Religious Circumcision For Males Is Physical Abuse

A regional court in Germany has just ruled that circumcision for religious reasons is abuse and that faith communities that practice this on infants must now wait until the boy is old enough to decide on his own whether to be circumcised.  Although I must admit I have long been puzzled by the number of Christians that perform it (despite St. Paul’s claim that to be legalistic about that, one may well interpret the entire Old Testament code literally–see the Letter to the Galatians), this legal ruling in Germany goes too far.  True, it can be done poorly, as seems to have happened to a Muslim boy in the case that went to trial, and many in the medical community question circumcision’s benefits, but it strikes me as a stretch to claim the procedure is bodily harm to the extent that it must be deemed illegal despite hundreds of years (in Islam’s case) and thousands of years (in Judaism’s case) of religious tradition.  Whether this becomes the dominant global legal view over time is difficult to say, but I think it is worth considering whether “religious freedom” in general in the West is being redefined as “only free to go to a particular building and free to teach educational lessons within that building as long as they do not exhibit any publicly noticeable behaviors.”