I thought I’d close out the week with something light. I’d heard of the practice detailed in this New York Times article, but assumed that it was an urban legend. Guess not. Metzitzah b’peh is practiced by a small, but apparently vocal, group of orthodox Jews, and the issue brings up a number of questions.

Question 1: EWWWW?

Question 2: Where does it say that religious practices which may cause harm to others are permissible under the Constitution? (Before the anti-circ people comment about circs in general, I think we can all agree that there’s a big difference between having an incision cleaned and treated in a sterile environment by a trained medical professional and having it done via hummer in someones living room by Rabbi Dyson).

Question 3: Can we agree that “it’s a centuries-old practice” should never be used as justification for anything? Or are we that keen on bringing back such other wonderful centuries-old practices as slavery, witch-burning, and human sacrifice?

Question 4: What’s the world coming to when I actually agree with something Christopher Hitchens says? And yes, I do see this as a form of fanaticism, as I do any time any religion zealously clings to its beliefs in the face of what we know to be true today.

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