This article addressing whether or not circumcision is required for conversion to Judaism contains two fascinating quotes. (Three actually, but I don’t want to rant on the third.)
Marlon Franklin, 37, recently underwent a brit milah. Born into a Catholic family in Venezuela, he directs commercials and promotions for Spanish-language television. This past year, he converted after participating in the University of Judaism’s introductory course given by Weinberg.
“The [brit milah] wasn’t bad at all,” Franklin said. “Dr. Sam Kunin explained everything, both before and during the procedure. I had local anesthesia, so I could see what was going on. It was excellent, no complications, no problems.”
Franklin said he was very conscious of the ancient, spiritual nature of the ritual, which made it “an awesome experience.”
I’ve argued this point in the past. We must consider that men who choose circumcision for themselves will find greater significance in the procedure, or ritual, if allowed to choose for themselves. When imposed, that possibility is lost. Any “awesome experience” for the circumcised is intellectual only. That makes no sense to me as an expression of faith. That, among many reasons, is why non-medically-indicated circumcision should never be forced on anyone.
The second quote is a bit less reassuring since it implies that something I’ve tackled before is more widespread than it should be.
“I don’t understand the fuss people make,” [Dr. Kunin] said. “In Africa now they’re circumcising thousands of adult men for AIDS prevention. If it were such a big deal, don’t you think word would get around and the men would stop doing it?”
It’s clear that Dr. Kunin doesn’t understand the fuss, for the fuss over circumcision isn’t about whether or not adult men should choose it. They have the right to decide whatever they want for their body. Instead of looking at the controversy as a whole, and how it applies to children, he used the pressure of past acceptance to dismiss valid opposition. That’s convenient but not intellectually fair given that boys will lose a healthy part of their anatomy to such poor logic.
I’ve come to expect everything but fairness in this debate.