Earlier this summer (here and here), we blogged about a court in Germany that had tried to ban circumcision – even for religious purposes. Luckily, the German government stepped in to protect the religious freedom of Germany’s remaining Jews. German Chancellor Angela Merkel deserves our thanks.
Now, it’s the Norwegians’ turn. Norway’s (I’m not making this up) “ombudsman for children’s rights,” a pediatrician named Dr. Anne Lindboe, has proposed that Jews and Muslims devise a symbolic, non-surgical ritual to replace circumcision and that the procedure be illegal until a minor child is 15. Seriously. Apparently, a small party in Norway’s parliament proposed a ban on circumcision in June. There are only 700 Jews in Norway; we’ll allow you to speculate as to why that might be the case. Hint: it’s not the cold winters.
By the way, I’m not a pediatrician or any other kind of medical professional. But the doctors to whom we’ve entrusted the care of our children (including two *gasp* circumcised boys) tell us that circumcision is healthy, safe, and perfectly medically acceptable. There is no controversy on the subject except that which has been created by a small, ideologically motivated group. But there I go arguing reason with those who are unreasonable.
I wonder what Dr. Lindboe thinks might make a good alternative ritual. Maybe a nice interpretive dance? A drum circle? Baptism? Nah…certainly not baptism. These days, the only people who bother Europeans more than Jews are Christians.
What other ritual changes to Judaism might Dr. Lindboe suggest? By the final night of Hanukkah, we’ve got nine candles burning. That’s gotta be a fire hazard, right? How about after the fifth night, we just have some kind of symbolic candle-lighting ritual? At various times during the year, we sound a shofar (a ram’s horn). But that’s terribly inconvenient for the unconsenting ram. Couldn’t we just use a trumpet? Or a flugelhorn?
The possibilities are endless. As is the insensitivity of “sensitive” people like Dr. Lindboe.