Swedish Center Party Cuts to the Point
The Swedish Center Party voted overwhelmingly to ban non-medical circumcision of boys. Even though the party is not in government, and commands around 8% of the votes, the party claims they will fight to get it through parliament.
It isn’t the first time non-medical circumcision and Swedish rationality have butted heads.
The debate first started in 1966, when four boys ended up in hospital after a procedure was performed without sufficient hygiene or any anaesthetics.
While the doctor was found guilty of assault at first, he was later acquitted because circumcision was a “socially adequate mild” assault.
Wonder if there is also such a thing as “socially adequate mild” child labour or abduction?
The debate continued in 2001, when Swedish law required circumcisions to be performed by a licensed doctor, a decision that at the time was argued to “violate Muslims and Jews’ religious rights”. Presumably because doing it outdoors, with a sharp stone is just much more period correct.
Although it takes some imagination to be outraged if you’re no longer able to put a knife to a child’s penis, there are arguments for keeping it legal.
Outlawing the procedure could press Jewish and Muslim communities, who feel circumcising is the only way God will love their child, to do the procedure at home.
What’s more, banning non-medical circumcisions singles out two religious communities. And if the procedure doesn’t harm anyone, other than the child, in society, why should it be banned?
Proponents of the procedure also say male circumcision is not nearly as bad as female circumcision (also known as FGM).
Of course, saying it isn’t as bad as female circumcision is a bit like saying shooting someone in the head is much worse than stabbing someone.
Neither are medically necessary, both can be risky and apply to babies and children who cannot consent. The principle is the same.
While banning the procedure would affect Jews and Muslims the most, allowing non-medical procedures to occur without someone’s consent is religious exceptionalism. After all, you don’t see atheists running around removing babies’ appendices because there is no god.
Just because you believe a 2500-year-old text that claims your son needs to pay a foreskin to God and Abraham in return for inherited land (?), doesn’t mean laws don’t apply to your children. Perhaps Abraham and God can wait until someone’s 18 before paying for the land or accept a different currency altogether.
Would make it a lot easier to get a refund if God doesn’t deliver, for example.
Cutting to the point, and the only upside to this debate is that it’s the only thing that unites Jews and Muslims. While this is a peculiar common ground to have, it’s probably better than nothing.