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BS: Child mutilation and religion

Richard Bridge 16 Oct 13 - 02:40 PM
Rapparee 16 Oct 13 - 02:59 PM
Joe Offer 16 Oct 13 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Musket evolving slowly 16 Oct 13 - 03:40 PM
Wesley S 16 Oct 13 - 04:39 PM
bobad 16 Oct 13 - 04:43 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Oct 13 - 04:44 PM
bobad 16 Oct 13 - 05:05 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Oct 13 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,Eliza 16 Oct 13 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,Eliza 16 Oct 13 - 05:49 PM
Jack Campin 16 Oct 13 - 05:56 PM
Bill D 16 Oct 13 - 06:08 PM
GUEST,Eliza 16 Oct 13 - 06:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Oct 13 - 06:33 PM
Jack Campin 16 Oct 13 - 07:56 PM
bobad 16 Oct 13 - 08:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Oct 13 - 08:53 PM
Greg F. 16 Oct 13 - 09:18 PM
Ebbie 16 Oct 13 - 09:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Oct 13 - 10:05 PM
GUEST,Eliza 17 Oct 13 - 09:46 AM
Bill D 17 Oct 13 - 10:35 AM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Oct 13 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,Musket evolving slowly 17 Oct 13 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,CS 17 Oct 13 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,CS 17 Oct 13 - 11:30 AM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Oct 13 - 11:37 AM
Greg F. 17 Oct 13 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,CS 17 Oct 13 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,Eliza 17 Oct 13 - 01:22 PM
Ebbie 17 Oct 13 - 04:59 PM
GUEST,Eliza 17 Oct 13 - 05:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Oct 13 - 06:07 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 Oct 13 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,Eliza 18 Oct 13 - 02:56 PM
Brian May 19 Oct 13 - 02:34 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Oct 13 - 03:50 AM

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Subject: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 02:40 PM

Some people are getting upset about the proposed classification of religious circumcision as child abuse, calling the proposal antisemitic.

It seems to me that religion should be no more a get out of jail free card for this than any other thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Rapparee
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 02:59 PM

Bris is a integral part of the Jewish religion. While khitan is widespread (and by some believed to be required) not all religious leaders believe that. Female "circumcision" is mutilation and not required by any religious laws that I know of.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 03:33 PM

In much of the world, male circumcision is looked upon as medically helpful, although there is disagreement about that. Seems to me to be extreme to outlaw it as child abuse, even though it is not commonly practiced among gentiles in Europe.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: GUEST,Musket evolving slowly
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 03:40 PM

Wake up Bridge.

The Equality Act is about equality. Unless you are a religion. Then you can refuse the top jobs to women. You don't have to see gays as equal stakeholders in society. You don't have to respect others.

Other than religious clubs and cults, the rest of us have to keep any bigotry and prejudice we might hold in our heads.

Anyway, the circumcism is bad enough but telling impressionable and therefore vulnerable children that fantasy is true has always been dubious in my book. It's one thing for an adult to look at religion and decide whether it's true or not or whether they want to go with it, but catching them young and filling their heads? Just doesn't seem right to me.

Pride isn't something to be proud of, but I take a little pride in teaching my lads how to think rather than what to think.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Wesley S
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 04:39 PM

"Just doesn't seem right to me."

And why should we care? You get to brainwash your kids however you want. Other people just want the same right as you expect for yourself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: bobad
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 04:43 PM

"male circumcision is looked upon as medically helpful"

Removing a female's breast tissue in infancy would also be medically helpful. The point is that there is no other situation in medicine where a non diseased, functional part of the human anatomy is routinely removed without the person's consent.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 04:44 PM

So what Rap?


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: bobad
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 05:05 PM

Medical ethicist Margaret Somerville on the subject: Altering Baby Boys' Bodies: The Ethics of Infant Male Circumcision


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 05:07 PM

Wikipedia on religion and FGM (which is largely irrelevant in that I am talking about male circumcision)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_on_female_genital_mutilation

One obvious error in the Wikipedia article is that it appears to ignore the oldest religion in the world (8,000 years, plus) IFA, which is Yoruban.

