Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rachel's story of her son's circumcision complications

Thank you to my friend Rachel, for being willing to share her story and the story of her sweet little boy.  Circumcision complications are NOT rare.  They happen all the time.  There are no medical benefits to circumcision, and many, many risks.  Please keep reading and researching!
"All of those who are on the fence about circumcision or who are planning to do it, please take a few minutes and read my son's story.

We had my son circumcised when he was a day old, my husband wanted it done and I left that decision up to him. Little did I know, that was something that we would both come to regret.

A couple weeks ago, the tip of my son's penis started looking really irritated. I figured it was because my diapers needed to be stripped. I stripped them. Three times. His penis was not getting better. Within a couple of days, it looked like his urethra opening was ripping. I looked for advice from some of the wonderful ladies in my moms group and one friend suggested it might be a circumcision complication.

We took him to the Children's hospital here to be checked out. The resident suggested it was our diapers then, the attending said it was herpes which was likely caused by us sexually abusing him. The "what in the world" factor for that is very high. Our kids are NOT sexually abused.

The next day, we made an appointment with our pediatrician. He said it was most likely because his penis was growing. We demanded to be referred to a urologist.

Since then, we have seen two urologists who both agree that it is a circumcision complication and my son will need a series of 4 skin grafts to correct it.

We have a meeting with a third urologist, a lawyer, and the doctor who performed his circumcision on the 12th. The doctor wants to apologize to us because she admits that she did not have time to properly perform the procedure and also did not administer any form of numbing agent.

As a result of this, his penis might never function properly and each time he gets an erection, his penis splits just a little more. He wakes up every night when he gets an erection screaming in pain.

We now live with the guilt that we did this to him. We made a life altering decision to remove part of his body and our baby boy has to pay the price. "

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Common Sense Approach to Routine Infant Circumcision from the Christian Point of View by Rebecca James

When people debate the circumcision issue they like to talk about all the “studies.” Scientific studies to prove that there are potential medical benefits. Studies that disprove the potential medical benefits. Studies that prove that circumcision doesn’t change any sexual function or pleasure. Studies that prove that circumcision drastically alters sexual function and reduces sexual pleasure. There are also studies that prove that female circumcision has many similar potential medical benefits. We could also easily do studies to prove that removing a variety of random body parts may offer some potential medical benefits.

Can we just throw out the studies and use some common sense here?

What are we doing to our babies?


In the beginning, God created man in His image. God created man complete with a foreskin. And what did God say? God said, “IT IS VERY GOOD.”

It is very good! Why is it so hard for us to understand that GOD created man in HIS image, and said, “It is very good!?” God created man WITH a foreskin and somehow we are forgetting that GOD said, “It is very good!” Do we not believe God’s own words? Do we not trust Him to have known what HE was doing when He created man with a foreskin?

The circumcision that God commanded in the old testament was not the same procedure that we know as our modern day circumcision. It was literally a “mark” in the flesh intended to be the sign of the Covenant. Not much was removed. God never intended to amputate such a valuable, useful, protective, and purposeful part of the body.

Even better, once Jesus fulfilled the Covenant of the Old Testament, the new sign of the Covenant became BAPTISM! Not circumcision! This is a great joy and a blessing!

We know from history that the original reason for our modern medical circumcision procedure (extreme amputation of the entire foreskin) was to curtail sexual experience and pleasure. That was the #1 reason it was done. Once that reason became a little lack-luster, medical professionals started scrounging around for so-called “potential medical benefits” to keep the tradition going. It became such an ingrained (and also lucrative) tradition that everyone willingly became brainwashed to think it was normal and good. We have become desensitized to the horrors of genital cutting simply because it is so widespread in this country and has been done for so long. No one wants to think that they have been abused or damaged, so they gladly accept the brainwashing and keep it going. Doing it to our children is the only way to prove that it was “okay” to do it to us in the first place.

In most other developed nations, this is simply not done. Babies are born with foreskins and are allowed to keep them! They are treated with bodily respect and integrity and are given the basic human right to their own divinely-created body. The “medically necessary” circumcision rates in most of these countries is so low, it’s hard to even numerate. These boys go on to grow and develop completely normally and then they get the bonus and added benefit of getting to enjoy their foreskin for the rest of their lives! People in other countries where infant genital cutting is in no way normal or accepted, they are shocked and horrified to learn that it is common practice in the USA.

Here in the USA we are somehow convinced that out of all male mammals born on this planet (all of which are born with a foreskin/prepuce), only the American human infant male requires surgical amputation of the foreskin upon birth. 

Foreskin is not a birth defect. ALL baby boys are born with a foreskin. God does not make mistakes. The foreskin is not God’s little mistake.

What are we doing to our babies?

Here are some new testament verses about circumcision to consider.

"As God has called each man, in this manner let him walk. And thus I command in all the churches. Was any man called in the circumcision [Old Covenant]? Let him not try to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in the uncircumcision [New Covenant in Christ]? Let him not be circumcised! Circumcision is nothing. And uncircumcision is nothing but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called." - 1 Cor. 7:17
"And I testify again to every male who receives circumcision, that he is in debt to keep the whole Law. You who do so have been severed from have fallen from grace." - Gal 5:3
"But if I still proclaim circumcision. . . then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished." - Gal 5:11
"I wish that those who are pushing you to do so would mutilate themselves!" - Gal 5:12
"And even those who advocate circumcision don’t really keep the whole law. They only want you to be circumcised so they can brag about it and claim you as their disciples." – Gal 6:13
"Watch out for those wicked men – dangerous dogs, I call them – who say you must be circumcised. Beware of the evil doers. Beware of the mutilation. For it isn’t the cutting of our bodies that makes us children of God; it is worshiping him with our spirits." – Phil 3:2-3
“Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you be circumcised, Christ will be of no advantage to you." – Gal 5:2

Lest you forget, we’re talking about cutting the genitals of defenseless babies without their consent. In what other situation could this possibly be considered “okay.” How come it’s a jailable offense when done to baby girls, and yet condoned and recommended for all baby boys? All men are born with a foreskin. Just as all girls are born with clitoral hoods and labia. As a Christian, I trust that God, who is the creator of both our bodies, and of sex, knew what he was doing and didn't make a mistake on all baby boys ever born. No study in the world could convince me that this could ever be right. THROW OUT ALL THE IDIOTIC STUDIES. How could we even consider “studying” such a horrifying tradition!? Why would anyone WANT to “justify” this?

