wash. But ultimately we decided to circumcise as one small concession to religion and culture.”

“Whether a boy is circumcised or not doesn’t matter so much,” she says. “He can be healthy, happy and love his penis either way.”

It’s more appropriate to let the male decide whether or not they approve of that concession, since they’re the ones losing part of their body. Also, they should decide whether or not the concession is “small”. Parents may teach their children their religion, but they do not have the right to practice their religion on the bodies of their children.

To Mrs. Barish’s last point, I’m sure her sons will be fine with being circumcised. Most males are conditioned that way in our society. But to a boy who doesn’t like it, a proclamation from his parents that he can love his penis either way is the wrong analysis. If the boy doesn’t love the permanent change his parents imposed, he’s out of luck. There is no other way for him. What Mrs. Barish is really saying is that a boy should “be healthy, happy, and love his penis” the way his parents choose. That is a flawed basis for decisions regarding medically-unnecessary surgery.