How do you talk relatives out of ritual circumcision of a child?

(330 Posts)
UrbanDad Sun 25-Jan-09 14:28:07

A (non=-ewish) female friend of mine is married to a quite nice jewish DH. They have just had a baby boy and DH's parents and aunts/uncles are putting pressure on him to have their DS circumcised. DH is equivocal but my friend is dead set against it. I think it's barbaric - how would you react to a member of your family putting pressure on you to mutilate your child's genitalia? No apologies - it's child abuse pure and simple and should be criminalised. Religion is no excuse for this mediaeval, unenlightened superstitious crap.

Has anyone got any experience of talking moronic religious extremist relatives out of this stupidity? (Apologists for/proponents of/justificants of ritual circumcision please don't even bother responding to this post.)

girlandboy Sun 25-Jan-09 14:37:09

I think it rather depends on how many are taking sides on the matter.

Is your female friend all on her own with her opinion?

But I don't think that you can "talk people out of" something that they have believed in all their lives (and has been a ritual for thousands of years) very easily. They won't see it as "superstitious crap" I'm afraid.

Watoose Sun 25-Jan-09 14:37:15

I'm with you in theory but would be cautious that this is going to upset a LOT of people.

ie these things are what I think in my head but understand that some people think they are doing something in a spirit of love for their child and would be upset to hear it.

How is your neighbour's son btw? (sorry not relevant to thread)

UrbanDad Sun 25-Jan-09 14:45:19

Cheers, Watoose.

It's exactly my friend's dilemma - she doesn't want to cause a rift in the family, but is adamant that she will not have her DS wounded for ritual reasons. Her DH hasn't been to synagogue for the last 20 years and they married in a registry office with a blessing in her church. They didn't care then, so she/I cannot understand why they are coming over all stone-age on the family now.

Neighbour's son doing fine BTW - not nicked anything recently (or at least if he has, he hasn't been caught!). I went round to see them yesterday just as he was going off to a saturday school and he looks like he's doing OK. I don't imagine for one moment that it's the end of the story though.

LynetteScavo Sun 25-Jan-09 15:14:10

It sounds like the family won't be pusrsuaded - ever. I strongly believe as the mother of the child she has every right to have the final say what is or isn't done to her child.(more than the father but that's a whole 'nother thread)

She just needs to put her foot down, say it's not happening ever and be very firm with them. No discusion.

It's interesting that you feel so strongly UrbanDad - I wouldn't have my boys circumsised, but isn't it still the norm in Europe and the US? When I worked as nanny all the boys I looked after were circumsised and non of them were Jewish.

Watoose Sun 25-Jan-09 15:15:45

I agree with you lynette

not entirely sure why but I do

Mother's wishes over father's I mean

very normal in US, not in UK general population

UrbanDad Sun 25-Jan-09 15:33:22

Why would any sane parent ever want to do that to their child? It was once traditional in the northern parts of the UK to paint yourself blue and walk around naked, but we tend not to do it any more because it's a superfluous tradition. The principle applies all the more so if it is something which inflicts needless pain on a child unable to give its consent. If that child in adulthood wants to be circumcised then fine - that's his choice - the same applies to tattoos and piercings.

I struggle to see why this is controversial at all...

Watoose Sun 25-Jan-09 15:35:18

Yes, so do I - but not everyone feels/thinks the same I suppose sad

There must be a way people convince themselves it's good for their child

I've read a few threads re circ. and have neer heard a convincing argument for it - just righteous indignation and people being offended.

nkf Sun 25-Jan-09 15:41:11

They don't need to talk the relatives out of it. They just don't do it.

UrbanDad Sun 25-Jan-09 15:48:39

NKF - you're dead right. I reckon that's it - she needs to convince her DH to get off the fence onto her side, then stand up to his family together and say they (i.e. the parents) have decided together they don't want it. Much more difficult for the reiligous nutcase relatives to cause discord.

Sniggerdoon Sun 25-Jan-09 15:59:37

It's the norm in South Africa, too, or was.

Maybe it's the ceremonial thing that the relatives are really bothered about - rite of passage and all that.

