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“unable to give their consent”

So you may have heard a while back that a German court ruled that the circumcision of infants was child abuse. Brendan O’Neill has apparently decided that the only reason for this decision could have been anti-Jewish bigotry, and that bigotry came from atheists.

I’m going to quote the part of O’Neill’s article that made me feel a need to address it, I have more to say on the matter but really this is the primary point, the main idea, the one thing that I want an answer to.

There are many bad things about the modern atheistic assault on religion. But perhaps the worst thing is its rebranding of certain religious practices as “child abuse”. Everything from sending your kid to a Catholic school to having your baby boy circumcised has been redefined by anti-religious campaigners as “abuse”. This use of emotionally loaded language to demonise the practices and beliefs of people of faith has reached its ugly and logical conclusion in Germany, where a court has decreed that circumcision for religious purposes causes “bodily harm”, against boys who are “unable to give their consent”, and therefore should be outlawed.

See the quotes there on the part about consent? I want someone to tell me how an infant gives consent. Heck, the court case was about a four year old boy from a Muslim family, tell me how a four year old gives legal consent.

I notice you also put quotes around “bodily harm”. See the thing is, Brendan (may I call you Brendan?), when you use quotes like that it looks like you’re disputing the words used. So this paragraph suggests that you think:

  1. Cutting off a foreskin is not bodily harm, and
  2. Children, including newborn infants, are capable of giving consent.

I really want an explanation of this. Seriously, no bullshit. Use small words because I’m kind of stupid. How is this not causing harm without consent? O’Neill never explains this, he just goes on to say that people who did terrible things to the Jews in history also called circumcision barbaric child abuse. In other news, a stopped clock is right twice a day, Hitler ate sugar, and an association fallacy really isn’t worth stretching into five paragraphs.

That’s the meat of this post. Frankly you can skip the rest if you want because from here on out it’s mostly just shouting. With lots of wine, so it’s not even coherent.  Read the rest of this entry

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