I posted brief thoughts on this issue on Friday on Facebook. For the benefit of the non-Facebookers and for the sake of having a more permanent record of my
When the San Francisco ban on circumcision was first proposed months ago I wrote two posts defending one’s right to circumcise their son. One was from a legal perspective: Is a Ban on Circumcision Constitutional? Probably Not and the other from a moral perspective: Circumcision Follow Up (or why circumcision is not barbaric for Orthodox Jews).
Since that time, I have had several conversations in the comments on my blog as well as other Internet forums with the proponents of the ban. These folks call themselves Intactivists and they are a voice that needs to be reckoned with.
As Rabbi Adlerstein wrote in two places, the battle against circumcision is in essence a battle against religion. I don’t agree with every word of Rabbi Adlerstein’s essays but the fact remains that the reason Intactivists exist is because they believe religion is a myth. They believe that following the precepts of the Torah, New Testament, Quran or any other religious text that claims to be the word of God is backwards and ridiculous. By extension, any religious practice based on the words of these religious texts is similar to taking instruction from a fairy tale.
I can understand that position. I vehemently disagree. But I can understand it.
They reason that if the Torah is a fraud then following the Torah is silly. And if the Torah says to circumcise then circumcision is silly.
These people have the right to believe as they do.
They can even try to have the practice banned. A conversation will need to take place regarding the limits of governmental interference on a widespread religious practice. Medical data will be used but in reality be useless as the medical community takes no official position on the benefits or harms of circumcision. In the end, the likely result will hopefully be a better mutual understanding of the positions in this discussion and a legal conclusion.
I am happy to have the discussion with Intactivists. I believe a discussion benefits everyone.
However, a recent comic book seems to completely change the game.
A comic book called Foreskin Man has been published to promote the circumcision ban. The comic book is a propaganda piece that turns doctors and mohels into villains. The content is pure appeal to emotion. There is no logic, no discussion, no argument in favor of the ban. It is a good vs. evil story with the good cast as the Intactivists and the evil cast as those who circumcise. This would bad enough as far as propaganda goes.
But the comic book takes it a step further. Moving the conversation away from circumcision, the comic book taps into centuries of anti-Semitic propaganda using caricatures that haven’t been used since the Holocaust. Further, the comic book portrays the “good” side as blond, Aryan-looking and white. It looks like a KKK or Aryan Brotherhood comic book. The pictures are obscene and message to me is clear.
This is not about circumcision. This is not even about religion. This is about anti-Semitism.
Those who know me can attest, I am the last person to assert anti-Semitism. I am an optimist and don’t believe that the non-Jewish public hates Jews. But this comic book is anti-Semitic. Res ipsa loquitur.
The best case scenario for the Intactivists would be to claim that this comic book is NOT representative of their true views. It is one unhinged madman. That may be true, but until that is asserted or shown to be true, Foreskin Man casts the entire Intactivist operation under the shadow of anti-Semitism. Unless it can show otherwise, there is no longer any room for discussion. Once you use racial bias, epithetic imagery and ugly caricatures to make your point, you’ve lost the right to be a part of the conversation.
To be clear, I understand the Atheist’s position on circumcision. I welcome conversation about whether a circumcision ban is legal or moral or ethical or whatever. But the conversation is over until this disgusting anti-Semitic rhetoric ends and ends for good.
The Evidence: (lifted from Foreskinman.com)
Notice the fighting children each grabbing for a toy. This subtlety hearkens the slur of the “money grabbing Jew”.
Clearly a villain, this is Mohel Monster. I kid you not.
Being portrayed with no pupils, the artist is implying that the Mohel is not human.
Holding the holy book above the child is no only factually incorrect, but reminiscent of sacrifice.
The focus on metzitza is a gratuitous pot shot here. Also, note the hero’s very white, blond appearance.
Again, note the terrified baby, the tight grip on its arms and focus on the word sacrifice.
Finally, as if any proof was needed, this is exactly the kind of conflagration that is associated with the KKK and Kristallnacht. If they hadn’t before, they tipped their bigoted hand on the final panel. Disgraceful.