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Stephen Schwartz
Cruel Cuts « Back to Story

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I would like to see this measure passed by the city! I am a man who wishes the doctor took my consent into the picture when I was circumcised. I would like to have all of my body intact. I live in America, and I go no more than a day or two without a shower, so I am completely sure that having foreskin would not give me any diseases or make me any less clean. I am also very conservative, libertarian by some political ideology tests in fact, but I feel that protecting the skin of an infant is not a "nanny-state" action or "socialist," rather just letting human males live as they were meant to be. By the way, if a parent insists on having their child mutilated, they can plan ahead and have him born in another city!
I am George Davis, the quoted urban nudist in this article. There are several errors and misrepresentations.
1. There is no special relationship between the intactivist movement and the urban nudist movement that I know of.
2. There is a California Supreme Court Decision (in Re Smith 1973) which holds that nude is not lewd. That is the reason that over the past 7 years I have been cited 22 times, arrested about 15 times. Of those arrests and citations, there have been NO trials or convictios. I have 15 letters from the Office of Citizens Complaints (OCC) that hold that the police actions against nudists are harassment. Nobody is harmed by the reality of the human body. As for children, I have a published standing offer of $1000 to anyone who can write an intelligent 500 word essay telling me "What harm will befall a child who sees a nude adult?" In the four years that offer has been out there, I have received zero submissions. Does that mean that essay cannot be written? Submit your essay to
By the way, the SFPD is coming around to accepting urban nudism. I have not been arrested in the last two years and last year we created the first clothing optiional non-beach urban park/plaza in America, the "Buff Stop" at 17th/Castro/Market where the classic "F" streetcar line begins/ends. Doesn't that seem like a milestone for a Free Body Culture movement?
3. I probably will vote for the measure, but as Steve wrote, I will not actively campaign for it. True, I suspect that measure will lose because of the comic book and the circumcision advocate stakeholders have more money and propaganda access.
4. Personally, I don't know what the hurry is for circumcision. Why can't circumcision wait until the age of consent? The same age one can get a tattoo, genital reassignment surgery, boob jobs, piercings, vote, or get a drink.
So, the event that the original social outcasts were working against is on it's way to happening: Big Government. Not only big government, but large size institutions were once thought by "free thinkers" threats to individualism and freedom of thought. Now the ring of entrapment by goverment is getting much closer to being completed by those who want to have decisions made for the rest of us. Not only is this a threat, but the thought was promoted by anti semetic comic books which remind many of the Nazi propaganda published by the German state as well as the modern day trash.

Aside from all this, it is another instance of those who are in government making up issues such as this, the selling of pets from a shop vs. a rescue site while the real issues regarding taxes, public safety, educations, the environment and so go untouched. It is much easier for stupid people to worry about the non issues rather than thse that are hard to deal with; It also says something about the people who vote these moronic airheads into government.
The Foreskin Man comic is a red herring to divert people's attention away from the real issue - the genital cutting of minors. It seems to me you're afraid of tackling this issue head-on.

Taking a scalpel to an infant's penis and cutting off such a critical, sensitive part of his body without his consent is ethically wrong. Pro-cutters know this, so they cry "bigots" and "Anti-Semites" and "haters" and hope the intactivists will go away.

The smear tactics are getting old. People aren't stupid. They are finally wising up to the damage caused by forced circumcision of minors.

Intact genitals are a human right. Pro-cutters are on the wrong side of history. Put down the knife!
Fr. Gregory Coiro, OFMCap June 27, 2011 at 5:00 PM
Besides the obvious anti-Semitic content and intent cited by Stephen Schwartz, there's another very disturbing element at work in the "intactivist" campaign: the exaltation of sexual pleasure over and above any other value or good. "Intactivists" say that circumcision will so diminish a boy's future intensity of sexual pleasure that its religious and cultural significance must be made subordinate to the god Eros. We must stand with Jews (and Muslims) in proclaiming that there is indeed a higher authority to whom we must answer.
Is it OK for a parent of a foster kid to circumcise the child? What about the adoptive parent of a 13 year old?
I'm a man that was circumcised as a baby and I wish I wasn't. I wish I could have experienced sex the way it was intended. I'm not saying I'm bitter or angry. For me, this is a human rights issue:

A religious pin-prick on a baby girl's genitals, to draw one drop of blood, is called Type 4 female genital mutilation (FGM) and has been illegal since March 1997. All forms of FGM - equal to or less invasive then male circumcision - are illegal for ANY reason, including religion. Yet, a parent can remove a baby boy's foreskin for ANY reason. These include: "just because" and "I think it looks better". This isn't equal rights under the "Equal Protection Clause", the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
There are screwballs everywhere, and San Francisco has more than its share - much more. So, some dope gets a measly 7,000+ signatures and this bizarre initiative gets on the ballot. the less said the better - these things always seem to benefit from publicity, which is precisely what these loonies want.

After all what were the hippies but a small group of SF beatniks before the national media got hold of the story? Next thing you know we have something called the "counterculture" and children are dying of drug overdoses.

