Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Cologne Ruling and the Limitations of Religious Freedom

"For the right to circumcise little boys."

I had been holding off writing about the ruling in Cologne, Germany, mostly because there have already been other excellent writings covering this landmark ruling, but also because circumcision laws simply aren't too exciting for me. The outcome is simply too predictable, with Jews playing the anti-Semite card and governments bending or outright ignoring their own laws and defying all logic and reason, not to mention the whole of modern medicine, to appease them.

This had already happened before, where lawmakers in San Francisco had to invoke an obscure law that allowed veterinarians to declaw cats, and California senators had to write a law making claims that defy the whole of modern medicine in order to "protect" the practice, and ultimately quell the anger of Jews and Muslims who defend it for "religious reasons." Fighting the law on "medical grounds" allowed lawmakers to circumvent the minefield of "religious freedom" and "parental choice," where it could be argued that female circumcision, and other abusive practices on minors, could be allowed.

As in San Francisco, I wasn't holding my breath regarding Germany; I knew that one way or another, the law had to be overturned, especially in Germany, where their Nazi past makes them particularly vulnerable to accusations of anti-Semitism, and leaders do whatever it is in their power to keep their record "clean," as it were. Back in July, Germany's lower house of parliament passed a resolution to strike down the Cologne ruling, and now a new law sanctioning infant circumcision has finally been drafted. It flies in the face of Germany's Basic Law, but I suppose German lawmakers see this as a necessary lapse in German law.

Circumcision in Germany vs. Circumcision in the US
Here is the problem; in America, circumcision is a practice that has been deeply ingrained in our culture. Even though the infant circumcision rate has dropped from about 90% in the 80's, to about 56% today according to the CDC, American males remain circumcised at large, approximately 80% of all US males having been circumcised in infancy. It is easy for a large group of circumcised lawmakers and legislators to look the other way, and/or prop up claims of "medical benefits," however poorly supported they may be. Who wants to believe that they were mutilated? That their parents allowed a charlatan to profit from them at their own expense? Or worse, that they allowed something dreadful to happen to their own children? A predisposition to view circumcision in a positive light makes it difficult to question the practice of infant circumcision.

The case is different in Germany, and other countries where circumcision is rare, limited only to religious groups, or surgical treatment that is genuinely warranted. The same predisposition in favor of circumcision doesn't exist, and it is viewed mostly as any other surgery, performed only when absolutely necessary, and I say "mostly" because up until the Cologne ruling, Germans still had to look the other way when it comes to the circumcision of infants as it is performed by Jews and Muslims.

While the male population in Germany remains anatomically correct at large, and while unlike American medical institutions the Germans don't buy into the so-called "benefits" of circumcision, Germany still bears the burden of its Nazi past, and they have other reasons for wanting to circumvent the issue, where giving the practice of the forced circumcision of minors the scrutiny that it deserves is tantamount to "anti-Semitism."

Cologne Court Ruling is Accurate
The court in Cologne ruled that circumcising a child that is not of age, without any medical indication, constitutes bodily harm, and that circumcising healthy minors is punishable by law. Predictably, Jewish and Muslim groups expressed outrage, rejected the idea that circumcising a healthy, non-consenting minor constitutes bodily harm, and insisted that the new ruling was an infringement on their "religious freedom" and "parental rights."  Appealing to compassion and sympathy, some have said the new law was an insensitive and mean-spirited attack on German Jews.

The "outrage" and claims of "insensitivity" seem to serve the purpose of drawing attention away from the case responsible for causing the court in Cologne to rule as they had. Authorities in Cologne didn't wake up one day and decide "today is a good day to antagonize Jews and Muslims."

It must be asked, what was the case, and who did it involve? What could cause the court in Cologne to issue such a controversial ruling?

The case did not even involve a Jewish mohel circumcising a child. The case involved a four-year-old boy who nearly hemorrhaged to death. His parents, being Muslim, had asked a Muslim physician to perform the surgery which resulted in serious complications. A doctor's letter says that the boy was brought to a children's emergency room by his mother two days after his circumcision, as the bleeding would not stop. Apparently a "urological surgical revision" of the circumcision "under general anesthesia" followed, after which the boy spent several days in a children's ward. Three dressing changes had taken place "under anesthesia." According to the doctor's letter, the exposed surface and the glans penis was "uneven, eroded, and fibrinous occupied". The boy spent days ten days in clinical treatment.

The Cologne district court was aware of the medical details, but they were not made public at the time. One reviewer, who had been commissioned by the Cologne Regional Court had attested to the physician who performed the circumcision, that the intervention had been "carried out in accordance with the rules of medical science." According to the experts, bleeding is a possible complication of circumcision.

And yet, despite all of this this, Social Democratic legislator Christine Lambrecht has the nerve to insist that "Genital mutilation has nothing to do with the circumcision of boys." The fact that a boy suffered complications and that he is left with a permanently disfigured member for the rest of his life is not as important as the "outrage" Jewish and Muslim groups have expressed at the German court for calling a spade a spade.

While religious groups express despairing cursing rage, and Germans concerned with their  political image sympathize with them, it's cases like these German courts have to work with. Yes, unless there is a pressing medical need (there was clearly none here), the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors constitutes bodily harm, and those who engage in the practice ought to face charges, as they are placing children at risks, such as the hemorrhaging the boy in this case suffered.

