It's a very personal decision, and one I'm trying to settle too in case we end up with a boy. As previous posters have said, it's not necessary for reasons of hygiene and medicine. Having been around both types of men -- I don't see an appreciable difference. It's plenty clean and functions fine either way.
When my brothers were infants, my mother left that decision up to my dad, feeling that a man's input on the subject should hold sway. They got circumcised.
My partner is not, and his mother is adamantly against the practice. She feels it's barbaric.
My own leanings are against it because of an incident that took place here several years ago. An infant had to be Lifeflighted out of town because the doctor botched his circumcision and they couldn't stop the bleeding. He nearly died.
I just don't see the point in putting a young child at risk like that for a purely cosmetic and ritual procedure.
wow, just came back across this. We did not have it done. He is now 5 months old and we couldn't be any happier about our decision. It is just as easy to keep clean as any circumcised penis. And so far he has not had any infections or anything like that.
the current pope is German, grew up in Germany during WWII, when, as you rememeber, Jews were persecuted for the very fact of being Jewish (and circumcision was one of the ways of establishing if you were or not) So obviously a German young boy who joined the Hitler Jungen, would not be circumcized. The late pope John Paul II was also not circumcized, as he grew up in Poland in the early XXth century, and it was not customary, nor it it today, to circumcize boys in Europe.
I agree that there are Catholics who circumcize, especially in the US, but it's not the religion that demands it, it's the personal choice of the parents. It just felt like some people claimed that all good catholics circumcize their sons
i Have a son and choose not to do it, only due to research and seeing what happens when infection has set in and staff has eaten away these boys skin around the whole groin area, we are also having another boy in may and won't be getting it done either, also if my sons want to have it done or it needs to be done in the future then it's totally up to them if they want to get it done, my step son had it done at 11 for medical reasons and he didn't experience any pain from it at all, and it was neatly done due to having surgery not just a snip. good luck in your choice it's totally up to you.
As far as comfort. I can say that of the two that were awake to have it done (one was done during his hidden penis syndrome surgery) they did cry but not badly. Also I would say that they cry a bit anyhow because they are exposed in the cold air...who wants that?! All that aside they really didn't cry too bad and I found it comforting that my OB sang to him as she did it. As soon as he (my youngest) was wrapped back up and with me he stopped crying.
Thanks everyone! I think now we are leaning toward getting it done. We were really more concerned about his comfort, and I've been hearing that they really don't make a huge fuss out of it like some websites say they do. Also, who is to say that when he is older and wants it done, that we will be able to afford the procedure? If we just go ahead and make the decision for him, he won't know the difference and won't have to go through making that decision later in life.
I thought about googling it, but I'm at my work computer. So I thought I'd let someone else have the honor of guessing what's under the pope's robes, lol.
Bottom line: some Christians circumcise and some do not. Some Catholics do and some do not. I actually grew up Catholic (no longer Catholic now), and all the boys in our family had it done. Most of my relatives are Catholic and had it done as well. Some of my family are Christians and had it done, but I have Christian friends who don't. It just depends what you believe and what is right for your family. And I have no clue how one would know if the pope is not circumcised....so I had to google it. lol There are no definite answers.
I'm just curious how one would know the pope is not circumcised...
Well if we aren't going to generalize, then let's be fair. Some catholics DO circumcise. My father was raised in a Jesuit household (his uncle was a priest, and he attended Jesuit school...so pretty hard-line Catholic) and I know that when my husband and I were talking about whether we would circumcise our son before he was born, my dad interjected "I don't remember when I had it done" so I know he was, lol. AndI know that one of the priests at our local church was circumcised too because my cousin went to him to ask for guidance on whether she should circumcise her son or not and she wanted his opinion on it...remember, priests weren't born priests and sometimes their mommies chose to circumcise too.
anyway, just wanted to point that out. if you want to say we can't generalize about christians in general, which I agree with, we also can't generalize about catholics, of which I am one :-).
I'm agnostic but grew up catholic, so the religious reasons don't appleal to me, but catholics don't circumcize, the pope is not circumcized, and there can be no question on how religious or how much of a 'follower of God' he is. So it's a personal choice, we can't generalize, NOT ALL Christians circumcize, most don't, let's not make it into a religious/ethical dilemma.
