It’s not practiced by Christians virtually anywhere else in the world or in Christian history, but modern male infant circumcision has become relatively common among Christians in the United States. But there are serious ethical problems with cutting parts designed by God off of babies. And such a drastic procedure can have drastic side effects.
MYTH: The pain will be minor, or at least brief.
Circumcision causes "severe and persistent pain" and hinders the mother-child bond. Pain for babies is at least as severe as for adults, and perhaps even more severe. The baby boys’ experience of intense, prolonged pain, their inability to understand what is happening or whether it will end, and their deep sense of abandonment make modern circumcision an extremely traumatic experience. Local anesthetic has limited and temporary effectiveness. (This is part of why many medical organizations recommend strongly against circumcision.) Many doctors don't even use any anesthesia. In either case, the pain continues for days.
In addition, the experience of being strapped down, prodded, ripped, crushed, cut, ripped, and then cut again hurts mother-child attachment. And for some of us, the pain continues throughout our lives.
Although the idea that babies don't remember is common, traumatic experiences affect the mind whether they are "remembered" or not. Dozens of studies show the psychological harm of circumcision on children, such as a permanent reduction in pain tolerance and symptoms of PTSD. Besides, would “he won’t remember it” be a valid ethical excuse for any other kind of assault or harm inflicted on an infant?
MYTH: He’ll thank me later.
Many American men are upset about what happened to them as babies.
All too many experience complications, such as pain from too little skin, skin bridges, skin tags, persistent discomfort from clothing, and hair in the wrong places. Until they find out otherwise, most think that these are just normal difficulties of being male.
Once they find out, many men speak out in movements such as the #IAmNotThankful and #SinceIWasBoy hashtags on social media. Some women also affected join them. Tens of thousands of men are using gradual stretching to restore (external link) their foreskins, often to address these continuing problems their circumcisions have caused.
With research mounting, information spreading, and circumcision rates dropping, he will most likely thank you if you leave him as God in His wisdom designed him.
So with all of these issues, why do Christians circumcise? Well, with only a few exceptions, they never have! Read more on the next page.