Skip to comments.Jewish Faith, Circumcision, and Religious Freedom
Posted on 07/03/2012 2:41:15 PM PDT by NYer
In a previous post, I stressed the importance of standing up for the religious freedom of people of every faith, not just those who share our own convictions. In view of a recent development in Germany, I here wish to say that Christians, especially those of us who are Catholics, should be particularly outspoken in defending the rights of Jews and the Jewish people. It is not simply the memory of past crimes committed by Christians, including leaders of the Church, against Jews—crimes sometimes committed in the very name of Christian faith. It is the fact that we are taught by our Church, and so we believe, that the Jews are the chosen people of God, bound to him in an unbroken and unbreakable covenant. Moreover, for Christians, Jews are, in the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II, our “elder brothers in faith.” From a Christian point of view, the Jewish witness in the world has profound and indispensable spiritual meaning.
The recent development in Germany against which we Christians should loudly raise our voices is described by David Goldman (“Spengler”) in an article published today: “On June 26, the District Court of the Federal State of Cologne ruled that circumcision of children for religious reasons at the instruction of parents constituted the infliction of bodily harm and therefore was a punishable offense.” Of course, for observant Jews, circumcision of male children is not optional. It is required as a matter of Jewish law. To prohibit it is, in effect, to forbid Jews from being Jews.
In his article, Goldman, himself an observant Jew, includes the text of a letter he wrote to two German judges. He says: “Not even the Nazis thought of banning circumcision as a way of uprooting Jewish life in Germany. If your decree withstands a constitutional challenge, Germany once again will be Judenrein.” Further on he says: “The neo-pagan illusions of National Socialism have been crushed, although they lurk at the fringes of German politics. Despite their defeat, the National Socialists may have succeeded in extirpating the presence of the divine in German life. No action by responsible public officials since the end of the war has advanced their cause as forcefully as the evil decree you have promulgated.”
Of course, comparing anything to the unfathomable horrors of the Nazi genocide is problematical. The National Socialists hunted down and cruelly murdered every Jewish man, woman, and child they could find. They didn’t simply make it impossible for believing Jews to live in Germany or its occupied lands by banning a practice mandated by religious law. One can nevertheless understand the sense of outrage that would cause Goldman and others in the Jewish community to draw the comparison. What the Cologne court has done is outrageous. It is an outrageous assault on the religious liberty and the rights of conscience of Jews (and Muslims, by the way—the actual case in the Cologne court happened to concern Muslim parents who for religious reasons sought the circumcision of their son).
What was the judges’ motive? I’m not certain. I’m reasonably confident that it was not simply an act of anti-Jewish animus. Still, its disregard for the rights of Jews, rooted in their obligation to fulfill their duties under their covenant with the divine Creator and Ruler of the universe, is deeply disturbing to say the least. Perhaps the judges were moved by an argument, increasingly common in certain circles, claiming that circumcision results in a reduction of sexual pleasure, and thus counts as a form of child abuse when performed on infants (who, of course, cannot consent to the procedure). This argument was among those made by people who recently attempted to persuade the City of San Francisco to enact a law banning circumcision. Fortunately, the City did not enact the ban—for now.
As we Catholics and those of other faiths who have joined with us conclude our Fortnight for Freedom later this week on Independence Day, let us be mindful that the freedom we seek is freedom for all. Yes, it is about the appalling HHS mandates; and yes, it is about laws that shut down Catholic services to orphaned children or Catholic assistance to women trafficked into sexual slavery and other forms of exploitation; but it is also about laws that undermine the ability of Jews, Muslims, and persons of any other faith to fulfill their religious duties; and it is about the rights of people of every religion to manifest their faith in public life as well as in their temples, churches, mosques or homes.
Very few nonJews can still be counted as our friends. I’m glad this Catholic man stands up for us.
This raises an interesting question:
Some Jewish orthodox sects require a mohel to suck blood from a just-circumcised penis as part of their religious obligations. Recently, this practice caused the death of a child in New York:
How far can the State go in forbidding this practice (and thereby violating the religious freedoms of that sect)?
On the other hand, how can it be okay for someone to mutilate the genitals of an individual (the child), without consent?
