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Friday, April 27, 2007

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father

posted by on April 27 at 20:12 PM

A former Medford man who converted to Judaism wants his 12-year-old son to do the same. That requires circumcision—something the mother adamantly opposes.

The divorced couple has been battling over the issue for three years, including whether the boy wants to undergo the procedure. So far, Oregon courts have squarely sided with the father, who has custody….

The mother responded by going to court, saying her son told her that he was afraid to defy his father, but didn’t want the procedure.

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Solomon would have had half the boy's foreskin removed.

Posted by bob | April 27, 2007 8:58 PM

That poor kid

Posted by monkey | April 27, 2007 9:48 PM

See, if we just circumcised ALL boys at birth, this wouldn't be an issue. *ducks and runs before the right-to-foreskin people throw rocks at her*

Posted by Kat | April 27, 2007 10:09 PM

I'm pretty indifferent about the whole circumcision thing, for infants.

But holy crap, not when the kid is 12!!! Not when he is just starting puberty. Not when he's had 12 years to get used to having a foreskin. And against his will!! WTF?!? What is this? Somalia?

Posted by SDA in SEA | April 27, 2007 10:54 PM

I have nothing against Religion, but question the justifiability of body modification. For an adolescent, especially, it would seem pretty unpleasant to face the prospect of going under the knife. As an infant, one has few rights, essentially due to being in early stages of development. Adolescents are comparatively independent and logical, so should be given more of a say when it comes to medical procedures with are unnecessary for their health, and are only aligned with the latent religious affiliation of one parent. It's weird that that's legal, yet abortion isn't even allowed for health reasons in some states.
I've heard that the presence of foreskin is more pleasurable for men-- is removing it a way to subdue them?

Posted by Cleo | April 27, 2007 10:59 PM

God forbid sex should be MORE pleasurable for most of the men I've met. Seriously. If it gets BETTER for them, they'd never leave the bloody house.

Posted by Kat | April 27, 2007 11:25 PM

See, if we just BANNED circumcision outright we wouldn't have this problem.

The kids 12, i say no, and if he's 18 and still wants to do it then he can go for it. If there is ever a controversy about this stuff between the parents the default should be no circumcision. You can take away, but you can't put back.

As for having more pleasure with a foreskin, well, i've lived with mine for 23 years and sex is the same as it's always been. If it's more pleasurable than if I didn't have a foreskin, i'll never know.

Posted by brandon h | April 28, 2007 12:16 AM

WTF! The father shouldn't be forcing religion on his 12 year old! If the kid decides that he wants to get it done then it should be done, otherwise leave well enough alone!
My son's pediatrician was not comfortable doing a circumcision though others would have and after consulting a urologist I discovered that if he HAD gotten the circumcision after birth that the skin would have been pulled too tightly and it would have been crooked and possibly painful for the rest of his life! Once I learned about the procedure and how they approximate everything I felt very uncomfortable with the idea of getting it done at all. The thickness of the skin can vary between individuals and the little plastic caps that they use do not take this into account! The 2nd urologist that I consulted with advised me not to go through with it, he hadn't seen fit to get it done to his own son. If he wasn't meant to have a foreskin he would not have been born with one!
My nephew did get it done at birth and developed a painful infection. I am SO glad that we didn't!

Posted by z girl | April 28, 2007 12:38 AM

Clearly the Cautionary Principle, as brandon h @7 suggests, is in order: Leave things alone until the kid is of age to decide for himself, at least 16 y.o.
Just on the limited facts here, the father shouldn't be forcing body-modification proceedures on his 12 year old son. bleh.

Posted by treacle | April 28, 2007 3:02 AM

This idea that it's okay to circumcise infants since they have no rights, but not okay to circumcise adolescents because they might not want it, is totally fucked up, as, you know, infants grow up to be adolescents, and even, adults, and circumcision can't be undone.

And Kat, here's a rock, blunt and honest: you're being an insensitive asshole.

Posted by Noink | April 28, 2007 3:35 AM

Noink: you are an illogical pussy.

