When my wife was pregnant with our first child, we took a Lamaze class. It so happened that we ended up in a class with three other couples, two of whom we already knew. During a session, we talked about what to expect after the baby was born; a discussion that touched on circumcision.
All of a sudden, one of the couples that we knew began to have a nasty fight over whether their baby, if a boy, would be circumcised. The husband was adamant he would be, the wife equally as adamant he wouldn't. It got so bad, the rest of us suggested they just better have a girl to avoid a further argument. They did end up having a girl...and a few years later, a divorce. I guess circumcision was just one of a number of things they couldn't agree on.
For us, when we had a boy, the question of circumcision was a no-brainer. I may not be a religious Jew but I'm enough of one to follow that tradition, rabbi and all. It never occurred to me not to have my sons circumcised and my wife was all for it, too. When the procedure was done, to be quite honest, she shed more tears watching than either of our boys did experiencing it.
Male circumcision has received a lot of negative press over the past few years. A number of groups have claimed that it traumatizes boys for life and that it is equivalent to mutilation and female circumcision. Ridiculous arguments; at best it can be claimed that male circumcision is unnecessary.
As it turns out, even that argument may have been quashed with the news today that uncircumcised men are 50-60 per cent more likely to contract the HIV virus than circumcised men are. That announcement is being hailed as a breakthrough in the fight against AIDS, particularly in poorer nations where sexual activity is not met with the same precautions as it is in the developed world. The reason, it appears, is that the cells in the tissue that make up the foreskin are very vulnerable to the infection.
It has long been suggested that circumcised men were less likely to suffer from a number of infectious diseases and there has been established links between circumcision and a reduced chance of penile cancers. To me, tradition and religion aside, that makes circumcision more like an inoculation than mutilation.
Of course, convincing people, in places where superstition and religious dogma run rampant, that circumcision will be healthy for their children is another matter, altogether. Even efforts to wipe out diseases like smallpox and polio in those nations has been difficult thanks to hideous propaganda against Western efforts.
Hopefully, we can at least convince the naysayers in our society.