Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy 4th of July: Circumcision as American as Apple Pie

Happy Fourth of July, blog readers! As we celebrate America's independence for over 200 years, it's also a good time to celebrate our freedom of choice to circumcise our sons in the traditional American way.

Circumcision is as American as apple pie. "We are a circumcised country," one pediatrician was quoted as saying. The roots of the practice are very old and very deep in this country, perhaps not back to the Founding Fathers but at least 150 years old.

Today, to be uncircumcised is to be un-American, not in the political context, but in the social context. That's why so many second generation Americans from all over the world circumcise their sons -- "to be American" -- is the common refrain. This accepted belief, that you're not really a true American if you're uncircumcised, drives the anti-circ fanatics ballistic. But it's deeply engrained in the fabric of our country.

I would argue that circumcision unites us. We may come from different religious, ethnic, and national backgrounds -- but one thing almost all American boys share is a circumcised penis. It may strike uncircumcised foreigners as whacky, but it's the one thing (hopefully along with our common language) that American males can share together.

Admittedly, circumcision is not as universal here as it is in the Phillipines or Korea. The Filipino government offers free circumcisions to encourage a foreskin-free nation, while some of our states have withdrawn free Medicaid coverage of circumcision. This will likely change when the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics update their policies to encourage circumcision as an effective HIV, STD, HPV prophylactic.

In the meantime, on this Fourth of July, let's celebrate our circumcised nation and our freedom to circumcise our sons, something the anti-circs are working hard to deny us. They won't succeed because America is and will always be a circumcised country.

Happy Fourth of July!


  1. How did we come from a country that celebrates our individuality to a country that must follow like sheep? Even in language, we do not require that English be the sole language in all areas. Why can we not agree to allow individuals to be individuals? By the way, the percentage of new initiates to circumcision is nearly 50%, different than your claim that the vast majority are cut.

  2. Thanks, Anon. But your premise is way off. Being circumcised is not "following like sheep." First and most important, it's a healthy choice that reduces a male's chance of HIV, STD, HPV, and a host of other ailments. Second, it does maintain a "tradition" -- nothing wrong with that -- that has been passed down from father-to-son for generations. Third, it is undeniably American to be circumcised, and taht should be celebrated, not ridiculed as some sheep-like quality.

    Finally, while the number of circumcised baby boys may have dropped a bit -- although I know plenty of people who dispute that -- it is hardly down to 50%. Most experts think that it's closer to 60% to 85% of newborns circumcised, depending on the hospital. Add in all us circumcised adults (at the old 90% rate), and America is probably close to 85% circumcised, if not more. In short, the vast vast vast majority of Americans are clean-cut.

  3. Perhaps in your area of the country it is higher, on the west coast though, the percentage is much less.
    I am not sold on the "health choice", as those without this tradition (3rd world excluded) exhibit lower incidents of AIDS and other STD's than in America.
    In regards to the word "choice" in your response, I agree that this is most important, only the individual should be the one making the choice, not others. In this way, the celebration becomes fulfilled (father to son). If the father/mother make the choice, how can the son truely celebrate? Alow it to be his choice or is your fear (well founded) that the son will ultimately choose not to perpetuate this "tradition" and remain as he was born.

  4. You misconstrue the word "tradition" -- the tradition is that the father circumcises the son, and then the son (when he's a father) does the same for his son, and on and on through the generations. It IS the choice of the father (or parents), a choice to circumcise his male offspring. If you read some earlier posts, you know I reserve special praise for uncircumcised fathers who "choose" to make their sons clean-cut.

    Admittedly, I favor universal circumcision as a public health measure. But I kno my view that all boys should be circumcised by school age (just as they are vaccinated) is hard for anti-circs to appreciate.

  5. As much as you favor univeral circumcision and the thought that a parent should "choose" to perform this ritual on their offspring, why not go the extra mile and apply an equal protection for the fairer sex as is done later in life in many other countries.
    Although not traditional in the US, this form of ritual has now been deemed to be mutilation and opposed by all that do not recognise their individual customs.
    Parents in these countries are making the same choices that you are willing to impress on all American boys, yet would object strongly (as would I) to bringing this cultural tradition to our shores.
    Let us not forget that the US is a collection of many varied peoples from around the world, each with differing opinions and traditions. Why not allow each to his own.
    Regarding choice, we will continue to stand on differing sides. I contend that unless there is a medical condition, circumcision is a form of medical malpractice if performed on an nonconsenting individual. As the child cannot consent to this cosmetic surgery, the proceedure should wait until the child is of legal age.

  6. It has been "passed down" - or rather imposed down - for three or four generations at most. It was introduced when masturbation hysteria was at its height remember, to discourage that (without success, of course) and has been looking for medical justification ever since.

