Come November, residents of San Francisco are going to be voting on whether to repeal the First Amendment in the socialist paradise by the Bay. Well, at least insofar as it pertains to Jews. According to the San Francisco Examiner:
Most bans in San Francisco are enacted by the Board of Supervisors, but come November, it sounds like voters will have the opportunity to jump on the ban wagon by deciding whether to ban male circumcision.
San Francisco resident Lloyd Schofield said Thursday he is “on track” to have enough signatures to place his proposed measure on the November ballot that would make it illegal to “circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the foreskin, testicle or penis of another person who has not attained the age of 18.”
Schofield said he became the proponent of the local ballot measure after being asked to champion a local bill during a July symposium on circumcision held at the UC Berkeley. Schofield said he was approached by those affiliated with a group pushing for a federal bill to “end male genital mutilation in the U.S.,” according to its website, mgmbill.org.
He said he thought about it for two weeks and then decided to do it. “I always knew this was something wrong to do to a child,” he said.
The proposed measure would assess of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail for someone who performs a circumcision.
MGMbill.org is a private non-profit organization based in San Diego, California, seeking to pass a law that will end the practice of male genital mutilation (circumcision) in the United States of America. Currently, girls are protected from genital mutilation by U.S. federal law, but boys are not.
Although legal protection of only girls from circumcision would seem to violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the fact remains that it is still widely considered to be legal in this country to mutilate a boy’s genitals in the name of social custom, hygiene, religion, or any other reason. This is true despite the well documented lifelong damage that male circumcision causes each of its victims.
They had me going with the equal protection argument, but then I was brought up short by that last line. What “well documented lifelong damage” does circumcision cause? Well, given that this ban is being pushed in San Francisco, it should be obvious. According to the FAQ page:
The male foreskin performs a number of functions. First, it directly enhances sexual pleasure via specialized erogenous nerve endings such as the frenulum, the ridged band, and stretch receptors called Meissner’s corpuscles. The foreskin also serves to protect the moist, mucous membrane of the glans (the “head” of the penis) and the inner foreskin from outside elements, similar to the way the female foreskin protects the clitoris. When the foreskin is removed, the penis is transformed from an internal organ into an external one, initiating a desensitizing process known as keratinization. Keratin is a tough, skin-like substance similar to a callus that forms on top of the nerve endings of the glans, resulting in significant loss of sexual sensitivity. The foreskin also provides a gliding mechanism during sexual intercourse that reduces friction and locks in moisture, acting as a natural lubricant. The foreskin provides a number of other important functions as well.
Important enough not to merit mention, apparently. The FAQ goes on to make a claim that made me laugh out loud:
Many men who are circumcised suffer the same psychological effects found in rape victims. A sense of great loss and feelings of anger, distrust, and grief are common among circumcised men who are aware of the functions that the foreskin performs. Problems with intimacy in adult life, long term post-traumatic stress disorder, and feelings of personal powerlessness are also reported by men when discussing their circumcisions.
It would seem that these guys have been watching both too much Oprah and too much porn.
As a male of the Jewish persuasion, I can personally assure you that this is utter nonsense. But don’t take my word for it–most American men are circumcised (though obviously in most instances not for religious reasons), and can tell you that they don’t spend their waking hours contemplating their mutilated genitalia and wondering what might have been. They don’t hold it against their parents, they don’t have savage flashbacks, they don’t feel like rape victims (and by all means, suggest to a real rape victim that circumcised men know just how they feel and see if she offers you anything but contempt).
Oh, and let’s throw this out there as well: this is San Francisco we’re talking about. They would defend to the death the right of a 12-year-old girl to get an abortion without her parents’ knowledge and consent, but they would forbid a 17-year-old boy seeking to do his religious duty the right to be circumcised. How that for a double standard?
The equal protection argument might hold some validity if female circumcision were a matter of religion, but it isn’t. It’s not religious, it’s cultural. There’s nothing in Islam that mandates it, and there are Christians in sub-Saharan Africa who have practiced it. It’s also the case that it genuinely mutilates the genitalia of females, whereas as the “mutilation” involved in male circumcision is mostly in the heads of those men who get PTSD contemplating it. The legal protection for girls thus both makes medical and legal sense, while the abridgement of religious freedom for the sake of some bogus kind of “equal protection” does not. Here’s hoping that wiser heads prevail in San Francisco, and yes, I know how silly that sounds.
(Via Hot Air.)