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Should Circumcision be legal?

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    I'm not sure if there has been another thread on this, but I couldn't find a recent one so I decided to start this thread.

    So the question is, should circumcision and other religious acts (like baptism) be allowed to be performed on newborn children, who have no say in the matter? Circumcision is widespread worldwide and practised most notably by Jewish and Muslim men.

    But is it fair? Is is right for parents to circumcise their newborn, who have no say in the matter, or is it equivalent to female genital mutilation (punishable up to 14 years)? To those who say it is no different from cutting your hair; your hair can grow back but unfortunately for those who didn't want to be circumcised, their foreskin can not. I'm totally sure about the pros/cons of circumcision in terms of cleanliness/health due to the lack of proper scientific, reliable evidence. Some say it is cleaner to be circumcised as it can lead to better hygiene and some say the opposite. All I know is that there is no requirement to be circumcised medically.

    It may be that the topic doesn't matter at all due to the lack of medical disadvantages on either side of the argument and that many who are circumcised don't feel hurt/annoyed or they think it is tidier etc., but this thread is more about the ethics of actually being allowed to do it to newborns, who can't object. Is it really fair on them?

    I personally am unsure, because making it illegal would spark widespread outrage due to religious tradition (but then again, this isn't really an indicator as to wether it is right or wrong) but I am inclined to feel that if someone wants to be circumcised, then that is their choice - not their parents to make for them.
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    No neither should be Christenings, they should be able to choose like I was able to when I was older enough


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    (Original post by Jack22031994)
    No neither should be Christenings, they should be able to choose like I was able to when I was older enough


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    Yes, I agree with you but I'm not sure if it could ever be implemented practically due to the massive opposition it would receive unfortunately
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    There are some occaisions when it's done for medical reasons, but that's not usually done until they're teenager/adult which is fair enough.

    I agree with the baptism etc. Children are practically forced into a religion by their parents. At such an age, they're gullible and believe whatever their parents tell them is true, including the existance for god(s). Fair enough, they should be allowed to go to the church or whatever with their parents if they've got nowhere else to go for that hour or whatever. But by baptising them etc and making them take active parts within the church, it's deluding them when they're so young and gullible and don't know about anything else. but if tenagers/ adults decide that they do believe, fair enough, they can go ahead and been baptised etc.

    I think they should realise that it's barbaric - at least in modern countries it's done under anaesthetic nowadays. My history teacher at gcse kept telling us that jsut because something has been done for hundreds/thousands of years, it doesn't mean it's morally right or the best method. I think that sentiment fits with this situation perfectly.

    Although with baptisms etc, the child could become an atheist when they're older (like me), but you can't reverse a circumcision.
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    It's infant mutilation that's more often than not either done for religious purposes (which isn't a good enough excuse. I don't care how many hundreds of thousands of millions of years you've been doing it for, it's still a barbaric practice) or because "it's the norm", which is an argument used by an American friend of mine.
    He is circumcised, as is his father, so presumably it follows through the family. I put the argument forth that no so long ago, slavery too was the norm, and just because something is the norm doesn't mean that it's right (and before anyone brings it up to me, no; I am not comparing circumcision and slavery, I'm using it as an example of social norms).
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    These are all very good points guys, but the reason I have a problem more so with circumcision as opposed to something like baptism is that circumcision is a permanent change to your body.

    Sure baptism and childhood indoctrination can be just as potent psychologically, but they are not permanent bodily mutations like circumcision that require expensive and risky procedures to recover from.
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    I think it should be banned, even as someone of Jewish descent, I think its up to the child to decide to have a circumcision or not. They can do so when they are 16. At 3 days old they are in no fit state to consent.

    religion is not a good enough excuse, if scientists/medics can prove that circumcision is beneficial to long term health then it might be an option, but actually, it only has a positive effect in reducing instances of tight foreskin and the hygiene eleent is negligible if males wash properly anyway.

    It also reduces the potentcy of nerves down there so sex is supposedly less entertaining.

