Deeper Into Circumcision: An Invitation to Awareness


Excerpt from

In the Name of Humanity

by Joseph Lewis

(NY: Freethought Press, 1967)


"It is the duty of society to protect us from the brutality of tribal law. In man's progress from his primitive state to modern civilization, the great civilizing force is the humanizing of our savage instincts and the restraining of our brutal actions ... in many instances the brutality and pain inflicted upon children ... do not compare, in violence, with the callous brutality and torture inflicted upon harmless infants during circumcision. Because of the religious association of circumcision, a helpless infant is made the victim of a brutal sacrifice by the religiously blind, the superstitiously cruel and the morally sadistic. Yet, these heartless people, by wearing the cloak of religion, not only protect themselves from molestation, but also from responsibility for their dastardly deeds ... were circumcision proposed today for the first time ... its proposer would be looked upon as a lunatic fit only for the insane asylum. If it were proposed for the first time today as a religious rite, it would be summarily dismissed as superstitious savagery ... Such a proposal ... would be treated with the same contempt as would a suggestion that a child's toes or fingers be cut off ... Hundreds of brutal acts which man brought up from his savage state, and which bore the stamp of religion, have fortunately gone out of existence, due to the enlightenment of the human mind. This has been accomplished, however, only in the face of bitter opposition ... I condemn circumcision as a survival of one of the insanities of religion based upon the ignorance and superstition of primitive man ... circumcision is a brutal and savage rite, without value and without one redeeming feature of recommend it. If the facts presented in this book are not sufficient to convince some readers that circumcision should be abolished, I can only say that there exist among us some hopeless people whose mentality is so paralyzed by the narcotic of religion that nothing can arouse it from its state of lethargy. But to the others, to those who have some regard for mankind, who believe that innocent and helpless children should be defended and protected from the savage brutality and cruel mutilation of circumcision, then to them I cry, with all the power and strength that I possess, with all the vehemence at my command, and from the deepest recesses of my heart, Stop, in the name of Humanity, Stop!"

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