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Germans retreat from circumcision ban

Germans retreat from circumcision ban

GERMAN lawmakers have passed a cross-party motion to protect religious circumcision, after a regional court ruled it amounted to bodily harm.

According to the BBC, the resolution urges the government to draw up a bill allowing the circumcision of boys.

Germany’s main political parties – together with Jewish and Muslim groups – have criticised the June ruling by a Cologne court. Chancellor Angela Merkel said the the ruling risked making Germany:

A laughing stock.

The Cologne ruling involved a doctor who carried out a circumcision on a four-year-old that led to medical complications. He was acquitted. The ruling was not binding, but  critics feared it could set a precedent for other German courts.

Germany’s Medical Association told doctors after the ruling not to perform circumcisions.

The motion approved yesterday in the lower house of parliament says the government should:

Present a draft law in the autumn … that guarantees that the circumcision of boys, carried out with medical expertise and without unnecessary pain, is permitted. Jewish and Muslim religious life must continue to be possible in Germany. Circumcision has a central religious significance for Jews and Muslims.

Ahead of the vote, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (above) said the proposed motion showed that Germany was:

A tolerant and cosmopolitan country.

European Jewish and Muslim groups earlier also joined forces to defend circumcision. An unusual joint statement was signed by leaders of groups including the Rabbinical Centre of Europe, the European Jewish Parliament, the European Jewish Association, Germany’s Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs and the Islamic Centre Brussels. It said:

We consider this to be an affront [to] our basic religious and human rights.

The BBC’s Stephen Evans in Berlin says opinion in Germany about the issue has been mixed, though slightly more Germans were in favour of the ban.

He says that many readers’ comments on newspaper websites have indicated anger that this generation of Germans seems to be being constricted in its actions because of the Holocaust.

Thousands of Muslim and Jewish boys are circumcised in Germany every year.

36 responses to “Germans retreat from circumcision ban”

  1. RabbitOnAStick says:

    The fact that in 2012 religious groups not just want – but ‘constitutionally demand’ to continue this ridiculous butchering practice astonishes me. And for the Germans to allow it is even more stupid. To do this in the name of a religious reason shows just how ridiculous all religion is. What does an omniscient being [and there isn’t one] have to do with my foreskin. Its a stupid moronic bodily sacrifice of astonishing brutality. One can live with only one kidney but we don’t get rid of one after birth because the second one is ‘useless’.

  2. Ryan morrigan says:

    “Basic religious and human rights”??? What about the babies’ right to choose their own religion and not be mutilated and branded while they’re too weak to defend themselves? I was circumcised as a baby and you know what? I WANT MY FORESKIN BACK!!!!!! I just want the world to know that I’m going to start having children soon and not only will I NOT have them butchered, but I will vehemently chastise any parent who does such a thing to their child. No more of this polite, PC, “it’s ok that u mutilate babies and suck on their bloody penises because you believe in fairy tales” crap. Religion is insane and cruel and dangerous, even at the moderate level. I’m so mad. I can’t believe grown adults can subscribe to these ghost stories.

  3. stokebruernehuman says:

    Angela Merkel thinks that outlawing circumcision would make Germany a laughing stock? Really?
    If they repeal then not only will Germany be a laughing stock but it will be viewed as a cowardly country afraid to stand up for the rights of children in the face of intolerant, primitive, hysterical religious bullies.
    Let Angela Merkel lead by example and submit herself for amputation, without anaesthetic, of her clitoris. I have high regard for the modern German people but if they back down on this one then I will regard them with the contempt they deserve.

  4. James Loewen says:

    “The Cologne ruling involved a doctor who carried out a circumcision on a four-year-old that led to medical complications.”

    According to the attending physician those “complications” were far more serious than mere bleeding. The child (and the man he becomes) will likely have severe trauma and lifelong problems because of this surgical sexual abuse.

    Forced circumcision is abuse and battery. The willful cultural blindness that allow this abuse to continue is deeply disturbing.

  5. JohnMWhite says:

    One step forward, two steps back. Here we see religious bullying asserting its authority on a would-be secular state, and getting away with it. The irony is they get away with it because politicians are at heart soulless, believing in nothing but their own success, and so are willing to sell out their entire population to avoid offending zealots.

