Yes, this post has been promised for a long time, and unfortunately, I’m only going to briefly touch on the subject tonight. I intend to write more later.
Circumcision is essential to Judaism. A brit milah is a covenant between the Jewish People and G-d. Yes, it’s recognized as removing a piece of important tissue, if it wasn’t a sacrifice, G-d wouldn’t have asked for it. There are very limited circumstances in which having a brit milah is allowable – having a medical condition that precludes it, and having had previous son(s) die from it. Brit shalom is a made-up ceremony, and is not acceptable as a replacement for the bris. Without a bris, a boy cannot be called to Torah, and cannot participate in any religious facet of Jewish life. All movements of Judaism state unequivocally that a bris is a must for a boy born into a Jewish family (unless under the outlined circumstances). Some differ on adult converts, but none on an infant born into a Jewish family. Neglecting to perform a bris puts a boy and his family (and sometimes community depending on interpretation) at risk of kares, a spiritual excision from the Jewish community. The brit milah is the second most important mitzvot, after the command to be fruitful and multiply.
I have more to write about it, but not tonight. I will add in a little information on Christianity and circumcision below, however.
Christianity does not require circumcision. It is only a commandment for Jews, because they do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Christians believe he was, and therefore fulfilled the Old Law and brought the New. That is why Christians don’t have to keep kosher, for instance. As a matter of fact, many interpret the New Testament to specifically warn Christians against circumcision. Especially members of the LDS faith. So it’s definitely unnecessary for Christians to circumcise, and might actually be considered wrong. Unfortunately, there are many parents who believe it is necessary to circumcise for a Christian, but unlike a Jew, it is not.
I find it extremely arrogant for people who know next to nothing about Judaism to make pronouncements about how unnecessary it is for a Jewish person to circumcise their child. To compare that to ‘religious’ child rape is completely inappropriate. It doesn’t help that intactivism often has subtle (and not-so-subtle…Monster Mohel?) anti-Semitic tones to it, but the fact that their so unapologetically ignorant about the topic while making concrete statements about it is almost mind-blowing. Even in countries where circumcision is very rare, they recognize the importance of circumcision to the Jewish faith/people. For a group of people who wish to model the mindset of other countries, why is it that is so thoroughly ignored?