Sunday, July 01, 2012

German Political Leaders Say Religious Circumcision Should Be Protected

According to AP, Germany's foreign minister Guido Westerwelle moved today to reassure critics after a controversial German court ruling last week held that young boys' rights were infringed when parents decided to have them circumcised for religious reasons. Westerwelle said:
The free exercise of religion is protected in Germany. That includes religious traditions. All our partners in the world should know that.
Volker Beck, an opposition Green Party senior lawmaker, said that it should be clarified that circumcision on religious grounds is justified as long as hygienic and medical standards are met. However he left open the question of whether this clarification should be obtained through the courts or by legislation.

Meanwhile YNet News reports that Jewish Hospital in Berlin has decided to suspend all circumcisions of children for religious reasons until the legal situation is clarified.

UPDATE: The full text of the court's decision in the case is now available via UK Human Rights Blog. The original decision in German is here. An English translation is here. [Thanks to Eric Rassbach via Religionlaw listserv.]