If you just delivered a baby boy
in the United States, 80% chances are that your son was circumcised.
How did circumcision evolve from
a strictly Jewish and Muslim ritual to a standard medical procedure performed
on a vast majority of American males, irrespective of religion? This practice
is not so common in India, nor is it routinely practiced in any other non-Muslim
or non-Jewish countries of the world.
What is circumcision?
In some countries and cultures, the
foreskin of a male baby is removed by an operation known as circumcision.
No anesthesia is used. For thousands of years the only people who were
circumcised were Jews and Muslims, until the mid-1800s, when circumcision
started being regularly practiced in the United States.
If mothers could see their sons being
circumcised, it is almost certain none of them would opt for it. The operation
is violent, done without anesthesia, and unspeakably painful to the infant.
The screams, shaking, and frantic attempt by the newborn to escape this
unexpected and unbearable pain can be horrible to watch.
And millions of children born in
America routinely undergo this procedure. Most parents don't really
know why. Why does this happen?
Within minutes, three feet of veins,
arteries and capillaries, 240 feet of nerves and more than 20,000 nerve
endings are destroyed; so are all the muscles, glands, epithelial tissue
and sexual sensitivity associated with the foreskin. Finally, what nature
intended as an internal organ is now externalized and your child has a
circumcised penis - sleek, streamlined and modern.
It is cleaner?
One of the main arguments in favour
of circumcision is that it is more hygienic, as it makes the penis easier
to take care of and clean. While it may be slightly easier to clean, common
sense and regular cleaning practices makes an uncircumcised penis just
as easy to clean. In addition, the foreskin proms a protective covering,
and if this covering is removed, the penis is exposed to abrasion and dirt,
making it more unclean.
It is believed that venereal diseases
are less easily contracted by the circumcised male. However, statistics
show that the US has both the highest percentage of sexually active circumcised
males in the Western world and the highest rates of sexually transmitted
diseases, including AIDS. The loss of the protective foreskin leaves the
urinary tract vulnerable to invasion by bacterial and viral pathogens.
Those in favour of circumcision feel
that cancer of the penis, which to be sure is extremely rare, is even less
frequent in the circumcised. Similarly, a tight foreskin occasionally becomes
tighter as the child grows older and may necessitate circumcision in adulthood.
At this time the operation is very painful and requires several days for
convalescence. But then again, the appendix serves no purpose either, but
would we want to remove it at birth to prevent appendicitis later on?
Should an unnecessary operation be
undertaken? European and Indian males, for example, are not circumcised
at birth, and are no more vulnerable to veneral disease than their American
counterparts. They go on to lead normal, healthy lives.
ViolenceVoice your opinion
As far as violence in society goes,
America statistically has the highest crime rate. Is it possible that the
brutality of the early circumcision could be one of many factors affecting
men who grow up and eventually give this violence back to society? Does
circumcision at birth kill certain sensitive cells in the male child born
in the United States? Are circumcised males colder and a little more insensitive
than their uncircumcised counterparts?