After having removed myself from the culture of “it’s normal, everyone does it, every man is circumcised, it’s harmless, it’s just what we do, it’s just what we’ve always done.” I can no longer even begin to understand how we got here.

What are we doing to our babies?

Using logic, common sense, and reading the Bible makes this clear. How can the cutting of a baby’s genitals be so normal and accepted!? How did we become so desensitized to this violation of our children?

My favorite Bible verse about this topic is:
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. -Psalm 139:13-14          

 To summarize:

  • God created man (with a foreskin) in His own image and He said, “IT IS GOOD.”
  • God does not make mistakes. 
  • We are told that God KNIT babies together in the womb of their mother, and that we are wonderfully made, and that HIS works are wonderful.  So why do we have the right to alter His wonderful handiwork within moments/hours of birth? (Or even days, weeks, or months.)
  • All baby boys are born with foreskins. They are not a birth defect.
  • Every male mammal on the planet is born with a foreskin/prepuce. Why would infant, human, American males be the only mammal on the planet to need surgical correction upon birth?
  • If you cut off any limb or organ from a non-consenting individual without medical need, it is considered malpractice and abuse.
  • The penis is the only part of an infant’s body that is not protected from unnecessary surgery. Where are the medical ethics!?
  • If you were to circumcise a baby girl, it would be a federal violation.
  • If you were to circumcise a dog, you would be charged with animal abuse.
  • If you were to circumcise a corpse, it would be a federal offense.
  • If it’s so obviously wrong to do to baby girls, dogs, and corpses; WHAT are we doing to our baby boys!?
  • Our current practice of modern medical circumcision began during the Victorian era specifically intended to alter normal sexual function, reduce sexual experience, and reduce sexual pleasure.
  • We are talking about cutting the genitals of babies. Without their permission. It is excruciatingly painful and completely unnecessary and permanently scars their body, alters their sexual function, and reduces their sexual pleasure.
  • We should not be doing ANY “studies” to prove such an abhorrent thing should even be considered. Forget the studies.  Get back to basics. Think logically. Think critically.

What are we doing to our babies!?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

You can't have it both ways: Circumcision as a Biblical sacrifice AND for "cleanliness"

I have heard this many times among those in the Christian community who are pro-circumcision.

The acknowledgement that circumcision is not required for salvation, however it is a sacrifice that is supposed to made.  AND that God MUST have known what He was doing, and required it for health and cleanliness reasons, because foreskin is dirty. Also, maybe He made foreskin, just as an "extra" so that it would be hanging there in order to be cut off, to fulfill His command (that one requires some Biblical gymnastics).

You can't have it both ways.  Arguing this point shows a lack of understanding about the word and meaning of "sacrifice", both in the Old Testament and New.

A sacrifice, in the Bible, was NEVER something meaningless. Never.  Otherwise, it would not be a sacrifice.  The Israelites were to give their BEST in sacrifice.  In Genesis, Abraham was asked to sacrifice his most beloved son, Isaac.  At the beginning of the book, Cain and Abel were asked, respectively, to sacrifice the best of their particular fields of work (animals, and crops).  For sacrifices in the temple, followers of Christ were to bring the best that they had to offer from their flocks. In Genesis 8, we see Noah offering the best of the clean animals and birds (which were those they were permitted to eat), as a sacrifice.  In Exodus 13:2, God requires the firstborn, both human and animal.  Culturally, firstborns were favored, with inheritance, birthright, and blessing.  The concept of "first-fruits" runs throughout Scripture-the idea that we are to give the first and best in sacrifice and thanksgiving to God.

The very fact that God required a cut "in the flesh of the foreskin" (Genesis 17:11) shows that foreskin is NOT just "extra skin", and that it is a valuable and useful part of the body. 

God Himself made the ultimate sacrifice.  John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosover believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting love".  The first.  The best.  The only.  That's sacrifice.

One thing that I know is true about God, and His character is that He is not haphazard, or random.  Throughout Scripture, nature, and many other sources we see God move with purpose and clarity.  He does not make mistakes.

I do not believe that God stepped outside of His character or own order when he used circumcision as a reminder and a sacrifice.  Given the information about the difference between OT circumcision and modern day medical circumcision,  the circumcision that HE required did not cause the severe issues that the circumcisions of our modern culture do. (1)

It is not an affront to God to point out the problems with modern, medical circumcision-they aren't in any way the same thing.

I do not believe that He screwed up when he made male infants, and that He suddenly realized in the Old Testament that part of their anatomy needed to be cut off in order for them to be healthy.  Not only does this not match up with current scientific evidence, it does not match up with a loving and perfect Creator.  Genesis 1:31 says that God looked at His creation, and declared that it was very good.  That included foreskin on a man.

Additionally, it does not match up with the intent of sacrifices to claim that God had people remove the foreskin for hygiene reasons.  It can NOT be BOTH a sacrifice, AND a dirty, nasty, diseased item.  Dirty, nasty, diseased, useless things were not appropriate sacrifices in the Old Testament.  Only the best was to be sacrificed.  You can not have it both ways.  It flies in the face of God's command, and His order to claim that the foreskin was BOTH a sacrifice and a liability. 

The Old Testament, and Hebrew Law was very comprhensive in talking about and making laws regarding "uncleanliness".  This included rules about everything from leprosy, to what they ate, to women's cycles.  (The majority of these are found throughout the book of Leviticus, but also referenced elsewhere throughout the Old Testament) Never in any of these laws is foreskin mentioned as unclean.

So, since it can not be both, which is the reason you are proceeding? Is it due to the fact you believe God requires this blood sacrifice, even post Jesus? Or is it because you believe the removal of the foreskin to be of medical benefit?

If your answer is sacrifice, I ask you to consider these Scripture:

Hosea 6:6 "For I desire steadfast love, not sacrifice. And acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings."