"Uncertainty" vs. Clarity
Something that I find interesting is how news outlets and opponents of the Cologne ruling insist that it has caused "legal uncertainty." But "uncertainty" for whom? Certainly not for German lawmakers and interpreters of those laws. German Basic law is already quite clear where it says:

Grundgesetz / Basic Law:
Article 1
[Human dignity]
  1. Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.
  2. The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world.
  3. The following basic rights shall bind the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary as directly applicable law.
Article 2
[Personal freedoms]
  1. Every person shall have the right to free development of his personality insofar as he does not violate the rights of others or offend against the constitutional order or the moral law.
  2. Every person shall have the right to life and physical integrity. Freedom of the person shall be inviolable. These rights may be interfered with only pursuant to a law.
Article 3
[Equality before the law]
  1. All persons shall be equal before the law.
  2. Men and women shall have equal rights. The state shall promote the actual implementation of equal rights for women and men and take steps to eliminate disadvantages that now exist.
  3. No person shall be favoured or disfavoured because of sex, parentage, race, language, homeland and origin, faith, or religious or political opinions. No person shall be disfavoured because of disability.

The fact of the matter is that, actually, up until the Cologne ruling, doctors in Germany who circumcised boys for purely religious reasons without medical necessity, acted within a legal gray area. Until recently, they could claim to have no knowledge of the criminality of performing religious rituals. Even if a court accepted the case later as personal injury, the doctor had to be acquitted due to this fluke in the law. Rather than "uncertainty," the Cologne ruling actually establishes legal clarity for the first time in Germany, by eliminating this possibility.

The "uncertainty" the Cologne ruling creates is in the minds of those who wish to continue to defend and conduct infant circumcisions; it is to those who wish to continue carrying out dubious practices under the law that clear and precise wording causes "uncertainty."

The laws could not be made more clear. Forced circumcision on minors is bodily harm, and, as evidenced by the very case on which this ruling was based, it puts them in danger, even when carried out by "professionals" under "medical conditions." Unless there is a clear and compelling medical reason to conduct circumcision on a minor, the professional is engaging in professional misconduct, not to mention violating the rights of that individual, and should be held punishable by the law. Physicians profiting from any other surgery on non-consenting minors would face charges of charlatanism and medical fraud.

It is creating an exception to the rules that govern all other areas of medicine which cause ambiguity and uncertainty. German lawmakers seem determined to recreate the legal gray area that the Cologne ruling abolished, to appease religious groups.

Clarity in America
In America, infant circumcision has no legal standing either:

 The 1st Amendment states clearly:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The 14th Amendment says:
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Permitting the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting infants violates the free exercise of religion, which includes the immunity from having a religion forced upon one's self, the freedom of speech of children, not to mention the right to their own bodies and self-determination, and the right for them to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, should any of them grow up to resent what was done to them. It abridges the freedom of speech of those wishing to them.

The U.S. Female Genital Mutilation Act already defies the 14th Amendment, as it affords protection from genital cutting to only one sex. Furthermore, the institution of a law that protects "religious and parental rights" places the federal ban on female genital cutting on shaky ground, because for better or for worse, it too infringes on "religious and parental rights."

There is a long line of US Supreme Court cases that place limits on what parents can inflict upon their children. One such case is Prince v. Massachusetts. The Court stated, "Parental authority is not absolute and can be permissibly restricted if doing so is in the interests of a child's welfare." The following assertions can be found in the majority opinion written for the above case:
"...neither the rights of religion nor the rights of parenthood are beyond limitation…The right to practice religion freely does not include the right to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill-health or death...
Parents may be free to become martyrs themselves. But it does not follow they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their children before they have reached the age of full and legal discretion when they can make that choice for themselves."

As clear as the law is, there is no need to make a special law, as the majority of Americans are in agreement that this is one area in law, courts can simply look the other way and scrutinize no further than "it's my religion" or "it's my right as a parent."

So what are German politicians to do?
German politicians who want to keep good relations with Jews and Muslims are stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, they've got the laws of their country to respect and uphold. On the other, they've got accusations of anti-Semitism to fend off. So what are they to do?

Back in July, Germany's lower house of parliament vowed to strike down the Cologne ruling. They sat and brainstormed on what laws they could create, what laws they could amend, in order to make the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors in the name of "religion" legally acceptable. This would be a difficult task, as they cannot write a law that stands in clear opposition to German Basic Law, which protects all citizens equally from forced non-therapeutic amputations.

Creating a special law that sanctions the religious practice of genital mutilation on healthy, non-consenting minors might clear up the "uncertainty" for those who adhere to the practice, but it would muck up the waters legally for Germany. A dangerous precedent would be established that religious groups could then use to argue that it is their "religious right" to be performing genital cutting rituals in girls. Adherers of Islam could be excused for slashing their children's heads open on their holy day of Ashura. As long as Germany is passing laws that favor religious groups, they may as well be asked to enact Sharia Law.

Father slicing his child's head on the day of Ashura.

So how do German lawmakers plan on getting past their own Basic Law?

Yes, that's right; it's almost as if San Francisco were repeating itself all over again. The rule of thumb seems to be, "When you can't win an argument, change the subject."

