Wednesday, February 2, 2005

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This is just sick. Sick, sick, sick, sick, sick.

I must congratulate Maggie Haberman of the New York Daily News for reporting a story that leaves me pretty much speechless. My only thought: this is not a good day for the Tribe.

[What, no excerpt?--ed. Not with this story -- you'll have to click on it yourself. Here's a link to the less lurid but also less informative wire service account.]

posted by Dan on 02.02.05 at 10:04 AM


His lawyer, Mark Kurzmann, ... suggested the babies could have contracted herpes elsewhere.

Like in a nightclub toilet or something, I suppose.

posted by: Kieran on 02.02.05 at 10:04 AM [permalink]

Very sickening indeed. How devasting for the families whose children have died or are infected. A ritual that was supposed to bring blessing to their children has only brought illness and death.

posted by: PajamaHadin on 02.02.05 at 10:04 AM [permalink]

Religious tradition or not, this tragic case serves only to highlight the barbarity of genital mutilation, and the illness that afflicts those who practice it. Truly horrendous.

posted by: Anonymous Coward on 02.02.05 at 10:04 AM [permalink]

I agree with anonymous. Circumcision is an ignorant barbaric practice and it needs to be eliminated.

Any god who expects this kind of worship is morally repugnant. Anyone who subjects their child to this god, ditto.

The argument for tradition and cultural heritage falls very short. My ancestors thought that an important part of their cultural heritage was black slavery. And they were right, without black slavery, their culture could not continue. So what? Slavery is unconscionable; so is circumcision.

If your culture depends on immoral practices to continue, you are morally obligated to abandon your culture.

posted by: Ray on 02.02.05 at 10:04 AM [permalink]

I understand the arguments against circumsion, and yet both of my boys were circed for purely cosmetic reasons. As shallow as it may sound, I like the idea of them looking like me. Does this make me a bad or barbaric person? I don't know how it goes in the religious vareity, but a local anesthetic was used.

posted by: JJ on 02.02.05 at 10:04 AM [permalink]

"... looking like me" ? What, you and your kids are all going to stand around in a circle and compare ? Maybe that's what African mothers say before their daughters undergo female circumcision -- which, you know, is also called female genital mutilation. It's illegal in the U.S., and grounds for asylum. Just like, hmm, torture. Although, dunno, maybe being tortured under local anesthetic makes all the difference.

posted by: k on 02.02.05 at 10:04 AM [permalink]

"I like the idea of them looking like me."

You mean you have a two inch penis?

America is the only first world country that still circumsizes boys. Truly barbaric.

posted by: Patrick Dodd on 02.02.05 at 10:04 AM [permalink]

"America is the only first world country that still circumsizes boys. Truly barbaric."

Get over yourself. You forget to mention one very compelling reason - government-subsidized health care stopped paying for it, because it was not "medically necessary". In other words, it was rationed out of existence. "Barbarism" had very little to do with it.

Which is why there is now a thriving business in Europe providing such services to paying, adult customers, after-market, if you will.

posted by: Don Mynack on 02.02.05 at 10:04 AM [permalink]

There may be some good health reasons for male circumcision these days; the tissue involved is suspected to be an important site of HIV uptake/transmission (link), although not everyone agrees (link).

Not that an excuse is needed for what is usually a safe, harmless practice. Get upset with the rabbi, not the tradition.

posted by: Thomas Nephew on 02.02.05 at 10:04 AM [permalink]

Not only is this sick but what is he doing putting his mouth on it is that in any way appropriate?

posted by: nik on 02.02.05 at 10:04 AM [permalink]

Part of the lawyer's comment that was not reported: the story has been hyped up beyond recognition. The twins--Rabbi Fisher didn't want to do the circ because he saw white spots on them, but the doctor said it's nothing. In Staten Island, he didn't do the oral metzitza because the rabbi there didn't want to let him. Leave it to the media to turn it into a story.

posted by: soh on 02.02.05 at 10:04 AM [permalink]

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