Proverbs 21:3 "Righteousness and justice are more acceptable than sacrifice"

Hebrews 13:16 "Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God."

The best sacrifices we can give are to give of ourselves-to do good, love others, love God, acknowledge Him and His word.  THIS is what is pleasing to God, not a blood offering.

Hebrews 10:11-14 " 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

The New Testament makes it clear that Christ is THE SACRIFICE.  He is THE ONLY sacrifice that we need.  To add to that, or take away from it, is to completely deny the cross.  Praise God that He took the penalty, and erased all need for our own bloodshed (and the bloodshed of animals and babies) in order to be in communion with Him. 

Galatians 5: 1-6
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

The whole book of Galatians is lead up to, and proof of the lack of need for blood sacrifices for the New Testament believer.  Christ's death frees us from the Old Testament law (and I must ask, if you are keeping circumcision out of respect for the Old Law, are you also keeping the rest of the Old Testament law? Sacrifice of animals? Other OT laws?)  God, through Paul, makes it abundantly clear that the attempt to use circumcision as a sacrifice to gain favor with God flies in the face of grace.  

So, if not for sacrificial reasons, are you doing it because you think that God instituted the practice for medical reasons, and that it never was a sacrifice or sign at all? That is not what Scripture says.  In the New Testament, circumcision of the heart is referenced, which has led some to say that THIS is a sign that circumcision is right, because it signifies the cutting away of "bad stuff", so therefore, foreskin must be "bad stuff".  We have established that considering foreskin "bad stuff" opposes the theology that it was a sacrifice, so that is not a possible interpretation.  So what DOES it mean?

It means that God has always had a way of speaking to people in a way that they would understand.  "Circumcision" was a term that the people would understand as a "cutting".  (Literally to cut a circle).  The word circumcision in these passages is simply to indicate the cut. 

Additionally, even if one WERE to somehow deny circumcision as a sacrifice, and instead believe that circumcision of the Old Testament was for health benefits, the fact remains that modern science has proven that currently, it is NOT of any health benefit (2).  I think we all would agree that modern medicine is not equivalent to what was available in the Old Testament, and we have a number of ways to handle things that were not available at the time.  Though intact men and boys actually have less complications with their intactness (God knew exactly what He was doing!) than circumcised boys, if there IS ever a problem, the treatments available now are much different than what was available in the Old Testament.  But as noted, it does not make sense when looking at the character or nature of God, and the fact He considered His to be very good, AND in His image, to believe that He made men, then said "oops-that foreskin is gross-better cut it off". I submit to you that He does not make mistakes, and that the circumcision that HE required never had to do with "dirt".

We can't have it both ways.  We can not use the Bible to justify our culture, yet deny Scripture itself, and the character of God itself, in order to make our point.  These two ideas are a complete clash of theology, and both ideas can not be held in conjunction with one another. Circumcision as BOTH a Biblical sacrifice and a health benefit is literally not possible.

1. Is Cirumcision the Christian thing to do?
The difference in diagram
Differences described
Biblical Circumcision Information

2. Assumed Medical Benefits of Circumcision
Dr. Sears, No Medical Benefits to Circumcision 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Is Circumcision the "Christian" Thing to Do? by Crystal Lutton

I asked my friend, Crystal Lutton to write this post for me.  Crystal is a rabbi and pastor at the Shema Congregation, and is a Messianic Jew.  She is also a published author, wife, and mother.  

Is Circumcision the "Christian" thing to do? by Crystal Lutton

Yes, God commands circumcision.

Deuteronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.

Deuteronomy 30:6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

Except the debate that goes on around us in the modern world is about circumcising the flesh.

What is the big deal about circumcision?  It happens to be one of those issues that gets debated on mommy blogs, has entire websites devoted to doing it and not doing it, has spawned movements, and has resulted in the threat of divorce from those who support it and are opposed to it.  But what’s the big deal?  Is there really anything to be fighting about?

I’ll leave the issue of Routine Infant Circ (RIC) to others - except to say that some doctors refuse to perform RIC and I have yet to encounter any compelling information supporting RIC. At this point the largest reason I hear for people circing their sons is to have them look like daddy - which I would like to point out would utterly change in one generation if this generation would say no - the next generation would be avoiding circ so that Junior could look like his father.  I do want to be very clear, however, that RIC does not fulfill any aspect of the Biblical circ and should you convert to Judaism you would still need to be pricked to shed blood.

Which leads me to what I do want to discuss --- what the Bible actually says about circumcision and whether Christians need to do it.

According to Genesis 17:24 Abraham was 90 years old when he was circumcised.  And Romans 4:12 points out that it he is the father of our faith - a faith he had before he was circumcised.  It was in Genesis 17 that God had a heart to heart with Abraham and said this (vs 10):

“This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised”

He goes on to say that this circumcision is to be done on the 8th day and includes those born to him and his descendants, those bought from a foreigner or in their home as indentured servants.  Born by blood or bought with your money, if they are living in your home the males must be circumcised.  Verse 14 gives insight into how serious an issue this was to be:

“Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."

We see this being very important when we get to the Exodus and we are told that no one is allowed to eat the Passover Lamb who has not been circumcised.  This is because only those who have truly converted to Judaism are going to be allowed to be in the homes protected by the Passover Lamb’s blood, and only those who have truly joined up with the Jewish people are going to be allowed to join them in the Exodus and be with them when they are made a Nation.

Circumcision was introduced as an outward sign that you were going to eventually possess a circumcised heart and become part of God’s Kingdom.  If you were not circumcised before joining God’s Kingdom, that circumcision of the flesh was the external sign that you were now sporting a circumcised heart.  It was the last step of conversion to Judaism.  Without it you were a God-fearer, with it you were a convert with full rights and status.  But I don’t want to make it sound like things are all cut and dried (no pun intended).  There was discussion between God and Abraham over whether circumcision was needed (and Abraham was allowed to go from age 48 when he responded to God’s promise of a covenant until he was 90 and was circumcised), and between different Jewish sects over what is required of the proselyte.

