Friday, March 29, 2013

Rebecca's Story-A Biblical Journey to Intactivism

I hope to, once a week, have a blog post from a friend.  Today's post if from my friend Rebecca.  She is awesome, and has 6 children-some boys, some girls, and all intact! She has been a great encouragement to me, in many different areas, and I hope you will read her story, in her words.

My Journey to Intactivism

 When we had our first son, we did not actually give a whole lot of thought to circumcision. I researched what I could find out about it and what stood out to me was: Not Necessary. That seemed simple enough to me! ‘Not necessary’ was pretty much all the information I needed. It is primarily cosmetic. That also disturbed me. Why should I have a say in how HIS genitals look? 

I shared with my husband that I’d found it was not necessary. Being the awesome man he is, that was enough for him. Since then I have learned that many fathers feel threatened or insecure at the idea of their son
being different. To some men it may feel like an admission that something is somehow wrong with them and that idea is uncomfortable. I’m very blessed to have a man that does not think this way. Neither of us wanted to do something to our son that would cause physical pain and risk complications if it wasn’t medically necessary. He agreed with me that if a surgery is not necessary for our newborn then... why would we DO that!?

We had our first son and were very pleased to leave his little body as perfect as he was born. We had no problems whatsoever and caring for him was a breeze. There is absolutely nothing extra to do when they are little because the little foreskin is literally fused with the glans of the penis so it cannot (and should not) ever be pulled back for any reason whatsoever. Cleaning it is as simple as washing his little hands! Only clean what is seen. Nothing more. It naturally takes care of itself! God’s design is truly perfect and works beautifully and easily! No disassembly required!!!! Definitely no more complicated than bathing our daughters. Just sitting him in the bath and letting him splash and kick (as you would allow any baby!) was enough to keep him clean, healthy, and happy. And we avoided having to care for a recovering newborn with an open, surgical wound sitting in a diaper during those crucial first days! Being a newborn is traumatic enough without having a surgery to deal with on top of everything else.

But even at this time I thought circumcision was still a personal parental decision for our babies. A few friends and family members said, “Well hey - God required it of Abraham so it must not be bad. In fact, it may be good! Why would God require it if it weren’t somehow beneficial?”

This argument seemed valid to me and I had no answer for it.

After thinking about it and seeing how normal and healthy my intact little boy was it seemed more and more wrong that baby boys are often routinely circumcised as newborns without much of a second thought. It even seemed like a lot of people do it just because “it’s what you do!” not knowing that there’s any other option! Why is the cutting of a baby’s genitals not considered a bigger deal? Why is it so common and accepted? In any other situation, it would be considered criminal. It deeply disturbed me. The idea that God required circumcision as a sign of the Covenant in the Old Testament continued to confuse me. The more I knew about circumcision, the more I questioned why.

I started digging deeper. What was the deal with Biblical Circumcision in the Old Testament. That’s when I learned an astounding truth. Biblical Circumcision is completely different from what modern circumcision is. They are not even remotely comparable. The circumcision that God ordained in the Old Testament as a sign of the covenant was quite simply a “clip” of the skin meant to shed a few drops of blood as that sign of the covenant. Very little was actually removed. It left the majority of the foreskin intact and fully functional. Circumcision as it is done today was completely brought about by man. Not God. Had it been done in Biblical times the way it is today, babies would have died of blood loss and infection. They didn’t have the surgical tools and clamps and medicines that have made modern circumcision possible. This should be common knowledge!

To quote my favorite article on the subject: “God never ordained that the foreskin or any other part of the human body should be amputated (i.e. his creation destroyed), unless it became diseased. Our modern invention of foreskin amputation (modern circumcision) took place in Victorian times when several doctors and psychiatrists came up with the idea in hopes of discouraging self-stimulation. It didn't work, but the practice soon became ingrained as ‘tradition.’ And there are few things so safely guarded as tradition.”

After this discovery, I became so upset that such a tradition is so misunderstood, falsely protected by “religion,” and still so common in this day and age. Prior to this discovery I hesitated to compare male circumcision to female circumcision. Prior to this discovery, I hesitated to call it a human rights issue. Now that I know the truth? There is no more hesitation.

I also learned that because the foreskin of an infant is fused to the glans of the penis, to remove it from a newborn requires being forcibly ripped away very similarly to how a fingernail would be ripped off your nail bed. That sounds painful! Yet this is traditionally and routinely subjected upon our smallest and most defenseless-- newborn babies.

Not only that, but the foreskin has purpose and function. It is a blessing and a gift from God! His creation is perfect and beautiful!

Once I understood the invention of modern circumcision was merely to curtail sexual pleasure and that it was completely different from the sign of God’s covenant in the Old Testament, I started seeing it for what it really is. A human rights violation. Even comparable to female circumcision. It’s alarming to say the least to look at all the claimed “benefits” and arguments made for female circumcision because they are eerily similar to the claimed “benefits” and arguments made for male circumcision.

After all I’ve learned about circumcision historically and Biblically, in my mind I can no longer understand this as “controversial.” The cutting of a newborn’s genitals (regardless of gender!) should be the LEAST controversial thing in the world.

Additional links with excellent information:

1 comment:

  1. If you compare the first time God speaks with Abraham about the covenant in Gen 15, with the second time it is visited in Gen 17, you can also see that circumcision was not mentioned until God was reprimanding Abraham for his unfaithfulness - remember, Abraham did not trust that Sarah would bear him a child and so he slept with Haagar? Circumcision was then added to his burdens. Even then, circumcision was about removing a pleasure-centre from Abraham.