85% of world male population is not circumcized, and these stats are probably reversed in the US
the only logical reason for me is that we want our little boys to be like their fathers, I can definitely understand that and that's why I'm not going to circumcize my sons.
**** Not planning on starting an argument, BUT arent teen boys taught to wear a condom???? IT has nothing to do with circumcision.
In terms of it preventing "aids" and whatnot. Its not a "valid" reason, at all. Also. Dont you think that every girl would check to see hes wearing a condom? Just for the pure fact of STD/pregnancy prevention.
Not intending to start a religious debate; just offered some Biblical information for those who may be interested. And yes, Christians do circumcise. I happen to be one and a pastor's wife and know many Christians who've dissected the issue and have been circumcised and circumcised their sons, including my husband and his brothers. It's an important issue to those with religious beliefs and non-religious beliefs. A link that Ashelen provided above states that circumcision has proved to decrease the risk of AIDs in third world countries so to say it is only a US phenomenon is also inaccurate.
Just wanted to let you know, we chose to do it for religious reasons and for health reasons. My husband and I sat down and wrote out all the pros and cons. We took a week or two, talked to some family members and friends before we made our final decision and researched it quite a bit. With our first boy we didn't hesitate to have it done, but then we started to question whether it was really necessary when I was preggo with boy#2.
Once we had everything on paper and talked to different people we decided it was best for our family to have it done.
I'm sure some of the posts can be a bit overwhelming, but just remember it's a decision that you and your hubby have to make together and there will always be someone who doesn't agree with what you do no matter what you choose to do, but it's your child and what you think is best. Personally, googling a circumcision video probably is not a wise thing to do. There are so many horror stories and I saw one online that made me sick to my stomach. It took minutes to perform and I think it was cruel the way they went about it. Clearly, different doctors use different techniques, and it honestly should not take longer than 30 seconds to a minute to perform when done correctly.
When we found out we could use a mohel (even though we are not Jewish) we were thrilled that it could be done in our home and not in the hospital. With each of my boys it was like a little ceremony, in the 30 seconds it took him to circumcise my boys, I would read a prayer and verse from the Bible and it's become something very special to us as Christians.
All that to say, just make sure you do lots of research! You will find what is right for your family. :)
I have a 15 month old son and we circumsized him. I really left it up to my husband, because he's the male and knows all about men's bodies after all. He's also circumsized and probably wanted the same for our son. He personally believes it's better for hygiene, though I know the argument could go the other way, too.
We had the plasti-bell procedure done at the hospital the day after I delivered him and within a week or so the ring fell off and he was perfectly fine. He didn't seem to be too affected by the procedure, which didn't last long. I wasn't in the room for it - they took him to a different room to do it, but he didn't seem to have any ill effects, though I am sure he cried for a minute or two.
I also wanted to say how interesting this thread is. I really appreciate ALL of the information that people have posted to support both sides of this subject, from a medical and religious standpoint. Great info! :-)
well, this discussion has certainly taken into a new direction. But to whoever cites religious reasons for circumcision, Jews have always circumcized their boys, and, true, Jesus was circumcized, too, because he was Jewish. Christianity, as opposed to Judaism, does not circumcize, and no Catholic priests are circumcized. You can be religios and not circumcize, and, in fact, most of the world does not do it, it's mostly an American phenomenon.
refuse to alter* i meant.
Having a boy in May, NOT circumsizing. I never altered my daughter, I refuse to do the same with my son.
Awesome, Ivy, thanks! Since I don't have a son I will be honest and say I haven't done a whole lot searching on this subject. I do know that my husband is adamant that any sons we do have will be circumcised and I'm in agreement with him. I'll check out those sites, especially as WHO is a group that I highly respect.
Actually Joy when you said earlier that you couldn't find medical research to back up circumcision, I wanted to share the CDC and WHO information Fact sheets on male circumcision:
(it's interesting, if you scroll down, they say that many men who are circumcised as adults say that, rather than experiencing a decrease in sexual sensation, they either experience no change or an improvement...just thought I'd point that out, because i've heard that argument many times.)
