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View Poll Results: Is Circumcision an American Christian Tradition?
Yes, it's an American Christian tradition that's losing popularity. 12 12.90%
Yes, it's an American tradition but not a Christian one. 19 20.43%
No, it's not an American tradition and never was. 16 17.20%
No, it's a Jewish tradition and I don't know why other American practice it. 37 39.78%
No opinion. 9 9.68%
Voters: 93. You may not vote on this poll

Old 07-05-2007, 03:01 AM
sun sun started this thread
Location: Central Connecticut
683 posts, read 1,935,187 times
Reputation: 443


During a discussion about ancient cultural body mutilation, the topic of male circumcision was mentioned with a Polish history professor who lives in that Catholic country. It was always my impression that in the U.S., circumcision was somewhat established as a traditional Christian practice. I knew that the practice has become less popular here in the U.S. in recent decades with the rates falling to approximately a 50/50 ratio or below. But I was very surprised to hear his reaction to my inquiry about the rate of circumcision over there. He explicitly informed me that Polish males simply do not get circumcised, and that he thought that our practice was probably an American Protestant one dating back more than a century ago in this country. He mentioned that only the established Turkish Muslin minority in Poland practices the circumcision ritual at all.
I thought this was interesting because that seems to indicate that Jews, Muslims and some American Christian males may actually have something unique in common.
I told him that I thought the practice here was more based on the historical notion of cleanliness & infection prevention, which is reinforced by the current medical knowledge about the transfer of viruses which can infect females and can lead to increased rates of cervical cancer, and which coincidentally, may be partially preventable by the new human papillomavirus vaccine.
Does anyone have an opinion about whether or not circumcision is considered to be a traditional Christian practice in this country?
Why has the percentage of circumcised American males been rapidly declining during recent decades? Is it because the practice is not considered to be as traditional as it once was by the majority of American Christians anymore, and why is that?

Last edited by sun; 07-05-2007 at 03:55 AM..
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:46 AM
Location: Bronx, NY
1,313 posts, read 2,726,795 times
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It is a OT Jewish custom that is becoming less and less a required procedure, especially here in America. Some churches still require males to go through it but there are others that do not. There is a lot of debate surrounding the legality and necessity of this practice.
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Old 07-05-2007, 07:08 AM
Location: Pikeville, Ky.
13,459 posts, read 21,199,786 times
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Seems like to circumcise or not goes through stages, meaning for a few years the trend is yes then in few years the trend is no..It is like hormone replace therapy for women..Sometimes it is safe then a few years later it is not safe. I will not comment on the religious aspect, but will be watching to see what our Jewish friends can tell us about the practice.
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Old 07-05-2007, 07:18 AM
4,007 posts, read 9,885,827 times
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I couldn't vote because I don't agree with any of the statements in full.

It was a Jewish practice first and then carried over into Christian practice after the time of Christ.

Many Christians are now opting not to do it. I read something recently that said that fewer than half of all baby boys in the US are now circumcised. I don't know if this is accurate or not.

Most of my Christian friends still practice it with their boys. But some do not. There is no church regulation for it at our church and some are and some aren't and nothing is ever preached or taught about it.

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Old 07-05-2007, 08:57 AM
Location: Mississippi
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I agree with Dawn. Many now are choosing not to have this done. I know when I had both my boys, my husband and I were asked if we wanted it or not. We elected to out of health concerns more so than religious concerns.

From what I was told by a good friend who is a doctor, there is less percentages of males who get infections if circumcised than those who elect to not have this done.

I do not believe it is necessary to have this done for religious purposes for Christians and whomever said it was OT for Jews was right.
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:34 AM
Location: Hillsborough
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My understanding is that it has always been a Jewish thing (the blood covenant that for Christians was replaced by Jesus' death I think), but only came into popularity in the mainstream in America relatively recently, like in the last century. I have read that this was because the medical world viewed it as beneficial due to cleanliness issues, but also that the religious world viewed it as beneficial because they viewed sex as dirty and that eliminating the most sensitive parts of the penis would make men less apt to fornication and masturbation. In this way, I guess you could say it was related to religion, because I think that the puritanical views on sexuality were related to religion.