Posted by sniggles | April 28, 2007 6:16 AM

I didn't even know Alec Baldwin HAD a son.

Posted by David K. | April 28, 2007 7:24 AM

One thing I've learned in my 42 years: There's no point in trying to have a reasonable discussion with someone who thinks his life would be better if his penis were different. My position is that your brain is your sex organ, not your dick.

With that said, I agree with the general consensus here: Don't cut the kid. If he buys into daddy's religion and wants to do it of his own accord when he's eighteen, that's fine and dandy - but pops shouldn't be able to force that on him at that age.

And as a circumcised male (the things I reveal on this slog - previously, only about 10,000 guys knew that!) I can assure you I bear no trauma from having that procedure done as an infant. I suspect I was still getting over the birth thing.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | April 28, 2007 8:02 AM

My poor little brother had to have it done when he was 13 due to infections he kept getting. Poor kid my step mom felt really bad she kept saying how sorry she was for not having it done when he was an infant and couldn't remember.

Posted by codybolt | April 28, 2007 8:20 AM

What's "coverting" anyway? If anything, a guess, he's probably considered an unorthodox Jew.

My mother, once a Methodist, converted to Catholocism 30 years ago. She says all the prayers, is a memeber of the church groups; she's an obvious Catholic. Still, when we hear one of the old Christian hymms that you don't hear at Mass or a story from before Jesus' time (Catholics seem to focus only on the Psalms), she gets a different glowing look on her face.

Posted by Holden | April 28, 2007 8:35 AM

sheesh, covert-convert, duh

Posted by Holden | April 28, 2007 8:38 AM

what would we say if the father wanted to make his child shave his head and dress orange robes? There's nothing dumber that a forced convertion. WTF? Can you force him to believe? Wouldn't any judge be smart enough to protect the child's right to religion instead of his foreskin?

Posted by Tinydoc | April 28, 2007 9:19 AM

The idea that this is no different from cosmetic surgery legally kind of freaks me out. So, if there's a 13-year-old and their parent decides they're overweight, they can legally make them get their stomach stapled? I mean, YIKES. I'm sticking with the let-the-boy-decide-when-he's-of-age crowd.

Posted by wench | April 28, 2007 9:37 AM

Foreskin exists for a reason - protection of the glans mostly - and should be left alone unless some unusual health reason dictates that it be removed. From my informal life research into the purpose of the foreskin, I have discovered that men with foreskins have a glans which is much more sensitive, whereas men without foreskins get used to the glans rubbing against boxers or jeans constantly and lose a small to significant amount of sensitivity during sex.

I watched a hospital circumcision when I was young and decided that very instant that I would never subject any son of mine to that torture. I did give birth to my very own son many years later and he was not circumcised. He seems not to have suffered ill effects. I'd ask my daughter-in-law but she might think that's too much sharing.

Let the kid decide for himself. Hope mom sticks to her guns for that boy's sake.

Posted by ChillyMama | April 28, 2007 10:20 AM

Holden: It is quite possible to convert to Judaism and be considered a full Jew. It requires education in the Jewish tradition, a commitment to Jewish beliefs and principles (verified by a Rabbi), a Mikvah (ritual bath), and in the case of a male, circumcision. Once a convert has completed the processs, he or she is considered just as much of a Jew as any other Jew. It's unethical to remind the convert of his or her former status.

Posted by lymerae | April 28, 2007 11:43 AM

Someday maybe I'll learn to shut up and accept that the assholes rule the world. Until then, I'm still pissed about someone taking an knife to my body.

Posted by Noink | April 28, 2007 12:55 PM

I have no problems with men being circumsized. I simply require that it be a decision they make for themselves when they are capable of making the decision. (Or if a child has a real medical need for the procedure, then the parents may make the decision: that is to say, newborn circumcisions are morally wrong as far as I am concerned, barring certain extenuating circumstances)

That any court would side with a parent trying to force his 12-year-old son to have unwanted and medically unnecessary surgery is appalling to me. A perosn can practice Judaism without cutting off part of his penis. And if this is an issue of not being officially recognize dint he Jewisj community, I say he can wait until he's old to decide if that's what he wants, after he has had some education about the religion.

