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German court rules circumcision a "bodily harm"

This week a court in Germany ruled that circumcising boys for religious reasons is “bodily harm.” The ruling came as a result of a court case about medical complications following the circumcision of a four-year-old boy. The doctor was acquitted, but apparently the court felt like stirring up a shit-storm anyway.  The ruling isn’t binding but it certainly sets a precedent.

Also, this happened in Germany. And circumcision of newborn boys has been a tradition in Judaism (amongst other religions and cultures) dating back thousands of years. Er, guys? You do remember the Holocaust, right? Don’t you think you might want to step a little more lightly when it comes to religious freedom, and in particular the religious freedom of Jewish people?

We’re not talking about female circumcision, after all. (Which is illegal in Germany and is, without a doubt, bodily mutilation.) We’re talking about a practice which some parents request for purely hygiene or health or cultural reasons (a.k.a. Dad wants his son to look like him). In fact, there are a number of medical factors in favor of circumcision. The debate goes back and forth in this country — but it is far from a settled matter, as Dr. Joe noted on our site recently.

All of which is to say: this is kind of a big deal. So much so that we forced ourselves not to use a single turtleneck pun in this entire post.

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photo via flickr