Action, not intent, indicates what you believe.

This comment follows a discussion on the ongoing case in Oregon in which a father wants to circumcise his 12-year-old son in conjunction with his own conversion to Judaism (previous entry here):

That’s CRAZY! I think I’ll get any son of mine circumcised at birth, but mostly because uncircumcised [sic] penises look funny. A baby just think [sic] to himself goo goo goo ga ga- OW!FUCKSHITOW! goo goo ga, where I think the 12 year old might hate his dad forever for an incredibly painful experience.

…but on the other hand, as long as you don’t beat your children with an electric cord, they’re pretty much your property as far as the law is concerned.

Sadly, this isn’t too far out of the common thought process people offer when imagining that infant circumcision is less problematic than waiting because they can’t grasp the reality that it would probably never be necessary.

The commenter thinks a normal, intact penis looks “funny”. This is a permitted excuse in the United States for removing a healthy, normal part of a boy’s genitals. This moves beyond irrational, into immoral. Changing normal to common does not qualify as medical need.

At least the commenter realizes that circumcision hurts the child. But why isn’t that enough to lead to the only correct decision? The infant will not remember the surgery, but that’s hardly a justification. Any number of unnecessary interventions could be performed if that low criteria commands any respect. Also note the assumption that the 12-year-old could object, but his objection doesn’t warrant an injunction against the surgery.

Finally, why is it acceptable for the law to treat children as parental property? Individuals have inherent rights not to be harmed, which is why we do not permit abuse with an electrical cord. Proxy consent is reasonable, but anything short of medical need does not protect the child’s rights. Being inherent, there is no minimum age at which those basic rights vest to the child, if we’re being ethical.

Unfortunately, we are not being ethical. We allow parents to circumcise male minors for any and every reason, including the shallow, subjective belief that the normal, intact penis looks funny. The law – incorrectly – permits parents to treat their children as property. That does not mean that parents should choose that option.

2 thoughts on “Action, not intent, indicates what you believe.”

  1. I think I’ll get any son of mine circumcised at birth, but mostly because uncircumcised [sic] penises look funny.
    I pray this asswipe never has any kids.

  2. Note to the Anti-Defamation League: this case has nothing to do with defamation, so butt out. A pox on you and your amicus brief.

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