Posted by Lila | April 28, 2007 1:00 PM

There is the potential health benefit of circumcision to consider.
Though at this point it does seem a little cruel. Then again we allow Christian Scientists to prevent their children from being treated by doctors. Is it the active vs. passive difference that makes one abhorrent and the other acceptable?

Posted by dirge | April 28, 2007 2:55 PM

It pisses me off that the noncustodial parent seems to have no say in this. Of course, if she were fine with it, we never would have heard about it.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 28, 2007 4:47 PM

To circumcise or not to circumcise our son was a surprisingly difficult, agonizing decision to make. In the end, we never really came to a decision, so we ended up going with the default.

I still can't say whether that was the right call, but if not, at least he can still make the choice for himself when he gets older.

Posted by Sean | April 28, 2007 8:31 PM

kat, how bout we circumsise all females too!!?!?!? i love my foreskin and i feel deeply sorry for those men whose penises are mutilated (i make them feel better by putting their penisies in my mouth)

Posted by war pigs | April 28, 2007 9:31 PM

kat, how bout we circumsise all females too!!?!?!? i love my foreskin and i feel deeply sorry for those men whose penises are mutilated (i make them feel better by putting their penisies in my mouth)

Posted by war pigs | April 28, 2007 9:31 PM

Yeah...female circumcision is the EXACT same thing as male circumcision. Well-thought out and logical! I can't believe you're not running for President.

Again, I've slept with men both circumcised and uncircumcised and neither seems to have any more pleasure/remorse than the other.

Of course, I'm a dirty Jew, and of course we rule the world, so me stating my opinion here somewhat facetiously is the exact same thing as me forcing my cultural beliefs on you personally.

Posted by Kat | April 28, 2007 10:56 PM


I am hot for Kat.

Wait, hold on, I'm not being sarcastic...
godDAMN it. How do you turn off the sarcasm font on this page.

Posted by dirge | April 29, 2007 12:27 AM

So, I have no angst over my circumcised penis. Although someone here described it as mutilated (which is true, I guess), I rather think mine is handsome.

That said, I've been with men who are not circumcized, and I feel that sexually, I may have gotten robbed. Not only is it FUN to play with, but those boys could climax if the wind blew. Lucky bastards.

Posted by Extra, Extra | April 29, 2007 3:17 AM

How about they let the kid make up his own mind when he's 18.

Posted by Griet | April 29, 2007 3:54 AM

i am jewish. i have only slept with cicrcumsized men. if i had male children i would have had them cut at 8 days (i have 3 girls, btw) and i am an observant reform jew, but been conflicted. i've read a lot from the NOCIRC website. MOREOVER, this is a decision the boy must make HIMSELF. at this age ESPECIALLY since the father is a convert, it is NOT up to him. in my temple, the rabbi would REFUSE to convert the kid AND would kick the father out. NOT THE DAD'S CHOICE TO MAKE!!!
btw, the mohls i know, when circumsizing an adult, it is a much more delicate operation and involves a very small cut, not complete removal as done to an infant who will chalk it up to all the other trauma of the week.

Posted by robyn | April 29, 2007 4:27 AM

Alright, since female cicumcicsion has come up:
THe difference is not a big as one would think. Yes, there are some extreeme and incomparable versions of female circumcicsion, however, the more common parctices involve little more than the removal of some sexually sensitive flesh. Some circumsized women claim that they do not believe they have been cheated out of sexual pleasure, even. Do I believe female circumcicions is wrong? Of course I do; but male circumcision is not much different.

Moreover, ther are women in first-world countries today who are gonig under the knife for much the same reason most non-Jewish males are circumsized in the States today; aesthetic reasons. Women are choosing to have their clits and labia reduced. But, that IS their call; when they're 18. The day parents start choosing to reduce their baby girls' labia, I'm going to secede fromt he human race.