What exactly is this circumcision?  What does it mean?  You might recognize the root for “circle” - also seen in circumference, or the measure of the distance around a circle.  There is also the root for “cut” - also seen in incision.  So we have a command to cut a circle.  And we know from study of this issue and especially from Zipporah’s faithfulness with Moses’ son, that the circle was cut in the foreskin.

What was actually commanded was to cut the tip of the foreskin off.  The foreskin is a large piece of skin that hangs down over the head of the penis anywhere from a short distance to quite a large amount.  The average RIC removes approximately a postcard size piece of skin. But the command wasn’t to remove the foreskin - it was to cut a circle in the foreskin - or remove the tip.  In fact, the practice was to remove the tip of the foreskin until around the time of Paul and the Romans.  

Paul speaks of removing the marks of circumcision, and “uncircing” is a practice to this day involving hanging weights from the foreskin to try and lengthen it and recreate the covering of an uncirc’d penis.  At the point he was teaching it was a big deal to be circumcised if you wanted to go to the gymnasium or the bathhouses because the Romans viewed circumcision as mutilation.  It was not uncommon for Jewish men to try and lengthen their foreskin or hide the marks of their circumcision.  The response of the Rabbinic community was to alter the style of circumcision and remove more foreskin - making it harder to fit in outside of the Jewish community.

Paul’s response to the issue is quite different. He says, “Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision.”  This is because Paul was navigating something amazing and new that God was doing - God was welcoming the former Gentiles into His Kingdom!

Paul was navigating the coming together of different classes, different races, different people of different backgrounds as they all responded to the promises of salvation through Jesus.  Those who came Jewish were told to stay Jewish. Those who came as non-Jews were told to not get circumcised - God had accepted them as non-Jews and it was okay to remain non-Jews.  

The Jerusalem Council agreed with him!  Peter had already had his vision where God made it clear to him that the Gospel was going to the Nations - the non-Jews.  The non-Jews who accepted Jesus were being called clean by God!  The Jerusalem Council did not require circumcision for those who were becoming part of this new and expanding community.

And yet we continue to debate this in 2013!

I understand those who are born Jewish and want to know whether circumcision is still required for their children. It is an ancient tradition and there is something amazing about being part of a tradition commanded by God for those who are born as descendants of Abraham.  There is debate within the Jewish community about the modern practice of circumcision and there are ceremonies that can be found online for blessing ceremonies that don’t cut the flesh. For those who want to undergo brit milah and have a Biblical circumcision, I recommend talking to a mohel about the actual practice.  To this day there are three types of circumcision which each remove a different amount of skin.  Talk about removing the least skin possible.  There was even a Rabbinic allowance for those babies who might have bleeding disorders. They were allowed to have only one prick of the skin because a single drop of blood was considered enough to have cut the covenant.  As with all things I advocate doing your research and determining exactly what you want done to your son.

I understand those who have embraced a Messianic approach to worship where, regardless of your nation of birth, you have embraced a Torah observant lifestyle.  While Paul and the Jerusalem Council were insistent that you need not be circumcised to be part of the Kingdom People, there is a place for discussing whether, now that you are part of the Kingdom People, this command to circumcise your males on the 8th day applies to you.  This is something that you must work out between you and the Lord and please do not let anyone try to dictate what you will do with your sons.  If you do determine to have them undergo brit milah, please see my encouragement above to speak to a mohel and pursue a ceremony involving the least removal of foreskin.  I do not believe that God ever intended men to lose their foreskin completely, even where shed blood was supposed to mark their inclusion in a covenant people.

I do not understand the debate among those who do not embrace living according to Torah and who are not blood descendants of Abraham.  There is absolutely no command for the Nations to be circumcised.   A RIC does not satisfy the requirements of Biblical circumcision.  

*For more information about the history of circumcision you can read here

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Healthy newborn in NICU following circumcision

This literally turns my stomach.  I have a knot in my throat, and tears. 

I have learned from a friend of a little one she knows who has been fighting for his life after his circumcision surgery.

He was a healthy, full term, newborn baby  boy.  Perfect and loved.

His circumcision, done not for medical, nor religious reasons, nearly killed him.

He spent several days in the NICU on life support.

He has lost a good portion of his penis.

His adult sexual function will be altered.

He is days old, and has already had to have a surgery (in addition to his circumcision surgery) and there are many more in his future.

Friends, this is preventable.

All this happened, to this precious child, for no reason.

This HAPPENS.  It happens to real people.  To real babies.  Innocent babies who have not asked, nor do they need cosmetic surgery on their genitals.  It could happen to your baby. 

Please don't risk it.  It's not worth it.

That's all I can say about that.  Pray for this child.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Obvious Choice for an Unconventional Dad: By Chad B.

The Obvious Choice for an Unconventional Dad

I am not the norm when it comes to dads in my area. Being an atheistic, vegan who practices attachment parenting and baby wearing, who makes his own laundry detergent, among other household cleaners, uses cloth diapers and has a scent-free home does not fit in with the average Chattanoogan guy who loves football and beer and couldn’t give a crap about all that other stuff. I am so crunchy, you can practically smell the granola from here, can’t you?

But I wasn’t any of these things until my wife was pregnant with our first child. It all started with my wife deciding to have a natural home birth. Once you start down that road, you will end up eating tofu grinders at
Sluggo’s eventually, just like we did. We began to question the way we look at most things, including our diet, the products we use in our home, how we want to relate to our kids, to spank or not to spank, etc. At first we thought our first child was a boy. (Turns out she was a wonderful and maddening little girl, who I can’t imagine life without.) So of course my wife began educating me about circumcision.

To me, circumcision had always been an elective surgery. I had never believed any of the false claims that it magically cures or prevents things like cervical cancer, HIV or masturbation. It was just a matter of how you want your junk to look. Turtleneck or crew. My dad was the only son of three who was left intact and he disliked the teasing and feeling of otherness so much that he determined to not pass that on to me, so I was circumcised.

