Jump directly to the content

Religious Parents Do Not Have Right to Circumcise Sons, Says German Court

Court says its decision doesn't impair religious freedom because sons can later choose to be circumcised themselves.

A German appeals court has ruled that parents do not have the right to circumcise their sons for religious reasons because the parents' right to religious freedom does not justify the physical harm done to the human body.

The court, assessing a lawsuit brought against a Muslim doctor over a botched circumcision, said that circumcision "contravenes the interests of the child to decide later on his religious beliefs," as well as causes "serious and irreversible interference in the integrity of the human body." Despite the millions of Muslims and approximately 100,000 Jews that call Germany home, the court said religious freedom would not be impaired by its ruling because children could later decide on their own whether to be circumcised.

Germany's Jewish council condemned the decision as "an unprecedented and dramatic intrusion on the self-determination of religious communities."

The ruling casts a legal cloud on doctors who perform infant circumcisions, but still gives male circumcision different standing in Germany than female circumcision because there is no law prohibiting it and the ruling isn't binding for other courts.

Prompted by a proposed ballot question in San Francisco last year, CT's David Neff has weighed in on criminalizing circumcision, arguing that America may have secularized the ancient Jewish rite but it is still inescapably religious.

Posted:June 27, 2012 at 4:13PM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.

Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article.
Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.
Login
or
Subscribe
or
Register
Recent Posts
Israeli Military's Call-Up of Arab Christians Labeled 'Intimidation'
Attempt at increasing recruits ten-fold occurs against backdrop of stalled peace talks, Hamas-PLO reconciliation.
James Dobson's Birthday Gift: Latest Court Victory Over Obamacare Contraception
In shadow of Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby hearing, judge rules in favor of Family Talk.
Bill Gothard Breaks Silence on Harassment Claims by 30 Women
(UPDATED) Popular seminar speaker: 'I have failed to live out some of the very things that I have taught.'
New Poverty-Fighting Alliance Launches
World Relief, Germany-based PartnerAid combine to grow programs, donor base.