One final thing: on the health benefits of circumcision; if a person is having infection problems, or at severe risk of problems (I guess if they're plannign to have unprotected sex wih people who might have AIDS, but no one should be doing that; circumcicsion is not a magic fix for AIDS) then circumcision becomes soemthing that a parent might decide for their son. Ofcourse, they could also just be taught how tyo clean themselves...
My bottom line: please, not at birth, when the foreskin is, in fact, actually ATTACHED TO THE GLANS LIKE A FINGERNAIL TO YOUR FINGER.

Posted by Lila | April 29, 2007 5:39 AM

Dad can always sacrifice a testicle. I'm assuiming he has one to spare. Blood sacrifice and all, I'm sure he can compromise. That was the origin of circumcision for Jewish men, a compromise for a sacrifice.

Posted by WenG | April 29, 2007 9:31 PM

If the father was converting to a religion that required any other body part to be operated on (anything not having to do with the "naughty bits" - we Americans are too squeamish and obsessive about sex to think rationally about the "naughty bits"), there would not even be a debate. Dad wants Sonny's left thumb removed? Dad wants Sonny to have a large iron ring through his nose? Um, no, I don't THINK so.

Posted by Geni | April 30, 2007 3:22 PM

geezzooo. I am from a tiny town of 1,000 about 10 miles away from Medford. (Gold Hill) I am ashamed to say that I am not shocked by this story. That area is so wacky and small but crazy stories seem to breed from the joint. I've got about 20 stories just as amazing; from the police cheif that was fired for performing exorcisims in her squad car (I love you Katie the cop!) to the ENTIRE library system being closed down recently due to budget cuts. (Ugh... there are no more libraries in Southern Oregon.) But the judge should make the boy turn 18 and decide his fate. it is so weird, i didn't think there were jews in medford, i only grew up around trashy racist white people.

Posted by amyd | May 1, 2007 3:12 AM

ChillyMama -- glad you left your son intact, but you may be interested to learn that the foreskin, not the glans, is the most sensitive part of the penis. A peer-reviewed study just published in the April 2007 issue of the British Journal of Urology determined that the five most sensitive parts of the penis are located on the foreskin, and that the most sensitive part of the circed penis is on the circ scar.

The study is by Sorrells et al. and you can read the whole thing by going to the Doctors Opposing Circumcision website. It was done according to accepted neurological testing procedures.

Circumcision removes at least half the erogenous nerve endings of the penis. Sadly, the glans is just the most sensitive part that a circed guy has left.

In fact, some researchers believe that the glans helps protect and shape the foreskin, not the other way around. See on the importance of the ridged band (again based on peer-reviewed research published in the British Journal of Urology).

Every male, no matter what his age or creed, should have the right to determine when he's an adult how his penis is going to look. Genital integrity is a human birthright, not just a female birthright.

Posted by Quirky | May 3, 2007 9:01 AM

Oh, the poor kid... being used by his no-good of a mother for her petty revenge against his father, who obviously is just trying to make a better life for himself and his son. There's a reason why that selfish woman lost custody of her child and seeing as no judge will give it back to her, must have been something very bad. Judging by her attitude, I'm not surprised. Glad the judges see right through her false protecting attitude to see her for what she is: a conniving, vengeful person who doesn't care about her son's wishes (the son does want to convert and knows that circumcision is part of this conversion) but only wants her petty revenge and doesn't care to use her son and her feelings to achieve her selfish ends.

Posted by Sheila | May 3, 2007 10:03 AM

Not only used by his mother, Sheila, but also by anti-circ people and organizations whocouldn't care less about this boy's feelings as long as they can push this story to get people to throw money at them and to promote their cause, Doctors opposing circumcision even accets donations to "help" this boy legal's defense, when he's not the one in battle. The money goes to sponsors his useless mother pathetic vendetta. An anti-cicrs around the net seem to think they found the Messiah to speak in favor of their cause now that they're desperate for anytrhing that will distract people from the now proven benefits of circumcision.
Yes, poor boy. A pawn for people who care more about a useless piece of skin than they do about people.