Mither - Declan O'Dempsey disagrees with your view on equality law -

http://www.theguardian.com/law/2012/nov/22/female-bishops-eu-anti-discrimination-law


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 05:41 PM

In Tunisia a few weeks ago we visited Kairouan. As well as the great mosque, there is another called the Bedouin Mosque. As we entered the courtyard, we saw a group of Muslims (men, women and children) dressed obviously in their best clothes, standing outside a kind of large grille-like door. Being nosy I peered in, and there lay a baby boy (not so tiny, I guessed about 18 months old) on an ornate cloth on the floor. A chap knelt down, removed the child's lower garments while his father (I assume) held the boy down firmly by the shoulders. My husband hurriedly whispered to warn me, "This is a circumcision!" The man swabbed the genitals with a cloth then sliced away while the piercing screams rent the air. There was a lot of blood, and all the women ululated happily with joy. I was rooted to the spot with sheer horror. The child screamed for his mother, and became hysterical with shock and pain. I felt sick. Outside, the next victim waited in his father's arms. My husband explained that mothers don't accompany the child for circumcision, as 'they become distressed'. I relate this in detail because I want to describe exactly how it is performed. Whether circumcision is necessary or not, why is no anaesthesia used? In many parts of Africa, boys of ten or so are circumcised in front of all the men, and mustn't even flinch or they're despised. Barbaric and cruel.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 05:49 PM

I forgot to add that many many Africans believe that circumcision protects one from acquiring Aids (and in fact any sexually transmitted disease). Even my husband used to believe this, and it took a lot of persuading from me to make him see the folly of such a daft idea.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 05:56 PM

That last one is actually true - it doesn't prevent transmission of HIV, but does reduce the chance of a man getting it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 06:08 PM

Several million years of evolution resulted in a foreskin as a basically USEFUL adaptation. Somewhere in our misty past in the last several THOUSAND years, someone decided to interfere... perhaps as a 'beauty' enhancement? It would be interesting to know how & by whom it happened, because it is only rarely that any medical condition require any surgery of that sort!

I know that religion in various forms carries on this 'tradition', and it became almost a standard procedure even in non-Jewish groups in various countries. MY parents assumed it was the normal, usual thing to do. I was in high school before I was really aware how 'some' boys were different.

We decided against perpetuating the practice when my son was born.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 06:12 PM

Well Jack, nearly all male Africans have been circumcised, and Aids is still rife among them. It doesn't seem to have offered much protection.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 06:33 PM

Circumcision isn't actually obligatory for Muslims, and isn't mentioned in the Quran. It is however customary, and seen as a good thing - and the kids don't get any choice in the matter.

Less brutal than "female circumcision", but I can't see the logic in denying that both are forms of genital mutilation imposed on children by parents, and that both are in fact widely seen as being carried out as religious requirements.

One of my son's friends had it done when he was marrying a Turkish girl and (sort of) converted. Now that's certainly a way to show serious commitment. And he got to choose it himself. (Though not exactly a free choice, since without it getting to marry the bride would have been pretty problematic with her family.)

Circumcision might indeed "reduce" the risk of getting aids, but it'd still leave a peculiarly nasty form of Russian roulette. And it wouldn't in any way reduced the likelihood of passing it on, so far as I've heard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 07:56 PM

The effect of circumcision on reducing the risk of AIDS, particularly in Africa, is as well established as any other public health measure.

http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/malecircumcision/en/

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/prevention/research/malecircumcision/

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/cellular-microscopic/circum-aids.htm

http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/VMMC_Proof_1667_24496.shtml

That isn't to say it has anything else going for it, but that consequence is important. Particularly in Africa where the AIDS risk is astronomical, and despite what Eliza says, circumcision rates range regionally from "almost everyone" to "almost nobody".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevalence_of_circumcision


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: bobad
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 08:29 PM

There are much more effective ways of preventing aids than circumcision.

I think the issue with circumcision is not so much with the mutilation rather than with the fact that it is non consensual. I don't believe too many of those who oppose it would deny it to boys who have reached an age where they can make the decision for themselves.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 08:53 PM

But it does absolutely nothing to stop men passing on the virus. And ritual circumcision as practised in African cultures can be comparable to female genital mutilation when it comes to the suffering and damage.

As for "consent" I would doubt it is any more genuine consent for male children reaching puberty than there is for female children. Cultural and peer pressure can make the notion of "consent" meaningless.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Greg F.
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 09:18 PM

There are much more effective ways of preventing aids than circumcision.

And there are also certainly much more important and consequential matters to get exercised about.

How, I wonder, did I ever survive being circumcised, it being the unmitigated horrific abuse that it is?


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Ebbie
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 09:43 PM

And ritual circumcision as practised in African cultures can be comparable to female genital mutilation when it comes to the suffering and damage." McGrath of Harlow

It depends totally on which type of FGM the female undergoes. Conceivably when only the hood is removed, the pain is not much greater nor the chance of infection much different from the removal of the foreskin- But HEY! I don't even believe that.

The girl's body part is interior, it is not *skin*. There is no way to compare the two surgeries.

