The foreskin fetishists have struck again

The foreskin fetishists have struck again. Those who devote their lives to the preservation of foreskins are hurriedly gathering signatures to put a circumcision ban on San Francisco’s November ballot. The measure would assess fines as high as $1,000 and provide for up to one year in jail for someone who performs a circumcision.

The signature-gathering is being run by a committee of about 10, he said. Schofield would not divulge the identities of the committee members, but said several are spending their own money to pay for signature-gatherers to help out. Schofield said he is out there himself — not being paid — collecting the signatures outside grocery stores and in neighborhoods like SoMa, the Castro, the Haight and Noe Valley.

“We say: ‘Would you like to help protect the children from forced circumcision? This is a human-rights issue,'” Schofield said.

Actually, it’s a First Amendment issue, and a ban on circumcision is unconstitutional, because it violates the right to free expression of religion. Circumcision is an integral aspect of Jewish religious practice and is important in the practice of Islam. Of course the foreskin fetishists are not concerned with anything as piddling religious belief.

In fact, [the] proposal contains language that could be construed as an intentional poke in the eye to organized religions calling for circumcision: “No account shall be taken of the effect on the person on whom the operation is to be performed of any belief on the part of that or any other person that the operation is required as a matter of custom or ritual.”

According to Peter Keane, dean emeritus at Golden Gate University School of Law and a constitutional law professor:

San Francisco can have its proposed circumcision ban, or it can have the First Amendment. But it can’t have both…

“It’s not Constitutional. It would be a violation of the First Amendment right to Freedom of Religion — religions like Judaism that require [circumcision] as an essential part of the belief system.”

As Keane explains:

There’s a general First Amendment right stating you cannot make any laws that infringe the exercise of religion,” says Keane. “And a parent has a First Amendment Constitutional right to make choices for his or her child.

Anti-circ activists insist that cirumcision is barbaric. Would a court agree? Keane says no.

If I’m an Aztec and my religion says I have to go high atop a pointed building and tear out someone’s heart — that’s nice, but there’s a murder statute that trumps that. But in terms of state interest in preventing the foreskin of male infant from being detached — that interest is very, very minor… [T]he interest is so marginal, the state does not have the right” to trump freedom of religion.

Anti-circ activists have gone a step too far by trying to ban circumcision. And in so doing, they have revealed their contempt for both organized religion and the US Constitution.

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