Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Circumcision of our Lord - The Circumcision of our Children?

Our local paper recently ran this story, "To Snip, or Not to Snip?"

The article itself focuses mainly on the health aspects of the procedure, and declining rates of circumcision, especially among Hispanics.

I thought about this today as we celebrated the Circumcision of Our Lord (according to the official CPH rubrics)

So what about it, Lutherans? Any thoughts on the practice? I have two girls and haven't had to decide... but I would lean toward it if I had a boy.

Good enough for Jesus, Abraham, and so many others... why not good enough for our children? Not as a law. But if disease isn't an issue, as the article suggests, what would be the pros and cons?


David Eaton said...

With our son, we decided to have it done. The doctors do a very good job explaining the pros (cleanliness in the long run) and the cons (unnecessary pain for the child) and we decided that it would be best to have it done. I think it's important to get informed before doing it, but my personal feeling was to have it done.

Anne Gillespie said...

We have 3 children, 2 of them boys. They are not circumcised, but my husband is. Theologically speaking we didn't feel the need to circumcise since we are in the new covenant with Christ. The nurse who taught our childbirth class had a son who had many problems due to circumcision. Her younger sons were not circumcised. There just didn't seem to be any good reason to do it.
Some people worry about their sons feeling different or wondering why they look different than daddy. Our oldest is 5 and he has never noticed or said anything about it. If it does come up in the future I think he will be satisfied with an explanation, after all he has something that daddy doesn't!
A quick google of circumcision will find you tons of information. The foreskin has an important role, it is not just gratuitous flesh. It keeps the glans moist, healthy, and clean. Its linings and membranes produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins as well as antibodies that defend against infection. At least 80% of the penile skin covering is contained in the foreskin. (This information as well as a whole lot more can be found in the article "The Case Against Circumcision" at
My research was not able to convince me of any real pros to being circumcised. There do seem to be many reasons not to. The baby will feel pain, even with local anesthetic. We were strongly encouraged to watch a video of a circumcision if we had chosen to go with that option. The procedure can disrupt the breastfeeding relationship. There is risk of complication in 2-6/1,000 circumcisions, ranging from minor to serious. There is no concrete evidence that being circumcised prevents STDs, in fact, I read that the US, which has the highest circumcision rate among western nations, also has higher rates of STDs. As for long term cleanliness, nothing special needs to be done to care for a child's foreskin other than regular bathing. It is best to leave the foreskin alone. Post puberty, simple rinsing is usually all that's required.
In the very rare cases where circumcision is medically necessary it can be performed at any age.
I am curious, though, why you would lean toward it.

Preachrboy said...

I guess I can't see it as such a bad thing, being that the Lord once commanded it for his people.

I have not researched it as you have, Anne, but I have to admit I am skeptical about definitive health benefits to either circumcising or not circumcising.

I think the main reason FOR it would be, in my mind, to be "like others", so to speak. But I admit that's not a very strong reason.

I have to admit I don't feel strongly, and could be swayed either way, I suppose at this point...