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Just when I thought the talk about circumcision might die down around here, along comes a lawsuit in Seattle: A convert to Judaism wants to circumcize his 12-year-old son, but the man’s estranged wife (the boy’s mother) is objecting.
A legal battle between divorced parents in Oregon about the circumcision of their 12-year-old son is fast becoming a flash point between critics of the procedure and those who endorse it on medical and religious grounds.James Boldt, a recent convert to Judaism, wants his son, who is also said to be converting, circumcised. Mr. Boldt’s ex-wife, Lia, has objected. Lower courts sided with Mr. Boldt, who has full custody of his son. However, the Oregon Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in the dispute in November.
Four Jewish organizations, the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Orthodox Union, have joined together in an amicus curiae brief supporting the father’s right to proceed over the mother’s objections.
“It is of particular importance to amici that American Jews be free to practice circumcision because circumcision is and has been one of the most fundamental and sacred parts of the Jewish religion,” the groups wrote. “Enabling the circumcision of a child, whether as part of a religious conversion or for medical reasons, cannot as a matter of law indicate any infirmity in a parent’s ability to function as a parent. Moreover, any decision to single out circumcision as a basis for questioning the fitness of the custodial parent would violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion.”
Ms. Boldt is being backed by a Seattle-based group, Doctors Against Circumcision, which contends that the procedure is unnecessary and amounts to abuse.
Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan, who insists on calling this practice MGM, Male Genital Mutilation.