    But if you're looking to US tradition, you can be virtually certain that NONE OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS WAS CIRCUMCISED, and NOR WERE MOST PRESIDENTS. So what is supposed to be "American" about cutting off part of the genitals of boys (but not girls)?

    At least apple pie is nutritious and tastes good.

  7. Since the blog sponsor favors circumcision on a mandatory basis, I suggest the anti-circumcision remarks be censored (deleted). We have a very justifiable Federal law banning female genital cutting. We do need another Federal law mandating all males to be circumcised. Anesthesia has risks and should be forbidden. The law should require maximum skin removal from the penis. Uncircumcised disqualifies from drivers license, bank account, employment, insurance, social security, marriage license, voting, passport, medical and dental treatment, electric utility service and food purchases. Baby boys due to be circumcised get a red "C" marked on their chart. Every one of the males needs that red "C" then carry out the circumcision. Delete anti-circ posts PLEASE.

  8. We do need another Federal law mandating all females to be circumcised. Anaesthesia has risks and should be forbidden. The law should require maximum skin removal from the clitoris and labia. Uncircumcised disqualifies from drivers license, bank account, employment, insurance, social security, marriage license, voting, passport, medical and dental treatment, electric utility service and food purchases. Baby girls due to be circumcised get a red "C" marked on their chart. Every one of the females needs that red "C" then carry out the circumcision. Delete anti-FGM posts PLEASE.

    1. Your sarcasm has no argumentative value. Genesis 17 orders males to be circumcised---not females. The foreskin of the penis is the visible symbol of sin in the human body. It must be removed. Circumcise all males always and forever---circumcise zero females! Red "C" goes on every male chart and no female chart.

  9. Ah America! Land of the free. Free to be as much of a loony as you want, but not, sadly free to keep all of your own body, it seems. As a friend said, "If you don't own your body, what do you own?"

  10. Hugh7, you do own your own body! What is loony is your notion of keeping us from circumcising our sons. Taking away the rights of parents to protect their children is government statism at its worst. Despite your best anti-circ efforts, Americans will always be free -- free to circumcise their sons at birth!

  11. Are their sons not Americans then? What are you doing to protect their freedom?

  12. Hugh7, as Americans, our sons have the right and freedom to circumcise their own sons. America is a circumcised country. Passing on this health benefit is a great freedom that you and the foreskin lovers are trying to take away from us.

  13. So do the sons' sons not own their own bodies? (It's turtles all the way down!)

    America is not "a circumcised country". The female half of the population is not circumcised. Some 25% of the males are not circumcised. Nearly half of all babies born today are not being circumcised. There are more intact Americans than intact Scandinavians.

    I note again the similarity between "foreskin lovers" and "n***** lovers".

  14. America is abandoning circumcision rather rapidly. Rates have dropped to near 50%, it may be below that rate already. Its likely that by the time America becomes a hispanic-majority country (projected to 2037, iirc) circumcision inflicted upon unconsenting infants will have died out anyway.

    (P.S. My wordfilter is 'agoni', how appropriate.)

  15. Someone send me this blog and I only want to address those supporting genital integrity, PLEASE don't waste your time in this blog - we have better places to visit and educate others. This group of circumfetishists will always support genital mutilation, they want everybody to look like them and will rather ignore ethics & common sense.

    Do yourself a favor and ignore them. Just look at the followers, adults circumfetishists. Yuck!

  16. I'm an Airman in the USAF, I'm uncircumcised and I will not have my son(s) circumcised. It is an outdated practice that most western doctors are opposed too.

  17. And has nothing to do with your worth or patriotism.

  18. The guy who wrote this article is apparently a circumcision fetishist.

  19. What a ridiculous article. I think the pro-circumcision fervor in this country is linked with religious fundamentalism and religiosity in general. The more secular folks advocate to keep their male children intact, and also as was stated in this thread earlier, circumcision rates are dropping because the procedure is no longer being subsidized in some states (western states in particular).

    The Internet has helped as well, since I regularly talk to people from outside the USA and they see how ridiculous the practice of routine neonatal circumcision really is. The Founding Fathers weren't circumcised; I can't think of any one group of people who are more American than the founders of the country itself, and if they were alive today, they would be amazed at how modern Americans started regularly practicing such an absurd procedure on their children.

    I blame John Harvey Kellogg and Victorian era England for making such a nonsensical scare of youth masturbation that we're still suffering from the inertia of its effects to this day (at least the UK has realized how ridiculous it all was decades ago), and the best part is circumcision doesn't stop young kids from masturbating. The arguments are now nothing more than simple cosmetics, and that's doesn't hold up. Let go of the practice so we can finally move on as a country and as a people.