Via Timothy Sandefur, here’s an interesting quote¹ from H.L. Mencken. The more robust excerpt that Mr. Sandefur presents deals with science versus religion, and how readily people of science submit to people of religion when truth exists solely on the side of science.
[I]t is the natural tendency of the ignorant to believe what is not true. In order to overcome that tendency it is not sufficient to exhibit the true; it is also necessary to expose and denounce the false. To admit that the false has any standing in court, that it ought to be handled gently because millions of morons cherish it and thousands of quacks make their livings propagating it—to admit this, as the more fatuous of the reconcilers of science and religion inevitably do, is to abandon a just cause to its enemies, cravenly and without excuse.
I would not use moron in my context (unthinking, maybe?), but this is spot-on as to why I refuse to bow before religion as a justification for infant male circumcision.
Religion is not an objective standard by which to judge anything, so excusing its invocation in the face of a healthy child lacking any and all medical need for surgical intervention on his genitals is absurd. Too many individuals correctly deem routine/ritual infant circumcision as a violation of the child’s rights, yet immediately clarify that they won’t judge if someone wishes to impose it as a religious requirement. I will judge, because the judgment is objectively valid.
Every person has an inherent right to remain free from harm without his explicit consent. No individual has a right to practice his or her religion on the body of another person who cannot (or does not) consent. Proxy consent assumes an implicit consent, if the parents even care what their son might choose. Regardless of the intent, such an undertaking is clear, identifiable harm. The body is healthy. There can be no way to confirm that the child would consent. Should he desire the unnecessary surgery for a ritual (or no) reason in the future, he retains that option. If it is forced on him, he is deprived of his option. The only reasonable assumption is that he would reject the surgery, even though we know that will not be unanimously true.
It is always better to offend the sensibilities of a cherished, mistaken notion than to permit an offense on the physical body of a non-consenting person to avoid offending the sensibilities of the offender.
¹ “Counter-Offensive,” reprinted in H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: Fifth Series 120-127 (1926).