I’ve been on a mini-vacation since last week. Among other activities, I spent a few days exercising my First Amendment rights.
With many dedicated activists, I talked to people about ending routine circumcision in America. I faced most of the opinions I’ve discussed here in some context over the 18 months, from many different perspectives. I could get disheartened¹ if I focused only on the negative reactions, the ones that began “Are you a Christian?”, “But it’s the parents’ choice…”, or “Don’t you have anything better to do?”. I can respond when faced with such questions, although the questioner’s receptiveness to an answer based in logic is rare. The debate certainly helped strengthen my skills at persuasion.
More important, though, were the conversations I had with people who were happy to learn. Many people couldn’t believe we’d be out there discussing this until they learned our perspective. For example, I talked with a group of 13-year-old schoolgirls who were horrified at the prospect of male circumcision once we explained it. One of those girls debated me, probing to find weaknesses in my argument. One could argue that she’s only 13, but she (and her friends) asked intelligent questions. She eventually conceded that a) I knew my facts and b) that what’s she’s been taught is silly. I came away convinced that at least one of those girls will question circumcision enough to not make her future son’s decision.
Overall, it’s a productive way to spend a few days.
¹ One woman shooed her kids away while saying “It’s a 2-second snip, and it’s your mother’s choice. Whatever your culture does, that’s what happens to you.” She didn’t come over so I could ask her opinion about female genital mutilation in countries where it’s practiced as part of the culture.