I just thought I'd post some medical sites (trusted ones) that provide some case studies instead of generalizations. It really is a personal choice. I don't think poorly of women who do not circumcise their children, but I get really mad when someone calls me cruel for circumcising my son. It's just not your place to judge, just like I don't judge you! Thanks Audrey and Joy for sharing the religious information about circumcision...I, too, am religious and consider that to be an important part of why I made my decision, however I have absolutely no problem with anyone who chooses not to. It's such a personal and BIG decision. I don't live your life, so I can't make your decisions OR judge them...but neither can you do the same to me. And just wanted to say...no matter how flowery you make an insult or a stab, it's still an insult. Hedging words doesn't many something any less hurtful than if you came out and said it. Just food for thought :-).
Yes, AHP84, and I agree that NO ONE should ever feel guilty or made to feel horrible whether they choose to do it or not. I'm kind of getting the impression from a few comments (not yours), while no one is outright attacking one another, that judgments are pretty intense in the issue of whether to circumcise or not. We must remember to respect all choices. Christians can circumcise or not; I don't think of them as any less of a believer whatsoever if they don't.
Thank you for sharing those verses and helping me cover all points from a religious viewpoint. I have heard many people also relate the same based on the NT. Sometimes I get so focused on ONE thing that I forget to share the other parts as well.
I agree with you from a Christian perspective, Joy--that's part of the reason I also chose to circumcise my sons. But I think it's extremely important to point out that the issue of circumcision goes beyond the Old Testament, and is no longer required of anyone who calls themself a Christian in the New Testament. It's important that people don't think they're less of a Christian if they don't circumcise their sons.
A couple verses, just for verification:
A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.
1 The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
4 Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. 6 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’
8 “I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
9 “The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
11 “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12 The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’
15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with[a] water, but you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”
18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
It seems to me the way Christians are now "set apart" is no longer by circumcision, but by baptism. Circumcision is just a religious tradition now--one that I have decided to keep with my sons as a personal choice along with being convinced that it's the healthiest option.
I just wanted to make sure that no one feels offended of being less of a Christian because they choose not to circumcise their son if they are a Christian.
This is a good discussion and it's okay for everyone to have differing opinions but no attacking. Some people will circumcise and some will not. It is all a personal choice.
From a religious viewpoint (which I did not mention above), in case anyone wonders, God calls His men to be set apart from non-believers and be circumcised. It is considered unclean to have foreskin. So when people say, "God gave them a foreskin for a reason" I chuckle because the reason is to have it removed so that all men would know who was a follower of God and who was a Gentile (not a follower of God). Also, Jesus was a Jew and Jewish custom is to be circumcised a few days after birth so if you're wondering if He, the Son of God, was circumcised the answer is yes based on the fact He was Jewish. Jews followed their customs very strictly, especially regarding their babies and especially their sons.
Obviously not everyone is religious but since the discussion is still going I thought I'd throw that out there if you are a Christian or Jewish or whatever and wondering about that aspect of it. And if you're not religious that's okay, too. It's okay to disagree.
Purposes of the fore skin
Just as the eyelid protects the eye, the foreskin protects the glans, keeping its surface soft, moist, warm and sensitive. It also maintains optimal warmth, pH balance, and cleanliness. The glans itself contains no sebaceous glands – glands that produce the moisturizing oil that our skin needs to stay healthy.(2) The foreskin produces the moisturizer that keeps the surface of the glans glistening, smooth, soft, and a deep healthy red or purple color.
The foreskin will protect the entire penis when accidents happen, such as contusions, abrasions, lacerations, and burns. The foreskin is the first layer – a double layer – of defense from injury to the rest of the penis.
The intact penis is naturally clean. The common view of the penis or the foreskin as ‘dirty’ is unscientific and irrational. The penis, however, does provide an entry point into the body, and it is exposed to foreign microbes every day, especially during sexual intercourse. The immunological functions of the foreskin and the self-cleansing functions of the penis protect the body from harm.
Every time a genitally intact male urinates, the urine stream flushes out the urethra and foreskin of foreign microbes that may have strayed inside. In healthy individuals, urine is sterile and has a disinfectant quality. Researchers have demonstrated that the swirling action of urine as it rushes through the foreskin flushes it out effortlessly and naturally.(3) This function is especially efficient when the foreskin is long and the preputial orifice is narrow.