Well, it didn’t turn out quite like he expected. I am still unclear to this day what exactly happened. Was it a botched surgery? Was my genital aftercare subpar? Why did it heal the way it did? As a result of my circumcision, I was left with some confusing scar tissue and I was never sure why my penis looked different from that of my peers. I mean, from the looks of things, I definitely wasn’t intact. But I didn’t really look circumcised either. I was far too embarrassed to ask about it when I was a teenager, so it wasn’t until I was an adult that I finally had the wherewithal to find out. It appears that it was, for whatever reason, the way that my circumcision was allowed to heal that left me looking a little different than the rest.  I found this out around the time my wife was pregnant with our first child, so I soured immediately on the idea of circumcision before much reading or research was done. Since it is elective, there is no reason to risk it.

Of course, I have many reasons to choose to leave my son intact. Pain of the procedure, risk of surgical site infection or even death, deprivation of sexual pleasure and overall function, etc. But mainly, I find that now the most important reason I am against circumcision is that I don’t feel I have the right to deprive this little person of a choice. My dad has the option of altering himself if he so chooses. I do not. It feels very wrong to me to consider altering a baby’s sexual organs and not allowing him to come to his own conclusions about his body.

I have come a long way from where I was, but to me, all these decisions I have made and am making about my life and my family just seem right, good and true. There isn’t much more to say than that.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Resources by Men

Some of the resources on the "My Favorite Resources" list are by men.

However, I decided to also make a list of resources regarding circumcision that are all by men.  Some folks feel that this topic is dominated by women.  I believe that women should definitely have a huge role in this.   However, if you are interested to hear from men themselves, there are certainly plenty of places to hear from them!  Please note that while I have promised to keep what I post myself free of certain words and images, I do not claim that these extra resources have the same requirements.  I will add more so feel free to check back!

Not Just Skin, Ryan McAllister, PhD

Men Ask, "Why was I circumcised?"

Child Circumcision: An Elephant in the Hospital (video)

Uncommon Sense from a Common Dad

Penn and Teller on Circumcision  (Language warning!! Video)

Circumcision: Will You Make the Cut?

Chad's Story

Cate's story    (See comments-two men give good insights)

Dr. Sears, Pediatrician, Whether or not to circumcise

Circumcision, the Whole Story (Video-graphic pictures, in medical setting)

Circumcision: Our Bodies, Our Choices

Raising Our Sons: Support from Circumcised Fathers of Intact Sons

Global Survey of Circumcision Harm

Father has Talk with son about Infant Circumcision

To the Happily Circumcised American Man

Stop the Cutting

The Circumcison Secret

Birth of an Activst: Reflections from David Wilson

Men Do Complain

Hebrew for Christians-Should a Christian be circumcised?

Recovery from a Botched Circumcision

Intact Male Celebrities and their thoughts on the matter 

Realization of Circumcision

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Some of my favorite resources

There is so much great information out there about circumcision and reason to keep your baby intact.  Below is a list of some of my favorite articles and resources.

While I have promised to keep my own blog free of inflammatory/harsh words and graphic pictures, I can not promise the same for these links.

  • This first link is a video called "Child Circumcision: An Elephant in the Hospital".  It is a college class presentation presented by a research professor at Georgetown.  It contains some medical type pictures.
                 Child Circumcision-An Elephant in the Hospital

  • This next one is an article originally posted on the WHOLE Network, called "Why my Son is Not Circumcised".  It is a good solid article that covers all the main reasons that people consider circumcision, and why this mother did not find those reasons valid.
                 Why my Son is Not Circumcised

  • Next is "Doctors Opposing Circumcision", which is exactly what the title would indicate.  
              Doctors Opposing Circumcision

  • "Whether or Not to Circumcise" by pediatrician Dr.Sears
             Whether or Not to Circumcise

Circumcision, The Whole Story-by  Dr. Christopher Guest and Barrie Midwives.  Great explanation and medical perspective.  Graphic pictures, in medical setting.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Confessions from the Wife of a Circumcised Man, by Rebecca

Because of the Grace of God, my husband and I had saved ourselves for each other prior to
marriage. We felt very strongly that we should not defile the marriage bed by entering into a physical relationship outside of the marriage covenant. It seemed clear to us that God’s plan for marriage includes purity outside of marriage. Because of this, after we were married, the first few months were a huge adjustment to the physical intimacy of marriage. It was a beautiful time in our lives and we loved every moment of getting to know each other more intimately. We had our “issues,” but also quite enjoyed the process of working on them. Thinking back on our “honeymoon” years always makes me smile.

At the time I had no concept of what circumcision was or what it meant to me. I knew little about it and had known no other man but my husband so he was my whole world. As a newlywed, I often talked with friends who were also young-marrieds or newlyweds to learn if any of them had the same “difficulties” that I had as a newlywed. We often found we had some of the same issues and it was helpful to know I wasn’t the only newly-married-wife to experience these things! I was in good company.

And things continually got better as married life wore on. We have truly had a very joyful and happy marriage in every way, despite any bumps in the road along the way! We learned how to communicate and work well together in most areas.

Once we had our first son though, we were forced into researching circumcision so we could decide if we needed to have our son circumcised or not. After I came to the realization of what circumcision is and that it had been done to my husband, things that we went through as newlyweds and things that my friends had gone through as newlyweds all started to make so much more sense. I could look back on specific conversations with other newlywed wives and it all became painfully clear. In retrospect, it all lined up. The issues we discussed down to the nitty gritty details - it all came down to circumcision. I had no idea! It was so eye-opening and painful to realize that our sex life had been so negatively affected by something we didn’t even really ever think about or realize had any role whatsoever. It made me a little bit angry, but mostly sad. Sad for him and also for myself- that we’d never know what sex is like as God intended. I know there is nothing we can do about it and I have accepted that. I am grateful for our marriage (all aspects of it!) in spite of it all!

Because of what we learned, we are so happy to have left our son with all the body parts that God gave him and as strange as it may sound, we are happy that he will be able to experience a fuller sex life, as God and nature intended! Despite the lingering sadness for what my husband and I cannot have back, it makes us even more grateful and relieved to be able to leave our son intact!
Anonymous Elephant has joined the document.

Cate's Story: A Reluctant Dad, A Mom who said "Never Again"

When we were pregnant with our first child, we decided not to peek at the gender and just wait and be surprised. My husband was adamant about circumcising if we had a boy. I did a little research, but only on pro-circumcision sites.