    EDIT: You've negged, but there's no opposing argument. The fact is circumcision doesn't improve hygiene in the slightest. It's not a good enough reason to circumcise a child.
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    I believe baptism should be carried out when the child is old enough to ask for it. They know the true significant meaning of it then and can commit to being a Christian themselves as that's what they want


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    Theoretically it's been popular medical opinion that circumcision leads to a higher incidence of urinary tract infections. However that's possibly affected by controversial research done by Jewish doctors who were biased-the evidence isn't seen as reliable today. In fact, it's believed the opposite may just be true. The urethral opening in the penis is designed to create turbulent flow (it turns from a horizontal to a vertical opening very near the external opening) which actually acts as a natural cleaning mechanism when you urinate. Urine is normally (in the western protein filled diet at least) quite acidic, and the turbulent flow washes out the foreskin's inside and the tip of the bulb, removing dirt and bacteria as well as making it difficult for bacteria to survive there. I am one of the opinion that the circumcision removes this protective mechanism. I think the remnants of "evidence" for the medical benefits are remnants of the potentially biased trial, and the possibility of correlation instead of causality - circumcised people may in general be more conscious of genital hygiene, so that it is the clean people who were coincidentally circumcised rather than the circumcised people becoming "clean" people.

    So no - I don't think children should be able to be circumcised legally unless they have a condition requiring it. Parents have no ownership over a child, only a responsibility, and they shouldn't be allowed to make decisions about their body that aren't necessary medically.
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    (Original post by Hypocrism)
    Theoretically it's been popular medical opinion that circumcision leads to a higher incidence of urinary tract infections. However that's possibly affected by controversial research done by Jewish doctors who were biased-the evidence isn't seen as reliable today. In fact, it's believed the opposite may just be true. The urethral opening in the penis is designed to create turbulent flow (it turns from a horizontal to a vertical opening very near the external opening) which actually acts as a natural cleaning mechanism when you urinate. Urine is normally (in the western protein filled diet at least) quite acidic, and the turbulent flow washes out the foreskin's inside and the tip of the bulb, removing dirt and bacteria as well as making it difficult for bacteria to survive there. I am one of the opinion that the circumcision removes this protective mechanism. I think the remnants of "evidence" for the medical benefits are remnants of the potentially biased trial, and the possibility of correlation instead of causality - circumcised people may in general be more conscious of genital hygiene, so that it is the clean people who were coincidentally circumcised rather than the circumcised people becoming "clean" people.

    So no - I don't think children should be able to be circumcised legally unless they have a condition requiring it. Parents have no ownership over a child, only a responsibility, and they shouldn't be allowed to make decisions about their body that aren't necessary medically.
    It's funny that, I also hear lots of claims of circumcised people being less prone to HIV/STIs in general, having less "dirt", it being "neater" or "tidier" (not sure what that even means) etc. It's just as easy for me to say the exact same things right back at them because they have conclusive scientific and reliable evidence.
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    It would be interesting to hear the views of any Jews/Muslims/circumcised people in general. Do you oppose your circumcision at birth? Would you preferred to have chosen it for yourself? Or do you not mind at all?
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    (Original post by Giant)
    These are all very good points guys, but the reason I have a problem more so with circumcision as opposed to something like baptism is that circumcision is a permanent change to your body.

    Sure baptism and childhood indoctrination can be just as potent psychologically, but they are not permanent bodily mutations like circumcision that require expensive and risky procedures to recover from.
    I think i'm inclined to agree with you somewhat. Circumcision is quite a big deal as it's something permanent. I'd say that the child should have a say in it. By saying this i don't mean it should be made illegal by any means, i just think that if one is to have such a major change to one's body, then they should have a say in it.
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    So, when you say "should circumcision be legal?" you're implying that it's not, which in fact isn;t the case. You want people to have the right to choose, which I support.
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    In terms of inconsequential ceremonies like baptism that the child can disregard as an adult? Nah, no issue with that. However I am vehemently against the idea that parents can choose to have elective surgery performed on their child. How this can still be deemed acceptable in this day and age boggles my mind.
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    Circumcision should be legal, but only for medical reasons. Seems like the obvious answer to me.
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    (Original post by WillowSummers)
    So, when you say "should circumcision be legal?" you're implying that it's not, which in fact isn;t the case. You want people to have the right to choose, which I support.
    Perhaps my title was a bit ambiguous in meaning, but if you read my original post, then you would be clear as to what I was hinting at. Maybe a more suitable title would be "Should circumcision for newborns who can't object remain legal?" but I wanted to keep it short, and have the first post clear up any uncertainties.

