Belief Beat

Although — or perhaps because — I’m a religion reporter who has specialized in Judaism (including all kinds of circumcision rituals) and spent a few years working in the Bay Area, I’ve been content to just briefly mention the anti-circumcision ballot measure in San Francisco.

Until now.

Some context: California, especially San Francisco, is infamous for wacky ballot measures, like one to name a sewage treatment plant after President George W. Bush. So, my initial reaction was that the anti-circumcision measure wasn’t worth an entire blog post, nor was it silly enough for the whimsy of a Fun Friday, especially the vote isn’t until November 2012. Also, given that hospital circumcision has been declining for years in the United States (and was never the norm in other parts of the world), and that there are even some Jews who oppose the practice, I figured it was a chance for some interesting dialogue about whether circumcision makes sense for infant boys who are neither Jewish nor Muslim.

But now, it seems the story has taken an anti-Semitic turn. Check out GetReligion’s post — Anti-Semitism and the ‘Intactivists’ — for a sample of the ugly campaign language and materials, including a comic book pitting a blond superhero vs. bearded rabbis… like something dug up from a Hitler Youth time capsule.

Really, I expect more from San Francisco — a diverse city that always struck me as almost painfully self-consciously tolerant. Am I missing something?

P.S. For what it’s worth, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t take a position on circumcision… though it does now recommend putting your kid in a rear-facing car-seat until he’s two years old. Sigh.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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