 I deeply regret not researching more. I was just so relieved that my husband was on board with my choices about alternative parenting practices, like natural birth at a birthing center, etc. I thought I should give him this one thing that was important to him. We had a birthing center birth, so I found a pediatrician that performed circumcisions in her office. When the baby was born and we found out he was a boy, I started feeling panicky, but stuffed my feelings down. We had the appointment scheduled for 5 days after birth. Looking back, I am really glad we had breast feeding established and that the circumcision surgery wasn’t performed on his first day on Earth.

The whole elevator ride up to the doctor’s office, I felt so anxious. I really wanted to grab my baby and run, but I stuffed those feelings down. After the initial check up, she said it was time to start the circumcision. I had wanted to stay in the room, but changed my mind last minute. My husband stayed, and I waited outside the door. I began to hear an infant cry while waiting outside the door. I wanted to go back in to him, but was afraid to startle the doctor and make her botch the surgery. The crying seemed to go on and on and on. I started to cry and hyperventilate. The nurses brought me a cup of water and chair. It was the worst 5 minutes of my life. When they told me I could go back in, my baby wasn’t tear streaked, he was very calm. I asked him, “but wasn’t he crying?” and the told me he didn’t cry at all (my husband had let him suck on his pinky that was coated in sugar water. It’s supposed to have a calming effect on babies). It turned out that the cries came from a baby in the next room was getting her 2 month vaccinations, but the way the sound traveled made it sound like my son. I was so relieved he didn’t cry. We took him home, I nursed him and he fell asleep. He slept for a long, long time. I roused him to try and nurse him about four hours later and checked for excessive bleeding, but he fell right back to sleep. He probably slept 8 hours straight. I called my mom and asked her about it, but she said he was probably just sleeping off the local anesthesia and when you’re sleeping you’re healing.

I later found out he was most likely in shock. Oh my poor little baby. In the following days, he would cry every time he peed, I can’t imagine how much it stung and burned him. I would cry every time I changed his diaper, his little penis just looked so angry and sore.

No one had told us to pull back the skin around the head of the penis, we weren’t given much post surgery care instructions. He had a very loose circumcision, and the skin started to re-adhere but I had no idea. By 5 months, it was totally reattached but I never realized it. It started to leak pus out of a little hole where the skin hadn’t re-adhered on the side of the penis. I did a little research, and figured out what had happened. All the re-adhered skin was trapping germs and skin cells inside. According to my research, the skin needed to detach or it could cause a lot of problems later on in life when he started to have erections. I soaked the area in a warm wash cloth over the course of a few days, and it started to detach. That was when my real regret started to sink in, his penis was just trying to go back to the way it should be. When I was researching all this, I found lots of web sites against circumcision, and my eyes were really opened. I began to feel so sad
regretful about what I had done.

When my son was around a year old, I told my husband I regretted it. I told him all the things I had found in my research, how it’s just a cosmetic surgery with no medical benefits. I told him I felt like a dog owner that had her dog’s ears clipped just so they would look a certain way. I told we were no better then the parents that have their daughter’s genitals cut in Africa, we just had a sterile surgery instead of one on a dirt floor in a hut. Needless to say, that didn’t go over well…. We kind of just left it at that for awhile. We had planned on starting to try for another child when my son turned two, so right around his second birthday I dropped the bombshell. I told my husband that if we were to have another boy, there was no way on earth I would allow him to be circumcised. I would fight him tooth and nail over it. I told him it mattered so much to me, that I was willing to not have another child and leave our son an only child so it wouldn’t have to come to that. 

My husband and I do not argue ever. We have a very peaceful marriage, and usually never disagree on anything. We decided it would be better for us to forego having another child then to risk having another boy and having a giant rift between us. I was heart broken. I did not want only one child. But that is how important not circumcising again was to me. There were many nights I cried over it, and my husband would hold me as I cried. We just couldn’t see any other way. My husband was very, very adamant about having his son(s) match him. I did ask him could I gather all my arguments against it and present them to him at one time so I could say I tried everything. He allowed me to do that. I tried to keep my emotions out of it, and just present facts. Facts like circumcision only began in this country as a way to curb masturbation in young boys. Sex doesn't feel as good without a foreskin. Babies die from circumcision, it’s just not a well reported thing. The rate of parent's circumcising is dropping, so the whole “locker room” argument isn't true anymore (and our kids will be home schooled, so that’s a moot point anyway). The New Testament of the Bible states it’s not necessary, so the whole “God requires it” argument doesn't work (and if you look at the way it was required in the Old Testament, it’s very different form the medical circumcision of today. Back then it was just a ritual cut, not slicing off the entire foreskin).  It didn't change his mind, but I felt like I had done all I could. From time to time, when we’d be out in public and see a little newborn, I’d just look at my husband with sad eyes and he would know what I was thinking; that I wanted another. People would ask us, “so when is the next one coming”, and we’d just tell them we were done.

By the time my son’s third birth was approaching, I was finally coming to terms with the fact he really was going to be an only. I had prayed for an “oops” baby, but had even quit doing that. We were getting past the baby stage with him, he was sleeping through the night, weaning, and potty learning. I was starting to look forward to the next stage of our lives. One day, we were riding in the car and I threw out one last time, “I really want another baby”. And to my very great surprise….he said okay. OKAY!?!? What??? Did I hear right??? He told me, “I’ve really been thinking about it, and if you’ve done all this research and really come to the conclusion that it’s best to not circumcise, I will concede to you. I still want any sons we might have to match me, but I’ll give that up so we can have another child. If we have a boy and they ever ask us why they don’t match each other, you have to be the one to explain it to them”. I was in such
shock. I just started crying and hugging him, I couldn’t believe he told me that in the car. I just wanted to jump in his arms and kiss his face. I loved my husband so much in that moment. I know how hard it was for him to “give in”. I guess he just needed a lot of time to process to everything. I floated around on cloud 9 for days. I was so ecstatic he had changed his mind. We started trying right away, and got pregnant on the first try. I went from never thinking I was going to have another child to pregnant in just a matter of weeks. What a whirl-wind. My husband really wanted to peek at the gender this time, and….we are having a little girl! She will remain intact, just as every child deserves to be.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

My Journey to Mothering Three Intact Boys- Jane's story

My husband comes from a pretty crunchy clan. He is the baby of a big family and we were on the tail end of adding grand babies to the crew. One of his older (wiser) sisters left her son intact (he was the first nephew born since our wedding) and we wondered why on earth she’d do that?! So we investigated and read The Case Against Circumcision (Paul M. Fleiss, MD) (1)  and eventually’s article (2) on circumcision and decided before we were ever even pregnant with our first child that we would not make a decision to take a part of his body unnecessarily and without his consent. I think it took us maybe 15 minutes to read the Case Against Circumcision article and make our decision. It was that convincing. Many risks and zero benefits, we were sold.

