Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Banning a Bris

I have held back from commenting on an anti circumcision ballot being put before voters in San Francisco. I did so because I saw it as really off the wall and in any case never passing constitutional muster. But according to an article in the Los Angeles Times an ACLU spokesman says that this is not necessarily so.

The measure might pass a 1st Amendment challenge. "If there is some support [among medical doctors or psychologists] for the idea that circumcision hurts children, the government could do this," he said.

Frankly I still do not think this measure has the slightest chance of passing. But that hasn’t stopped MGM leader Mathew Hess from trying. MGM is the name of the group dedicated to eradicating male circumcision in America until age 18. He has successfully gotten this measure on a San Fransisco ballot.

I don’t think there is any other term for this fellow other than Rasha. I can understand discouraging it. I can even understand that he might want to ban it but allow for religious exceptions. But to not even allow a religious exception for entire groups of people - Jews and Muslims whose religions demands it of them - is pure evil.

One could argue that his motives are genuine and sincere. He simply wants to give people freedom of choice. A choice that they cannot possibly make as an 8 day old infant (or 13 year old boy in the case of Muslims). What’s the benefit of being uncircumcised? Extra nerve endings that can increase the pleasure of sex. That there are medical benefits doesn’t matter to him. That’s because the health benefits can be taken care of with education and better hygiene. As long as there is better sex that’s enough to make it illegal.

Religious requirements? He has absolutely no use for that. No respect whatsoever for millennia of religious practices that were performed on virtually all male Jewish children no matter how far removed from observance a family was.

We are all Bnai Brith. Which is why that organization took that name for itself. The only requirement to be a member is to have had a Bris. Not that they checked. But that was a foregone conclusion for every male member that called himself Jewish.

Now Mr. Hess and his group are attempting to put it on Santa Monica's November 2012 ballot as well. Who knows where else he’s going with this?!

As unlikely as this may seem, there are actually Reform rabbis who are opposed to circumcision too. I met one once. He called it an unnecessary primitive and barbaric procedure. He had a look of disgust on his face as he said it! Unfortunately the influence of rabbis like this are not nil. Some Jews are opting out of it for their children. I’m not sure who is a bigger Rasha - this rabbi or Mr. Hess. But I have no love lost for either of them.

Let me repeat. I don’t think it will pass. And even in the highly unlikely circumstance that it does, I still don’t think it can pass constitutional muster despite what the ACLU says. Even though the medical community no longer sees it as a must and recommending it to all children, they still recognize the medical benefits when it is performed. To deny this medical benefit to be performed at an age when any pain (if there is any at age of 8 days) will not be recalled so that the pleasure of sex will be enhanced is at best a debatable goal.

My guess is that Mr. Hess is nothing more than a run of the mill anti Semite. Be that as it may - to deny this harmless and even medically beneficial procedure even to those whose religion requires it is to be purely evil.

How many Jews have ever complained that they had a Bris? If this measure were to ever be made law - imagine a young man of 18 wanting to have the procedure done for health reasons or a young Jew at age 18 who now wants to have it done for religious reasons – thinking that they could have had it as an infant. They will now experience pain and they will remember it.

I think the American people will recognize it wherever they may live. Including San Francisco and Santa Monica. And thoroughly reject this ballot proposal in massive numbers.