I find the whole idea of mutilating a baby’s genitals to be pretty fucked up.
Doing it because you think your imaginary friend wants you too is majorly fucked up. I don’t think too much of any supernatural being who actually cares about baby dick, but the Abrahamic notion of “God” is a being with serious psychological disorders.
Some “ultra-Orthodox” sects of Judaism think that baby-dick-mutilation should come with an added garnish of crazy: They believe that when you hack off a piece of a little boy’s penis, you should then immediately suck his dick.
Of course, anyone outside of this little sub-group of wackos probably finds the practice to be utterly insane. If you follow any Abrahamic religion, hold your outrage, buddy. You have no room to judge.
But, it seems that it is also at least arguably medically dangerous — since a couple of babies a year (in New York City alone) wind up with herpes from the post-slicing baby-dick-sucking. According to the New York Times, 11 babies caught herpes from this practice from 2004 to 2011, with two dying and two suffering brain damage.(source)
Responding to the health issues, New York City required the baby-dick-sucker guy to give the parents a consent form, warning them about the dangers of having a piece of their baby’s dick sliced off, and then having an old bearded guy suck their baby’s dick.
Seems reasonable, I guess. I mean, it might be more reasonable to say that genital mutilation should be banned altogether, and failing that, you ought to have to do it in a medically sterile manner — you know, clean the blood off with something other than an old bearded guy’s mouth.
But New York City’s government knows better than to challenge bizzarro desert cults’ superstitions. So they went with trying to warn parents that if you let an old guy suck a freshly mutilated penis, his mouth just might not be the most sterile cleaning rag you can find.
The baby-dick-suckers were not amused.
[Attorney] Shay Dvoretzky, said the practice, which is prevalent in parts of the ultra-Orthodox community, is a constitutionally protected religious activity. He said that requiring ritual circumcisers, known collectively as mohelim, to be involved in conveying the city’s perspective on the procedure would infringe upon their rights of free speech.
“That lies at the heart of First Amendment protection,” Mr. Dvoretzky said. (source)
And (don’t hate me) I just might have to side with the baby dick suckers on this one.
Under Miami Herald v. Tornillo, the government can not compel you to speak any more than it can stop you from speaking. Requiring a shaman from any cult to convey the government’s message runs afoul of that principle.
So what, if anything, can be done?
I suppose that the City could try to simply say “no more baby dick sucking around these parts.” I can not imagine that sucking a baby’s dick would be acceptable in any other context. But, if the cult members say that this is, indeed, part of a sincerely-held religious belief (which I can’t challenge them on) then where would the government get off saying that the practice should be banned? Is saving two lives every 7 years, and 11 cases of herpes infection enough of a governmental interest to warrant infringement upon this group’s sincerely held religious beliefs?
On the other hand, how about banning baby genital mutilation altogether? A two-second-suck of the baby penis is icky, but I can’t imagine that it causes all that much harm (unless there’s been fresh mutilation). On the other hand, genital mutilation of millions of defenseless boys a year just might be something that we could ban.
Denmark is investigating whether it should under the nation’s health code. A little movement in California to ban the practice got kicked in the nuts. And, I think any effort to actually ban circumcision would be doomed to failure. Facts are irrelevant when confronted with the shrill cries of “anti-Semitism.” (I think we all need to remember that circumcision is not exclusively a Jewish thing, not by a long shot – but that if you have an issue with circumcision because you have an issue with Jews, then you’re a fucking asshole).
So what should be done?
I say balance the interests. Let’s not burn political capital by having to argue with irrational fuckheads who believe in some seriously-deranged space man, who are capable of hijacking any rational discussion. Lets not risk running afoul of the First Amendment either.
Let’s privatize the issue.
I suggest that any child who gets genitally mutilated as a minor should have a private cause of action against any and all individuals involved, for say 10 years after reaching the age of majority. That way, if you’re raised in some stupid cult, you have an adequate period of time in which to free your mind, or choose an adulthood of slavery to superstition. If, in that 10 year period, you figure out that you’re not pleased about having part of your dick cut off, you should be able to bring a claim against the doctor or mohel. Further, if you’re going to perform circumcisions as a doctor or mohel, you ought to have to carry insurance or a bond to cover any future damages brought by disgruntled victims in the future (as there’s a damn good chance that the mutilator will be dead by the time the case ripens).
Of course, this will lead to a slight burden on the practice. I don’t know what bonding companies or insurance companies will want to charge for such a risk. But, that’s just our beloved free market in action. I’m sure that no matter what it costs, there will be someone who actually believes that this magic space man wants baby dicks mutilated. There will still be parents who think so too. Therefore, lets say it costs a shitton of money to buy the dick-mutilator insurance. So what? If you’re a dick-mutilating parent, I sure as shit hope that it means a lot to you, and you’re not slicing up kid’s dick lightly. So if it winds up costing a grand or so to slice up your boy’s pecker, so what? I mean, is it really a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, if you really do believe in god, and you think that he’s such a fucking weirdo that he wants your boy’s dick cut up?
Circumcision still allowed, but there is some avenue for justice for its victims. But, if you get circumcised as, for example, a Muslim baby and then you grow up to fully believe that Allah was good to want you to be hacked up, then no harm, no foul.
I’d imagine that non-religious circumcision would drop to almost nothing, but so what? I’m concerned about protecting a Jewish parents’ right to practice their religion, as much as I may mock it. I’m not concerned with the parents who say “lets cut up his dick because, umm, just because.”
There, problem solved. Religion respected. No anti-Semitism. No First Amendment problem.