You have probably heard of sexual assault against children. There are various behaviors some people might do to their kids - rape or intercourse, rear end raping boys, cutting off pieces of kids genitals, screwing around with boys genitals, other things like beating or spanking, and so on. And then the victims are supposed to keep quiet about what was done to them. Suppose I tell you what they did to me anyway. Do you think you should tell me how ignorant or no good I am for telling you or for thinking it was a bad thing or for making you feel too guilty? So for example if you hear a story about any sort of assault against children you immediately, automatically know the behavior is a bad thing you should not do to your kids if you have any. The reason you are able to recognize these behaviors are bad is not because you are so smart or because you used logical reasoning, it is because most people around you think these behaviors are wrong. But if you are a typical person, if an abuse or assault normal in your culture, the fact that the assault is normal in your culture inhibits your ability to recognize it as wrong.
So my parents are part of a bizarre cult and in following the cult's rules, they paid a guy to come to their house and do this bloody assault (there ritual actually requires blood to come out, I am just not supposed to say so) where in a bedroom he strapped me onto a board and cut part of my genitals off, for the sake of a religion I did not believe in then and I do not believe in now, while I cried my heart out and 30 guests were in the living room and then they had a perversely joyous celebration, and my assaulter put bandages on the mutilated remains of my body parts and he and my dad said the prayers and then they called it a mitzvah and everybody was so happy and proud that my parents had a son and this is what Jewish people have to do to celebrate when they have a son.
So now I am re-educating you because I want this assault to become illegal. Circumcision is very serious sexual assault and permanently damaging sexual mutilation, which was invented by certain ancient tribes, in order to try to inhibit masturbation, because religion entails a certain kind of mental disorder which is a serious, severe, gut instinctive hatred of certain body functions and sexual behaviors, and then the reason typical people do not understand this is because any assault that is normal in a culture, typical people people in the culture are not able to recognize it as bad but any assault that is not normal in a culture, people in that culture immediately recognize the other assaults as bad. So for example if you are a typical person you recognize that female circumcision is bad but you think male circumcision is good or neutral. Or Typical people know perfectly well that this assault is wrong but they have to do it anyway.
The fact that most men are not able to do not recognize what they are missing does not make this assault ok, and all the medical reason's in favor of circumcision are false, just as false as the reasons in favor of religion; all the medical excuses are myths and superstitions, there is no such thing as a valid medical reason and non Jewish circumcision is also evil. The complication rate is 100% and I had an epiphany when I was 27 where I became rather aware of what they did to me and what I am missing.
Oh dear, I am a villain, according to a particular line of thinking. I had my son circumcised and Cary's mother had him circumcised before we got him, as well. That was in 1963 and 64. We mothers didn't know any better. We thought it was one of our obligations to have circumcision done. It wasn't until I was a great-grandmother that I realized it was not necessary, except for religious traditions. Oh! my g*d! I was not educated by the proper people. Religion should have nothing to do with recommending or encouraging a mother and father to have their sons cut. If there were a medical or hygiene reason, that is another matter.
It is like insurance companies having a say in what basic procedures can be done or what meds can be prescribed. I do agree that face lifts and tummy tucks should not be covered by insurance toward which working people share in the burden of costs for cosmetic procedures and Rx. By basic, I mean regular examinations, checks for cancers, paying attention to cardio-, pulmonary, and liver functions, vaccinations, eye care and educating participants in nutrition, exercise and good hygiene.
We know better now. You can be sure every mother does her best given the information she has. Playing the blame game, or accusing others, condemning policies and practices that change over time, use up precious time and energy.
I am not a fan of Oprah, but she lucks into some wisdom now and then." If we knew better we would do better."
Now that we know better, let's be part of the solution. We have good strong evidence that circumcision is usually not required, unless some compelling medical reason says it should be done. We can inform young mothers and fathers and give citations for them to read to learn for themselves, how to make decision on this matter. Conflict between mother and father can be discussed and reconciled to a degree that both can agree.There need be no problem within the relationship because of this decision.
Michael, you make very valid points and I can find no fault with anything you say. Now, the next step is to work to make changes. Women didn't get the vote until they took steps to make changes. Blacks didn't get the vote and their civil rights until they took steps to make changes. Genital mutilation and footbinding didn't end until mothers refused to mutilate their daughters or bind their feet.
Someone has to step out and take a stand, just as you are doing. Find those who agree with you and build a coalition. Find legislators that agree with your position and get the ball rolling to make legal changes. The laws won't be made the first time you make the proposal or gather enough signatures. I worked very hard to get the ERA passed and so did my mother and grandmothers. We still don't have an Equal Rights Amendment. My daughter, granddaughters and great-granddaughters may have to take on the torch when we pass on; we will have to have the ERA for women and it does not come easily.
Develop your plan, identify those who agree with you, build coalitions, start making phone calls to gather support and to inform your legislators. Make a state map and keep track of which states pass laws against circumcision. Find legal minds who share your values and write proposed legislation. Write articles for newspapers, radio stations, TV programs. Seek the help of actors to develop PR materials. Go to the religious leaders of your community and see if you can get support from any of them. Become known. Incorporate the help of medical professionals who can help educate the public.
I still have my map on the wall, keeping track of marriage equality states. I had a mailing list and leaders of the community I developed a relationship with. You have your work cut out for you. It will not be easy. There will be many challenges. You are up to the task and can make a difference in ways that are important to you.
Let me urge you to stop whining and get busy making things happen. There are no votes that will drop out of the sky. You have to pull them together. When you have reached my age, 78, and I have worked on so many efforts to empower women, that I can be in my retirement years and know I have done all I can to make a difference.
So can you. Imagine yourself at 78, sitting quietly, remembering all the struggles, all the time, all the effort that it took to gain rights, civil rights, human rights for worthy people.
You have my support, even if I am no longer able to carry a sign or conduct a project to collect signatures, or a get out the vote effort.
For young parents who will look for it, there are now helpful sites devoted to the subject.of circumcision: medical studies, discussions, scholarly articles, debate. Of course it's a waste of time chiding loving mothers who were too gullible about a standard practice. But, I think, condemning the practice, or as you say Joan, "condemning policies and practices that change over time" is exactly the right thing to do! That's how practices change. "TIME" doesn't change anything, we do. "If we knew better, we would do better" is very true. That's why we're trying to make sure that today's young parents DO know better!