    But thanks for the support
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    I agree.

    If people are agreeing with it on religious reasons its a bit hypocritical since their 'God who made us put it there for a reason. 'You knit me in my mother womb' Pslams (In both Torah & Bible) therefore by that circumcision shouldn't be wrong.

    Going on an evolutionary path - if we have it its and adaptation over billions of years and its there for a reason!

    Plus its irreversible - the child should choose, its their body. When you're 16 then you can go to your doctor and say 'Snip it off'.

    Re: religion, that will never change partially due to the influence on the world of the Church. Luckily most religions promote good morals so it wont 'harm' the child per se and if they don't want to be religious like me they can go '**** it!'
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    (Original post by Jack22031994)
    No neither should be Christenings, they should be able to choose like I was able to when I was older enough


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
    (Original post by Giant)
    Yes, I agree with you but I'm not sure if it could ever be implemented practically due to the massive opposition it would receive unfortunately
    This is why you have confirmation. The point of baptism is (at least partly, there are other reasons) that it helps your parents to bring up their child in the faith that they believe in, just like parents of any religion (or not) will bring up their children with the moral values that they believe in. Then, when the child is old enough, they are given the choice of confirmation; they can choose whether or not to continue with the religion in which they have been brought up. This is much the same as when you leave home, it becomes your decision as to how to behave. Your parents decide for you when you are young, and when you are capable of deciding for yourself, you can and should.

    To sum up: parents have to make decisions for a child when that child is young. Once they are of a certain age, and become responsible for themselves, then they are able to make their own life choices.
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    I'm glad that we haven't had anyone arguing for this practice, although I would love to hear the religious view on this issue.

    If it's simply based on scripture then that's a shoddy excuse for child mutilation.
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    (Original post by FrogInABog)
    This is why you have confirmation. The point of baptism is (at least partly, there are other reasons) that it helps your parents to bring up their child in the faith that they believe in, just like parents of any religion (or not) will bring up their children with the moral values that they believe in. Then, when the child is old enough, they are given the choice of confirmation; they can choose whether or not to continue with the religion in which they have been brought up. This is much the same as when you leave home, it becomes your decision as to how to behave. Your parents decide for you when you are young, and when you are capable of deciding for yourself, you can and should.

    To sum up: parents have to make decisions for a child when that child is young. Once they are of a certain age, and become responsible for themselves, then they are able to make their own life choices.
    I do agree that parents are responsible for their children; but that is in the sense of looking after them, providing food, shelter etc. But I think indoctrinating children into a certain religion through the use of procedures like baptism, circumcision that the child does not and can not agree to is wrong. Parents have responsibilities, but their children also should have the right to choose for themselves.

    It's a bit like how the government is (at least partially) responsible for the welfare of it's people, but it's citizens should still be free to choose what they want to believe and practice for themselves (although I do understand the obvious distinction between Government-Citizen and Parent-Child relationships.)

    (Original post by Carter78)
    I'm glad that we haven't had anyone arguing for this practice, although I would love to hear the religious view on this issue.

    If it's simply based on scripture then that's a shoddy excuse for child mutilation.
    I agree, usually I see people vehemently defend their circumcision. It would be nice to consider an opposing viewpoint, just to see what their opinions are on the topic. Couldn't agree more with your point on it being a lacklustre excuse if it is solely based on an ancient 2000+ year old (not even medieval) scripture.

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