About the Author

author photo

Andrea Useem, creator and publisher of ReligionWriter.com, is a freelance journalist and editor based in Northern Virginia who specializes in writing about religion. Andrea holds a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, as well as a Bachelors degree in religion from Dartmouth College. Previously, Andrea worked as a freelance journalist in Eastern Africa for four years; she has also lived in Muscat, Oman. She is married and has three sons.

See All Posts by This Author

Is Circumcision a Christian Practice?

Male circumcision rates in the

U.S. have dropped steeply over the last few decades, as an Associated Press article by Rachel Konrad highlighted this week:

According to data from the National Health and Social Life Survey, the

U.S. circumcision rate peaked at nearly 90 percent in the early 1960s but began dropping in the ’70s. By 2004, the most recent year for which government figures are available, about 57 percent of all male newborns delivered in hospitals were circumcised. In some states, the rate is well below 50 percent.

For Jews and Muslims, the question of whether or not to circumcise their infant boys often hinges around questions of faith, since male circumcision is a deeply rooted tradition in both religions.

But what significance does circumcision hold for American Protestants and Catholics?

According to the 2005 book, Circumcision: A History of the World’s Most Controversial Surgery, by public health analyst David Gollaher, the practice of “routine” infant circumcision was introduced in the U.S. in the late 19th century, carried by arguments that the surgery was a way to avoid disease. One doctor who advocated routine circumcision wrote in 1882 that American Christians would do well to borrow a leaf from the Jewish tradition:

Moses was a good sanitarian, and if circumcision was more generally practised at the present day, I believe that we would hear far less of the pollutions and indiscretions of youth; and that our daily papers would not be so profusely flooded with all kinds of cures for loss of manhood.

As Konrad notes in her AP article, a number of factors have led to the decline of routine circumcision in the U.S., including immigration from Asian and Latin American cultures where circumcision is not common and the popularity of “natural” childbirth and breastfeeding, beginning in the 1980s.

But evangelical Christians have also been considering the issue from a scriptural point of view. The question of circumcision raises the thorny and never-quite-answered question of how Protestants should relate to the Laws of Moses.

One evangelical mother, quoted in a 2000 Christian Parenting Today article, saw the issue this way:

I figured if God ordained circumcision for his people in the Old Testament, there probably were some good spiritual reasons as well as health reasons.

But other anti-circumcision Christian advocates point to passages in the letters of Paul, where the apostle writes:

I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.

Catholics have been joining the debate as well, as this discussion on conservative commentator Sean Hannity’s site demonstrates.

The question for now: Will opposition to routine circumcision in the

U.S. increasingly take on a scriptural, religious bent?

There Are 7 Responses So Far. »

  1. Finally something Creationists and Evolutionists can agree on! Whether God or Evolution put it there, baby boys should have a foreskin.

    But seriously, this shows that with the current circumcision rates at around 50/50 both sides of the debate will try any angle to bring more recruits into their respective camps.

    Personally, I think people would argue less if the boys were all allowed to choose for themselves at 18 years old. Then the people who want to be circumcised are, and the people who don’t want it won’t get it.

  2. There is more than one way to skin a cock. Sometime they cut the frenulum off, sometimes they cut around it. The prepucial frenular delta nerve, aka the masculine “Gee Stirng” and the feminine “G Spot”, trigger sexual arousal and erections when stroked or pulled. Causing sexual dysfunction by severing these nerves is an ancient form of eugenics on infants. Sure this will decrease the HIV rates but people won’t do it if they know what’s going on so they have to twist data around to convince people that the prepuce is the cause of HIV.
    HIV enters our blood through micro rips in the male and female prepuce from rough (dry) sex, and anal tissue, too.
    The largest organ, our epidurmis has natural anti viral defence Langerhans’ cell that produce langerin proteins that kill HIV and other viruses as they enter. These cells are all over our skin and consentrated in the male and female prepuce.
    Schizophrenia is a neuro-chemical brain malfunction mostly associated with sexual TRAUMA before the brain developes language skills. Circumcision induced schizophrenia is often delussional and paranoidal, and sometimes coupled with audio and visual hallucinations due from milk allergies cause from a disruption in first mothers milk nursing caused from trauma. I had to look into this because my dad and two of my brothers, and two of my mother’s sisters sons have developed schizo-dissorders. Two of my other brothers committed suicide from sexual dysfunctions in their twenties.

  3. John the Baptist, Jesus and the Apostles, all Jews, were trying to replace circumcision with the ritual cleansing. They had John beheaded and paid the Romans to crucify Jesus for committing blasphemy to Schizophrenic Abrahams bargan with his invisible talking god.

  4. There are several things that need to be brought out.

    1. The first council of the church at Jerusalem omitted circumcision from the requirements for Christians. One can read about it in Acts 15.

    2. The alleged medical advantages of circumcision are traced to Jewish doctors who want to defend Jewish ritual circumcison against charges of barbarism. Paul warned Titus of such “Jewish myths”. (Titus 1)

    3. The non-therapeutic circumcision of child is not a loving thing to do, so it violates the second commandment of Jesus.

    4. Paul told the Phillipians:

    “Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are of the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh - though I myself have reasons for such confidence.”

    It should be clear that Chrisians should not circumcise.

    But what about so-called circumcision for medical reasons. Well, we now know and understand that these “medical reasons” are Jewish myths. No Christian should be deceived by them. Unfortunately, for years, American Christians have been deceived by the Jewish myths that pass for medical knowledge all too often.

    This message is not antisemitic but it is anticircumcision.

  5. Please see
    “Christianity and Circumcision:
    A Call to Christian Action”

  6. My ignorant Catholic parents were tricked into committing eugenics on their sons. They cut our frenulums and caused us to become sexually dysfunctional. My fathers Y chromosome will become extinct, because his seven sons will not reproduce. Jesus profets us nothing and we all left the church. I guess he was a false prophet and maybe we should join Islams circumcised Mohammad as the savior. No chance. I’d rather see humanity become extinct than be reborn to be circumcised again. Hope Mother Earth can freeze of off Her face before we kill Her.

  7. Natasha…

    Labor playing politics with Haneef case: Downer (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)…

Post a Response