In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful
This was published on the Chicago Tribune’s religion blog, The Seeker.
Some believe that male circumcision is "genital mutilation." Others believe it is a religious obligation, a sign of the Covenant between God and humanity. Yet, some are so against male circumcision that they placed a proposal on the ballot in San Francisco to ban the practice. Jews and Muslims have objected, claiming that this violates their religious freedom. I tend to agree.
Say a Muslim resident of San Fransicso managed to get a measure on the ballot to ban pork, citing the possible health hazards of this meat if it is undercooked? Or, a Muslim places a ban on alcohol on the ballot? There would be uproar, and many would be screaming about "creeping Sharia" and how Muslims want to impose their religious views on the rest of America. Discarding the bombast, this criticism would be rightly placed.
My prohibition against drinking alcohol or eating pork does not give me the right to prevent my non-Muslim neighbors from consuming either. The fact that I choose to follow the dictates of my faith and refrain from eating pork and drinking alcohol does not give me the right to prevent my Muslim neighbors, who are not as religious as me, from consuming either.
That is the beauty of our country: everyone has the freedom to be as religious or areligious as they choose. Islam, in fact, also has this concept. The Quran says, "There is no compulsion in matters of religion."
Of course, I realize that the circumcision of male infants and eating pork are not the exact same thing. But, the concept is the same: it is not right to ban a practice that is well within the mainstream because of a personal disagreement with it.
If you disagree with having your son circumcised, then do not have him undergo the procedure. But, don’t prevent your Jewish or Muslim neighbors from doing it because you disagree with it. This is a disconcerting slippery slope.