So I would recommend as little discussion as possible. Hopefully, there are enough sensible citizens left in San Francisco to defeat this nonsense. If not, then well...another reason to stay away.
Tony Oberdorfer June 26, 2011 at 1:37 PM
It's frustrating that as so often happens, the pros and cons of a serious issue are turned into a bad joke. The legitimate question is whether parents should have the right to have a small but not insignificant part of their son's anatomy removed for no legitimate medical reason at a time in his life when he has nothing to say about it. The circumcision lobby should not continue to get a free ride but opponents of the practice deserve more serious spokesmen.
Why would something like this be the business of a city government?

It isn't.

This is a huge overreach of government.
tma_sierrahills June 25, 2011 at 7:30 PM
"Can't we all just get along?" No, at least if 5,000+ years of human behavior can be considered any kind of evidence at all.

So the fascist anti-Semites are on the march in San Francisco? What next, some spreading secret sinister Anti-Rosa Parks Society?

In any case, for decades we have been assured by the PC Pod People, headquartered in San Francisco, of the endless joys and richness and love-generating potential of ever more multiculturalism and diversity. For just about everyone this is workable about as long as it takes for someone from another culture to move next door and follow some cultural practice about which we get really, really, really ticked off. No matter what side we are on, we are 'Fighting injustice!'

Meanwhile the walls of Western civilization's Cultural Marxist terrarium become ever more shaky.
- - - -
Border Enforcement + Immigration Moratorium = Job, Crime and Eco Sanity.
Professor Friendly June 25, 2011 at 5:06 PM
Yes, this has been going on for a long, long time. Read 1 Maccabees 1:60-61, detailing the attempt of Antiochus IV Epiphanes to replace Judaism with Hellenic culture: "Women who had had their children circumcised were put to death. . .with the babies hung from their necks; their families also and those who had circumcised them were killed." And what ancient culture would seem more in tune with San Francisco mores than the Hellenic?
Charles Carroll June 25, 2011 at 3:52 PM
While preventing circumcision seems silly (and since it has no realistic chance why worry), it's important to acknowledge that ANY reasonable libertarian position should both allow circumcision and nudity (even public sex?) So if I were a libertarian publication I'd write a different story--one that celebrates and encourages the growth in public nudity in SF.
Sorry, Stephen, this piece if junk journalism won't influence anyone. It kills me that men continue to feel happy they don't have a whole penis! Missing the most nerve laden erogenous tissue! Learn, weep and then get on board and protect children from this disgusting practice. And , Stephen, you can't write off this movement as fringe or insignificant. We are well organized and number in the tens of thousands if not more AND growing.Leaders in the fields of medicine, law, education, business , black white Jews Christians old young men women cut and uncut. This is NOT going away- and unfortunately those boys cut today will be the ones to be mos upset by it when they are able to discuss it as information about the functions and importance of t he foreskin is made more readily available. Time to pass this ban and expect it to be brought to others states in he new future.
Circumcision is a barbaric and archaic religious custom, I am neither Jewish nor Moslem, but apart from medical necessity I see no reason to desecrate the body of a child.
Its never going to happen. Relax.
Just a publicity stunt by a bunch of crazy lefties.
I was circumsized when I was eight days old; I'm in my mid-sixties now and can attest to the fact that in forty-five years I've never had any complaints from the ladies. Everything works just fine. :>)
Really, it's too "nanny state" to make a law against cutting up your kid's genitals? Too "anti-Semitic" to recognize that children are actually people who have rights to bodily integrity? Sad that this article focuses on attacking a few people who may or may not be crackpot weirdos (does it matter?) instead of the issues. Small minds talk about people...
I truly don't see any significant difference between "female genital mutilation" and circumcision. Yes, there is a difference of degree, and (currently) one of legality. But each practice is barbaric and ought to be outlawed, "religious tradition" notwithstanding.
"Only a left-wing wacko would see male circumcision as perverted"

This isn't about left or right. It's about human rights and as such it should transcend political ideology.

If pro-cutters can't open their eyes and see the true horror of this procedure, then shame on them - because THIS barbarity is what they are supporting:

videos of circumcision (aka male genital mutilation) in America:

Jewish circ:

Circumcision trauma:
I have read your article. While I am rather conservative in my views, in this case you do not address the issue directly. The fundamental question is, apart from historical and religious acceptance, what is the difference between female genital mutilation and male genital mutilation, otherwise known as circumcision. I am surprised that City Journal allowed such a poorly developed article to run under its banner.
Way to miss the actual story entirely. I don't know what passed for journalism at the SF Chronicle between '89 and '99, but I'd be surprised if personal attacks were sufficient to craft a whole column.

This should be about the merits of the proposed ban, which would merely grant boys protection equal to what girls enjoy. Since 1997, Americans can't even do a pin-poke to a minor girl to draw one ceremonial drop of blood, with no religious exemption. The 14th amendment demands equal protection.