We have come under (mild) family pressure to get DS Christened and the "getting everybody together" aspect of it is high up the agenda. We have just let the subject run itself into the ground by not organising anything and people have stopped asking. But an alternative for us would have been to organise a baby-naming ceremony or similar - could your friend do that instead?

I am dead set against circumcision myself and totally think the mum should protect her son from it.

NotADragonOfCockALeekieSoup Sun 25-Jan-09 16:13:40

Am I right in thinking that the baby isn't even Jewish because it passes down the female line and his mother isn't Jewish? Surely that is an agrument they can't dispute.

Lulumama Sun 25-Jan-09 16:18:31

i am one of those moronic religious extremists of which you speak, glad you consider me stupid and a child abuser

no room for any well reasoned arguemnts with that sort of op is there?

how dare you come here spouting offensive and aggresive anti religious statements and then tell people who are offended not to bother responding

Lulumama Sun 25-Jan-09 16:21:44

it is true that the religion passes down the mother's line, so the child is not jewish, but if you are going to try to talk them out of based on calling them stupid child abusing morons, i doubt you will get far , and perhaps they would no longer be friends, knowing how you feel about his religion

it must be lovely to always be so very right, that you can trample over the religious sensibilities of others without a thought

a very childish and immature way to live IMO , and you will lose more than you gain, by not even trying to understand why heritage is important

foxinsocks Sun 25-Jan-09 16:25:12

yes was totally commonplace in SA (not sure if it is still the same). First uncircumsized bloke I ever saw was in the UK!

paolosgirl Sun 25-Jan-09 16:25:13

What - cutting off part of a child's anatomy without his consent is OK becuase it's in the name of religious sensibilities? shock

I think society questionning this barbaric practice is very healthy actually.

Lulu what if it was a girl and we were talking about female circumcision for heritage/ religious reasons??

Sniggerdoon Sun 25-Jan-09 16:36:42

My SIL is not Jewish but always said she would have her sons circumcised on grounds of cleanliness, she felt it was hygenically preferable.

Not for me, personally, but I think it's up to your friend, frankly - if her DH is 'quite nice' and it genuinely distresses her to this degree, they'll stand together.

If not, some upset is only to be expected if his family's expectations haven't been managed earlier in the day - all families have flashpoints, regardless of faith, if they make a definitive point this time it'll save drama should it reoccur.

Do you feel the same way about, for instance, Hindi piercing rituals in young children?

Lulumama Sun 25-Jan-09 16:37:10

i have no problem with debate, i have no problem with people who dispute the rite of circumcision

what i do have a problem with is the aggressive and nasty language of teh OP

also, female circumcision is totally differnt, removal of the clitoris, sewing the entrance to the vagina pretty much closed, often done in unsanitary conditions and the point is to remove sexual pleasure. totally different

am not going to get drawn into another debate, i just wanted to point out to the OP his attitude and language won;t go down well with the parents he is talking about, and being so rude & insulting about another religion and those who follow it is not necessary

i am not sure what religion he is, but i would , even if i thought it was stupid/mornonic/crap etc, i would be too polite to say so in such terms

i hope the OP teaches more tolerance and manners to his children

nothing wrong with debate, but the language used is inflammatory and unecessary

paolosgirl Sun 25-Jan-09 16:43:41

I'm sure the OP won't use the term moronic to his friend, Lulu, but there are occasions where emotions can run high and language may become more intense. Cutting off part of a childs gentials without his consent is one such occasion I believe.

Watoose Sun 25-Jan-09 16:44:15

'ie these things are what I think in my head but understand that some people think they are doing something in a spirit of love for their child and would be upset to hear it.'

Lulu is right, it was inflammatory and nasty OP.
But I am still unconvinced that circing is a necessary or desirble constituent of respecting heritage.

Lulumama Sun 25-Jan-09 16:44:55

yes, but you have to decide here whether to type the words, you have a moment to consider your language. the OP has chosen not too.

<<leaves thread>>

paolosgirl Sun 25-Jan-09 16:49:54

I see words used all the time on MN which I would hope are not used in RL. Yes, it was inflammatory, but perhaps this is level of language that is needed to get this debate going. It's an awful practice which has no place in a civilised society. If an adult wants his foreskin removed for whatever reason, fine, but to inflict it on a child - appalling.

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