Law makers know that establishing a law that "protects" the "religious circumcision" of infants would land them in even more "uncertainty" than before, so, citing the latest AAP policy statement (they couldn't cite German medical organizations, because unlike the AAP, they don't buy the "benefits" line) they've decided to draft a law that would protect the "parental consent" of so-called "medical circumcision."

The solution of German lawmakers cannot be to establish a special law that "protects" religious practices, because this would be in direct opposition to Basic Law, so their solution was to circumvent the religious argument and recreate the gray area that the Cologne law abolished by willing into law that circumcision is a legit "medical choice," they way Mike Gatto did in California. You can see the details of the new law here.

*NOTE: The new AAP statement says that "the benefits [of circumcision] outweigh the risks," but it still says that they are "not enough to recommend circumcision." It should strike the reader as odd that American parents are being asked to consider "benefits" that a major medical organization could not use to recommend the practice, and somehow make a better judgement than the AAP itself.

Readers should take note of both the political slight of hand, and the self-contradicting tap dance happening here:
  • The court in Cologne reached its decision after a four year old boy, and others before him, suffered severe complications, despite the fact that his circumcision was carried out in a medical setting.
  • The ruling caused outrage in Jewish and Muslim groups who see it as an infringement on their "religious freedom," which German lawmakers have vowed to protect legally.
  • The solution is to talk about "potential medical benefits," this DESPITE the fact that a child suffered life-long complications, which triggered the Cologne ruling in the first place.

In America too, it seems courts medical boards prefer to minimize or completely ignore the risks and complications of the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors, be it in a "religious" or "clinical" setting. The last few years have seen law suits raised against both mohels and doctors who cut the glanses off the penises of Jewish and gentile children. In one particular incident, a New York rabbi gave herpes to three Jewish babies, one of whom died, by way of the ultra-orthodox practice of sucking on a child's wounded penis (AKA metzitzah b'peh), bringing the practice into question. Circumcision botches are so common that there are doctors that specialize in circumcision corrections.

But nevermind that! And nevermind the laws that govern our country, which already outlaw the forced genital mutilation of minors. Let's consider the myriad of speculative "benefits" that neither warrant surgery (as there is already less invasive, more effective treatment that affords those same benefits), nor concern a healthy, non-consenting child, and that no medical organization in the industrialized world, not even the AAP, could use to endorse the practice.

If this proposed new law is passed, it will serve as a third, perhaps even fourth precedent in the history of intactivism.

Let it be clear, that it is not possible to legally defend the forced genital mutilation of minors on the grounds of "religious freedom" or "parental choice," as this defies the basic laws of industrialized nations which guarantee justice, equality, and protection for all.

For this reason, politicians and other advocates of "religious freedom" must grope for pseudo-medical rationale to defend the deplorable practice of the forced genital mutilation of healthy, non-consenting minors.

 Is this about medicine, or about protecting cherished traditions?

This can be seen in San Francisco, where an obscure law meant for animal doctors had to be invoked to block the democratic process to protect a religious ritual, in California, where Mike Gatto, under the tutelage of Jewish Congressman Brad Sherman had to write a law decreeing the "medical benefits" of infant circumcision, and in Colorado, where Jewish Senator Joyce Foster and friends were seeking to recover medicaid funds for infant circumcision, touting "medical benefits" as the pretext.

In time, the argument of "potential medical benefits" too, will be seen as a fallacious argument in the justification of the forced genital mutilation of healthy, non-consenting minors.

Genital mutilation, whether it be wrapped in culture, religion or “research” is still genital mutilation.

It is mistaken, the belief that the right amount of “science” and "medical benefits" can be used to legitimize the deliberate violation of basic human rights.
Closing Remarks
Even if this new law passes, intactivists should not despair; those that do should have seen it coming. We shouldn't despair when politicians with agendas change the laws to attract voters. Laws don't change anything. They never do. In a social movement, laws are the very last thing to change. What we need to work on is changing people's attitudes. Female circumcision was swimmingly outlawed because our country already viewed the practice with disdain. History shows us that laws reflect social change, not bring it about. And, it looks like, judging by news articles and reports, the fact that more and more people are openly talking about the practice, the very fact that it's being questioned in courts, change is already happening.

The views I express in this blog are my own individual opinion, and they do not necessarily reflect the views of all intactivists. I am but an individual with one opinion, and I do not pretend to speak for the intactivist movement as a whole, thank you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

GRANOLA BABIES: Responses to "Celebratory" Ad

Since Granola Babies posted an inflammatory ad on Facebook, people have tried responding in different ways. While defenders of Granola Babies and their ad claim that their message was not meant to be inflammatory, and that all they've seen since posting the ad were "judgment" and "personal attacks," even gentle responses questioning the ad have been deleted, and some people have been outright banned for kindly and non-judgmentally suggesting the ad could send the wrong message. Granola Babies is not letting the other side be heard, silencing any dissenting views, which was the whole reason for my previous post.

Granola Babies has made it clear that they are not going to allow anyone to contradict them, and play the victim card to try and gain sympathy and corroboration from others, so intactivists have taken it upon themselves to publish the fact on their own blogs, and/or creating parodies of the Granola Babies ad themselves. (You've already seen mine.) Within the past twenty-four hours there have been a few recreations of the ad. A compilation of them can be seen on the Facebook group Saving Our Sons.

In this post I will share some of my favorites.

