baby_crying.jpgOver 12,250 people signed a petition to put an proposal on the November 8th ballot, which would “make it a misdemeanor to circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the foreskin, testicles or penis of another person who has not attained the age of 18.” The ban was supported by 87% of SF Appeal readers who voted in our not-terribly scientific poll, but is viewed, it’s reported today, far less favorably by several religious groups.

As the Ex reports, the SF InterFaith Council, which is composed of various Muslim and Christian groups, will do everything in its power to oppose the measure.

San Jose’s Islamic Networks Group also opposes the proposed ban, and a representative from SF’s Anti-Defamation League tells the Ex that circumcision “is an important tradition, and when it comes to an attack on religion, or choice, I think Muslims, Jews, Christians will all respond.”

“It definitely does cross the line of religious freedom,” said Ameena Jandali, of the Islamic Networks Group.

Abby Porth, the associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council tells the Ex she finds the parallels ban sponsor Lloyd Schofield draws between circumcision and female genital mutilation “deeply offensive.”

Appeal commenter PTJ Intactivist, however, appears to be just as offended by those who don’t see the similarity, saying that “circumcision is mutilation and is immoral. You do NOT have the rights to violate another persons body. You don’t OWN them, that is slavery.”

Measure proponent Lloyd Schofield dropped off the signatures at the Department of Elections on Tuesday. The Department will then verify the signatures in an effort to determine if the proposal can qualify for inclusion on the ballot for November’s election.

Meanwhile, the SF InterFaith Council is planning on taking the measure to court, arguing that it potentially violates religious freedom. They also plan, they say, a public affairs campaign against the measure.

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the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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  • TLCTugger

    Religious groups missed their chance on this one.

    If they wanted to defend a parent’s right to do cosmetic surgery on childrens’ genitals they should have protested in 1997 when we barred even a pin-poke to draw one ceremonial drop of blood from baby girls, with no religious exemption.

    It’s settled law that the 1st ammendment doesn’t grant the right to harm or neglect a child in the name of religion. Just ask a Snake Handler, Jehovah’s Witness, Christian Scientist, Latter Day Saint, or Muslim.

    The 14th ammendment demands equal protection under the law.

  • michaelkmooney

    This is a human rights issue. All claims about it being a religious issue are distractions from what’s most important, the violation of a child’s human rights.

    I wrote a thoroughly referenced article about this, viewable at:

  • Hugh7

    It is infant circumcision that attacks religious freedom – HIS.

    No other ritual actually cuts a living part off a person without their consent. He may wish it had not been done, when he is old enough to think about religion for himself (even if he chooses to stay Muslim or Jewish).

    And whether he remembers it or not, whether harm can be proved, whether some adults are retrospectively glad it was done, is quite irrelevant. HIS body, his choice whether to modify it. This is not “a decision parents have to make for their childen” – in most of the world, it isn’t even offered. The default position is to just LEAVE BABIES’ GENITALS ALONE.

    A Fresno man is serving time for tattooing a gang insignia on his (willing, he says) 9-year-old. What’s the difference? The tattoo can be removed.

    Both religion and the law should take the side of the weaker party in a case like this. There is no doubt who the weaker party is.