Currently, the procedure is falling out of favor. Many healthcare professionals have come to the conclusion that routine infant circumcision is not medically preferred, so many health insurance companies and Medicaid consider it cosmetic only or elective and will not cover it, leading to declining numbers because people don't want to pay for it out of pocket. Our views on sex have changed so that we may not be so inclined to want to decrease the amount of sexual pleasure that our sons have the potential to feel. Many parents have also come to believe that it is not appropriate for them to permanently physically alter their son's body in this way without their consent and without medical reason and have refused it on this ground, and also view it as a purely cosmetic procedure. That's the reason I hear the most often in my conversations with other parents. Despite the evidence to the contrary though and the positions of the AAP, AAFP, AMA, and ACOG (none of which recommend circumcision as routine, but rather classify it as an elective procedure), many Americans still view circumcision as a medical issue, and my step-father was even taught this in nursing school as recently as last year!

I have also seen the statistics that only about 50% of male infants in America are circumcised these days, but I have found that in my conversations with people on this topic that they are only aware of this if they have chosen not to circ. Those who choose to circ seem to think that the great majority of people also circ and this is part of the reason that they do it (ie - so that he won't be made fun of in the locker room or so that he will look like other boys or so that girls won't think it's weird when the time comes or just so he'll look like dad are all common statements that I've heard, which seem to mostly stem from the idea that most other boys are circ'ed and they don't want their son to stand out or be embarrassed about his circ status).

Here are some interesting articles on the history of circumcision.
History of Circumcision
History of Circumcision
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:26 AM
Location: Metro Detroit, MI
3,490 posts, read 2,374,574 times
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You know, this topic has been somewhat big for awhile now. As previously stated, many healthcare professionals have come to the conclusion that routine infant circumcision is not medically preferred, so many health insurance companies and Medicaid consider it cosmetic only or elective and will not cover it, leading to declining numbers because people don't want to pay for it out of pocket.

But there is a flip side to this coin. My dad was not circumsized, and try as he might, he had a very difficult time keeping things clean 100% of the time. He had numerous problems and finally in his forties he got a growth that was pre-cancerous and had to have it removed, and the doctors gave him a circumcision as well, deeming it (finally) medically necessary.

I was circumcized at birth and have never had my dad's issues. I had to pay out of pocket for my son's, because now they don't do it automatically, deeming it "medically unnecessary." What a load! I did not want him to have the same issues as my dad. To me all of the drama surrounding this topic stem from those idiots running around crying about how their foreskin was stolen from them and they want it back. Get over it! Talk to my dad about it and he'll tell you he wishes he'd given up his when he was a baby!

Besides all that, just about every person I have ever heard talk it about it, male or female, agrees that a non-circumcized penis just looks wierd! LOL
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:09 AM
Location: Arizona, The American Southwest
51,054 posts, read 29,137,166 times
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I wouldn't say that it's been a Jewish, Christian or any tradition of a particular denomination, it's been a tradition of God's chosen people, and it started when Abraham was asked by God to circumsize Ishmael, then Isaac of course, and continued as the people of Israel and the followers of Ishmael followed the tradition, which signifies obedience to what God told his people.
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:09 PM
Location: Mississippi
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I always wondered where this practice came about in America. Of course, if you look back a little bit you'll find that an overwhelming large amount of doctors in America are Jewish. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but perhaps they as children were taught, because of their religion, that it was uncleanly and could cause issues and perhaps that's where it started from??? It's funny though, what we as Americans will pay attention to in regards to health. We are scared to death of Ebola, E Coli, Mad Cow Disease and AIDS but heart disease kills more people in this country every year than anything.

I don't know, I was circumcised at birth so I don't really know if there would be any cleanliness or health issues if I wasn't circumcised. Also, something to look at is the fact that we have an ever-increasing Latin American culture and population in America and to my knowledge they don't practice circumcision but I could be wrong.
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:16 PM
1,016 posts, read 2,702,531 times
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My wife and I went through this. There's no theological reason to have a child circumcised, unless you're Jewish. The main reasons we had it done with my son were so that he doesn't feel odd in the locker room when he's 13 (it's still very common in ND/MN) and to eliminate the risk of him having to have one when he's 20.
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