Given the fact that the name "Granola Babies" gives the impression that it's a crunchy group, the ad should have looked like this:

Originally posted on the Facebook group End Routine Infant Circumcision (4ERIC).

Among co-sleeping and breastfeeding, circumcision is a non-sequitur, beginning with the fact that co-sleeping and breastfeeding do not involve bodily mutilation. Furthermore, it is usually parents who co-sleep and breastfeed who are constantly having to justify themselves and find refuge among the crunchy crowd. Parents who circumcise don't have to work very hard to find support from their family members, their doctors, the news media etc. Just check out major parenting forums like CafeMom. To be more accurate, Granola Babies should have included "He is circumcised." with "My baby will never sleep with us.", "I let him cry it out."and "I exclusively bottle feed her."

It's interesting that advocates of Granola Babies and their ad say that intactivists have been nothing but "judgmental" and "attacking." It seems while any criticism of circumcision is misconstrued and exaggerated as a "judgmental attack," crunchy moms who choose leave their boys intact have to endure comments like "You didn't circumcise him? Ew, gross!" Or "He'll never get laid." The same people that utter these comments will turn around and say "MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS! WE'RE THE PARENTS, WE DECIDE! DON'T YOU DARE JUDGE ME!" if you suggest there's anything wrong with circumcision.

It's parents who choose to leave their children intact who have to take the heat, and who find refuge in crunchy groups. Parents who circumcise their children do not have to work hard to find the support for their "decisions" that they need. Most parenting forums will go as far as deleting any comment that has anything bad to say about circumcision, as thoughtful and constructive as it may be, in order to pander to moms and dads that circumcise. But for whatever reason, Granola Babies thought it is parents who circumcise their children who deserve a break.

It was easy to spot the non-sequitur here, wasn't it.

Somehow, I don't think female circumcision is a "parental choice" Granola Babies is willing to "celebrate."

I ask, do parents who "choose" to circumcise their daughters love their children more, or less than parents who "choose" to circumcise their boys?

This is probably Granola Babies' ad at the most basic level. They are a business after all. Pandering to mothers who chose to circumcise their boys and making them feel entitled for the sake of gaining their business will probably have been the worst business decision they ever made.

Up until now, the responses have been sarcastic and vengeful. But let's take a look at a different response. This one, on the Saving Our Sons Facebook page seems to be the most liked:

Perhaps this is what advocates of Granola Babies claim their ad was going for?

It's been pointed out to me on this very blog and in other mediums that there are mothers who have come to regret having had their sons circumcised. These mothers will have circumcised their sons because they actually thought was best for them. The fact that they come to regret a decision they made, and admit that they were wrong shows how much they love their sons, and how open minded they are to new information .

But this isn't about that.

I've said it in my last blog post, but I can't blame parents that "chose" to circumcise their sons. I think most parents have the best intentions for their children at heart, even parents that chose to circumcise their children. I asked in my last post, what parent would NOT choose to circumcise their child, having heard from doctors the horrors that would befall him were he not?

Some blame parents still; in my minds eye, parents are given information by the doctors they trust, and doctors take advantage of this trust to profit at their children's expense. "This is the age of information," some say. "Any parent could look up this information and come to the conclusion that circumcision is something they do not want to do to their kids." But why should they trust what they find on the internet over the authoritative "advice" from the doctors they trust?

Whose responsibility is it to know better? Who wields the knife? Who waives their credentials about insisting everybody call them "doctor?" Who went to school for 10 years or so to earn their degree? Whose professional responsibility is it to KNOW better? But somehow when it comes to circumcision they're suddenly "too stupid to know," and parents must weigh the "evidence" ("evidence" which no medical organization in the world can use to recommend circumcision by the way...) and come up with their own conclusion as to whether a surgical procedure their DOCTOR is offering them for their child is medically necessary or not?

In my opinion, it's not parents who are to blame; it is the doctors who take advantage of parental naivete and the bloated sense of entitlement they help stoke. A parent can look up all the information, but most do not know how to discern it, not to mention it is a doctor's professional responsibility to know better; it's why he gets paid the big bucks. It is medical fraud that a doctor can get away with placing the onus of "the big decision," one that cannot actually exist without medical or clinical indication, on parents, in order to absolve himself from the responsibility of a surgical procedure HE PERFORMS and should thus KNOWS BETTER than parents as to whether it is medically necessary or not.

It is a mistake to attack and humiliate parents over something they honestly didn't know any better about, and who would take it all back if they knew what they were doing to their children.

I'm not advocating that.

But I also do not advocate corroberating with parents, rewarding willful ignorance, making them feel justified and entitled by calling circumcision a "choice" to be "celebrated."

This ad comes off as pandering to parents who circumcised their children in order to gain their confidence and business, all at the expense of children's basic human rights, and it's why it is so infuriating to me.

Saw this in my Facebook news feed today and I thought I'd add it:

One of the comments (in response to other Facebook users who expressed disgust) read:

"I am stunned that people are missing the irony in this photo; no one advocates circumcising girls, but people seem to think of circumcising boys as an acceptable ”option” in parental decision making. By switching the sexes around this picture shows our cultural blindness to the brutality of male circumcision, the same cultural blindness that parents in countries that circumcise females also have."

I couldn't agree more.