When it comes to a more invasive type of FGM- the removal of the clitoris- yes, one could compare it to a boy's surgery - it would be like cutting off the first inch or two of the penis.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 10:05 PM

And some forms of ritual male circumcision do approach that level of mutilation.

There's a whole range of types of "circumcision" in both sexes in different cultures. The one thing in common is that they all involve some degree of mutilation of the infants or children involved.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 09:46 AM

You're right, McGrath. I have spoken to a young Cameroonian who had been 'circumcised' at the age of ten. Not only the foreskin but the whole of the outer skin of the penis had been removed, rather like peeling a carrot. The raw flesh was then smeared with some traditional 'paste' and the lad had been unable to walk or pee for days. One or two of his 'circumcision brothers' from the same village had contracted urinary tract infections and been very ill indeed. All this with no pain relief at all. If he had refused to go through with it, the whole village would have despised him and his family disowned him for a coward. He'd have been forced to leave, young as he was, and try to live elsewhere. All my husband's many sisters and half-sisters have been mutilated radically and 'sewn up'. They were all done together shut in a shed. He can still hear their screams. This is mutilation, and torture, and certainly not consensual. I think it's dangerous to allow Africans to place great faith in circumcision as protection from disease. It self-evidently doesn't afford much prevention, given the huge numbers of HIV carriers who have nonetheless been circumcised. But that's another issue. The great concern is that girls in UK are spirited away to their parents' land of origin for a 'holiday' and mutilated while there. It goes on still, and schools need to be vigilant on their behalf. I have no issue with circumcision of males if anaesthesia is used. It has been proven that male circumcision has a part to play in preventing cervical cancer in female partners. Jewish women do not on the whole suffer from this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 10:35 AM

"...male circumcision has a part to play in preventing cervical cancer in female partners

So..it's easier to mutilate than to teach reasonable hygiene? The way *I* discovered that I had been circumcised and that others had not was that in order to enter my HS swimming pool, boys had to 'show' a coach that they has washed properly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 10:45 AM

It's very unfortunate that the bizarre ritual of male circumcision has become so significant for Muslims and for Jews. I can't see that banning it by law could be viable. The consequences of attempts to do that could be very damaging. There is a strong case for some kind of legal power to avoid the disasters that can arise from botched procedures.

I would hope that in time the numbers and influence of people in both traditions who oppose it will increase, and that in time it will die away. But not for a very long time.

One thing that might serve to undermine it is the fact that the idea that in order to be a full member of the community a Muslim or Jewish boy needs to be circumcised immediately would seem to mark out girls as something less than full members.

However while that is an argument for abandoning the rituals, I would also suspect that this might even be one factor behind the practice of "female circumcision", as a way of providing an equivalent ritual of membership.

It is very fortunate that the corresponding Christian ritual, baptism, as well as not involving muitilation, is equally available to both sexes.

It occurs to me that resistance to the idea that "male circumcision" should be ranked as a variety of genital mutilation alongside "female circumcision" has two sources. there are those who see this as a way of implying that somehow the female procedure is not such a terrible thing, and those who see it as the reverse, implying that make circumcision is necessarily as terrible. In truth it should imply neither of those two things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: GUEST,Musket evolving slowly
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 11:11 AM

I'll argue the toss with him any day Bridge.

Male circumcism isn't something I have had. I hear that it makes you more insensate but I don't actually know.   Rabbis are allowed to circumcise male babies using a non invasive babell or equivalent.

The Health Act 2006 clarifies that doctors can only carry out invasive procedures if they are deemed to be curative, palliative or preventative. However, circumcism has a get out clause for religious reasons. If an adult wants this for self esteem or other physiological reasons, then it would pass the test for consent in the same way as certain cosmetic surgery.

I have issues with circumcision of children with no underlying medically reason. That said, I have registered and inspected such services in a previous regulatory role. An example of professional obligation overtaking personal concern.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 11:18 AM

I absolutely would see any form of non-consensual and non-necessary surgical mutilation on children banned in the UK or any supposedly secular nation. It might be problematic getting religious cults to adhere to human rights, but it doesn't mean that the attempt shouldn't be made. Over time such archaic cultic ritual barbarity would hopefully slowly erode.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 11:30 AM

Greg, you "survived" your genital mutilation because it was popular among Americans in your day. If the cutting off of infants noses was really popular in your cult when you were a child, then no doubt you would be equally unaffected if you had had your nose cut off in infancy. It's nice that you are content with what was imposed on you in infancy, it's not so great for those who would prefer to have the choice of unmutilated genitalia in adulthood. People should be allowed the choice to remain whole, even if there are others who are content in being denied theirs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 11:37 AM

I can envisage a situation with the police raiding synagogues and mosques and mullahs and rabbis and parents in jail, and bootleg circumcisions with rusty razors and all kinds of unpleasantness.And the EDL and BNP applauding and holding rallies in support I just don't think a ban would be on.

