The Crime of “Practicing Judaism Openly”

by Ed Whelan

In my post two months ago on “Totalitarian Liberalism” Versus Religious Liberty, I passed along the news of a ruling by a German court that parents who for religious reasons have their sons circumcised can be prosecuted for causing bodily injury. In the latest news, prosecutors elsewhere in Germany have brought criminal charges against a rabbi for performing a circumcision. [8/31 Update: But this reported news may be inaccurate.] Condemning the charges as “outrageous and a very troubling escalation,” the president of the European Jewish Congress has aptly observed:

It has been many decades since a Jew was charged for practicing Judaism openly and is reminiscent of far darker times. We hope that in Germany, of all places, the authorities would remain far more sensitive to this issue.

Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics has just released a report concluding that “current evidence indicates that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks.” (H/t David Bernstein.) So it would seem that the German authorities are combining hostility to religious liberty with bad science.

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