The views I express in this blog are my own individual opinion, and they do not necessarily reflect the views of all intactivists. I am but an individual with one opinion, and I do not pretend to speak for the intactivist movement as a whole, thank you.

Monday, September 17, 2012

REPOST: If You Can't Stand the Heat...

Even after posting an inflammatory graphic, Granola Babies has the nerve to insist that their Facebook page is "not a platform for the circumcision debate." Another page, "Bitchin Parents," has reposted the same graphic and is currently dealing with deleting comments made by people who disagree, dismissing them as "hate," and outright blocking them.

Apparently, Granola Babies is a business and their graphic was supposed to be some sort of business move. Well, they should have thought things through before shooting themselves in the foot.

Crunchy moms, now you know where NOT to shop, and where to steer other crunchy moms AWAY from.

Once again, they're gravely mistaken if they think they can just post controversial material, and just expect nobody to say anything. May this be a lesson to them; if you don't want the "circumcision debate" on your page, then don't incite it. YOU'RE GOING TO HEAR FROM INTACTIVISTS.

In case people haven't noticed, it's no longer socially acceptable to mutilate your child's organs. If you're going to post material endorsing it, you better be ready to deal with the blowback.

This reminds me of a post I made a long time ago. One good turn deserves another, and I think it warrants reposting:

If You Can't Stand the Heat, STAY OFF THE NET

Originally posted Tuesday, March 6, 2012

You know what absolutely gets on my nerves? When some idiot parents find it gracious to post their child's circumcision on the web for the whole world to see. Some parents actually think it's "cute" or "funny" to post their son's circumcision "story" on a blog, or they actually have the nerve to record it and put it on YouTube of all places. It's the one time on the net where it's perfectly kosher to be pimping your child's dick online and not have it be called kiddy porn.

But you know what pisses me off even more? When said parents actually have the NERVE to tell people leaving comments to "MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS! WE'RE THE PARENTS, WE DECIDE. DON'T YOU DARE JUDGE ME."


You actually post your son's naked body, figuratively or literally online for the whole world to see, and then you're surprised to read that some people actually find your cute little "story" offensive and/or disgusting?


I've got news for you.

Once you post shit online, it's fair game.

People are going to give you a piece of their mind, whether you want it or not.

If you don't want to hear it from others, or be "judged" for the so-called "decisions" that you take, then at least have the decency to make posts about your PERSONAL, "PRIVATE" LIFE visible ONLY TO THOSE IN YOUR PERSONAL, PRIVATE CIRCLE.

Or better yet, keep your sick, disgusting "life" OFFLINE. NOBODY WANTS TO SEE YOUR SON'S GENITALS BEING MUTILATED, much less KNOW about them. They're not even YOUR privates, how in the HELL do you feel entitled to have them mutilated to suit YOUR tastes and preferences, much less POST THEM ON THE FUCKING INTERNET FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TO SEE???


Such parents should get thrown in JAIL for pimping their children's PERSONAL PRIVATE PARTS ONLINE. This is tantamount to S&M KIDDY PORN.



The world is waking up to the fact that yes, like female infant circumcision, male infant circumcision IS TOO GENITAL MUTILATION.

If you don't want to hear it from others, if you do not want to hear other people's "opinions," then do the world a favor and DON'T POST ON THE INTERNET.

This fucking PISSES ME OFF.

If you don't want people talking about your unmentionables,


It's the internet; it's a freedom of speech free for all. I've seen quite a few pro-circumcision propaganda posters, and I've seen so many that I thought I was used to it.

Which is why I was surprised to find the this picture in my Facebook news feed today, particularly from a group that calls itself "Granola Babies."

Can you spot what this group craftily decided to sneak in there?

"Granola Babies" gives off the impression that it's a group for crunchy moms, and as far as I was aware, crunchy moms want everything that is the most natural for their kids, which is why I thought it rather revolting to see this picture trying to pretend like circumcision fits right up there with co-sleeping and breast-feeding. The "I work outside the home" seems pointless up there; who cares WHERE you work, as long as you're taking care of your kids.

The caption that accompanied this filth read:
"Let's celebrate our differences as mothers and that we love our babies the same. ♥"
I was fuming.

No, seriously, what self-serving, self-congratulating crap.

As if circumcision were this "choice" parents are entitled to, much less a "crunchy" one.

This to me seems like nothing more than a deliberate inflammatory piece of propaganda aimed at inciting the ire of human rights activists.

And they knew exactly what they were doing. Oh yes they did.

The caption continues:

"Update on this picture ~ Unfortunately the message was lost on some and many unkind posts towards other posters (now deleted) have been made and are not such that Granola Babies is willing to host. There were even a couple of posts stating that mothers do not love their babies the same if she did ___ (insert box) different than her.

In particular -
All posts that continue the circumcision debate will be deleted. This isn't a platform for this debate."
I've said it before on a different blog post, but if people don't want to hear it from us intactivists, if they don't want to host the "circumcision debate," why post inciteful things at all?

I posted more than a piece of my mind, and as promised, my comments were promptly deleted.

But they are gravely mistaken if they think they're going to post this crap and not hear about it from intactivists.

These self-serving idiots just want to pretend like mutilating your child is "just another choice" and we should all be "celebrating our differences."

Well, what do they think of mothers who have gone ahead and circumcised their daughters?

Should we "celebrate" that?

Maybe it's "different" with said mothers of circumcised daughters, and they don't "love their children the same?"

