03 June 2011

Circumcision

There are a couple of interesting articles in today's Wall Street Journal (3 Jun, 2011). One of them has to do with the possibility of attending a baseball game in every major league park, that's 30 parks, in 35 days and 18,000 miles on your SUV. The article is mildly interesting in that it took a computer program to figure out how to do this but I don't recommend it. Why punish yourself doing what should be an enjoyable afternoon or evening. Other baseball-oriented holidays seem to make more sense to me, more doable and more fun: maybe all the professional baseball parks, major and minor, in North Carolina or Texas, or just the major league parks in California, or Montana. But take some recommendations and skip the awful parks, and there are some. If you are a fan of a particular major league club, you might want to fashion a two-week trip around the farm teams of that particular club.

But the more interesting and sympathetic article had to do with circumcision. You may know that there has been discussion in the medical literature for at least 40 years regarding the usefulness of circumcision in preventing STDs and penile and cervical cancer, and more recently the spread of HIV amongst heterosexual populations in Africa. Recently there has been some activity in the opposite direction in and around San Francisco. I'm not sure why that particular city should be more interested than other progressive cities in what they call "intactivist" political and legal wranglings. The article gently considers the situation. Recommended reading.

I sometimes think I get more useful medical info from the WSJ than other more orthodox sources: e.g. I came across another article a few days earlier in the WSJ, written by a woman who believes, with at least some reason, that her husband's circumcision saved her from having his HIV infection transmitted to her. Here is the main pull-quote:

"But here is the reason I am alive today: In the same way that circumcision vastly diminishes the chance of infecting women with the human papillomavirus that causes cervical cancer, studies suggest that circumcision also helps guard against the transmission of the HIV virus. In both cases, cells on the inside of the male foreskin are implicated in spreading the virus. But if the foreskin is removed, a source of infection is also removed."

Of course, voting on questions partly biological, partly religious and partly psychological probably won't settle the matter. The above cartoon is from the intactivists. There is other useful information from both sides. This is a sensitive matter as you might imagine. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

4 comments:

Recovering Lutheran said...

I wonder what Foreskin Man's super power is supposed to be.

On second thought - I don't want to know. Once, on my way back from Tanzania for a home visit in the US I made the error of asking someone, "So, who is this person Paris Hilton?" I think I could have quite happily gone my whole life not knowing who she was.

Ken & Carol said...

Dear friend Recovering Lutheran: I don't know either. The picture was just to attract your attention. I don't think the nay-sayers have the better of the argument. My vague libertarian views haven't really given me an answer to this problem.

By the way, does your handle indicate a movement to the left or to the right. I guess I could call myself the same with a move back to Mother Church some 10 or 12 years ago. The folks at Kijabe in Kenya looked me over fairly carefully to make sure I was a Christian.

You are absolutely right about Paris Hilton. Ask almost any teener/early 20 something and they will know her, but not who is their Sec of State or their Senators. Sigh.

Recovering Lutheran said...

The name "Recovering Lutheran" is a bit of snark on my part. It comes from the fact that my wife and I am former Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) missionaries. I met and married my wife in Tanzania, where I served for several years.

In August 2009 the ELCA voted to ordain non-celibate homosexuals and to begin the process of finding a way to perform homosexual marriages in the church. For my wife and I it was the final straw. The ELCA has always had an unhealthy obsession with secular political activism, and to us this decision was yet another effort to make the church conform to the world.

I started my blog "Recovering Lutheran" in an attempt to write about my experiences and to express my very great distress in having to leave the church I grew up in because of its unfaithfulness to the Gospel. "Recovering Lutheran" also reflects the fact that sometimes I feel like a refugee or shipwreck survivor who escaped the wreckage that is the ELCA. My blog was - and still is - a sort of open diary, although I rarely write about the ELCA any more.

Ironically, we have recently joined a Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod congregation. So the title "Recovering Lutheran" is no longer appropriate.

It is also ironic that (as someone with a mixture of conservative and libertarian political beliefs) I don't object to homosexual marriages (or unions, or whatever they are called) if they are civil ceremonies. Let states define marriage and pass appropriate laws. I do object to the Church participating in such activities. Just because I think something should be legal does not mean I think the Church should sponsor it.

Ken & Carol said...

LCMS would probably be a move to the right, though right and left doesn't work all that great in ecclesiastical matters. It is the same move my wife made a few years ago when the homosexual agenda seemed sure to win out. Wasn't that the reason behind all the egalitarian clap-trap that preceded it. We have more than a few LCMS churches here in Billings, enough for the pastors to form a decent sounding choir on Good Friday tenebrae services.

You don't see the hard separation between church and state in re marriage as being detrimental to normal families? Well, perhaps there is nothing worse that can happen that hasn't already taken place.

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