Not too long ago, there was a huge uproar. A leading decision that said circumcision is unlawful had been handed down. Consequently, circumcisions were now violations of the law. However, this could not be made official policy, because, after all, you had to consider “religious rites” and “religious freedom”. Thus, they quickly made a new circumcision law where circumcisions for religious reasons are again legal in Germany.
And now, nobody says anything. As I see it, too little is said. To be perfectly honest, I do not even know if the new law was actually passed or if now they are only permitted to do what it says in there because everybody thinks it has been passed. One of the reasons is that so many new laws have been introduced and that our “big coalition”, as well as the EU, passes law after law.
For me, however, what matters is not laws. What matters is humanity. Meaning: common sense, philosophy and psychology. They deal with taboos which, as we all know, play an important role in our lives as rules. For instance, sexual activities committed by a father with his own daughter are taboo. Nature did well in this respect. In this case, the taboo is very useful in order to avoid an undesirable sort of reproduction (inbreeding).
Cannibalism is another taboo. The very idea of eating human flesh will usually cause disgust, both individually and collectively. I presume this taboo is because probably none of us would appreciate being eaten.
If I remember correctly, then the new “circumcision bill” was passed at high speed. The reason was: “We all want religious freedom, don’t we?”. I am sure it was another one of those situations where no alternatives existed. The question comes to mind why we still need parliaments and politicians when there is no alternative for social decisions?
Thinking back to the discussion of the time, I can find lots of arguments against this law. It is not in accordance with a developed society and cannot be reconciled with a constitutional democracy. It means a huge regression in terms of enlightenment and humanity. Unfortunately, it seems that most people in our country do not really seem to care. After all, it does not directly concern them. Besides, the archaic rites of religious communities are not something most people are even slightly interested in.
Matters would probably be totally different if circumcision violated a true taboo, rather than just damaging life.
Consequently, I will now come up with an artificial situation. In order to illustrate both the absurdity of our social mentality and of religious circumcision, I will extend the religious circumcision ceremony a little in my mental concept.
Let us assume that there is a totally newly discovered African tribe where all children – both boys and girls – are circumcised. For boys, this means the “totally normal” ceremony as practiced in several religions and cultural circles. Let us take the harmless variant for the girls – in order to minimize brutality (where only the outer labium is removed). Basically, the procedure as such is quite cruel and unreasonable.
Now I will construct my mental concept further and assume that this African tribe takes all the flesh from these circumcisions as ingredients for a celebration soup – which later is consumed by the tribesmen as part of the festival. This is just some superstitiousness they believe in.
And all of a sudden we are disgusted. We would witness an outcry of indignation throughout the entire country. Mind you, this would not be because of the circumcision, because nobody is interested in it. Instead, it would be because of something that everybody considers absolutely “disgusting” and “abnormal”. Totally amoral…
And everybody would be in favour of telling this small African tribe in no uncertain terms that they just cannot do this kind of thing and have to stop it immediately. Even if it is a habit they have been practicing for millennia.
Well, I simply chose this example – which some readers might find tasteless – in order to point out the following:
It is not the cruelty of circumcision practiced on children and the life-long damage for the parties concerned that will activate persons. Disgust, however, would immediately make all the people protest.
And that is something that gives me pause.
And I find it even more appalling if eventually “circumcision” is called moral. Currently, we have almost reached that state of affairs.
The “circumcision law” I mentioned before could easily also have been formulated differently. As they used to do formerly with abortion laws. For instance by continuing to consider circumcision illegal, yet not punishing it in religious cases if certain requirements are met. That would have been a clear prohibition with exceptions when it comes to prosecution. At least, it would have guaranteed that the behaviour as such is considered illegal.
(Translated by EG)
Here are some more comments on the subject:
In Egypt, every other woman between 16 and 30 has been circumcised. What do the “keepers of freedom” in the West do about it?
As far as I know, the disposal of the results of circumcisions is not explicitly regulated in Germany. It is probably considered medical waste.
Eating human flesh is a taboo. Regardless, persons who ate the corpses of their comrades in an emergency situation (plane crash) in order to safe their own lives are sometimes described as heroes.
When I was staying in Peking, I ate duck. Duck brain is considered a big specialty and the prerogative of the oldest person sitting around the table. That was me. Thanks to the friendship of my hosts, it was tolerated that I did not eat the brains.