Sexist, self-serving double-standard to be treating male circumcision, and male circumcision ONLY as a "choice" mothers can be making.

The fact is, if being a parent justified everything you did with your children, then there wouldn't be a need for child protective services.

There is such a thing as horrible parents out there, and at some point what they do to their children crosses over into abuse, and shit has to hit the fan.

"Granola Babies" seems to be in the business of pleasing the masses and just issuing out touchy-feely slogans and propaganda that congratulates idiotic parenting.

In the words of John Steinbeck:

"No one wants advice, only corroboration."

And, it looks like "Granola Babies" is more than happy to supply it.

I've taken their sick disgusting poster and made a parody of it:

Yes, "Granola Babies," let's celebrate.

But you know what, this isn't about parents.

I don't blame parents for making a "choice" based on the "advice" their charlatan pediatrician or OB/GYN gave them. Can parents be blamed if they were told that not circumcising their children would result in their child getting penile cancer and dying of AIDS?


That responsibility lies in the charlatans that sell the lies they need to to profit at the expense of children, and at the expense of parental trust.

The bottom line question is always this:

Without medical or clinical indication, can doctors even be performing surgery on healthy, non-consenting minors, let alone be giving their parents any kind of "choice?"

Without a medical or clinical indication, how is it doctors are even stoking in mothers this false sense of entitlement?

That is "Granola Babies'" biggest failure; they are perpetuating the myth that parents are entitled to perform needless surgery on their healthy, non-consenting children.

Does "Granola Babies" celebrate the "choice" of mothers who chose to have their daughters circumcised?


What if it were a "ritual nick" as once approved by the AAP, where they said it dwarves in comparison to male infant circumcision?

Let's see how much support "Granola Babies" gives mothers who had "sunat" performed on their daughters.

Shameless, self-serving, disgusting pieces of shit.

Give TRUE crunchy advice, you lousy people-pleasers.

Related story:  GRANOLA BABIES: Responses to "Celebratory" Ad

Sunday, September 16, 2012

ILLINOIS: AAP Will Not Publish Dissent

On his news feed, Hugh Young brings attention to the fact that the AAP is being very selective with the letters it is choosing to publish regarding its new policy statement.

The policy came out at midnight (ET) on August 27, 2012. In the following weeks, several letters have appeared, mainly critical of the policy (previously here, previously here and still here as of September 13, 0510 ET).

He writes, "But more hard-hitting letters, despite being fully referenced, have not appeared, and others have been added and removed in capricious ways."

He takes the liberty to publish letters that were up for several days, but have since been removed. (The unpublished letters are viewable here and here.)

Strangely enough, while they won't publish dissenting letters from intactivists, despite being fully referenced, they will publish Brian Morris praising the new AAP policy statement and tooting his own horn. (See Morris' "Welcome" of the new policy here.)

On a different medium, Brian Morris' tone on the new AAP policy statement was different, showing disappointment in the fact that the AAP stopped short of recommending infant circumcision. On this Patch article, Morris comments:

"The AAP's policy is not strong enough. The benefits exceed risks by over 100 to 1 just from number-crunching. But if the severity of the perils of not circumcising are compared with the trivial nature of the risks, then the benefits would be something like a million to 1 in favor. The ridiculous nonsense by the anti-circs stands condemned. This includes fallacious claims that circumcision is detrimental to sex. High quality research findings prove such propaganda to be absurd. In fact sex is better for a circumcised man. And women prefer circumcised lovers.
~Brian Morris
8:59 pm on Saturday, September 1, 2012
The "nonsense" stands condemned by WHOM? And just what are the "high quality research findings" he is talking about? "Women prefer circumcised lovers" WHERE? And why does it matter here, where we are talking about the circumcision of newborns?

While Brian "welcomes" the new AAP statement on Pediatrics, on September the 7th, he doesn't seem too enthused on Patch a few days earlier.

On my blog I will publish a letter I wrote in response to Brian Morris' piece praising the AAP, which I'm sure will never get published. In response to Brian Morris' letter titled "New Circumcision Policy Welcomed,"I wrote the following:

Re:New Circumcision Policy Welcomed

 In its simplest reduction, this appears to be yet another instance of Brian Morris taking the opportunity to promote circumcision, mostly by quoting mostly himself. [1], [2], [3], [4], [5]

At first glance, it would appear as if this post was collectively written by the authors that appear. But upon further inspection, it looks like whoever responds with an e-letter such as this one can include other authors at will, resulting in what looks like a letter written by a collective. Are the other authors aware that Brian Morris is including them as co-authors? Or is Brian Morris seeking to bolster his own credibility?

Brian Morris quotes some authors selectively, but this appears to be a tactic to insert claims which are backed by works written none other than himself.

For example: "We congratulate the AAP Task Force on Circumcision for concluding that "the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks. [6]" Excluded is the fact that the AAP has maintained its previous stance, which states that the benefits are not great enough to recommend infant circumcision.

Then we have: "While the Task Force considered evidence up until early 2010, further evidence of the benefits of circumcision has accumulated since then.[1]"

He says: "Meta-analyses indicate circumcision provides 73% protection against HIV in men who exclusively practice insertive intercourse with men,[7] lowers risk of oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) infection by 57%,7[8] and that phimosis, balanitis and smegma increase penile cancer risk by 12-, 4- and 3-fold, respectively.[2]"

Here, he takes advantage of other meta-analyses [7, 8] to include his own [2]. 

