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June 27, 2012


German Court to Jews: Tough Luck

Those seeking to curtail religious freedom around the world got a boost from a German court yesterday when it ruled that religiously-based circumcision does grievous harm to children. According to Agence France Presse:

Circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounts to grievous bodily harm, a German court ruled Tuesday in a landmark decision that the Jewish community said trampled on parents’ religious rights.

The regional court in Cologne, western Germany, ruled that the “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents”, a judgement that is expected to set a legal precedent.

“The religious freedom of the parents and their right to educate their child would not be unacceptably compromised, if they were obliged to wait until the child could himself decide to be circumcised,” the court added.

The case was brought against a doctor in Cologne who had circumcised a four-year-old Muslim boy on his parents’ wishes.

The doctor apparently fouled up the procedure, because the boy had to go to the hospital the next day, “bleeding heavily.” He was then charged with “grievous bodily harm,” and may well have been guilty of that. But the court went a lot farther than that (in fact, it acquitted him because the law wasn’t clear—I guess it’s supposed to be now). Needless to say, German Jews aren’t happy about it:

The decision caused outrage in Germany’s Jewish community.

The head of the Central Committee of Jews, Dieter Graumann, said the ruling was “an unprecedented and dramatic intervention in the right of religious communities to self-determination.”

The judgement was an “outrageous and insensitive act. Circumcision of newborn boys is a fixed part of the Jewish religion and has been practiced worldwide for centuries,” added Graumann.

“This religious right is respected in every country in the world.”

But neither jurists nor politicians in Germany need to worry, according to one expert:

Holm Putzke, a criminal law expert at the University of Passau, told the Financial Times Deutschland that the ruling was “enormously important for doctors because for the first time they have legal certainty.”

“Unlike many politicians, the court has not allowed itself to be scared off by charges of anti-Semitism or religious intolerance,” added Putzke.

Yeah, it’s a good thing that German courts, outlawing a 4000-year-old religious practice associated around the world with Jews, would blow off charges of anti-Semitism. I’m glad to hear we’re all moving on from that yucky Holocaust stuff, with its suggestion that Germans don’t like Jews and so on.

Oh, and religious freedom in the 21st century? You’ve got to be kidding! This is Europe, folks!


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6 comments

Would this allow a fetus to assert its “bodily integrity” vs… nah, never mind.  Only if the woman wanted to abort for religious reasons, I guess.

[1] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 6-27-2012 at 02:39 PM · [top]

This is going to pose real problems for ++Rowan’s retirement plans to work on integration of Sharia law into Euro jurisprudence.

The upside, of sorts, is that this will be the first time in a long time that Jews and Muslims are on the same side in a fight.

[2] Posted by tjmcmahon on 6-27-2012 at 07:33 PM · [top]

Well, if we could figure out how to accomplish intrauterine circumcision, everything would be fine, wouldn’t it?

After all, up to a second before birth, the fetus is not human and has no rights, so can be torn limb from limb by the abortionist….or, circumcised!

Then, after birth, the baby is suddenly unable to be circumcised since he cannot give consent. Then later, maybe when he is 18, he could again give consent!

Crazy.

[3] Posted by Capn Jack Sparrow on 6-27-2012 at 09:08 PM · [top]

I hear ya #3. This really does show the stupidity of human decision making.  Stupid,crazy,insane - all describe this decision by the German courts.

[4] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 6-27-2012 at 10:40 PM · [top]

Well, I think the U.S. Supreme Court has one-upped the German court (if “one” is even adequate to describe the difference) in its ruling on Obamacare released today.

Eric Blair’s fictional predictions are now becoming a reality, and only 28 years later than his title suggested.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[5] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 6-28-2012 at 11:14 AM · [top]

German Jews (if they don’t sensibly decide to flee Europe), can make sure their community certifies mohels. Heck, it’s not like Jewish doctors are hard to find! It’s a reasonable act of civil disobedience to continue to circumcise 8-day old boys outside a hospital and in the parents’ home. You don’t even have to traceably pay a mohel - they (ahem) take tips!

[6] Posted by Doug Stein on 6-28-2012 at 05:16 PM · [top]

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