I was reading an article in the "Atheist Revolution" blog and I came across this snippet:

When I encounter a parent telling her children about Santa Claus, I may find it unfortunate that someone would lie to one's own child merely for entertainment purposes. The potential for harm here seems trivially small. I cannot say the same for the Muslim parent instructing his son in the virtues of martyrdom or the Christian who tells her daughter that her Jewish friends will go to hell because they have not been "saved."

Could we not add something like the following to the last sentence:

...or the jew who tells his kids that he's "chosen" and has a covenant with god that entitles him and his "people" to the land of Israel, and then uses that as justification for a bloody occupation of Palestine.

The one-year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead is approaching (Dec. 27th) and I think we should take a look at where we've come since then. The Goldstone Report: buried. Settlements: expanding. Palestinian house demolitions: continuing.

As atheists, we should be appalled whenever religion is used to justify actions that result in suffering or death. We do not seem to hesitate to speak out when a child dies because a Christian Scientist eschewed Western medicine in favor of prayer. We do not seem to hesitate to speak out when a Muslim nutjob finds motivation in his religion to grab some firearms and gun down some people. Why are we silent when an ethnic group uses a story about chosen people and covenants in The Big Book of Jewish Fairy Tales (aka, the Old Testament) to justify what is looking more and more like a slow, methodical ethnic cleansing campaign? Why do the Jews need to have Jerusalem all to themselves? Why is it so important to them to have a Jewish majority that they'll turn Gaza into a prison camp and The West Bank into Swiss cheese where the Palestinians are forced to live on smaller and smaller plots of land and endure more and more restrictions on their movement? If this were being done to a Jewish population they'd be screaming about a second holocaust.

The bottom line is that all three major religions are guilty of many modern-day atrocities and have a great deal of blood on their metaphorical hands. Why do we only bewail the actions of two of those three major religions?

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Another, for your reading pleasure:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004162318.htm. Granted, it's a news article, but it sums up the scientific research well.

Thank you for the article by Aaron A. R. Tobian and Ronald H. Gray.  After reading the article, I can see the link between male circumcision and the spread of HIV/AIDS.  I also noticed there was a link between STIs in the US and blacks and Hispanics.  I do know that there are links stronger than male circumcision to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases but they are not under the perview of Medicaid or insurance.  One such link that
was brought out indirectly by this study is prostitution.  Another link indirectly brought out is the lack of hygenic care.  These are traditions that need to be addressed but again, are not under the perview of Medicaid or insurance coverage.

The real issue here is the attitude of men.  The number of men who do NOT think it is cosmetically correct or desireable to be cut is growing.  These men have the greater force of changing traditions than will the traditional practice of circumcision.  The men of tomorrow, given the chance, will require an unhindered choice.  For me, I would NEVER recommend circumcision.  I dicussed it with my son but I let him make the choice and he chose not to become circumcised.  My son and his wife also chose to not have their 2 sons circumcised and will give them a choice.  This discussion may help countless people decide that sexual health demands more knowledge about sanitation and developing strong traditions of avoiding risky behavior.

To make the case that male circumcision will reduce the incidence of HIV/AID and STI lies not with having a foreskin, but with having a wrong concept of what to do with the rest of the penis.

Thank you, Alex, for reading and responding so fairly.  Your assessment fits my understanding to a great degree.  The most socioeconomically disadvantaged in the western world tend to be undereducated and very likely to misunderstand or be ignorant of various aspects of hygiene.  For Medicaid to cut the coverage of circumcision as an option for the population most likely to benefit from it is morally and fiscally irresponsible.  When the patient or his parents, as legal guardians, make the choice after being fully and honestly informed, I can accept that, whichever way it goes.  To remove the choice from those most vulnerable is heinous.  In American medical history freed blacks were used as unwitting lab rats to study the long term effects of syphilis, diagnosed and deliberately left untreated, then followed for decades!  No care for their spouses or families, disease contagion, etc.  A southern state began sterilizing black women without telling them, by doing it during delivery of their firstborn.  The goal:  to limit black population growth!  I worry that this Medicaid cut is, essentially, more of the same.

Alex, it seems a simple argument that if you avoid sex, you avoid sexually transmitted diseases.  Clinton claimed not to have had sex with Lewinsky, just a blow job.  Blow jobs transmit disease just as well as intercourse.  Therefore, kissing can transmit the same diseases.

What do these have in common?  Contact with mucosal membrane, the version of epithelium which is not dried to a tough, protective skin but is moist, more easily penetrated by germs, and usually quite pink to red, reflecting much greater vascularity near the surface.  Why?  Because with vascularity comes many elements of the immune system.  Mucosa, moist and delicate as it is, isn't tough enough to block germs.  Sadly, it is that very fact which makes HIV/AIDS transmission something which comes through mucosal membranes.  Intact, dry skin on the outer body does not let the virus through to the white cells it attacks.  In fact, that is why, when the eyes are closed, the entire outer body is covered in dry, tough skin.

