“Dude, Where’s My Foreskin?” Asks Ex-Muslim Atheist
They could not have branded a big “M” for “Muslim” on my back with a hot iron rod, so they chose the next best option: circumcision.
You may see this as superfluous screeching over the loss of a useless little flap of penile skin. It doesn’t matter. It was MY useless little flap of penile skin. And its amputation sans medical necessity implies parental “ownership” of a child, rather than “guardianship”.
Parents, it seems, are not temporary caretakers of a child’s body until he becomes mature and smart enough to make decisions about it on his own. No, they have the express authority to manipulate the body according to their own religious beliefs.
Upon reaching adulthood, I relinquished my faith. Had I been allowed the choice, I would not have chosen this mutilation. Heck, I’m certain that due to the pain associated with this procedure, many adult believers would not choose circumcision for themselves. Babies are different though. Cut their penises while they scream out in agony, too small and helpless to protest against this branding. Hush, little child. You won’t even remember this pain when you’ve grown up.
Whether or not this pain leaves a permanent psychological imprint is a disputed matter. But my body remembers. I look down at my organ, and I see what’s missing. My body was supposed to be my temple, and they trespassed on it.
They’ll try to distract you with health statistics; the reduction in STD transmission risk that’s associated. I won’t argue with it (though there has been some controversy). What I will ask is to spare me the silly rationalizations. We all know that this is just an accidental benefit to what is undoubtedly a religious ritual.
No Muslim or Jewish person ever circumcised his baby with the objective of protecting him from STDs. Had it not been a religious obligation, it would have been a repellent, ridiculous procedure at par with performing a prophylactic appendectomy on a healthy, young person. You know, to reduce his or her risk of appendicitis by 100%.
Also, is this risk reduction unique to circumcision, unattainable by other non-permanent means? Well, there’s a thing called a “condom” which reduces risk of HIV transmission by 78%. Good hygiene and sex-ed can grant the same benefits that circumcision does. Remember that condom use is a substitute to circumcision; circumcision is not a substitute to condom use.
And ultimately, and I cannot stress this enough, any permanent change to MY body should require MY consent. That is, unless it’s a medical necessity that cannot wait until I’ve grown up.
Do I feel betrayed? Yes. But I don’t hate my parents because of this. Everybody’s doing it! It has melded so well into our world that we continue with this unethical-by-any-standard practice without giving it a thought.
Maybe we should.