Someone in the [LiveJournal “buddhists” community] asked for opinions on circumcision, and I just had to weigh in. As I have not previously covered the topic here [on WordPress], I’m reposting. Yea:
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arbitrary choices, misinformation, and ethical bombshells
Having studied the issue quite extensively, I cannot support the practice of genital mutilation in any way, except perhaps in the case of adults who choose it for themselves and are well informed in their choice.
The alleged and long touted “medical benefits” of the genital circumcision of male infants have been extensively debunked by research and disavowed by much the medical establishment. Few organizational or government bodies remain willing to even tacitly support the practice, and most have in fact issued statements to denounce or at least discourage it. Austrailia, for example, has gone so far as to condemn the practice outright, and in the UK, physicians have the legal right to refuse to perform circumcisions as conscientious objectors.
Moreover, especially in the case of infants, the psychological trauma resulting from “circumcision” has been extensively researched, and the implications are grim, to say the least. It is well established that when members of a society deliberately inflict physical and psychological trauma on their children, those children routinely develop any degree of neurosis and sociopathy. Genital mutilation – however systematized, sterilized, institutionalized or euphemized it may be – enjoys no exemption from the etiology of psychological and emotional trauma.
But it’s BIG money – a multi-billion dollar industry in the US. Such dominating market influences lead to the distortion and misrepresentation of both research and real-world consequences (the “HIV” study cited earlier in this thread is one of many examples). Add to that a truckload of religious zeal, and you’ve got the makings of one very serious cultural vs. human rights snafu.
The most comprehensive and unbiased database, by far, covering issues surrounding “circumcision” can be found at the Circumcision Information and Resource Pages site.
I strongly urge parents to research this issue very carefully before choosing or permitting the ritual, or so-called “medical,” mutilation of their children’s bodies.
This is a very serious ethical issue, and must not be taken lightly.