Posted by Brad | May 3, 2007 10:10 AM

Aw, Brad, maybe in your next life your momma won't have part of your dick cut off, and you won't have to be so pissy that the sane world is trying to protect children from being similarly mutilated.

Posted by bastet | May 3, 2007 4:10 PM

Oh thanks for your kind words. But FYI, I live in England. I'm uncircumcised. You better think twice before making this kind of posts. You could make a fool of yourself if you mess up. Oh wait. You already did. Sorry about that.

Posted by Brad | May 3, 2007 4:28 PM

What's with these last two comments? As I recall this story, the boy has said quite clearly that he doesn't want to be circumcised. He's 12 years old. He should be able to make his owne decision about whether he wants to be a Jew and aobut whether he wants to be circumcised. Forcing a 12 year old to convert to a religion against his wishes is just wrong. It might be different if the kid were 5 or 6 (note that I said might), but I am appalled by the whole process that seems to be going on here. I can't believe the courts are, thus far at least, supporting the father.

Posted by Steve | May 3, 2007 4:43 PM

"As I recall this story, the boy has said quite clearly that he doesn't want to be circumcised"

That's a downright LIE. If the facts of the case d on't support your position then rethink that position, don't lie. Court papers state that the father said that "the boy gradually concluded that he also wanted to convert to Judaism and understood that this required circumcision."
The mother then claimed that her son told her he was scared of the procedure (understandable, that doesn't mean he's against it) and of defying his father (only the word of this woman). So we don't know the boy's wishes, but it's more likely, since the father expressed so in court that the boy agreed to a conversion and a circumcision. It seems the mother is just desperate to get custody back and apparently will say anything to get her ex to court.
So the only fact is that YOU DON'T KNOW the child's wishes, YOU DON'T KNOW that this is a forced conversion. You want it to be, but that doesn't make it so. And instead of being surprised that the courts are siding with the father, why don't you ask yourself WHY? They have the facts, you don't. But it's interesting that you have no problem making up stuff just to support your point of view instead of considering the facts and try to make a reasonable judgment.

Posted by Sheila | May 3, 2007 5:48 PM

Hello Sheila, three things:

Firstly, if we can just make the assumption that the mother is lying for the minute, do you reckon that the boys father gave him a balanced account of what would occur and what would be lost while convincing him?

Do you reckon that the boy saw this study:
at any point?

Secondly, aforelinked study considered, should your sympathy not be towards the fact that the boy is going to lose the most sensitive part of his penis?

Thirdly, in your last post you stated that it is very important to remember that we "DON'T KNOW" things about this case and implied some were making assumptions to support their own viewpoint.

When you said that he was: "being used by his no-good of a mother for her petty revenge against his father, who obviously is just trying to make a better life for himself and his son." surely you were doing precisely the same?

Sure when you called her "a conniving, vengeful person who doesn't care about her son's wishes", claimed that "(the son does want to convert and knows that circumcision is part of this conversion)" and stated that she "Only wants her petty revenge and doesn't care to use her son and her feelings to achieve her selfish ends." you were making plenty of assumptions none of which are actually supported wholly by the evidence which, as you say, seem to rely on which we trust.

Now, you seem to have toned down the certainty in your last post, saying "It seems the mother is just desperate to get custody back and apparently will say anything to get her ex to court" {which is of course only your own view point and not one you have actually provided any reasoning for} but perhaps you would be so kind as to make your shift in view explicit by revoking the certainty of your original post?

Oh and I know I said there were only three but I also have a fourth point: you claim that "The mother then claimed that her son told her he was scared of the procedure (understandable, that doesn't mean he's against it)"

That is not actually true, in fact you might say that it is a "Downright LIE". What she actually said was:

"her son told her that he was afraid to defy his father, but didnít want the procedure."

Far less ambiguous I think you will agree.

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