Three years later we found ourselves expecting our first child, a boy! We were thrilled! I don’t recall any strange inferences from our medical providers (midwives and pediatricians) that he should be cut. In fact, I recall my midwife being relieved that we made the choice of intact-as-default.

Something that always amazes me is the great lengths women will go through to avoid tearing or an episiotomy during labor and birth. Why then do we hand over a precious, whole, healthy baby to have HIS privates cut?!

We went on to have two more whole boys.

We have never had any problems with infections or UTIs. Any kind of redness has been easily and quickly healed by an Epsom salt/baking soda bath and some herbal salve.

I am a bit of an intactivist (as non-confrontational as I can be) and I have given information to several families who made a choice to not circumcise their children. Of my personal friends and family, I would guess that 90% of the boy children are whole. It goes to show you aren’t going to have a freak-kid with all his parts. He’ll just be one of the crowd.

I will never regret my choice (like it was really mine to make!). We went on to have BEAUTIFUL Babymoons (there was no blood, no wound care, no crying from pain – for the babies, it was a different story for Mama). We had amazing breastfeeding relationships right from the start. I cannot imagine caring for a circumcision wound during those first precious weeks.

I am forever thankful to my sisters in law who spoke out against circumcision before we had children (even the sisters with girls only are very vocal about the intact message). My three sons will be forever grateful too.
I hope that our story encourages your family to consider intact-as-default as well! Many blessings!!!


Monday, April 29, 2013

Margaret's Story-Circumcision and the Adopted Child

Shortly after we adopted our barely 4 year old son from an Eastern European country, we took him to a local pediatrician for an routine examination. He had no medical needs at that time, but we wanted to get familiar with the doctor. Our new son had already been examined by the international adoption clinic at a major hospital, so we knew his medical needs were met.

The doctor examined our son quickly and asked us if we'd thought about circumcision. Yes, I told him, and we were not interested. The doctor quickly explained the reasons for why we might want to have it done, including "increased risk of infections". "We haven't dealt with infections yet, and if they become a problem, perhaps we'll consider it", I told him. Then he told me that "it would be best done before kindergarten" and when I dismissed that as well, he quickly gave me a patronizing nod before leaving the room.

I had not even researched circumcision that that point. I knew that most of Europe no longer practices routine infant circumcision, including my child's native country, and that was enough for me. It did not seem like a fair choice for me to make for my child at 4 years old. A child I barely knew at that point. I was shocked that our doctor would advise an unneccesary cosmetic procedure on a young child, who had recently been through the trauma of international adoption. He barely spoke any English at this point, and our doctor was advocating that he go under anesthesia to be surgically altered. I will absolutely seek necessary medical care for my child, but I do not believe it is my business to make cosmetic decisions about his penis.

My son is now 6 years old. We now have 2 intact adopted sons and have never had a single infection or problem with either of their genitals. Now that I know more about circumcision, I am very glad I followed my gut and completely ignored the doctor's advice.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dangers of circumcision

Circumcision is often lauded as no big deal.

I have strong, strong feelings about the subject of risks and side affects of circumcision surgery.

When I signed for my sons to be circumcised, a piece of paper was shoved under my nose (once weeks before delivery, when I didn't even know I was having a boy, and once while in heavy labor), and the blank where I was to sign was pointed at.  No one explained the procedure to me, or went over the risks.  No one encouraged me to read the statement. No one told me that it was not necessary (that is, until I decided not to do it).

This makes me so, so angry.  With most other procedures, and medications, we are told about all the possible risks.  A doctor should have taken the time to come in and discuss this with me.  With many other procedures that my children have had, someone has explained what was happening, the pros and cons, the risks, and made sure we were fully informed.  That was not the case for me when we circumcised our sons.

Now, let me be clear. I should have researched it. I should have read every word.  I should have considered every possible risk.  I take responsibility for the fact that I allowed a surgery, with risk, to be performed on my sons without really thinking or studying for myself because I just was going with the perceived cultural "norm", and did not even take time to consider or study the matter for myself.  However, I DO believe that medical personnel, as the ones who are performing the surgery, have an ethical duty and obligation to explain procedures and all the risks involved.  That was not done, and that grieves me.

(If you are unfamiliar with the picture to the right, this is the restraint that newborn babies are placed in while their circumcision surgery is performed, and then strapped down, awake, oftentimes with no anesthesia)

There are many possible side effects and problems that can occur as a result of this surgery.  I know many will say that there are side effects or risks of many things, and that is true.  However, the fact that circumcision is not NECESSARY means that these risks are being taken for no reason, other than a cosmetic one.  Is it really worth it? Had I known the risks that I was placing on my newborn, helpless sons, I would NOT have felt it worth it, for a cosmetic procedure.

The first, and most disturbing risk is death. In the United States, over 100 baby boys die each year from side effects of their circumcision surgery. Hospital reported deaths due to circumcision are 174, for the latest reported year.  The estimated actual number is higher than that. (2)  To put this in perspective, over the span of a decade, around 30 children died in drop side cribs, and those have been BANNED in the United States.  (1) It only takes 1 ounce of blood loss for a baby to begin to hemorrhage. ONE. OUNCE. Anytime a baby is subjected to a surgery, death is a definite risk.  (2)

Healthy Newborn Dies Post Circumcision

I will include at the end here a comprehensive, suggested informed consent form.  First, I'd like to give examples of some less extensive consent forms, and highlight some of the risks.

