Posted 19 October 2005 - 10:13 PM
I've got kind of a unique, recent take on this: My wife is Jewish, and relatively observant, (although living with me -not to mention watching creeping theocracy take over the US government- has secularized her and cynicized her on the subject of organized religion... considerably) she lived in Israel for several years.. I'm more of a freelance Atheist/Agnostic/Gnostic/Secular Humanist/Taoist/Buddhist/Discordian/Flying Spaghetti Monster worshipping Subgenius disciple of the Late Prophet Bill Hicks, depending on the day of the week- however my Mom's family is Jewish, so technically I qualify as well.
For the prurient minded, yes, I was circumcised, as most babies were back in the late '60s, and as far as I can tell it hasn't prevented me from getting a considerable amount of enjoyment out of my johnson. It certainly didn't stop me from masturbating ...well, pretty much constantly, at least when I didn't have a date... during my teen years in particular.
After we found out we were going to have a baby, and especially when we found out he was a "he", we spent a lot of time agonizing over this one. Really, most of the time we were leaning towards doing it- although we ruled out a bris early on. We talked to our doctor, who reiterated the APA (or whatever) position that there is no significant medical reason to do it, but he was also fairly reassuring about the fact that he uses a nerve block (local anasthetic, to whoever was asking- not universal but much more common these days.. something else you don't have with a bris) My wife was the one originally leaning towards it, due to her religious orientation. Then, once I was okay with it, she started asking more questions and doing more reading. We were on the fence literally until our son was born.
The birth was really difficult for everyone- but it was the most amazing experience of my life, bar none. My wife had some issues that required medical attention, so I went with my son to the nursery because he needed oxygen and to be suctioned out a little bit (myconeum, if you've ever been involved with this) and I was there when they pricked his little (pretty big for a baby, actually) feet for some initial tests. I watched, and winced, as he screamed and his little body writhed from these needle pricks.
He was okay, but we were all worn out and more than a little traumatized by the experience. After about a day in the hospital, our doctor wanted to know what we had decided, so he could do it within the first couple days. We said we still needed to think. When he left the room, My wife & I looked at each other, we both had the same thought in our heads, it was just a matter of saying it first..
"You know, maybe we just shouldn't do it. If it's causing us this much angst, fuckit... let's just not do it" It was like a huge weight was off of both our shoulders once that was out. Bottom line was, once we saw our son, saw him as he came into the world, perfect in our eyes- there was NO WAY IN HELL we were going to let anyone touch a hair on his body without it being ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.
This was almost 6 months ago, and I can honestly say there has not been one day, not one- that we've regretted making that decision. We both knew, right away, that was the right call.
Now, I lean libertarian on lots of things, at least when you're talking about individual behavior as opposed to, say, corporate behavior. I happen to think trying to "outlaw" something like male circumcision would be a colossal waste of time. We need FEWER unenforceable 'judgement call' laws on the books, not more. And as a parent, I have to say that I do think parents need to be the final arbiters on many of these choices. That doesn't mean, for example, that I believe circumcising our son wouldn't have been us making a choice for him without his consent- in my mind, it certainly would have. As I put it in the hospital, "hey, it's his body- not ours". However, that's something my wife and I had to figure out ourselves. It's not my job, or my intent, to lecture other parents who come to other conclusions. Your mileage may vary, and my answers may not be yours. Too many people, on all sides of the political spectrum, seem to think that their personal beliefs, conclusions, opinions or views on all manner of things have to be mandated or legislated onto everybody else. Hell, it's pretty much the national pastime with the "leadership" we have right now in this country.
That said, my wife's attitude on Judaism and this whole thing is pretty much that Judaism is about the heart and the head-- not about the head of the dick. There's no reason, in our minds, that our son can't be proud of his Jewish heritage, and Jewish in his beliefs and self-identifed orientation, if he so chooses, just because he still has his foreskin.
The future is ours, and you don't even rate a footnote.