[Update: I’ve fixed grammar in the opening sentence. Also, the comments provide a critique and clarification on my point about Islam as it may or may not relate to this proposal.]
I suspect Danish politicians are proposing a ban on male child circumcision because it’s an accepted part of Islam. That’s the wrong approach, since individual rights achieve the same results without intentionally creating hostility to faith. As long as sanity prevails in the (potential) implementation, the risk is small.
For a thread of comments on this topic, I spent part of my weekend commenting at Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Blog. I can’t say I’m surprised by what’s been written there, but Ms. Alkon and a few commenters have been logical and accurate in assessing the issue. I recommend the thread because there are many examples of the thought processes leading to infant circumcision that I’ve written about.
About the proposed protection of children itself, it would apply to males under the age of 15, the age of majority for bodily decisions in Denmark. It’s entirely sensible and consistent with principles of liberty. Naturally, some people oppose it.
While the Social Democrats, Red-Green Alliance and Liberal Alliance have come out in support of a ban, the Danish People’s Party called it ‘tyranny’.
‘It’s completely ridiculous to compare the circumcision of girls – which is a barbaric mutilation – with that of boys, where it’s just the removal of a skin flap,’ said the party’s Jesper Langballe.
I don’t expect much from any group “People’s Party”, and this doesn’t disappoint. Unfortunately. Ethically, male and female genital mutilation are the same violation. But the issue always gets stuck at the physical results. Anyone who thinks that all FGM is the most extreme version is uninformed, especially if that person doesn’t recognize that anti-FGM laws make no such distinctions about results. (Again, correctly, as I’ve stated many times.) Anyone who thinks that the foreskin is just a “skin flap” is also uninformed. Langballe achieves a perfect score, I suppose.
Yet, the Danish People’s Party’s health spokewoman, Liselott Brixt, gets it right.
‘A lot of parents want it done to their children because they themselves had it done. But we’re living in the present and it isn’t fair to expose healthy children to religious circumcision.’
Healthy children is a reasoned fact. Religious adherence requires faith. One need not reject faith to recognize that it is not a reasoned approach to medical intervention. The latter must prevail because human rights belong to the individual.