Sexual faithfulness is lovely, when it happens.  Sadly, some shouldn't be trusted, though usually they are, and then bad things happen. The second AIDS patient I ever treated was in the hospital, slowly dying.  She was faithful.  Her husband was not, and he was still out on the street.

Various viruses, including Human Papilloma Virus family (the cancer causing strains included) and Herpes Simplex Virus family, as well as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and even syphilis can go undetected.  (I can't count the number of men who pushed for sex, insisted they were clean, disease free, but had never been tested.  They urged, "Look for yourself!", as though pulling out their penises would convince me.)

Viruses are diagnosed by recognition of the body's immune response.  There is a window of time during which the virus is in the body, and the immune system is not yet ramped up enough to show on lab tests.  HIV is the exception.  Because of its effects, and the advances of science, it is tested for directly, yet even it can be in small enough supply to yield an incorrectly negative reading.  And then, it can multiply and be spread.

The reason anal sex is so much more effective at spreading HIV is because rectal mucosal membrane isn't supported for intercourse the way vaginal mucosa is.  Rectal mucosa risks tiny tears, opening the vascular supply (at a microscopic level) to the easiest of viral entrances.

You compared the inner eyelid to the foreskin.  Remove the eyelid, and the moist eyeball dries, hardens, and causes blindness.  Remove the foreskin, and the underlying skin over the penis changes from the more delicate mucosa to tough, protective skin.

Remove the natural lubricant, and you can apply whatever flavor you like.  Women's natural vaginal lubricant goes away, after menopause, so if you are with your lifelong, sexually faithful mate until then, you'll need lubricant, whether you are circumcised or not.

As for the mucosa of the mouth, that's why snuff and chewing tobacco aren't merely held in the palm of the hand.  The nicotine goes through mucosal membrane.

Regarding sensation:  Surgeons must wear gloves, during surgery, to prevent germs from their hands getting inside a patient and causing infection.  Since the HIV/AIDS epidemic, surgeons have been double gloving.  Orthopaedic surgeons require extra thick, heavy gloves, so bone fragments don't penetrate and cause the surgeon infections like hepatitis C or HIV.  One can double glove with those and still retain sufficient sensory input to do an excellent job.

Try double gloving your penis with condoms and see what you get.  And let me know.  I'd be curious.  Honestly.

As the sexual partner of the guy with the penis, I care if it's circumcised.  That mucosal membrane you so wish to protect, with blood supply so much closer to the surface and lubrication to carry germs from the blood to the surface, means you can deliver infection to me much more readily than someone who is circumcised.  Science bears this out.  That space between your foreskin and shaft is also the sort of dark, damp area known to medicine as an intertriginous space, the sort with its own set of fungal and other infectious risks.

If you could guarantee that you would always have access to and use of perfectly good sanitation, at least you would have that protection.  I daresay, in today's economic environment, there are far too many who never dreamed they'd be made homeless, not to mention those who, through no fault of their own, have become disabled and therefore cannot attend to their own personal hygiene so well.

Your wish to abolish circumcision is a growing trend.  I expect, 20 years from now, there will be plenty of data to confirm or deny the usefulness of circumcision, averaged over the population, taking socioeconomics, education, and fidelity into mind.

Meanwhile, please do not blame Jews for circumcision.  Wikipedia claims it started with the ancient Egyptians, long before Abraham (supposedly) existed.

Why do your submissions appear so focused toward (or perhaps I should say, against) Jews, Israel, and all related?  Are you antisemitic?  Do you find excuses to hate Jews more than any other single group?  Or, have you produced similar Discussions for other groups as well?

OK first I don't think 'we' give the Jews a pass, second the Muslims were also conquerors, and finally victory is ultimately found only in staying alive; what the Western European settlers effectively 'did' (genocide) to the Native American peoples is without comparison.

 

So I really hate the 'poor Muslims line' just as much as the 'poor Jews' line. The three monotheisms' sicken me. 

I swear, I'm beginning to think all the men whining over circumcised in infancy just want someone to kiss their booboo!

Nutjobs aside, they probably wouldn't let you anywhere near what's left.

Ha!  Good retort.  Not true, but funny, all the same.  :-)

Good, I'm glad you appreciate my wit...did you know that there is a link between being uncut and really funny?  My dorsal nerve is connected to my funny bone.  The gods must be crazy.

ROTFLMAO!  Did The Hitch know?  One of his claims was that women weren't funny, men were.  Now, we know the very anatomy of why, thanks to you!

You are very welcome!

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