NOT ONE national medical association on earth (not even Israel's) endorses routine circumcision. Foreskin feels REALLY good. HIS body, HIS decision.
You are really disgusting. Since when is infant mutilation a first amendment right and why should parental "rights" trump those of the child? Putting down this is no more nannying than, say, the prohibition on torture and ritual murder.
Only a left-wing wacko would see male circumcision as perverted (yet probaly have no problem with aborting male fetuses). It is better for the male, keeps them cleaner than having all that smegma gunk gathering on their shaft. Studies have PROVEN that uncircumcised males can increase their female partners risk of cancers and sexually transmitted diseases. This is NOT a religion reason but a health reason. But as usual the left-wing rabid liberal has no tolerance for common sense,science and compassion.
This is ridiculous and the #1 reason why Jewish people need to wake up and stop supporting the Democrat Party , because Democrats are gutless and will not say NO to these extreme leftwing activists.
I would like to know these supporters views regarding abortion rights.
Jesse C. Anderson June 24, 2011 at 9:57 PM
Well there are some who don't know what the bible say about this and it God word.
Jesse C. Anderson June 24, 2011 at 9:51 PM
There get to be something in the water to make some people to think like that!
Children I guess are the last slaves, mere property of their parents who are free to do as they wish with them as long as there is some strange religious ritual connected to it. Of course it is a way to keep children within the so-called religion that demands this mutilation as a mark of membership and the corrective surgery to fix this is hardly without consequences.
Barefoot Intactivist June 24, 2011 at 9:06 PM
Hmmm... that's funny, the 1997 federal anti-genital mutilation bill passed, and was never "tossed out as a violation of the First Amendment's free exercise clause." Though it is clearly a violation of the 14th amendment, which guarantees equal rights to all.

Nobody is trying to stop 18-year old, consenting adults from performing whatever types of genital cutting on their own bodies they wish. As far as saving a baby "not needing a referendum to qualify a criminal" -- neither does strapping down a baby and brutally amputating the most sensitive part of his genitals and causing lifelong disfigurement. You see, it's already illegal. It's called violent sexual assault. You are actually violating the First Amendment rights of the PERSON whose genitals are being cut without permission.

Don't you get it? This whole thing is about waking up the public to the brutality, and clear human rights violation, that is forcing genital cutting on a child. Every misguided article you write only helps -- because it spurs people to do actual research on the topic.

~Barefoot Intactivist
Patricia Robinett June 24, 2011 at 8:34 PM
Would it be 'extreme' to outlaw the genital cutting of girls? - Oh, wait! They already did that. Would it be 'extreme' to outlaw the genital cutting of a dog or cat? Oh, wait! Animals are already protected from cruel treatment. Would it be 'extreme' to cut support for an ancient, superstition that damages children's bodies and minds for the rest of their lives? Oh, wait! We can't do THAT! If the world went sane all of a sudden, what would we do without war? Without fear? Without sexual incompatibility due to genital alteration? What would we do without misery? I wish they hadn't circumcised me, but I was born before the 1996 ban on FGM in the USA. My rotten luck!
"Interviewing Schofield or Hess is a waste of time."

LOL - oh really .. nice bit of journalism there.
I am a male genitally mutilated hate it, my body my choice and restoring my foreskin like 200,000 men:

No med org in the world recommends this keep your kids whole:

No religious exemption for female circumcision either.
"But San Francisco could be taking nannying to a new extreme."

Um, how is it 'extreme' to try to put a stop to infant genital mutilation?

What is EXTREME is this practice itself!

It's past time for this brutal and unnecessary procedure to be outlawed. There's no justification for it being inflicted on the body of a non-willing human being.

There's still a lot of ignorance out there among Americans - people who literally have no clue about the negative consequences (as well as the human rights violation) associated with inflicting this unnecessary genital surgery on infants.

Many Jewish people and Muslims are upset (but not all - ,,,, They believe this ban would be a threat to their freedom of religion. To which we counter: Muslims are legally prohibited from having the genitalia of their baby girls cut for cultural/religious reasons. Males are being denied equal protection under the law, and this is unconstitutional.

Religion really shouldn't be allowed any more as an excuse for inflicting physical alterations on the body of a non-consenting human being. Besides, babies don't have a religion. They don't even understand the concept. And circumcising a child in the name of religion actually infringes upon the child's individual freedom of religion.

Therefore, a ban on infant cutting would actually preserve our inherent rights acknowledged by the Constitution. It's just that many people are unwilling to look at it that way ... that's how strong of a grip this culture of cutting has on the mindset of many Americans.

And BTW - the so-called health 'benefits' are largely exaggerated. The risks/complications/damage/death associated with infant circumcision are greater than any possible issue which MIGHT arise from remaining intact. NO medical organization in the WORLD recommends routine infant circumcision.

Please, people. Let go of what you *think* you know about infant circumcision and do your homework on this blatant human rights violation.
Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion. Religion does not give anyone the right to amputate the body parts of another individual. Human rights advocacy is not anti-Semitic.