Penis of Jesus trimmed 2,000 years ago

While the Feast of the Circumcision is no longer a Catholic cause cilhbre, male mutilation continues its barbaric history.

Published January 4, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

Jan. 4, 2000

Jan. 1 marked the 2,000th anniversary of Jesus' bloody brith mileh,
the Jewish ritual that snips off an infant boy's foreskin approximately one
week after birth. The cock-cutting of Christ is presently sanctified in
numerous Christian sects as the "Feast of the Circumcision."

I was personally impelled to attend Mass on this particular Holy Day of
Obligation when I was a young Catholic lad. I remember that my inquiry
about the definition of the word "circumcision" received the white-lie
reply: "It's when Jesus was given his name."

Renaissance painters frequently portrayed the reduction of Jesus' wiener
in an exotic synagogue setting, like the lavish Temple of Jerusalem. In
actuality, the meat-mincing of the Messiah undoubtedly occurred in a humble,
private abode.

Early Christian missionaries tried to make the cap-lopping covenant
ceremony mandatory in the burgeoning faith. The operation hampered adult
gentile conversion, however, particularly amongst the proud uncut Greeks of
Antioch. Eventually St. Paul and St. Barnabas convinced their slashing
compatriots to drop the circumcision requirement at the Apostolic
Conference in Jerusalem (A.D. 50, and in Acts 15 & Galatians 2). Today,
only a few Christian sects such as the Ethiopian Orthodox Church require male
genital mutilation for membership.

is falling out of favor in the United States today after its gory-glory heyday in
the 1950s and '60s when 90 percent of all boys born in American hospitals were
nonconsensually shortened. Organizations such as Doctors Opposing
Circumcision are working to exterminate the practice because there is no
medical justification for the traumatizing surgery that removes over 30 percent of
a penis' sexual pleasure. A guide book entitled "The Joy Of
Uncircumcising" by Dr. Jim Bigelow even encourages men
to grow back their
lost tissue
by stretching the adjacent skin forward over the desensitized

Will Jan. 1 remain a Christian holy day if male circumcision is ever
condemned as vehemently as its female clitorectomy equivalent? The
Catholic Church, uncharacteristically, has already moved forward: In 1970,
Paul Paul VI created a special feast day that simultaneously celebrates the
Maternity of
Mary and World Peace.
Since then, this immensely
gentler motive has replaced circumcision as the church's cause for rejoicing on
Jan. 1.

By Hank Hyena

Hank Hyena is a former columnist for SF Gate, and a frequent contributor to Salon.

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