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Sunday, May 1st, 2005

Circumcision

My wife asked me a week or so ago whether Penn & Teller’s Bullshit program was still on Showtime. Surprisingly, I remembered the question, possibly only because I hadn’t seen it in a while and liked it myself, and saw that it was on on Friday. The topic caught my attention – this episode was on circumcision.

I’ve been opposed to circumcision for a while now, but as a personal issue. If I try and remember how that started, I’ll probably never get to finish this post, so I’ll skip it for now.

I was interested, so I watched the show. I have found that I am in general agreement with a lot of P & T’s opinions, which can make watching their show a little boring – as in the “yeah, I know that” sort of way, but this one had a lot of good information. I never realized that there is a strong movement in the US to persuade people against routine circumcision, and that various medical societies (notably in countries with a history of circumcision) have prepared position papers on the subject, all against it. Some consider it a human rights issue and on par with female genital mutilation. The history was interesting, too. The US is very different from much of the rest of the world in its practice of circumcision, and it turns out that a lot of it is due to social zealots like Kellogg and Graham back in the 1800’s who thought it would help prevent masturbation.

But the most dramatic scenes for me were of babies getting circumcised. I don’t know how any parent could possibly permit it after seeing something like that.

My wife asked me my opinion when Boo was born, and I was pretty strongly against it. She had seemed surprised and a little concerned about Boo’s fitting in in the future, but she respected me and Boo was never circumcised. I am so happy about that now. There’s a lot of information about the topic out there on the web – any expectant parent should at least look into it.

I have actually mourned for my foreskin. Having no memory of it, it’s hard to appreciate what I lost, but the biggest thorn in my side was that I never had any choice in the matter, unlike other very important issues like baptism.

Posted by Greg as Family & Friends, Society at 10:50 PST

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