On Friday, with a headline and art for the ages (see above), Spiegel reported that the German parliament passed a resolution in support of circumcision. The resolution promises that the government will draft a law in the fall that “guarantees that the circumcision of boys, carried out with medical expertise and without unnecessary pain, is permitted.”
Despite being non-binding in its nature, the swiftly-passed resolution was meant to send a message to religious and political groups in Germany and abroad, namely that June’s extremely controversial regional court ruling in Cologne that banned circumcision will not stand. Germany is home to 100,000 Jews and 4 million Muslims.
There is definitely some opposition to the Bundstag’s resolution. The head of the seemingly paradoxically-named Federation of German Criminal Police (BDK) stated its displeasure thusly:
“The freedom of parents to practice religion will nevertheless be limited by a child’s more important right to physical integrity.”
Other groups, citing the medical complications that arise in 10% of circumcisions, called for a two-year moratorium on new laws to have the issue debated by experts. But perhaps most interesting of all is a poll that shows how divided German public opinion is on the matter of circumcision.
A survey conducted this week by pollster YouGov for the German news agency DPA found that 45 percent of Germans support a ban on circumcision of boys, whereas 42 percent were opposed to it and 13 percent undecided. Fifty-five percent said they did not believe a national ban on circumcision would damage Germany’s image abroad, compared to 33 percent who thought it would.
More news to come when the colder weather arrives.
Politicians Greet German Parliament Resolution Supporting Circumcision [Spiegel]
Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.