Approximately 3,967 years ago, God spoke to Abram telling him that He was establishing a covenant with Abram to make him the father of nations and changed his name to Abraham. The sign of that covenant was to circumcise every male in Abraham’s household including himself which Abraham did. (Lev. 17:1-14)
Ishmael, Abraham’s first born through Sarah’s servant Hagar, was 13 years old at the time. A year later, Isaac was born and per God’s instructions, Abraham circumcised him when he was eight days old. Muslims are the descendants of Ishmael and the Jews are the descendants of Isaac and both groups have been faithfully circumcising their male children ever since.
Now the nearly 4,000 years of religious covenant symbolism is being completely disregarded in Germany because of one child.
A Muslim family in Cologne, Germany took their four year old son to the doctor to have the boy circumcised per Muslim custom. Several days after the circumcision was performed, the family took the boy to the local hospital because of heavy bleeding from the procedure.
In a surprising move, local prosecutors filed charges against the doctor, charging him with ‘grievous bodily harm.’ A lower court acquitted the doctor on the grounds that the doctor was following the instructions and consent of the parents. Believe it or not, the prosecution appealed the lower court acquittal to the regional court.
The charge of grievous bodily harm was upheld by the regional court, although they did acquit the doctor because they decided that there was too much confusion surrounding the laws pertaining to circumcision. In their ruling, the court removed the parental right to have their son circumcised for religious reasons. Part of the court’s ruling read
“The fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighs the fundamental rights of the parents”.
“The child’s body is permanently and irreparably changed by the circumcision. This change runs counter to the interests of the child, who can decide his religious affiliation himself later in life.”
Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany referred to the ruling as ‘outrageous and insensitive’ and said,
“Circumcision for young boys is a solid component of the Jewish religion and has been practiced worldwide for millennia. This religious right is respected in every country around the world.”
They are asking the German parliament to clarify the legal right of parents to have their sons circumcised according to their faith.
A statement released from the Central Council of Muslims called the judge’s ruling to be ‘blatant and inadmissible interference’ with the rights of Muslim parents saying,
“Freedom of religion is highly valued in our constitution and cannot be the play-thing of a one-dimensional case law which, furthermore, consolidates existing prejudices and stereotypes.”
In a curious twist, the court did uphold the right of circumcision when it involves health reasons. Many parents that are not Jewish or Muslim elect to have their sons circumcised in order to make it easier for personal hygiene and to reduce the chances of disease or spreading disease to possible sexual contacts in the future. In other words, if parents ask a doctor to perform a circumcision for health and hygiene, that is okay, but if for religious reasons that are very strong and dear to the parents, the court has said that is violating the rights of the child.
It seems to be a growing trend in non-Muslim nations for people to have their religious and parental rights stripped from them by liberal courts and governments. After this case has hit the international news, it wouldn’t surprise me to see some atheist or radical liberal to file suit against circumcision here in the United States and some liberal judge to declare the religious practice illegal.