New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered a refreshing surprise.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg raised questions yesterday about an approach under consideration at the Health Department to promote circumcision as a way to reduce the risk of contracting AIDS.
“I have not had a chance to talk to Tom Frieden and Alan Aviles about this,” Mr. Bloomberg said, referring to Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden and Alan D. Aviles, chairman of the Health and Hospitals Corporation.
Saying that the rate of H.I.V. infection and AIDS in the city was alarmingly high despite education campaigns, he added, “We have to do something about it and we should be looking at everything, and when reputable health organizations talk about ways to do it you certainly are going to give it some serious consideration.”
Still, the mayor said, “whether it’s something that the government should be involved in, or just giving advice and making sure that people get educated, education in the end is the real tool to stop the spread of AIDS in our society.”
I have little doubt that this will turn out with a recommendation intellectually short of where it should end up, but even a pause counts as progress when dealing with a public reaction to circumcision. More such reflection, please.
In a related link, I often wonder whether my anti-circumcision posts related to religion are perceived as anti-Semitic. I know that my view is strictly related to the practice of medically unnecessary circumcision imposed on infants rather than some hidden animosity to religious practices, so I’m not worried about it too much. I state my opinion. I don’t control how it’s interpreted. And occasionally, I encounter some statement that reassures me about my own approach. For example:
Mayor Bloomberg should recuse himself from this decision because he is Jewish. How can anyone who is a part of a 5000 year tradition which advocates male genital mutilation be expected to make an objective decision here?
I’ve heard this kind of foolish stereotype before, and it’s always wrong. It does nothing more than disparage everyone involved in fighting for the rights of infant boys. I assume elected officials (and doctors and …) will carry out their duties with more principle than blindly pursuing their own (assumed) personal agendas. I’m smart enough to know this is not always the case, but I will stick with “innocent until proven guilty”. I’m trying to convince people to apply it to the foreskin’s “dangerous” presence. I’m not about to abandon it elsewhere.