Circumcision, genital mutilation must end

Male circumcision is a deplorable act with an archaic founding and should not be allowed to continue. Jews believe in circumcision because of God's discussion with Abraham in Genesis. Abraham — who by the way was 100-years-old at the time — was told that any uncircumcised child will have his soul "cut off from his people" (Genesis 17:14). Similarly, Passage 16:123 in the Quran states that Allah wanted the Prophet Muhammad to live according to Ibrahim's faith. Noting that Ibrahim circumcised himself — with an axe, by the way — the prophet decided to continue the tradition. The fact that Jews, Muslims and followers of other religions believe in circumcision does not mean that it should be accepted. Some pious followers believe that AIDS was created to punished homosexuals or that women who have extramarital sex should be stoned to death. Just because these beliefs come from a religious background does not mean that they should be tolerated. Religion is a poor excuse for genital mutilation.

It is not a hyperbole to describe circumcision as genital mutilation. The majority of men in this world and virtually all of male animals are uncircumcised. It does not appear as if they are any less healthy because of this. There is also arguably very little benefit to cutting off one's foreskin, and it is agreed upon by the medical community that there is no medical need to have one. Conversely, there are various downsides to the practice. For one, infections and even death can occur because of this unnecessary surgery. Hundreds of babies die every year because of complications related to circumcision. Furthermore, there is a noticeable sexual numbness that those with less foreskin experience. After circumcision, the glans become less sensitive, which impedes pleasure. Also, uncircumcised men declare that most of their sexual excitement comes from the foreskin — not the glans. By removing the foreskin along with all of its nerves, there is a significant decrease in the sexual experience.

Many argue that the government should not be able to interfere with religious practices. That is a ridiculous generalization to make. Surely, it is okay for the United States to ban female circumcision or lashings for public intoxication even though these acts are based on religious doctrines. It is our responsibility as human beings to bring attention to great injustices. The act of circumcision for religious purposes is a very thinly veiled excuse to mutilate a baby's genitals. There is no medical need to have a circumcision, and it can in fact cause harm and even death. It also causes irreversible sexual damage. It is inexcusable to let this practice continue. What others think their god believes is meaningless when it comes to human rights violations. Circumcision and other forms of genital mutilation need to end. Thinking otherwise is disgraceful to our species.   

Ryan Holland is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in cell biology and neuroscience.

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