    Angela Merkel is not an idiot. She can’t be stupid enough to actually think the world is laughing at Germany for no longer allowing a brutish bronze age mutilation of children. She is simply stroking the egos of violent, vicious thugs. This is what lies at the heart of the incestuous relationship between faith and politics – people who do not care about anything but their own aggrandizement, entering into a mutual deal to ensure they can get away with whatever they want. What does it take to get Muslims and Jews to work together? Not a desire for peace, not a desire for mutual respect and understanding, but a desire to cut foreskins off baby boys. That’s the mast they pin their colours to. That’s their priority, and that’s why I don’t have any qualms about declaring those that are so determined to preserve this bloody practice as genuinely terrible people.

  6. ivan says:

    No country in the world has an infant male circumcision ban. Germany is not in a good historical position to be a first mover on this. It can follow once other respected countries have established it as good human rights practice.

  7. JohnMWhite says:

    If we’re only going to promote genital integrity when and where it’s politically expedient, why even bother? Somebody’s got to have the courage to start.

  8. L.Long says:

    They ask for laws to prevent the ‘killing’ of a bunch of cells because they are beloved by gawd. But ten insist after birth that a different bunch of cells are hated by gawd and must be cut off. Desk and head meet repeatedly!!!!
    And others keep telling me religious people aren’t STUPID!!!!

    The main reason for this is pure cowardliness. The schite4brains can have their mutilations by waiting till 18 and making the decision. Oh WAIT!!! you want me to cut WHAT!!! For no good reason??? Watch people leaving the faith in groups!!!!!

  9. Trevor Blake says:

    Thank goodness that pesky Colossians 2:10-11 has been removed from the Bible, as otherwise people would be confused. Just because Colossians 2:10-11 says that circumcision can occur ‘spiritually’ (whatever that means) and doesn’t need to occur physically, well, who considers the Bible to know anything! That’s just a bunch of superstition. Except for the parts that are eternally true and unchanging.

    And regarding that passage in the Holy Quran about circumcision, well, just in case any of you are not familiar with it, I will reprint it in full below…

    … there, I hope that clarifies things.

  10. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    without unnecessary pain,

    And just what is necessary about circumcision? Apart from a childish belief in non existent deities.

  11. Bubblecar says:

    “GERMAN lawmakers have passed a cross-party motion to protect religious circumcision”

    Europeans disappoint, again, but at least they tried. What will it take to achieve a rational Europe? My guess – another two generations or so.

  12. jay says:

    “Thank goodness that pesky Colossians 2:10-11 has been removed from the Bible, as otherwise people would be confused. Just because Colossians 2:10-11 says that circumcision can occur ‘spirituall…. Except for the parts that are eternally true and unchanging.y’ (whatever that means) and doesn’t need to occur physically,”

    Note it’s Jewish leaders that are most upset, they don’t accept Colossians.

    I’m not at all surprised by the intensity of all this, especially in Germany. Could be close to political suicide. Politically it’s less risky to diss Christians.

  13. Angela_K says:

    The whinging, so called persecuted religious win again with yet another privilege and “get out of jail free” card. Merkel is spineless and not fit to lead a modern Germany. This is a bad day for humanity and a lost opportunity to move away from religious hegemony.

  14. Groover says:

    @JohnMWhite…..
    genuinely terrible people….
    Right on dood. Shakin my head in disbelief I live on the same planet.

  15. Hugh7 says:

    Merkel is afraid of German being the only country that doesn’t cut babies. But so is Norway’s health minister. The solution is obvious: they should hold hands and do it together.

    “A laughing stock”? The only ones laughing will be happy babies.

    There’s something odd about Merkel’s panic in the face of two minority religions wanting to carry out an obscure and ugly rite that breaches Germany’s Basic Law, and 1933-45 guilt isn’t quite enough to explain it. I think she’s been got at over something financial. Where is Wikileaks when we need them?

  16. Matt Westwood says:

    Depressing, but predictable. However, that’s just this year. This question will not go away, and the waves gradually erode the rock. I give it another 10 years at the max, unless there’s a serious right-wing backlash before then. Having said that, we’re in the grip of a worldwide right-wing swing of the pendulum now, so it’s probably time it swung the other way.

