There have been continuing discussions concerning circumcision health benefits. Iceland’s Parliament is considering a bill that would impose a six-year jail term on anyone who “removes part or all of a child’s sexual organs for non-medical reasons.” Silja Dogg Gunnarsdottir who presented the measure said that a 2005 bill banned female genital mutilation. She felt that there was no male equivalent, so she introduced this bill.
Atheists and skeptics have attacked the Bible because they say that circumcision is an unnecessary and barbaric religious tradition, so there is atheist support for Gunnarsdottir’s proposal.
The problem in the whole discussion of circumcision is that legislators are ignoring the scientific evidence and making a judgment based on emotions rather than facts. Here are some statements of evidence:
1-According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, uncircumcised boys are more likely to get urinary tract infections than circumcised boys, and penile cancer is more prevalent in uncircumcised males.
2-Studies in multiple African countries showed that male circumcision reduced the chances of getting HIV by over 50% and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that “the protective efficacy of male circumcision increases with time from surgery.”
3-The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reported that circumcision reduces the rate of HIV, HPV, and genital herpes.
Jewish and Islamic leaders are claiming that outlawing circumcision is an attack on their faith. We would suggest there is a medical, hygienic reason related to infection, cancer in their wives later in life, and prevention of disease that must be considered in approaching this subject. Female genital mutilation is a completely different issue, with no beneficial side effects at all.
The bottom line is that scientific studies indicate that there are circumcision health benefits in today’s world.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
The front page of USA Today (April 25, 2017) had the headline “This is Demonic.” The article was about female genital mutilation. There was a picture of a woman and a statement in bold print saying “A fundamentalist, Christian doctor mutilated her genitals in 1947 to prevent her from masturbating.” A bold-type statement also says that this has been done to half a million females in the United States. If you read the entire article, you find that much of that number has little to do with Christianity, but that isn’t until the last five paragraphs of the article.
It is true that in some non-Christian cultures women are treated as objects. In those cultures it is common to perform female genital mutilation surgeries to remove any chance of the women having sexual pleasure. It is also true that misguided individuals claiming to be Christians may have done the horrible things described in the article. The teachings of Christianity, however, are opposed to sexism and mutilation of the human body of any kind.
Christian teaching is that the human body is the temple of God. First Corinthians 3:16, addressing both sexes, says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him: for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” Paul repeats this point in chapter 6 verses 18-20. In chapter seven Paul talks about sexual pleasure and places the woman’s pleasure on an equal level with the man’s. In verse 3, husbands are told to satisfy their wives, and in verses 4-5 Christians are told that “the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a set time to devote yourself to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Sex is a beautiful, loving thing when practiced in obedience to the Creator’s instructions. God designed something incredible for men and women. It is indeed “demonic” to allow God’s gift to be taken away from women. Christianity treats women as equal to men in every way (Galatians 3:26-29). They have different roles, but all are equal. For more on the role of women and the gains women have made because of the teachings of Christianity, we would encourage readers to get a copy of Under the Influence by Alvin Schmidt (Zondervan Publishing).
–John N. Clayton © 2017