You say -’Very few non-Jews can be counted as friends.’ You exclude Catholics, Christians, Mormons??? I believe you are in serious error.
I will say - when we (Christians) went to Jerusalem, we heard a lot of locals talking about Jews discriminating against Christians there. Perhaps we of One God should embrace each other rather than cast aspersions. Just a thot. We are all in this together, and together we form a huge presence on this planet.
Which “locals” would these be? The Israeli Jewish liberals like to spread a lot of propaganda against the more religious Jews. The local “Palestinians” have even worse to say.
The incident was not made public by NY Daily alone:
What are you disputing here? The argument or the incident? The answer to that will reveal to you if you might be on the wrong forum, yourself.
A two-week-old infant died at a Brooklyn hospital in September after contracting herpes through a controversial religious circumcision ritual, the New York Daily News reported. It is unclear who performed the circumcision, according to the Daily News.The NYDN likes to publish lots of anti-orthodox-Jew propaganda, FYI.
Is not circumcision pretty routine here in the US? Two of my children were immediately given circumcision. My oldest was not because he was premature and there were more important issues. But I do not recall being asked my opinion on the other two.
I’m neither Jewish or Catholic but I’m happy to stand by you and defend your rights.
Report: N.Y. mohel apparently tested positive for herpes
April 9, 2012
(JTA) — A New York mohel who performed the circumcision of one newborn who died of herpes and of three other infants who contracted the disease apparently tested positive for herpes, The New York Jewish Week reported.
Yitzchok Fischer, who was ordered in 2007 to stop the circumcision ritual of metzitzah bpeh, in which the mohel orally suctions blood from the circumcision wound, refused, however, to submit to a DNA test to determine if he is a match to the viruses found in the babies.
The Jewish Week reported April 6 that a copy of the 2007 New York State Department of Health order obtained by the newspaper through a Freedom of Information Law request said that he tested positive for an infection that he was “capable of communicating to others.”
The department redacted the order to protect Fischer's privacy, as required by law, and does not specifically mention herpes. But according to the newspaper, “both the context of the order and the facts surrounding Fischers case strongly suggest that the infection for which, according to the order, he tested positive is herpes.”
The order also describes the investigation carried out by the New York City Department of Health in the wake of three infections linked to Fischer in 2003 and 2004, The Jewish Week reported.
Several weeks ago, The Jewish Week wrote that it had obtained a tape recording indicating that Fischer may have continued to perform metzitzah bpeh after the order to desist was issued. Asked several weeks ago whether the state Department of Health would investigate Fischer in connection with a possible violation of the 2007 order, department spokesman Mike Moran would not comment.
The city health department has issued a warning against the practice. Haredi Orthodox leaders condemned the warning as an unnecessary and unwelcome government intrusion into their community's religious practices.
Human Beings have a right to their own bodies. Circumcision of infants or children should be banned as a violation of human rights. If ADULTS want to undergo circumcision, then by the same right to their own bodies, and right to their religious beliefs, they should be able to do so.
What level of physical disfigurement is the limit? Chopping off foreskins? Of chopping out entire clitorises in girls? Or chopping off hands or gouging out eyes of errant youths who violate religious proscriptions? How about chopping off heads of disbelievers, and shooting women who violate the religious “honor” of families?
As if humanity doesn’t have enough of a historical record to draw some obvious conclusions about this concept!
Most real evangelicals I know are your friends. We ask continually for blessings on Jews and Jerusalem and Israel.
Video is of Messianic Christians worshipping.
Arguments for banning circumcision come down to saying, “What Jewish people believe God told them to do - not just in passing but as the very sign of their people’s unique covenant with Him - is too horrible to be permitted.” That is like saying to observant Jews, “Your ‘god’ is evil, and so are you if you follow what you believe was commanded.”
One can easily see why Jews would consider this deeply insulting, and even threatening, since a reasonable next step is to conclude that evil people with horrible religious beliefs and intolerable practices should be eliminated.
People might think they’re not anti-Semitic, but there’s no other way to interpret it, once allowance has been made for cases of utter thoughtlessness.
I did that with my son with the knowledge that he could be circumcised by his own volition at a later time in life.
He has often told me since reaching adulthood that he is very grateful that I did not have him circumcised, for many reasons.
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