Det er hykleri, når omskæring accepteres, men man forarges over, at Jehovas Vidners børn ikke må få blodtransfusioner
The circumcision debate is not about the best interests of the children, but rather about political corrections and fear of addressing sensitive issues
It is hypocrisy when circumcision is accepted, but one is outraged that the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses are not allowed to receive blood transfusions.
The whole hall applauds the family. They resisted to the last, refusing to let the hospital give their newborn boy the blood transfusion they with their religious ideology were willing to sacrifice their son to stand by. They are considered by the congregation as heroes, they have proven how dedicated in the faith they are. Even under strong pressure from the surrounding established health care system and with the emotions involved in seeing their newborn baby suffer, they were true to the religious principles they have been taught to be willing to die for – or sacrifice their minor children for.
It ended with the state taking over custody and giving the little boy the blood transfusion that saved his life. Afterwards, the parents regained custody.
From the age of nine, I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness and the example above was taken directly from a meeting in the Kingdom Hall. I distinctly remember how the family was highlighted as a fine example of godliness while the rest of the congregation clapped and sent appreciative glances in the direction of the family. Within the sect, a virtue is made out of the fact that the members must dare to stand up for the principles of the faith, both when it comes to standing out in contexts that feel uncomfortable or embarrassing, and when it comes to larger life-threatening situations.
Examples of this are, for example, when Dannebrog is carried in at various sporting events and the members of Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to stand up for the flag. In other contexts, the children stand out when they are not at school helping to bake Christmas cookies, not attending children’s birthdays, etc. These are embarrassing, awkward and uncomfortable situations for the children – but they are not life-threatening.
In more life-threatening contexts, it is about the members’ attitude to blood transfusions in traffic accidents and in other medical contexts where life is in danger, or a blood transfusion will help to recover faster – parents in these contexts make the decision not to receive blood on their children behalf.
Jehovah’s Witnesses will at all times argue that the reason they do not want to receive a blood transfusion is religiously based. They will easily be able to throw a few scriptures into the debate that substantiate their argument. Let me just note in parentheses that I left the sect when I came of age.
Children’s rights should take precedence over religious dogmas and traditions
When it comes to arguing for circumcision, I hear proponents talk about traditions, culture and religion. To remove focus from religion, some spice up the argument that half of the American population is circumcised.
So far, I do not care if you argue for circumcision because of Yahweh or Allah or claim that circumcision is based on hygiene and tradition.
What exactly happened to the argument about the best interests of the child? About us standing up for those who do not have a voice? When did it become okay to sacrifice children’s rights on the altar where the needs, culture and dogmas of adults weigh heaviest? How hypocritical can it get?
The hands of public Denmark are being twisted, and the arguments for not wanting to legislate against circumcision are in line.
Today I heard e.g. on the “Debate” on P1 parish priest and parliamentary candidate for the Conservative People’s Party Marie Høgh say: “Circumcision is not something that can not be reconciled with Danish culture.” In other words, circumcision does not mean anything for integration.
What nonsense though. The boy and later the man are reminded several times a day of the mark on his body, which says that he stands out and is not part of the usual way the Danes handle their boy children.
Another approach in defense of circumcision is the one that highlights one social science report after another. Here, the purpose is to appear scientific and honest. These reports are usually tasked with arguing medically why it is not harmful to circumcise his boy children. One could argue that it is a somewhat backwards method to argue why something is not harmful, but now let it lie. Proponents of the medical arguments like to point out that there is no increased risk of infections, that the ability to perform sexual performance later in life is not affected, and so on.
And then, of course, there is the cultural and religious angle, which does not really argue, but simply states that it may well be that the Danes do not understand, but that circumcision is culturally and religiously based. And then the Holy Grail is apparently well kept, and all debate shut down.
May I be free! How about taking the individual seriously and letting him decide for himself when he is of age? Is your beliefs, your religion and your culture really so weak that you have to force it through before the child can say no?
Coercion is abuse
And yes, I know we as parents are constantly making choices on behalf of our children. We do this in relation to school choices, leisure activities, etc.
But we should not do it at an abuse level where the children risk losing their lives because they do not get a blood transfusion.
Nor should we do so by cutting into their bodies and making decisions on their behalf that they will never again be able to reverse.
So what is the difference between Jehovah’s Witnesses who, for religious reasons, make choices on behalf of their children, and those families who, for religious reasons as well, force a circumcision on their boys?