A banana with the top cut off
The anti-circumcision movement is currently small (must've just gotten out of the pool) but is highly motivated and highly energized.

Unless you’re the parent to a newborn baby boy, you’re probably not thinking too much about circumcision. 

Some three-quarters to nine-tenths of American males are circumcised, largely as infants. Circumcision’s prominence in American culture can be traced to the post-WWII economic boom, when Americans were largely prospering and hospital births were becoming the norm. Many health care plans covered circumcision, and what was once a surgery only practiced in certain religious communities become the American norm. Circumcised fathers opted to circumcise their sons, leading to generations of men without foreskins.

And circumcision was already a religious rite in the Jewish and Muslim faiths, making it near-ubiquitous in those communities.

But in recent years, a movement to ban circumcision has grown. Calling themselves the "intactivists," they’re well-organized and well-mobilized.

‘Intactivists’ Fight for Foreskins

A portmanteau of ‘intact’ and ‘activist’ – they equate foreskin removal to female genital mutilation (FGM), an abhorrant procedure that has both immediate and long-term medical risks and is often practiced against the recipient’s will.

Intactivists argue that there’s little difference between FGM and circumcision – that circumcision should be understood as genital mutilation for the male sex, and viewed as a human rights issue much the same way FMG is.

The ‘godmother’ of the Intactivist movement might be considered Marilyn Milos, a former nurse who resigned from her job in the mid-1980s after witnessing first-hand a circumcision during which the child “let out a scream I’d never heard come out of a human before… He screamed for the next 15 minutes.” She felt guilt for that baby and for her own sons, and channeled that into building Intact America, a non-profit organization whose goal is to mobilize support and awareness for ending child circumcision.

In recent years, other groups have sprouted up with the same mission, but different strategies. One of which is Bloodstained Men, an activist group that made headlines when they protested the 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics convention in New Orleans. It's no surprise that given their uniforms - all white with a large blood stain on the crotch - the group has had little difficulty catching attention.

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Bloodstained Men as an organization can trace its origin to the decision of late intactivist leader Jonathon Conte to bring seven sets of white painters overalls marked with red crotches to the protest at the October 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics convention protest in New Orleans. Though the visually arresting bloodstained crotch protest concept was a 2010 creation of British intactivist Richard Duncker, Conte’s deployment of the suit was the first example in the United States and was the spark for our organization. Seven men boldly wore these suits outside the convention hall, causing quite a sensation among the conference attendees and veteran demonstrators alike. In an interview given that momentous weekend by our eventual founder Brother K, he declared to the renowned intactivist videographer/photographer James Loewen that, “the bloodstain is the most powerful symbol I have ever seen for a protest movement in modern day America. Its power derives from its exact representation of the wound that lies under the clothing. We're revealing it to the world, an intimate violation of another human being's body." After the AAP convention, Brother K returned home to California, convinced that his future protests would be most effective and powerful in, what we called at the time, "a bloody suit." No stranger to solo protest, on November 3, 2012, he prepared his own stained suit and headed out to a lone wolf demonstration outside the annual convention of the Association of American Medical Colleges being held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Read more on our website: www.bloodstainedmen.com/history #bloodstainedmen #intactivist #intact #humanrights #activist #genitalmutilation #menshealth #circumcision #circumcisionharms #itsaboy #firstdonoharm #hippocraticoath #aap #aap19

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They’ve hit the streets at numerous events since, including conventions like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

It’s possible they’re capturing the hearts and minds of people. Or at least, young people. Only 33% of people under 30 believe that circumcision should be routinely performed, and as millennials have children of their own, circumcision rates in the United States are falling dramatically, with more parents opting to leave that as a personal choice for their child later in life.

Chock that up to another industry millennials are allegedly killing.

Personal Rights vs. Religious Rites

The fact remains that many Jews and Muslims practice circumcision on infants as part of their faith, and any legislation targeting circumcision is going to be a very hard sell and likely run aground of religious liberty laws.

