FaithWorld

San Francisco may vote on banning male circumcision

By Reuters Staff
April 29, 2011

(A Jewish circumcsion, 18 November 2007/Chesdovi)

A group opposed to male circumcision said they have collected more than enough signatures to qualify a proposal to ban the practice in San Francisco as a ballot measure for November elections.

But legal experts said that even if it were approved by a majority of the city’s voters, such a measure would almost certainly face a legal challenge as an unconstitutional infringement on freedom of religion.

Circumcision is a ritual obligation for infant Jewish boys, and is also a common rite among Muslims, who account for the largest share of circumcised men worldwide.

The leading proponent of a ban, Lloyd Schofield, 59, acknowledged circumcision is widely socially accepted but he said it should still be outlawed.

“It’s excruciatingly painful and permanently damaging surgery that’s forced on men when they’re at their weakest and most vulnerable,” he told Reuters.

Read the full story by Gabrielle Saveri here.

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Religious freedom, um, cuts both ways. The child also has a right to grow up to choose his own religion when he is old enough, and not have one cut into his flesh before he can resist. We already acknowledge this with a complete ban on female cutting, no matter how minor, with no exemption for the parents’ religion or culture. In Malaysia and Indonesia, millions of girls are cut (in a much less gruesome way than in Africa) in the name of Islam.

Only 3% of US circumcision is Jewish, and this ban, based on ethics and human rights, is not aimed at any particular reason for doing it.

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