Circumcision and Enlightenment

To me, it seems like – in the spirit of enlightenment – it was more than high time for the decree (Urteil) by the county court of Cologne on circumcision.

Men, too, suffer negative health consequences after circumcision. Sometimes you will get sore, sometimes you will feel unwelcome pressure and super-sensitive skin gets desensitized. It is trivial to understand this. Also, the same is true for circumcision that has been done for “medical reasons“ as in cases where it was “religiously motivated“.  Mostly, the so-called “medical reasons” are not really all that strongly indicated.

As a general rule, “medical circumcision“ is ordered when the parents, in particular the mother, advise it. The motivation is more “hygienic” than “medical”. I myself witnessed quite absurd discussions with (incidentally, mostly single) mothers who have had their sons circumcised – not for religious reasons but because they thought it cleaner and more normal. Incidentally, I am talking quite intelligent women, for instance a grammar school teacher I know quite well.

It is easy to forget that circumcisions, apart from the probably only minimal physical inconveniences, also cause psycho-somatic damage. The child will experience being ostracized early in life – for instance when everybody is taking a shower at school. We are talking being ashamed of one’s nudity, suffering defamation by other students, sexual inferiority, etc. Puberty will not get any easier, either.

Nobody likes talking about these kinds of things, because, after all, circumcisions, like other topics, for instance sterilization and abortion, are still taboo and kept secret. Those who are concerned will just avoid the problem – for example by not taking a shower along with the other children after sports.

To be sure, the physical inconvenience and damage after a circumcision are certainly nowhere near as grave for a man as for a woman. Men will and can probably more or less put up with it. After all, the human body is pretty adaptable, isn’t it? Even when it comes to ignoring small chronic “pain”.

Because the consequences of thoughtlessly having a toddler undergo this operation will be felt all through life.

Dogmatists among you will now ignore this argument and shrug, giving you the counter-argument that “this is a tradition that has existed for millennia”. And “normal” men will not easily admit to having a problem, anyway, let alone a problem at this his most important member. Consequently, the matter was hushed up in the past. Which is why I am very happy we now have the Cologne decree.

But why should an enlightened and humane Germany not be permitted to forbid the deliberate mutilation of a perfectly healthy male toddler?  Even if said mutilation is justified by “millennia of tradition“ and “religious feelings“?

Parents who want to mutilate their toddlers for religious reasons can feel free to do so in a country where it is permitted or even considered an obligation.

Incidentally, the age of enlightenment also gave us equality between men and women. And the same is true vice versa! Why should we tolerate something done to boys while we forbid it for girls? Is the procedure just fine for men, because it is not quite as detrimental for their health as with women? Because they will cut off a little less from the male sexual organ?

Or to put it more drastically: if you may not remove labia, even for reasons of religion or tradition, then, please, let the same apply for foreskins! That, too, is what I call equal rights – in this case applied to men.

What I find most outrageous is this: the very moment a court of law actually decreed in a courageous and consistent way, there is an outcry by our “democratic“ parties who want to abolish the decree through a new legislation (Gesetz).  Are they scared of the powerful religious groups, the terror, or is this just about votes?

I fail to understand it.

But I recommend that at least those men among our representatives who are in favour of this new legislation should be the first to get the special circumcision treatment. How about starting with Steffen Seibert? Why not make it a nice ritual with public live broadcast?


(Translated by EG)


Here is the original text of the government comment on the issue:

According to government spokesman Steffen Seibert, the Federal Government wants to re-establish law and order for circumcisions in Germany. Last Friday, Seibert stated that circumcisions executed on boys with responsibility must be allowed in Germany without breaking the law. “The Federal Government“, so Seibert “is aware of the huge importance of early circumcision, particularly in Jewish religions. – We want both Jewish and Muslim religious life in Germany“. The Federal Ministry of Justice said they are working hard on clarifying the legal details.  “This is certainly one area where we cannot wait and see. For us, religious freedom ranges high as an object of legal protection“.

So here we go:

Mutilating humans is part of religious life. Guaranteeing religious life ranges high as an object of legal protection. Consequently, mutilating humans ranges high as an object of legal protection.

And all those German mothers who lay such store on hygiene may also hope again…


Perhaps one of the reasons for our often bizarre demands for strictest data security and our irrational fear of transparency is the fear that such small personal secrets might become public knowledge.

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