The Daily Yomiuri,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8055
I regard recent findings and conclusions that male circumcision represents a significant reduction in susceptibility to the AIDS-causing HIV virus mostly as just a curiosity at the moment, and not at all a persuasive or compelling argument to submit to male genital mutilation. It is shocking that important international bodies are now recommending that heterosexual men undergo genital mutilation on the basis of “compelling” evidence (“WHO, UNAIDS urge circumcision to curb HIV,” March 29, 2007). Forget for the moment that the suggestion sounds spurious, I don’t care how compelling the evidence may in fact be. God gave us foreskins for a reason. Before you know it we will be hearing of government health ministries first recommending and then mandating genital mutilation of boys and men. (Recent moves by the Governor of Texas to mandate universal inoculation against a cervical cancer-causing bacteria on all female Texans age 12 and older is a frightening precedent.) Wait and see.
Female circumcision (genital mutilation) is widely condemned as a human rights crime, not to mention a backward, cruel, barbaric and even plain ignorant custom. So why do we continue to practice, tolerate, and now recommend male genital mutilation? I admit that I am angry. But I am less angry with the reported recommendations of the WHO than I am with the widespread pretense that male circumcision is not genital mutilation and therefore inappropriate.
Of course, all circumcised men who are leading happily sexually active lives and who read this letter may take offense and protest that it is not at all comparable to female circumcision. I may be wrong.