Green Room

San Francisco “Civil Rights Advocates” Back Ballot Proposition to Ban Circumcision

posted at 11:58 am on February 22, 2011 by

Expect a din to arise from the left, as opponents vociferously argue that the measure is an assault on religious freedom. Or not, since the religion whose traditions are being assailed does not claim “protected” status, like Islam. (“Protected” status is to religion what “diverse” is to ethnicity.)

The issue at hand is whether circumcision should be banned in San Francisco. Lloyd Schofield, a Bay Area resident, believes it should be. That is why is busy collecting signatures to make circumcision illegal until the owner of the organ to be circumcised has “attained the age of 18.” Ouch!

Schofield has until April 26 to gather the 7,168 valid signatures needed in order for the proposition to make it onto the ballot. The Examiner reports (h/t Steven Ein):

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.”

As those who are schooled in the ways of Judaism are aware, circumcision is ritually performed on Jewish males on the eighth day of life in a ceremony known as a bris. The decree that males be circumcised appears in Genesis (17: 1-14).

Although several Jewish organizations have expressed concerns over Schofield’s proposed bill on the grounds that it violates their religious freedom, he and other proponents of the ban have the scientific wind currently at their back. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Medical Association no longer recommend routine circumcision.

Although some studies suggest that circumcision reduces the risk of STD transmission, others  indicate that the procedure carries risks, including diminished sexual function. If the ban does become law, mohels—professionals who cut the foreskins of Jewish infants—would face a fine of $1,000 and a year in prison. Oy!

Cross-posted at the Examiner. Follow me on Twitter or join me at Facebook. You can reach me at howard.portnoy@gmail.com or by posting a comment below.

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Expect a din to arise from the left, as opponents vociferously argue that the measure is an assault on religious freedom. Or not, since the religion whose traditions are being assailed does not claim “protected” status, like Islam. (“Protected” status is to religion what “diverse” is to ethnicity.)

You think this proposal ‘assails’ Jews and not Muslims? Is there something in the proposal which fines Jews and not Muslims?

lexhamfox on February 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

I should point out that the required age of circumcision for Muslims is 13, because that is the age at which Yishmael was circumcised when Abraham received the initial command to circumcise himself (at age 99) and his family. Isaac was born the following year and was therefore subject to the command at the age of 8 days.

Since the proposed law bans circumcision under the age of 18 years, it would also affect Muslims.

sabbahillel on February 22, 2011 at 12:31 PM

You think this proposal ‘assails’ Jews and not Muslims? Is there something in the proposal which fines Jews and not Muslims?

My reference was to the foolishness that arose over the Ground Zero mosque, where liberals were screaming that Muslims’ religious freedoms were being violated. This bill, if voted into law, would have more of an impact on Jews than it would Muslims insofar as circumcision is standard Jewish law, whereas in some Muslim sects it is forbidden.

Howard Portnoy on February 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM

But female genital mutilation snipping is still alright and to be fought for under all circumstances…right?

uknowmorethanme on February 22, 2011 at 12:38 PM

uknowmorethanme on February 22, 2011 at 12:38 PM

It’s not a religious practice. There are no religions I am aware of which have this as a basic tenant which is why the 1996 federal prohibition has not been challenged with first amendment arguments.

lexhamfox on February 22, 2011 at 12:49 PM

So… we can kill babies right up to the moment of birth, but a post-birth snip of a fold of skin is a serious human rights violation. Right. Got it.

Laura Curtis on February 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM

The same American Pediatric Assn that instead of strongly speaking out against female circussion recommended doctors perform a ‘mock female circummsion’ by nicking the clitorus and drawing some blood.

Also the real issue is religious freedom not routine circummsions – which may come and go as a fad.

San Francisco must be the BEST PLACE EVER to live – free of crime and no fiscal problems -that they can spend all there time banning circummsion, happy meals and the selling of pets.

hotdax on February 22, 2011 at 12:53 PM

So… we can kill babies right up to the moment of birth, but a post-birth snip of a fold of skin is a serious human rights violation. Right. Got it.

Laura Curtis

A+

beachgirlusa on February 22, 2011 at 2:18 PM

So… we can kill babies right up to the moment of birth, but a post-birth snip of a fold of skin is a serious human rights violation. Right. Got it.

Laura Curtis on February 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM

” . . . right up to the moment of birth . .”.

Aapparently, in some states, the authorities will look the other way while the “abortion provider” snips the live fetus’ spinal cord if inconveniently born during the procedure.

BigAlSouth on February 22, 2011 at 6:07 PM

In San Francisco?

Isn’t this somewhere that you’re certain to be offended by citizens that practice body piecing and skin stretching and botoxing?

ericdijon on February 22, 2011 at 6:53 PM

body piercing

ericdijon on February 22, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Laura Curtis on February 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM

A++

What size cape do you wear?

Robert17 on February 22, 2011 at 7:50 PM