From a consent form from a Virginia practice:(3)
 "These risks, which can be serious, include bleeding, infection, and damage to nearby tissues, vessels, nerves, or organs. They may result in paralysis, cardiac arrest, brain damage, and/or death. Other risks for this procedure may include:bleeding, infection, possible deformity, or need for further surgery"

From a consent form from Brisbane: (4)
"I understand that circumcision for an infant is not a medical procedure. Except for extreme abnormalities, there is no medical reason for circumcision".

A Florida practice (5):
"Risks Discussed: Potential for bleeding, infection, malformation, need for re-circumcision.... The chance of failure, and the risks of unplanned injuries to organs, nerves or blood vessels, to include inadvertent puncture, laceration, a tearing of other internal organs and consequent hemorrhage and need for additional surgery to repair."

 To outline some of the other side effects in detail, I will quote below from Dr. R.S. Van Howe, M.D.  It is his belief that if circumcision is going to be offered to parents, than a full informed consent form should be offered and explained, in order that parents have full and complete understanding of what they are doing.  This should be the absolute MINIMUM of ethical care in the United States-that we have full informed consent of the procedures we are choosing for ourselves or our children.  The consent form is very long.  I will quote part, and include the link to the remainder.(6)

In closing, This simply should not be happening.  Thankfully, the worldwide circumcision rate is low-80% of men worldwide are intact.  The circumcision rate is falling in the United States as well.  Over 50% of boys born now are left intact.  That is a GOOD THING, and I am so thankful.  But it is still too many. One baby dying, or losing the function of his body, for an unnecessary surgery is too many.

From an Informed Consent for Circumcision form, by R.S. Van Howe, M.D.

"Male circumcision is a surgical procedure where 25%-50% of the skin of the penis is removed.  It is important that you understand the well-established known risks of the surgical procedure as well as the possible, but unproven benefits.

The following risks are iatrogenic (doctor caused) and result directly from neonatal circumcision surgery.  Significant complications from neonatal circumcision surgery range from 2%-10%

1. Hemorrhage (bleeding): Serious hemorrhage occurs in about 2% of infants, resulting in shock and sometimes death. While death is a rare complication of circumcision, it does occur......

2. Infections: Localized or systemic infections include bacteremia, spticemia, meningitis, osteomyelitis, lung abscess, diphtheria, tuberculosis, scalded skin syndrome, gangrene of the penis and scrotum, scrotal abscess, impetigo, necrotizing fascitis of the abdominal wall, tetanus, and necrosis of the perineum.  A realistic infection rate is as high as 10%. Serious infections can cause irreparable and lifelong harm.

3. Urinary Retnetion: ....can cause the infant to retain urine, leading, at times, to acute obstructive uropathy when the bladder distends to the point of rupture

4. Laceration of penile skin....

5. Excessive penile skin loss: ...penile bowing and pain occurs at the time of erection.  Pubic hair can be pulled forward onto the penile shaft, and bleeding during sex can occur from shaft skin tears.  Skin grafts are sometimes required.

6. Beveling deformities of the glans...: Varying amounts of the glans are shaved times the entire glans may be amputated.

7. Hypospadias: ....when the frenular area is drawn too far forward, the crushing bell may injure the urethra at the time the foreskin is removed, resulting in a urethral opening on the underside of the shaft.

8. Epispadias: When one limb of the clamp inadvertently is passed into the urethra and is closed, it may crush the upper portion of the urethra and glans, creating a urethral opening on the dorsum (top) of the glans.

9. Retention of the Plastibell ring: The Plastibell may become buried under the skin causing ulceration...Loss of the glans has been reported.

10. Chordee (permanent bowing of the penis)....

11. Keloid formation: Prominent scars can occur where the skin-mucous membrane has been incised...

12. Lymphedema: Chronic swelling of the glans due to infection or surgical trauma

13. Concealed penis: The circumcised penis becomes hidden in the fat pad of the pubic area, requiring surgery to bring the penis out again.

14. Skin bridges and penile adhesions: A common complication consisting of one or more thick areas of scar tissue. These can be quite painful during erection."

15. Phimosis of remaining foreskin: When only a segment of the foreskin is removed, the remaining tip sometimes becomes tight and non-retractable, requiring a second surgery.

16. Preputial cysts: Cysts caused by infection or mechanical distortion blocking the sebaceous glands.

17.Skin tags: Can occur at the circumcision line, representing an uneven removal of skin. 

18.Loss of part or all of the penis: This can be caused by constricting rings, such as the Plastibell, or by use of an electrocautery device. More frequently, the loss is the result of infection, with the penis becoming increasingly necrotic (dead tissue) until finally the entire organ falls off. The proposed solution in many cases is to raise the child as a girl.

19. Meatitis: Inflammation of the urethral opening from the loss of protective foreskin, which can lead to ulceration and meatal stenosis (narrowing). Many infants and children suffer this after their loss of protective foreskin.

20. Meatal ulceration: Caused by meatitis and/or abrasions from dry diapers and from diapers soiled with urine and feces. Meatal ulceration does not occur in the intact male and occurs in up to 50% of circumcised infants.

21. Meatal stenosis: In advanced meatal ulceration, scar tissue can constrict the urethral opening causing urinary obstruction. Meatal stenosis is usually not apparent for several years, occurring in about one-third of all circumcised infants and not at all in intact males.

22. Progressive loss of glans sensitivity: This is the most common complaint of adult circumcised men, whereby some men report stimulated needed to the point of pain to achieve orgasm. 

23.Sexual dysfunction: Includes impotence and premature ejaculation. 

24. Nonspecific urethritis: This venereal disease is more common in circumcised adults.

25. Gastric rupture: Has been reported associated with prolonged crying during circumcision.

26. Glans necrosis: The head of the penis can lose its blood supply and begin to rot from the scarring that follows circumcision.

27. Tachycardia, heart failure and myocardial injury: Have been reported associated with the procedure.

28. Death: Occurs at a rate of 1 in 5,000.
(end quote)