I grew up assuming I would have my male children circumcised. This was not for religious purposes. And it’s not because I was taught in any explicit way that I should have my male children circumcised. It’s just that having your male children circumcised was, so I thought, the norm. It’s what most people do. So, I would do it too. Not because I gave it a lot of thought and decided that it made the most sense, but because it was a procedure as routine and expected (so I believed) as cutting the umbilical cord. If you had asked me as a teenager if I would have my future male children circumcised, I would have answered “yes” as automatically and with as little thought as if you had asked me what 2 + 2 equals.
I don’t remember Melanie and me having that much of a discussion concerning whether or not to circumcise Eddie and Peter. We discussed it some, but I don’t remember it being a weighty issue for us. With Creegan, we felt a little less certain. Melanie thought it seemed like a terrible thing to subject our baby to, and it was hard to think up any good justifiable reasons for having it done. Sure enough, our main reason for thinking we should have Creegan circumcised was the superficial fact that if we didn’t have him circumcised, he would be different from most other males, including but not limited to his older brothers.
Melanie and I decided to have Creegan circumcised. After the circumcision was performed, Melanie spoke to a doctor who made her feel a lot better about our decision. He strongly endorsed male circumcision and told Melanie various reasons that it would prove beneficial to our son. Obviously, we would not have had Creegan circumcised if we were that leery of it, but it was still nice to have a doctor applauding our decision.
A few minutes ago, I watched a video someone (I don’t remember whom) posted on Facebook. For the first minute or so of the video, I was highly enjoying it as a philosopher, with the narrator picking apart the shoddy (and dare I say duplicitous) line of reasoning employed by certain medical professionals. As the video went on, however, I found myself gripped by the issue at debate—male circumcision, as you can probably guess. I found the video very powerful and very persuasive, so much so that I really hope anyone reading this will invest 15 minutes into watching it. I feel strongly about this and hope people really will watch it. I’m hoping people watch it not because I want them to oppose male circumcision—I have a hard time completely ruling it out, even now—but because the video highlights how foolish we can be about certain things. We all too often make big decisions for stupid reasons, and we too often think too little for ourselves. The video gives us a real-life example of how lazy thinking is literally dangerous. Appeals to tradition do not justify atrocities. Not liking what other people say is not a reason to dismiss what they say, especially when you honestly can’t give an adequate response to their very well thought-out and very reasonable arguments. I’m not saying that male circumcision is an atrocity—but maybe it is, and I’m willing to ponder on it. I consider that part of being a responsible human being. Being willing to give matters due consideration is what led me from being a staunch denier of giving my organs away after I die to being a firm advocate that we should all be organ donors. How can you possibly defend a willing decision not to let your organs save lives after you’re dead?
But I digress. I’ve posted the video about male circumcision below. I implore you all to watch. There are no disturbing graphics or images to worry about, so don’t fear it. Fear only ignorance.