A few years ago, lawmakers in Iceland proposed a ban on the procedure, and it received massive pushback from that country’s tiny Jewish and Muslim communities, with one prominent Icelandic Rabbi calling the proposed ban “an existential threat to Jewish life." And one Muslim community leader said “It’s like they’re closing doors for Jews and Muslims, that they’re not welcome." 

Ultimately, that bill was abandoned.

If that was the response in Iceland, a country with a much lower percentage of religious individuals when compared to America, one can only imagine what the response would be here.

Indeed, for many Muslims and Jews in America, circumcision is a central part of their faith. In the Torah, for example, ritual circumcision is a commandment from God that Jews must perform on newborn babies. And some schools of Islam similarly regard it as a religious obligation from its appearance in the Sunnah (the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad), although circumcision is not mentioned explicitly in the Qur’an.

Still, the procedure remains extremely common in both religious communities, and is even popular in certain Christian circles as well. 

Battle of the Bulge

While it’s highly unlikely circumcision gets banned in the United States any time soon, the data doesn't lie: it is falling out of favor among the general public. Regardless, it’s an interesting debate.

You’ve got an ages-old religious practice, mandated by religious law in some faiths, coming up against modern considerations around medically-unnecessary surgical intervention, body modification, and whether boys should have a say in what "down there" looks like. 

Who should win that battle?

40 comments

  1. Reverend Bob's Avatar Reverend Bob

    What they are protesting is only the tip of the controversy...

  1. The Right Reverend D. Batch's Avatar The Right Reverend D. Batch

    I happen to agree that Circumcision is an unnecessary procedure in our modern age with our better sanitation. Leave the Child intact and let them make their own decision when they reach adulthood.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Circumcision isn’t necessary, and the procedure kills on average 100 little boys each year.

    🦁❤️

  1. Paul J. Fumero's Avatar Paul J. Fumero

    If God hated foreskins so much he would not have given us them. The Jews has a crazy god and that is their problem. I did not subject my son to that mangling.

    1. T Kosse`'s Avatar T Kosse`

      If you're saying their god is crazy then you're saying that your god is also crazy since their "god"a you put it, is the one and the same god that you believe in. Be careful I don't think god will like being called crazy. He just might take more then your foreskin from you. He might make your whole penis fall off, then you'll end up being a dick-less wonder.

  1. Minister Mike's Avatar Minister Mike

    🤣🤣🤣🤣 What a stupid non-issue. Doing it hurts no one other than the person being cut, and not doing it hurts no one.

    I'm circumcised and I didn't feel a thing. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    1. T Kosse`'s Avatar T Kosse`

      I agree with you and so was I also circumcised.

      1. Stephen Kosovich's Avatar Stephen Kosovich

        I had it done at 78 yrs old

        1. Stephen Kosovich's Avatar Stephen Kosovich

          I think she took beyond circumsion as I am much shorter now.

          1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

            Try using Extenze.

          2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

            Getting fatter will make it look smaller. Try pushing that fat in around it, so you'll see that it's all still there.

        2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

          Couldn't you think of anything better to do?

          1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

            You might even try playing bingo at a senior citizens center. That will take your mind off of such things. Don't forget that an idol mind is a devil's workshop.

  1. flugo's Avatar flugo

    It's indisputable that the countries/cultures that have circumcised males, experience way less cervical cancer of their women than those populations who circumcise!

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    This is the parents wishes and it is the business of nobody else. And just how are they going to stop it? If their religion requires it then this is a 1st Amendment issue and its protected by the Constitution.

  1. Samuel Cairns's Avatar Samuel Cairns

    I was unaware i was circumcised till i was around 14 ,my parents had no religious belief nor never mentioned to me why i was circumcised ? I have found throughout my life that my partners (girlfriends) thought it was much better looking than what they had before.

  1. Joseph Richard Clemente's Avatar Joseph Richard Clemente

    Minister Joseph As far as I know, no member of my family was cicumcised. Though it was not discussed, I think that it was to illustrate the difference from the Jewish faith. My family was devote Catholics! I was born in 1932 and as far as I knew, my father and his father were not circumcised. There may have been a "medical" reason, but that was never brought up. I hold that this is a family choice based on religious reasons or personal choice.

