Dear Father Tony, I read where you were at a dinner party where circumcision was discussed. I just had to tell you that my parents, my brother, his pregnant wife and me had a big knock down last night about this! My brother wants the kid cut. I said it was stupid. Let the kid decide when he is old enough to know what he wants for his own penis. My parents just shrugged when we asked them why they had us cut. They just did what everyone else did. My mother doesn't even remember the doctor asking her. Then my sister-in-law dropped the bomb. She said that her husband/my brother wants his kid to look just like him. My brother said yes, that's why he wants it and then he said that I only care about it because I'm gay!!! Now we are not talking!!Cut in Arkansas
Circumcision: A cut above the rest, or the cruelest cut of all?
I have always deeply resented the fact that a little bit of me - a bit that I would have prized - ended up in either a landfill or an incinerator soon after my birth, and that I had no say in the matter. Sometimes, I consider bringing suit against the doctor and the hospital that did this brutal deed. It's not that I consider the circumcised penis to be unattractive, it's just that the procedure is such an unnatural, unnecessary and unjustifiable barbarism.
Let's clear up some things.
- God does not demand or prefer that his male humans be circumcised. God does not find the sight of an army of circumcised faithful soldiers prettier than an army of uncut ones. If those religions that demand this operation as a rite of passage think they are pleasing God, they are totally deluded. If they do it because of tradition and membership and remembrance of heritage, that is a different matter about which I say "Find yourselves another sign or symbol. Something less nasty. Why not just clip a toenail and have it bronzed? Why not pick something more visible to heathens, perhaps the left earlobe? Honestly, people, that's a little baby boy penis you've got in your knife-wielding hands. It's not the ark of the covenant or the holy grail or the true cross. Leave it alone. Think of some better initiation rite, why can't you." Here's a suggestion for my Jewish friends: why not have your foreskins inked with a red dotted line instead of actually cutting them off. That way you retain the tradition in a bloodless way. Look at how successfully we Catholics have tidied up and bejeweled the crucifixion! No mess, no pain, on a golden chain!
- Uncut men somehow manage to keep the region under the hood clean. Amazing, isn't it, how the natural design of the human body generally works best if not tampered with. In this regard, circumcision is like binding young women's feet. Not good. Those who say circumcision is hygienic are simply wrong.
- There is no conclusive evidence that a circumcised penis is less susceptible to HIV. You'll find all sorts of medical opinions and stats about this. None is the final word.
- Some men have extremely tight foreskins that make washing difficult and are not easily retractable during sex. In those cases, adult circumcision may be a solution. These men constitute a small minority of all the foreskin owners in the world.
- I have always been amazed when folks argue about the sensation of sexual activity as being different in quality and degree because of the presence or lack of a foreskin. That is like wondering if men with larger penises "feel more" when they cum. Completely silly speculation. The only experts on this matter are the guys who became circumcised as adults, and even they argue about its effect on sensation.
- Some gay men love the feel, appearance, taste and smell of an uncut penis, and some are quite the opposite. The percentages are insignificant but make for great cocktail chatter, if you'll pardon the inevitable pun (I held off as long as I could).
There are many sites to visit that will champion either the pros or cons of circumcision. I am particularly recommending this very informative slideshow about the history of circumcision. Especially delicious are the slides quoting two experts who opined about the matter. Their names were Doctor Cockshut (in 1935) and World Health Organization director, Kevin DeCock (in 2007). I kid you not.
You should know that one of the little known tourist attractions in the city of Rome is the church that houses the relic of the sacred foreskin of Jesus. Using carbon dating and factoring in two thousand years of shrivel, Italian experts have concluded that our savior was hung like the donkey he rode into Jerusalem. I kid you not.
Seriously, your brother's desire to make his son's penis look like his own is quite common, and is very often the reason why dads say yes to this nonsense. You ought to tell your brother that you are sorry for butting into a private matter (even if you are not really sorry). You ought to overlook his clumsy remark about your gay perspective. He's right! We do have a heightened interest in the penis! Then you must show him this diagram of the usage of a 1934 invention called the Gomco clamp (still in use today) and scalpel on an infant penis and see if he does not change his mind. Or better yet, purchase a gomco clamp from a medical supplier and have it engraved with the name of your soon-to-be-born nephew and his mutilation date (and the name of the damn doctor who did it!) Dear God, we are a primitive people.