  17. Buffy says:

    We consider this to be an affront [to] our basic religious and human rights.

    So now mutilating and torturing children for no practical purpose is now a basic human right?

    It sickens me that all people need do is throw a tantrum and scream about “religious freedom” and they can get pretty much whatever they want.

  18. Matt Westwood says:

    @Buffy: That’s the way it’s always been – the difference being that there is now an internet for people to be able to shout loudly and visibly that this is no longer okay.

    Sorry for all this unbridled optimism – I had a day out yesterday and breathed in the sea air.

  19. stevolution666 says:

    They can talk about an affront to human rights when they stop abusing children like this.

  20. JohnMWhite says:

    To religions, it seems, abusing children is a human right, and a priority for their faith.

  21. Frank Li says:

    Faith in humanity… what faith?

  22. roger wadham says:

    The good news is that it will only take one jewish boy cut to complain in court that his human rights are less than other citizens and this religious exemption will be gone. In fact this whole thing is a big step forward, because the rest of the country will be protected and the loonies will look increasingly so while everyone else is OK

    I say support the exemption provided all others are protected, it will be the beginning of the end for them.

    BTW: Someone should point out that circ is NOT required in the Koran, its is not written there.

    In the meantime, someone needs to make official presentation that men who have been cut are outraged, this is not a bunch of tree huggers lobbying on behalf of intangible moral issues,someone needs to know that we exist. So far the lawmakers and the doctors simply don’t understand we exist.

  23. barriejohn says:

    Trevor Blake posted this (above), Roger:

    And regarding that passage in the Holy Quran about circumcision, well, just in case any of you are not familiar with it, I will reprint it in full below…

    … there, I hope that clarifies things.

    Rather good, I thought!

  24. Lazy Susan says:

    Chancellor Angela Merkel herself reportedly said the ruling risked making Germany a “laughing stock.”

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ilVO0clfYGS0YlgL5Ip2VfE8v5Lw?docId=CNG.f14b30618d72b360f008dc33199704fb.941

    I don’t agree with Angela on this point. It risks making Germany stand out as a defender of the rule of law in the face of religious privilege. Not a laughing matter at all.

  25. ivan says:

    Anywhere ban permanent cosmetic alterations such as tattoos on those too young to consent? I was going to say ear piercings, but on reflection maybe those aren’t permanent.

  26. Lazy Susan says:

    Is this the start of a sea change? I hope so. This is the same news as BarrieJohn refers to, but with a little more detail.

    “Threat to circumcision grows in Europe” — Jewish Chronicle Online.

    http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/70484/threat-circumcision-grows-europe

  27. Lazy Susan says:

    I read somewhere of an interesting thought experiment. What would the reaction be if atheist parents had their newborn children tattooed with something like “God Is Imaginary?” Perhaps on their penis, if the child has one.

    It seems to be exactly equivalent to religious circumcision – a permanent non life-threatening statement of belonging to a religious group.

  28. Matt Westwood says:

    How about: “If you want to mutilate your children, go away and do it somewhere else. Immigrant workers who want to come here and work are more than welcome – but please abide by our laws and leave your brutal primitive barbaric superstitious practices at the border.”

  29. barriejohn says:

    It’s not just immigrants, Matt, and at the present moment it’s not against the law!

  30. Matt Westwood says:

    Well no, but from the link from the story about the situation in Austria, where (as it says) most of those involved in this practice *are* migrant workers, it *is* relevant.

  31. barriejohn says:

    Nevertheless, you come across as an EDL supporter there, Matt!

  32. AgentCormac says:

    Here’s someone who doesn’t mind letting the world know what he thinks about circumcision.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/files/2012/08/foreskin.jpg

  33. Matt Westwood says:

    “Nevertheless, you come across as an EDL supporter there, Matt!”

    Such a political affiliation is not actually illegal, barriejohn.

    But fact is, IMO borders and nationality are irrelevant nowadays and people should be allowed to live wherever in the world they feel like. And, having moved to an area where things are better than where you came from, you should make at least a token effort to fit in with the locals.