He follows this by yet another claim that can only be backed by none other than himself: "While the Task Force noted the importance of circumcising newborns in protecting the vulnerable pediatric kidney from common bacterial infections during infancy, protection against urinary tract infections continues over the lifetime.[1]"

And yet another: "An analysis of all conditions that circumcision protects against found benefits exceed risks by a substantial margin, generating a number needed to treat value of two.[1]"

These claims do not correlate with reality. The claimed detriments of having a foreskin are simply not observable in developed countries where circumcision is rare, including Australia, Brian Morris' own country of origin.

Morris continues: "While it is true that 'the procedure has the least surgical risk and the greatest accumulated health benefits if performed during the newborn period' and that 'newborn males who are not circumcised at birth are much less likely to elect circumcision in adolescence or early adulthood',[6] other substantial barriers have been identified should circumcision be delayed.[3]  Arguments by circumcision opponents have been refuted,[4] as has a policy statement on infant male circumcision in Australia.[5]"

The first reference is the AAP policy statement [6], but the last three references are all none other than himself. [3,4,5]

Perhaps he feels circumcision opponents have been refuted [4], and that he has single-handedly trumped the Royal Australasian College of Physicians [5], but so far, the RACP has ignored Morris and their policy statement remains un-withdrawn.

Morris concludes: "We support the AAP recommendations, including better training, universal access, provision of accurate unbiased information to parents, use of effective anesthesia, and third party reimbursement."

Given the rest of this article, Morris' usage of "we" in this statement seems to serve the illusion that he speaks for a number of authors, when in reality, he may be speaking for none other than himself.
I could have just as easily included a number of authors that I believe support my arguments in the form for this e-letter, but I have chosen on the side of integrity and I speak for none other than myself. 

I do not hesitate to declare my conflict of interests, as readers can see for themselves. However, readers must know that Brian Morris has competing interests that he is failing to declare here.

Brian Morris is the most vocal circumcision promoter in Australia, [9] and he uses regular scare tactics in an attempt to frighten parents into circumcising their children.[10] He neither holds degrees in surgery, urology, pediatrics, nor epidemiology, and his field of study is only remotely related to medicine (he is a molecular biologist and professor of molecular medical sciences).[11] He is in no way an authority on circumcision, much less male genitalia, child care, nor disease prevention. Yet, Morris is constantly producing publications for parents compelling them to circumcise their children,[12] and for women compelling them to stigmatize intact males,[13,14] and he is a prolific publisher of "studies" and "appraisals" of circumcision, which are mostly, as he does here, quoting himself. [1,2,3,4,5] Brian Morris often repeats inconclusive or flawed circumcision "research," and is constantly antagonizing the RACP calling for it to instate "mandatory circumcision" for all males in Australia.[5]

Morris belongs, or once belonged to Gilgal Society, his name appearing alongside their logo in numerous publications that promote circumcision.[12, 13, 14] Aside from many pro-circumcision tracts, Gilgal Society has published circumcision-based erotica, and the founder, Vernon Quaintance, was caught with many hours of child pornography.[15, 16] Morris has since tried to sever ties with Gilgal Society,[17] but he, and numerous others who have tried to abandon Gilgal Society, have come together to form the so-called “Circumcision Foundation of Australia.” [18]

Brian Morris also runs a website which he uses to promote circumcision.[19] Morris' website links to the following recommended websites and groups[20] (8 of which are sites that eroticize circumcised penises and circumcision itself, and 7 that sell devices to perform circumcisions[34][35][36][37][38][39]):

The Gilgal Society[21]
 Circlist (German)[22]
 Circlist (Yahoo Asian)[23]
 Erotic Male Circumcision[24]
 Circumcised Kids[25]
 Circumcision Fetish[26]
 Teen Circ[28]
 Cutting Club[29]
 Beschnittene Gay Boys[30]
 Misc. Kids[31]
 Misc. Kids Health[32]
 Misc. Kids Pregnancy[33]

Readers need to be made aware that Brian Morris is not the objective, impartial, dispassionate observer he leads on to believe. As someone who neither holds degrees in surgery, urology, pediatrics, nor epidemiology, and his field of study is only remotely related to medicine (he is a molecular biologist and professor of molecular medical sciences),[11] Morris is not any kind of authority on circumcision, much less male genitalia, child care, nor disease prevention. Furthermore, Brian Morris is known to be a prolific advocate of circumcision, particularly the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting infants. His lack of academic qualification and his known special interests raise the question of how he feels his word is of any value to the American Academy of Pediatrics, and how it adds any to their policy statement.

Readers may say that I am engaging in ad-hominem, but this accusation is unwarranted. Where a source seeks to convince by a claim of authority or by personal observation, identification of undeclared conflicts of interest are not ad hominem;  it is generally well-accepted that an "authority" needs to be objective and impartial, and that an audience can only evaluate information from a source if they know about conflicts of interest that may affect the objectivity of the source. Identification of a conflict of interest is appropriate, and concealment of a conflict of interest is a problem.

