The Circumcision Debate Rages On (and On and On and On)

The internet gave us so many wonderful things (cats jumping into boxes, for instance, and The Google), but it also, unfortunately, gave us flame wars. Apparently, many people have computers that come with their very own high horses high horses attached, and they will let you know what’s what in the endless pastures of the comment box.

There are many ways to incite a flame war online, but perhaps one of the quickest and easiest ways is to bring up the circumcision debate. Is a bris a time honored ritual that ties us to our religious roots, or is it barbaric and obscene and beyond any kind of excuse?banana091026_560.jpg

Hanna Rosin takes on this challenge over at New York Magazine:

Every year, it seems, a new study confirms that the foreskin is pretty much like the appendix or the wisdom tooth—it is an evolutionary footnote that serves no purpose other than to incubate infections. There’s no single overwhelming health reason to remove it, but there are a lot of smaller health reasons that add up. It’s not critical that any individual boy get circumcised. For the growing number of people who feel hysterical at the thought, just don’t do it. But don’t ruin it for the rest of us. It’s perfectly clear that on a grand public-health level, the more boys who get circumcised, the better it is for everyone.

You go, Hanna! Of course, Hanna knows that her opinion is going to get her an earful (or more accurately, a click-ful): There’s no use arguing with the anti-circ activists, who only got through the headline of this story before hunting down my e-mail and offering to pay for me to be genitally mutilated.

But then she goes on to do an amazing job of arguing the case for circumcision. Hooray! For more on this controversial issue, check out our article on A Difficult Rite by Rabbi Shai Held.

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