Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tim Tebow, Superbowl, Abortion & Circumcision

Tim Tebow, the awesome quarterback for the University of Florida 'Gators, is getting a lot of flack because he and his mom are "out front" in the anti-abortion campaign. That will be highlighted in a Superbowl ad produced by Focus on the Family that has the pro-choice crowd up in arms.

Perhaps Tim might have gotten a better reception if he had used his notoriety to promote the universal circumcision of all males.

Now I want to be clear. The abortion issue really has nothing to do with circumcision. Those who "respect life" should obviously value circumcision for its life-giving medical advantages. Those who are "pro choice" should obviously value a parent's right to circumcise a child as that is in the best interests of everyone.

I'm just saying Tim Tebow should be the national spokesman for universal circumcision.

A lot of people may not know that, while other kids were carousing on the beach, Tim made an important missionary trip to the Phillipines during the 2008 spring break. During that trip, Tim took part in circumcising Filipino boys who almost all get circumcised in that country.

Circumcision is a rite of passage in a country that is about 95% foreskin-free. To be uncircumcised is to be "supot" or "pisot." Both words carry a negative connotation far beyond the simple expression "uncircumcised," the literal translation. If you call another dude supot, it's like saying he's unclean, a baby, and unworthy to be a man.

While some college kids go on drunken debaucheries during spring break, Tim was helping out his father on a mission trip. Here was the account at the time:

"In an impoverished village outside General Santos City in the Philippines, Tebow helped circumcise impoverished children. On the Friday of a weeklong trip to the orphanage his father's ministry runs in Southeast Asia, Tebow assisted with the care of locals who had walked miles to the temporary clinic that the ministry helped organize. More than 250 people underwent medical and dental procedures, some of them from "Dr. Tebow," who has no formal surgical training."

"The first time, it was nerve-racking," he said. "Hands were shaking a little bit. I mean, I'm cutting somebody. You can't do those kinds of things in the United States. But those people really needed the surgeries. We needed to help them."

"Tebow didn't plan on operating that day in the Philippines -- his job was to preach to the hundreds of people before they had teeth pulled or cysts removed. But as the day rolled on, he grew curious about the three Filipino doctors and his friend, UF graduate and aspiring doctor Richard "R.B." Moleno, in the bus-sized vehicle that served as a mobile hospital.

"Tebow started as a helper and gofer, holding tools and running errands for the medics. By afternoon, he was asking questions and looking for more active ways to help. And by the end of an exhausting day, he was wearing gloves and a mask, wielding surgical scissors, finishing off stitches with a snip."

In my view, Tim Tebow's public service circumcision of Filipino boys is something to praise, and it's a sign of his commitment to this life-saving procedure. I just hope as he enters the NFL, he'll remember how important it is to promote a clean-cut, foreskin-free country both here in America and in Asia, too.

I nominate Tim Tebow to be the national poster boy for universal circumcision. Is there a second?


  1. This is hilarious, dude. Tim Tebow promoting snips? No way CBS would let Tebow put that ad on Super Bowl. Besides, isnt everyone circumsized? Why bother.

  2. I don't understand how someone can be strongly pro-life, yet also advocate infant circumcision. The pro-life movement is about respecting the autonomy of the fetus. That is, the movement advocates not making an irreversable choice for a human being.

    Infant circumcision does not respect the autonomy of the infant. Circumcision performs permanent surgery on the infant without that human being having a say in the matter.

    If is not the parents' choice to terminate a pregnancy, then why should it be the parent's choice to surgically remove healthy tissue from an infant? Abortion and infant circumcision violate the autonomy of another.

  3. Your blog makes me sick!
    How can anyone promote sick action of cutting infants and making them live mutilated for the rest of their life?

  4. These aren't infants in the Philipines. Most of them get circumcised at around twelve years old.

  5. Female Procedure Prevents HIV/AIDS

    Stallings et al. (2009) reported that, in Tanzanian women,
    the risk of HIV among women who had undergone Female Circumcision
    was roughly half that of women who had not; the association
    remained significant after adjusting for region, household
    wealth, age, lifetime partners, and union status.

    Female circumcision and HIV infection in Tanzania:
    for better or for worse?
    (3rd IAS conference on HIV pathogenesis and treatment)
    International AIDS Society

  6. In response to the anonymous comment dated February 8, 2010 1:40 AM:

    Stallings et al. (2009) reported that, in Tanzanian women,
    the risk of HIV among women who had undergone Female Circumcision was roughly half that of women who had not; the association remained significant after adjusting for region, household wealth, age, lifetime partners, and union status.

    The above is obviously a lightly edited quotation from Wikipedia's article on Female Genital Cutting. The sentence structure is identical.

    Interestingly, you omitted the following sentence: "The authors, who expressed surprise at their finding, concluded that the association was due to confounding due to a further, unknown factor."

    But amusingly, of all the studies cited in that section, you only cite one — which incidentally supports the claim you wish to make. And only two of eleven studies cited in the introduction have reported reduced risk in women who had undergone FGC.

    Put another way, rather than reporting on a representative selection, as an honest person would do, you cited an anomaly: a study that found results inconsistent with nine out of eleven studies. Worse still, your conclusion ("Female Procedure Prevents HIV/AIDS") is inconsistent with the conclusion of the authors of that study!

    Is it really so hard to be anti-circumcision and have integrity?

  7. Jake asks, "Is it really so hard to be anti-circumcision and have integrity?" What a great question! My experience with this blog is that often (not always) the anti-circ posters resort to personal attacks and gross exaggeration if not outright lies.

    The problem is that they cannot accept medical science that is contrary to their own convinced view that circumcision is "mutilation." They want to deny parents the right to choose circumcision for their sons, so they cast pro-circ parents as "uneducated" (at best) and "mutilators" (at worst).