Though urine passes through the foreskin every day, the inner foreskin is remarkably free of urea – a by-product of liver metabolism that is secreted in the urine. Studies demonstrate that washings from the foreskin are rich in fructose, acid phosphatase, and mucin, but never urea. It appears that the secretions of seminal vesicles, prostate, and urethral mucous glands, collectively or individually, keep the foreskin clear and clean as well. (4) These self-cleansing functions of the penis are analogous to the self-cleansing functions of the eye, which similarly maintains its cleanliness through fluid washings (tears) and mucus secretion. Therefore, you never need to worry about the foreskin being ‘unclean.’
The urinary meatus (the opening of the glans through which urine and semen flow), is an entry point into the body. From infancy to adulthood, the foreskin ensures optimal protection of the glans and urinary meatus from contaminants of all kinds. During childhood, the foreskin is also usually firmly attached to the glans to prevent contaminants from invading the urethra. The neck of the foreskin places the vulnerable urinary meatus at a distance from the external environment and defends it against invading contaminants. The fusion of the foreskin and glans and the nonexpandability of the preputial orifice in the child’s penis are therefore necessary for the health of the child. Even after the foreskin separates from the glans and becomes retractable, it continues throughout life to cover the glans and meatus in order to protect these delicate structures from dirty, contamination, abrasion, or bacterial invasion.
The mucous membranes that line all body orifaces are the body’s first line of immunological defense. Glands in the foreskin produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as lysozyme. (5) Lysozyme is also found in tears and mother’s milk. Specialized epithelial Langerhans cells, an immune system component, aboud in the foreskin’s outer surface. (6) Plasma cells in the foreskin’s mucosal lining secrete immunoglobulin’s, antibodies that defend against infection. (7)
Rigorously controlled studies have also demonstrated that the foreskin plays a protective role in shielding the rest of the penis and thus the rest of the body from the contagion of common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) encountered during sexual activity. (8)
In infancy, antibacterial substances, such as the complex sugars (glyconutrients) in breastmilk, the oligosaccharides, are passed from mother to child during breastfeeding and are secreted in the baby’s urine. (9) The penis retains these substances in the foreskin. Universy studies have shown that these substances protect against urinary tract infections (UTIs), as well as from infections of other parts of the body. (10) Babies excrete in their urine 300-500 mililgrams of oligosaccharides every day. These compounds prevent virulent strains of Escherichia coli (e.Coli) from adhering to the mucosal lining of the entire urinary tract, including the foreskin and glans.
Researchers conducting immunological experiments with the foreskins of bulls have found that plasma cells in the mucosal lining of the foreskin secrete immunoglobulin. (11) The researchers hypothesize that this provides immunity from bacteria and other germs. This is likely to work the same in other mammals, including humans.
Apocrine glands are important glands found in the skin. They are found in the foreskin and elsewhere on the body. (12) They secrete the important lysosomal enzymes cathepsin B, lysozyme, chymotrypsin, and neutrophil elastase. (13) All of these enzymes help protect the body from many kinds of bacteria. These enzymes are also found in tears and other bodily fluids. Human apocrine glands also produce cytokine, a nonantibody protein that generates an immune response on contact with specific antigens. (14) All these substances have immunological functions and protect the penis from viral and bacterial pathogens. This natural protective function has been destroyed in circumcised males.
To help fight harmful bacteria, the foreskin supports a rich flora of beneficial bacteria. Friendly bacteria exist in a symbiotic relationship with the body and are found on all body surfaces and through the gastrointestinal, genitourinary tract (the urinary system that runs from the kidneys, through the bladder, and out the penis), and the mouth. Friendly bacteria also thrive in the eyes. Without the presence of friendly bacteria, the human body would be vulnerable to attack from pathogenic bacteria.
The good bacteria that live in the inside of the foreskin are similar to the bacteria found in the mouth, nose, the female genitals, and the skin in general. It must be stressed that this good bacteria is both harmless and highly beneficial. Without these friendly bacteria, the urethra would become an easy entry point for germs and harmful stains of bacteria, which could cause disease.