The Bikecast Episode #12: Genital Mutilation and the Supreme Court

Alright, it’s actually two separate topics loosely related by religion. I’m still having some word clippage issues, but I think everything is comprehensible. I typically don’t notice the clipping until I’ve already put in too many edits to undo them back to the clip. Sorry if they’re annoying.

Download this episode of the bikecast

The medical profession now has mutilation methodologies for both boys and girls! This flared up a couple days ago and had so many tempting approaches to it, I thought I’d give it a go. The story goes like this: the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a report saying that doctors should offer a “ritual nicking” of girls genitals to prevent child-mutilating parents from going elsewhere for what would be more extensive hacking of the genital area. One the one side is the anti-immigrant, we-shouldn’t-accomodate-ferners anger. On the other is the utilitarian argument that this is reducing the harm done to girls by satisfying their lunatic parents. On the other other side is the anti-religion at all costs, don’t accommodate godbaggery and the accompanying misogyny, posotion. And lastly the other other other side which opposes “back-sliding” towards an accommodation when progress is being made towards eliminating the practice altogether.

I am sympathetic to all the arguments–well, except the ban-the-foreigners argument. By coincidence, not principle, I made this podcast before doing any reading of people’s opinions. It turns out, I hit many of the same points that as some of them (betcha can’t guess who!). Only Amanda, that I saw, drew the obvious parallel between this ritual and circumcision. The women’s rights piece even chides her mildly for equating the two, which boggles my mind.

I wish fervently that doctors would refuse to do these and explain why: the practice of medicine has nothing to do with stone age cults and their infant mutilating rituals. Doctors who perform unnecessary surgery without the consent of the patient are, I imagine, committing medical malpractice. I’m not sure what restitution would be owed by the doctor who drugged and circumcised an adult male. Whatever it is, is owed by all doctors who perform circumcision to all patients who wish to seek redress.

This strikes me as a classic example of shit-that-will-sort-itself-out. Banning this or fining that won’t do anything except increase the value of gaining political power for the lunatic mutilators. Demand just compensation for victims and encourage victims to flee their victimizers and demand restitution. Over time, doctors performing mutilation will be put out of business, doctors performing harmless rituals will not*. Parents teaching their children hateful misogynist fairly tales will be shunned, while parents who teach their children to think rationally will not. While slow and painful, this is the only way that lasting change is made.

The most valuable insight to draw from this story is the degree to which religion permeates everything around us, even modern medicine can’t free itself from these 5,000 year old lunacies.

Nor can the Supreme Court. I heard on the morning news that, should the new nominee be confirmed, there will be a protestant-free court! Hooray! Oh wait, it will be 3 Jews and 6 Catholics. The nine people who are the ultimate arbiters of fact in the land all believe in invisible, all-powerful deities. Great.

*and doctors who refuse to do even that can count on my and other atheists patronage, I’m sure.

godbaggery,religion,lunatics,genital mutilation,supreme court

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