    I never censor people on this blog because I believe the anti-circs condemn themselves as more people see their rantings. I appreciate people like Restoring Tally who makes a reasonable pitch for his view, but contrast that with Anonymous who calls newborn circumcision "sick" leaving boys "mutilated" for life. This is the silly polemical argument that marginalizes the anti-circ crowd among the vast majority of Americans. Don't you think?

  8. PD, you sound like a pretty intelligent guy with a rich vocabulary and generally well thought out (however biased) views on the subject of male circumcision. I wonder if you could tell us a bit more about yourself, for example, how widely have you travelled outside the US border?

    I'm sure you're aware that in most parts of the world (Phillipines excepted) male circumcision is a rarity, and certainly not performed routinely. When told that circumcision is still common in the US, the typical world-view reaction ranges from disbelief, to amusement, to condemnation. Not unlike the way most Americans view female circumcision and other forms of body modifications.

  9. " A nationwide clinical study investigating the outcomes of 341 separate procedures on 258 different women, from 12 genital plastic surgeons in 8 states will soon appear in the medical literature, in the Journal of Sexual Medicine (2).

    The clinical study, headed by Michael P. Goodman M.D., and funded by a research grant from (TriAxial Medical, Inc.; G. A. Cook), collected patient and physician-supplied data from several institutions, including those directed by many of the surgeons participating in this site. (2)

    The study found an overall satisfaction rate of 97.2% for women undergoing labiaplasty and clitoral hood reduction,
    An overall satisfaction rate of 83% in women having a vaginal tightening procedure (vaginoplasty/perineoplasty), and 91.2% for women combining both “outer” and “inner” work.
    The clinical study also cited data specifically regarding improvement in sexual satisfaction with 92.8% of women having both experienced improvement in their sexual satisfaction.
    The data also revealed that those women undergoing vaginal tightening (vaginoplasty) reported an estimated 82.2% overall improvement in their partner’s sexual satisfaction as well."

    Funny how these numbers look similar to cherry picked studies cited by pro circumcision advocates trying to prove how much better sex is after circumcision. Guess not all female circumcision is bad eh? Maybe we should be advocating trimming our daughters clitoral hood and labia at birth to make her vagina more aesthetically pleasing to herself and her future sexual partners.

  10. Note that ALL of these plastic surgery procedures are considered FGM in the United States, and are illegal to perform on infants. Also note that NONE of these remove or touch the clitoris. People forget that there are MANY types of FGM that do not include removing the clitoris. If female circumcision was given 1/100th the amount of studies and clinical trials as male circumcision it is very likely they would find some sort of reduction in STDs and HIV. Would this change peoples mind? Even if they found it reduced HIV in women by 90 percent? No. It would still never be legal in the United States.

    Accept infant circumcision for what it is: a cultural bias that has been said to cure things from sleep apnea to bed wetting to seizures. As was written as a conclusion in an article written by Dave Maass:

    "Stripping away religious tenets, Masonic social-engineering conspiracy and disputed research findings, Gollaher boils the circumcision debate down to a single idea that’s difficult to counter:

    “If routine medical circumcision didn’t exist today, no one would dare to invent it.”

    If it had never been done in the United States, three trials performed in a third world country that is so vastly different from our own would NEVER hold water when recommending SURGERY performed on infants in the United States. Especially surgery that only supposedly benefits one gender and would be illegal to perform on the other. NO way. Imagine if all these same benefits could be applied to taking out the eyelids,or removing the entire ear lobe, or removing the pinky toes. Parents would never consent to it, because it is not the norm.

  11. It is inhumane to mutilate the healthy, functioning sexual organ of baby boys without their consent, just as it would be for baby girls. The male foreskin is packed with high sensory fine-touch nerve endings. Removing the foreskin is gynecologically equivalent to the removal of the clitoral hood, one of several forms of female circumcision that are all illegal as a routine procedure. Why aren't boys given the same protection?

  12. "Those who "respect life" should obviously value circumcision for its life-giving medical advantages."

    Life-giving? LIONTC! (Laugh In Order Not To Cry) Ask these guys. And these. Oh, sorry, you can't. They're dead.

    There is a move against circumcision in the Philippines. Not as many boys and men are circumcised there as people imagine (they hide from prejudice), and a blog page and Yahoo group are available for supĆ³t Pinoys.

  13. Just checked out some of your blog followers and I found wery disturbing pages.

    It's like I thought, some of you pro-circ people seem to get some kind of sexual kinks from cutting children, and if that's not SICK then I gon't know what is.
    Just check out his followers and you see what I mean.

    And why is it so hard for you to leave the decission to the person who has that penis attached to his body?

    The procedure itself doesn't make me angry no matter how painful it is, but the fact that it is a permanent modification against someones own will.

    I have lived my whole life with my foreskin and I'm wery happy with it. I can't imagine a decent sexlife without foreskin.
    Like I said, it's not the prodedure but life without foreskin would be disturbing.

  14. Even if circumcision is proven to have vaccine-level efficacy at preventing STDs infant circumcision is not a medical issue. It is cultural and ethical. The fundamental question is whether or not it is ethical to permanently alter a healthy penis without the consent of the baby boy. It is a violation of bodily integrity that is minimized due to its cultural prevalence.

    Many of us who advocate against infant circumcision are not crackpots. Don't dismiss the argument because some among us get a little hysterical or hyperbolic about it. You can always single out those folks to invalidate the argument, but that's a biased way to evaluate a position.

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  16. so cool - thanks for sharing. i would love to make one. : ) Good luck man!

  17. Tim Tebow will become a legend!