  1. Richard Eugene Smith's Avatar Richard Eugene Smith

    I am not an MD, but I’ve spoken several times with one about this, one who has delivered countless babies and performed countless ‘circs.’ When the American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidance a few years back, they based the decision on health statistics and the experiences of practicing physicians. They found minor risks both to circumcising and to not circumsizing. There is no evidence of benefits to so-called female circuncision.

    This is a decision safely left to families and their physicians and, if relevant, their religious advisors.

    I’m skeptical about the statement that circumcisions only became common with hospital births after WW II. My own recollection suggests it was common even in home births in the early 1900s. The author Herman Wouk, in “The Winds of War,” also claimed that many American Christians were circumcised circa 1939.

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    Circumcision was never needed for heath reasons. Much like in the 1950s and 60s doctors were saying cigarette smoking promotes good heath, kids should have their tonsils removed and telling women they should have their uterus removed after having their last child there was no good reason to do so. Unless we factor in the doctor making a nice profit for performing unnecessary procedures.

  1. Clay Serenbetz's Avatar Clay Serenbetz

    I agree that male circumcision is equivalent to FGM. Unless their is a strong preference for a firmly held religious practice, let men make a choice as adults. Christians need not circumcise their children. In Europe, for example, Christians do not mutilate their sons. Stop the unnecessary mutilation. Personally, I resent that I was not given a choice.

    1. Ishanu's Avatar Ishanu

      FGM isn't equivalent. Removing the clitoral hood from the clitoris would be similar. That's not what FGM is.

      1. Clay Serenbetz's Avatar Clay Serenbetz

        Semantics to me. You're altering God's work.

  1. Mya-Lia Sharizyn's Avatar Mya-Lia Sharizyn

    The saying, "there's a reason for everything" is one I often respond to with, "even if that reason is because someone was hasty, stupid, tired, they read it somewhere, somebody else said so, it makes them happy, they got paid, they were drunk, and so forth. So yes, there IS a reason for everything, lol."

    It doesn't matter to anyone what anybody else says when they want something to be the way they want it to be. Maybe they're even just wanting to please other people and would otherwise care nothing whatsoever for the issue.

  1. Christian's Avatar Christian

    The CREATOR of all the multiverses , dimensions, and our Milkyway Galaxy made E V E R Y T H I N G ! Enjoy Existence ! Love LIFE ! No need to poke holes in people, slice chunks of meat off off people, burn them with fire branding, tattoos or scaring... But if you enjoy such self - modification , than you certainly should do so after your 18th birthday... or 16th birthday, 14th or 21st year birthday - depending on when you and your nation- state both believe 'age of adulthood' is - when you yourself can make your own choices for tattoos, earrings, etc etc etc !
    Enjoy your natural body, or midify it yourself as you please. That is your person, and thus, 4th amendment protections to be fully secure in your Person. Thank the creator to even EXIST at all ! LIFE IS GOOD ! :-)

  1. Michael Albert Ahearn's Avatar Michael Albert Ahearn

    Why would our creator make us with protective foreskin, Then cut the end off that baby's weeny! It's man made madness!! I didn't have a choice when born, It was stolen- Religious rediculous (Re Dick less ness) and profit by AMA were/are why it happens. Watch a YouTube video of a baby being circumcised, Tell me you think it's ok!!. My son is intact the way nature made him. Teach them they need to spend a minute every day to keep it clean! Hell dogs even know that 😃

  1. The Reverend Dr. Jeffrey H. Blankenhorn's Avatar The Reverend Dr. Jeffrey H. Blankenhorn

    Those who are against circumcision (atheists, I assume, as endorsing this would be the work of Satan) have clearly never read both old & new testaments of The Holy Bible. Satan has read it, I can assure you, and only the beast would counsel mankind to disobey God's law; for mankind to disobey God's law is very pleasing to the beast.

    Genesis 17:9-14 of the Old Testament, and Acts 7:8 in the New Testament are important in regards to circumcision. Now, there are those who would claim that Genesis only applies to Jews, since Christ had not yet been given to the world by God, and thus it does not apply to Christians. Yet the Book of Acts were in the A.D. time, and thus should apply to all of mankind.

