Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Feast of the Circumcision

Happy New Year!

This new year -- 2010 -- promises to be one of the best ever for advocates of a foreskin-free world. The medical evidence continues to grow on the health benefits conferred by circumcision, and 2010 will bring even more studies by reputable scientists and world health organizations to validate the life-long advantages of early circumcision.

Led by strong government policies in many countries, some nations especially in Africa will move closer to the goal of 100% circumcision, thereby reducing the threat of HIV, STDs, HPV, cancer, and all sorts of other deadly ailments. In the USA, we expect the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to resist the hyperbolic pressure of the anti-circumcision fanatics by embracing a clear health-based call for the circumcision of all male newborns. Of course, they will insist that it's "voluntary" but the message will be clear: circumcision confers clear health benefits for the male, his sexual partners, and society as a whole.

The year 2010 will also see an uptick in the number of American males who are circumcised. The message has gotten through to parents via a generally positive US media that most anti-circs are shrill, beligerant, penis obsessed nuts who want to deny parents the right to care for their children in the most medically responsible way. Moreover, the average American knows that it's better to be circumcised than not.

Finally, for centuries the Christian church celebrated January 1st as the Feast of the Circumcision, the day Jesus was circumcised in accordance with the traditions of the time. The "good news" today is that, all over the world, circumcision has become the tradition of the 21st century. Whether a church embraces the date or not, we should bring back the Feast of the Circumcision on New Years Day, a way to honor the scientists, the doctors, and the parents who have made circumcision as popular as it is. May 2010 be the year that circumcision is embraced by all. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Alleluia! Jesus Was Circumcised! Alleluia!

Merry Christmas! And Happy Hannukah, too! As Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem this Christmas, it's also great to recall that He, too, was circumcised at birth. That was in accord with Jewish practice at the time, but it is also a reminder that there is something "holy" about circumcision for practicing and believing Christians. To be Christ-like in mind, body, and soul -- for many Christians -- means following the example of Jesus with this simple ritual.

Now regular readers of this blog know that I stress the medical and health advantages of universal newborn circumcision, but there is nothing wrong when other traditions, values, and customs lead you to the health-saving grace of circumcision. For many Christians, being circumcised is another way to be at one with Christ. After all, if the little baby Jesus could be a perfect God-in-man on earth without His foreskin, then so can our sons.

Merry Christmas, readers. Alleluia! Jesus Was Circumcised! Alleluia!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2009 Turning Point: Momentum to Circumcise Grows Worldwide

As the year 2009 draws to a close, history may judge this year as the "turning point" in the movement to achieve universal circumcision -- a world in which the foreskin no longer poses a health threat to a male, his partners, or society as a whole.

Aided by one medical study after another this year, more governments than ever have embraced the goal of 100% male circumcision, knowing that this simple health procedure can reduce the risk of HIV by 60% and dramatically curb the spread of STDs, HPVs, cancers, and other ailments that afflict society.

When the data is finally collected for the year 2009, it will show that more males world-wide are circumcised now than ever before in world history. To be circumcised is not only the "norm" in the USA, it has become the desired norm across the world simply because "the cut" is healthy.

Even in those countries where governments have been reluctant to embrace circumcision (i.e., many European countries), the populace as a whole is joining the circumcision movement. Men are opting for the cut, and parents are wisely choosing to circumcise their sons at birth, knowing this is the safest, most reliable, and inexpensive way to protect their boy for life.

We have also seen a growing appreciation of the value of circumcision in Asia and the Indian subcontinent. I would bet, once the data is in, that more Japanese, more Indians, more Chinese are circumcised than ever before -- joining their counterparts in Korea, Philippines, and Indonesia who are already clean-cut. The best news on that front this year have been reports that Chinese health officials may encourage universal circumcision in the near future. The world's largest country could set a powerful example if it would promote newborn circumcision as an important health measure.

The year 2009 also saw the growing hysteria of the anti-circumcision fanatics, as they try to pressure governments to ignore the medical science and to scare parents against this life-preserving procedure. In my view, the fanaticism of these groups only marginalizes them among the mainstream. That is certainly true in the USA where, despite millions of anti-circ dollars spent on lies and mischaracterizations, I have no doubt that more baby boys were circumcised this year than last year.

Just ask the normal person on the street here in the Midwest about circumcision and the answer is always the same. "Of course. It's the healthy thing to do." -- a statement usually coupled with "Yeah, it prevents AIDs." The latter is not quite accurate -- it reduces the risk of AIDs -- but the public is getting the basic message.

Even those who may be confused on the issue because of anti-circ propaganda usually return to the basics. "It's cleaner. It's easier." -- with the variation "If it was so bad, why does everyone do it?" They do it because, deep down, nobody really wants a filthy foreskin that can cause so much medical havoc.

If 2009 becomes the turning point in the medical goal of achieving universal circumcision, there is still one disappointment which can be remedied in the remaining weeks of this year. Where is the American Academy of Pediatrics? Where is the CDC, Centers for Disease Control? We began the year with hope that -- based on medical science alone -- the AAP and CDC would declare that every male should be circumcised. While insiders say they want to do this because they know it is medically right, pressure from the anti-circs have delayed action. Nothing would complete 2009 more as the "Year of Circumcision" than a strong backbone at the AAP and CDC and a year-end statement encouraging ("voluntarily") the circumcision of males!

So what do you think? Do you agree that, in general, this has been a terrific year for circumcision? I welcome your thoughts.