I suppose we can be glad that "female circumcision" never became so embedded in mainstream religion. I see that in Indonesia an attempt to ban that has been stopped, because out there it has become embedded in this way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Greg F.
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 11:56 AM

If the cutting off of infants noses was really popular in your cult when you were a child, then no doubt you would be equally unaffected if you had had your nose cut off in infancy.

Try not to be an asshole, eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 01:12 PM

Greg, I'm a non-religious English woman, I've never seen a penis without a foreskin. The idea is quite weird to me. A bit like the thought of an eye without an eyelid. I don't see the ritual cutting off of any part of a human being's anatomy as being in any way valuable or appealing. I'm not into men with huge plates inserted into their lower lips either, though that too no doubt makes me an asshole.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 01:22 PM

In Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso (to name two countries I know about) the practice of female genital mutilation has quite recently been banned, and the Police do indeed raid villages and check on girls, with special nurses in schools etc. Offenders are sent to prison (a terrible fate, as they are usually a death trap) But male circumcision (no matter how cruelly conducted) is still seen as essential, among Muslims and Christians alike. Many less-modern tribes throughout Africa who are animists also require it to be done. For them, it seems not to be a particularly religious practice but a cultural one, giving an opportunity to demonstrate courage and manhood.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Ebbie
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 04:59 PM

Not only the foreskin but the whole of the outer skin of the penis had been removed, rather like peeling a carrot." Guest/Eliza

Do you know the reasoning behind such an action? There must be some kind of rationale. I imagine there would forever be exposed blood vessels with just a thin 'skin' protecting them. It would seem to make it impossible for normal sexual activity, ever.

With the male sex so venerated what could possibly be the reason for such mutilation?


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 05:55 PM

I don't know Ebbie, and I didn't want to embarrass the lad too much by asking lots of questions. My sister, a doctor, suggested that the peeling removes all traces of the ring where the foreskin joins the main shaft, and that new skin would grow (eventually!) It would result in a completely smooth organ I suppose. Masai in Kenya are circumcised with a strange 'tag' left on a strip of skin. This is supposed to stimulate the woman greatly. (Please don't think I make it a hobby collecting knowledge about Africans and their willies! It's just that over the years and many thousands of miles of travels, I've learned quite a bit about such things.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 06:07 PM

I suppose there is "some kind of rationale" for even the grossest kinds of genital mutilation of women as well.

After all, there's some kind of rationale for rape and slavery.

But that's not really the point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Oct 13 - 08:28 AM

I have friend who were 'roundheads' instead of the more common 'cavaliers' (late 50's schoolboy talk) They were, as far as I know, all done for medical reasons. I cannot see the point of slavishly adhering to any ritual, no matter how ludicrous, because it is tradition. I once read a sci-fi story (Can't remember the title or author) where a cult would not have their hair cut because one of their 'prophets' was someone from our 1960's who had said 'Don't let people mess with your head'. Silly story but I wonder how many of these daft rituals are based on such misunderstandings?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 18 Oct 13 - 02:56 PM

True, Dave. A bit like the followers of Brian, who went round waving shoes attached to poles. (Film, 'Life Of Brian')


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Brian May
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 02:34 AM

Did someone call?
   
Have been away for a while, glad to see the stalwarts (rather than the genital variety) are still at it ;o)

My 2d is that we should (as the human race) have the same rights as puppies - stay the knife in the name of religion. We know it's about power and control.
   
Stepping back . . .


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Subject: RE: BS: Child mutilation and religion
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 03:50 AM

A little light relief to a somewhat grim and sensitive subject.
This was one of the favourite stories of a Mancunian girlfriend's father from Cheetham Hill, whose family had been all but wiped out in the Holocaust.
An elderly Russian was taking one of those endless train journeys across the broad flat-lands of Eastern Russia, when the train drew up at a tiny, dusty one-street town and the guard came around and told the passengers that there would be a four-hour delay while some repairs were carried out
The elderly man walked up and down the single street of the town and within five minutes he has seen all there was to see, so he wondered how he was going to pass the next three hours and fifty five minutes.
He walked the street one more and saw a tiny shop with watches hanging in the window, so he took out his own pocket-watch, entered the shop and asked the old man behind the counter would he take a look at his watch as it was running a little slow.
"I don't repair watches".
"But you have watches hanging in your window".
"I'm a Mohel; what should I have hanging in my window?"
Jim Carroll


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