I feel it necessary to identify Morris’ undeclared conflicts, as these affect his objectivity as a source. As a known, avid circumcision promoter, and as someone who holds no degrees in pediatrics, let alone surgery, urology, and epidemiology, I feel Brian Morris’ words of congratulation are inappropriate to appear in the publication of a known medical organization whose purview is the health and well-being of children. The American Academy of Pediatrics ought to distance itself from Brian Morris if they would like to preserve any semblance of credibility.

1. Morris BJ, Wodak AD, Mindel A, Schrieber L, Duggan KA, Dilly A, Willcourt RJ, Cooper DA, Lumbers ER, Russell CT, Leeder SR. Infant male circumcision: An evidence-based policy statement. Open J Prevent Med. 2012;2:79-82.

2. Morris BJ, Gray RH, Castellsague X, Bosch FX, Halperin DT, Waskett JH, Hankins CA. The strong protection afforded by circumcision against cancer of the penis. (Invited Review). Adv Urol. 2011(Article ID 812368):1-21.

3. Morris BJ, Waskett JH, Banerjee J, Wamai RG, Tobian AAR, Gray RH, Bailis SA, Bailey RC, Klausner JD, Willcourt RJ, Halperin DT, Wiswell TE, Mindel A. A 'snip' in time: what is the best age to circumcise? BMC Pediatr. 2012;12:20.

4. Morris BJ, Bailey RC, Klausner JD, Leibowitzd A, Wamai RG, Waskett JH, Banerjee J, Halperin DT, Zoloth L, Weiss HA, Hankins CA. A critical evaluation of arguments opposing male circumcision for HIV prevention in developed countries. AIDS Care. 2012:Mar 28 [Epub ahead of print].

5. Morris BJ, Wodak AD, Mindel A, Schrieber L, Duggan KA, Dilly A, Willcourt RJ, Cooper DA. The 2010 Royal Australasian College of Physicians' policy statement 'Circumcision of infant males' is seriously flawed. Intern Med J. 2012;42:822-828.

6. American Academy of Pediatrics. Circumcision policy statement. Task Force on Circumcision. Pediatrics. 2012;130:e756-e785.

7. Wiysonge CS, Kongnyuy EJ, Shey M, Muula AS, Navti OB, Akl EA, Lo YR. Male circumcision for prevention of homosexual acquisition of HIV in men. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;6:CD007496.

8. Albero G, Castellsagu? X, Giuliano AR, Bosch FX. Male circumcision and genital human papillomavirus: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sex Transm Dis. 2012;39:104-113.

9. "Sunday Night Circumcision". Retrieved 2011-03-06. Archive:

10. Morris, Brian J. (2010). "Why Medical Bodies and Others Should Not Advise That Circumcision Should be Delayed Until the Boy Can Make the Decision for Himself". Retrieved 2011-03-07. Archive: File:Circinfo why-you-should-not-delay.pdf

11. Morris, Brian J. (2010-03-04). "Professor Brian Morris". The University of Sydney.. Head of Discipline. Retrieved 2011-03-07.

12. Morris, Brian; Quaintance, Vernon (2007). Vernon Quaintance. ed. Circumcision: A guide for parents. London, England: Gilgal Society. Retrieved 2011-03-06. Archive: File:Gilgal Parents-Guide.pdf

13. Morris, Brian (2007). Vernon Quaintance. ed. Sex and circumcision: What every woman needs to know.. London, England: Gilgal Society. Archive: File:Gilgal For Women leaflet.pdf

14. "Guide For Women". Retrieved 2011-05-81.

15. "Croydon circumcision campaigner caught with child porn videos". Croydon Advertiser. 2012-04-21. Retrieved 2012-04-22. Archive 2012-04-21:

16. Kay, Richard (2012-04-25). "Sex scandal rocks Order of the Knights". MailOnline (GlamEntertainment). Retrieved 2012-04-26. Archive (2012-04-27):

17. Young, Hugh. "Intactivism News". Circumstitions. Retrieved 2012-04-27.

19. Morris, Brian J. (2010). "About the Author - Professor Brian J. Morris". Retrieved 2011-03-07. Archive: File:Circinfo about-the-author.pdf

20. Morris, Brian J. (2007-08-29). "Circumcision Websites & Online Discussion Groups". Retrieved 2011-03-06. Archive:

21. Quaintance, Vernon. "The Gilgal Society". The Gilgal Society. Retrieved 2011-03-07. Archive: File:Gilgalsoc mainpage.pdf

22. "Circlist". Circlist.

23. "Asian-pro-circumcision". Yahoo.

24. "Erotic Male Circumcision". Yahoo.


26. Morris, Brian J. (2007-08-29). "Circumcision Websites & Online Discussion Groups". Retrieved 2011-03-06. Archive:

27. "SCARandACORN: Interseted in the subject of circumcision, particularly those with personal experience. Against the tide of anti-circumcision.". Yahoo.

28. "Teen Circumcision". Yahoo.

29. "The Cutting Club". EuroCirc.

30. "BeschnitteneGayBoys • Circumcised guys do it better!!". Yahoo.

31. "Usenet Newsgroup:".

32. "Usenet Newsgroup:".

33. "Usenet Newsgroup:".

34. "Tara Klamp". Tara Klamp. Retrieved 2011-03-06.

35. "Find Supplies".

36. "Smart Klamp".

37. "Weihai Zhenxi Medical".

38. "Circ-Ring International".

39. "Cutting Ring".