    I was raised Catholic, but was circumcised at birth nevertheless. The anti-circumcision "movement" and references to the term "genital mutiliation" have been and are today largely driven by women (you remember women, don't you...the gender seduced by the serpent -- a.k.a. Satan...in the Garden of Eden?). To the best of my knowledge and education, women have never had a penis, but that has never stopped most women I have known from talking about things which they have no personal experience with!

    Do not heed the work of Satan. Circumcise your boys and obey God!

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      And there, ladies and gentlemen, you have the words of a deeply indoctrinated pious village idiot. As stated earlier, the procedure of circumcision takes, on average, the life of 100 little boys each year and is totally unnecessary.

      🦁❤️

      1. The Reverend Dr. Jeffrey H. Blankenhorn's Avatar The Reverend Dr. Jeffrey H. Blankenhorn

        Ah yes, spoken like true Philistine!

        1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

          Thank you. If you have any demonstrable evidence your god is real and exists let’s hear it. There’s a Nobel prize waiting for you to have your name on it if you, or anyone else, can. Are you up to the task, or has your blind indoctrination fooled you? No one else has managed it yet.

          I look forward to your name on the news and in lights all over the place very soon. Take your time, everyone else does.

          🦁❤️

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Maybe they can start selling bags of fried foreskins (like pork skins), so the won't go to waste. They might even call them something like Saving Skins For Jesus.

  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    Drip. Drip. Drip. Any other word.

  1. Jean Bakula's Avatar Jean Bakula

    Female genital mutilation renders a woman unable to experience orgasms. Circumcision has little effect on the person's sex life, although women don't usually like it. This is mixing apples and oranges.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      .....or taco’s and bananas.😇

      🦁❤️

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Or more like hotdogs; weiners and buns.

  1. The Reverend Dr. Jeffrey H. Blankenhorn's Avatar The Reverend Dr. Jeffrey H. Blankenhorn

    Comment has been removed.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    There shouldn't be any drop after circumcision, Richard. Don't they cover it with a band-aid?

  1. Teresia Pederson's Avatar Teresia Pederson

    Hello Everyone. My comment is that of a mother who has regretted every single day that she made the choice not to circumcise her baby son at birth. With my older son, (1970) the Dr. was all for circumcision and the benefits of it. Easier to wash, blah blah. so I ok'd it. Then with the birth of my second son, (1975) the Dr's, talked me out of it so I didn't do it. As my younger son grew into a teenager, he approached me about it. He said "Mom why didn't you get me circumcised? I hate the way my penis looks. The kids in PE make fun of me and I am so embarrassed. How could you have done this too me?" and it got worse as he started dating. He was killed in a freak truck roll over accident in 2010 he was 35, married and had 2 children whom he adored. I can still hear that question over in my head,and my regrets never change. There was no religious or selfish reasons, I just never knew the emotional pain and suffering I had put on my son all his life.

  1. Breeze Bennu's Avatar Breeze Bennu

    Parents have always had the right to have their sons circumcised, or decline circumcision,so I don't see why this is an issue. I'm pro choice. Let the parents decide! Don't take that right away I from them! Yes, some babies die, but more are killed in auto accidents...are we going to pass a law forbidding transporting children in the family vehicle because someone MIGHT die? Leave it up to the parents! They're the ones who will have to deal with any consequences that result from the choices they've made... isn't that punishment enough? Nobody should have someone else's beliefs dictate what they do in such personal matters as this!

  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    Again I say. Drip! Drip! Every guy knows what that means.

  1. Kimberly Sue Mclane's Avatar Kimberly Sue Mclane

    I'm so sorry for your loss. Your son never meant to cause you emotional pain. Having children of his own he would understand YOU his mom would never intentionally cause him a moments discomfort. Be at peace sister and let GOD'S LOVE HEAL YOU. Pray to God about your questions and ask his forgiveness in HIS son JESUS name... Know and FEEL his love come to you <3

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