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Sep-09-2011 16:38printcomments

CIRCUMCISION: Medicine Practicing Below the Usual and Customary Standards of Care in Ritual

The integrity of men is to be measured by their conduct, not by their professions. Junius.[1]

Baby circumcision

(MONTEREY, Calif.) - Doctors are given the privilege to practice by the people of the State.  The State Board of Medical Examiners represents the people in allowing that privilege.  A doctor’s ability to practice is NOT a right by virtue of degree.    

      Dr. Janet Menage wrote:  “It is time that genital mutilation was banned completely and that the medical profession faced up to its collusion in the harming of patients.”[2] 

      Circumcision is not a necessary treatment and not recognized as such by any medical organization worldwide.  Circumcision is a sacrificial genital flesh and blood ritual.  Due to increases in science and technology, medicine has partially usurped religious power, control and authority by joining the behavior in partnership. 

      Dr. Catherine Bell wrote, “Those who control ritualization are in command of a particularly powerful form of objectification, especially in cultures where there are relatively few other institutional structures to rival it.”[3] 


      The doctor is the Agent of the patient.  An Agent is: 1) one who, by mutual consent, acts for the benefit of another 2) one authorized by a party to act in that party’s behalf.[4] 

      Professor Bell, “Ritualialization is first and foremost a strategy for the construction of certain types of power relationships effective within particular social organizations… Fairly standard understandings involve the positive notion of ‘influence’ on the one hand and the negative notion of ‘force’ on the other.”[5] 


      A doctor Agent is not a Servant to escape liability in doing harm to another from demanded performance by a Master.[6]  In the case of circumcision that harm falls under Munchausen Complex criminology.[7] 

      Victor Turner observed in ritual, “The irksomeness of moral constraint is transformed into the ‘love of virtue.’”[8] 


      Regarding patients who are minors, the doctor is still the Agent of the minor child even though the parents give Consent to the Agent Doctor to deliver care and treatment.  The parents, though they give Consent are not the patient.  Many hospitals on purpose harass the parent to sign the Consent for circumcision to wear down parental resolve not to have their child circumcised.  This occurs even when parents have written a statement they do not want circumcision. 

      In the 1960’s and 1970’s two San Francisco Bay Area hospitals, Kaiser[9] and Palo Alto,[10] now a part of Stanford University medical system were telling parents that it was against the law for them to take their sons home until they were circumcised.  In British Columbia where circumcision is not covered for payment some use another procedure code when they do a circumcision.[11] 

      Mens rea is a consideration when looking into the state of mind of a criminal perpetrator.  Mens rea is the state of mind.   Thus, hospitals in their standard procedure may, in many ways, be perceived committing a form of Child Abuse,[12] Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation, Cause, Coercion, Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Endangerment, Exaction, Extortion, Fraud in many of its aspects, Intent to Disfigure, Molestation, Racketeering, Right of Privacy and Sexual Harassment. 

      Bell, “Ritualized agents do not see themselves as projecting schemes; they see themselves only acting in a socially instinctive response to how things are…  Specific relations of domination and subordination are generated and orchestrated by the participants themselves simply by participating.”[13] 

      Informed Consent

      Consent given a doctor is Informed Consent which is: consent accompanied by full notice as to that which is being consented to; constitutionally required in certain areas where one may consent to what otherwise may be an otherwise constitutional violation of a right.[14]  Full knowledge is not given the parent.  Many truths regarding harm and lack of necessity are willfully omitted. 

      Pierre Bourdieu on ritual wrote, “The most successful ideological efforts are those which have no need for words, and ask no more than complicitous silence.”[15] 


      Parents requesting circumcision fall under Munchausen Syndrome in Collective Transference.  Circumcision is a Culture-Bound Syndrome involving social stress.  Also involved may be Shared Psychotic Disorder with societal based Repetition Compulsion.  Participants may share a transgenerational and cultural transmission of trauma similar to other traumatic transmissions.[16]  This indicates most are not Competent to give permission for a circumcision.[17] 

      Bell on ritual, “People know what they do and they know why they do what they do, but they do not know what they are doing does.”[18] 

      Patient Preference

      “In all medical treatment, the preferences of the patient, based on the patient’s own values and his or her personal assessment of the benefits and burdens, are ethically relevant.  In every clinical case, the questions must be raised: what are the patient’s goals?  What does the patient want?  The systematic review of this topic requires further questions: Has the patient been provided sufficient information?  Does the patient comprehend?  Is the patient consenting voluntarily?  Has the patient been coerced?”[19]  The child is the patient. 

      Bell relating Rene Girard[20], “Ritual emerges as the means for a provisional synthesis of some form of original opposition…  Such dispositions are, in turn, further differentiated into two kinds: moods and motivations.”[21] 


      “One of the most common ethical issues raised by the principle of respect for the autonomy is paternalism.  The term refers to the practice of overriding or ignoring the person’s preferences in order to benefit them or enhance their welfare.  In essence, it consists in the judgment that beneficence takes priority over autonomy.  Historically, the medical profession has endorsed paternalism.  Today, while still common it is considered ethically suspect.[22]  Motivations must be questioned.  Circumcision is an act of violence. 

      The person who circumcises is a Ritual Agent to perform societal violence.  Bell, “Ritual sacrifice [is] the central act of a cultural system generated by primal violence.  Sacrifice, as the ritualized killing of substitutes, is itself a substitute for the violence that continually threatens to consume society.”[23] 

      Deliberate Difference

      Inmate lawsuits over access to health care originated the term Deliberate Indifference.  Their living conditions, similar to the child, exist as in the care of.  It involves a lack of, denial of or delay in needed medical care.  Those who oversee care are responsible for their health and welfare.[24] 

      Being in the care of also applies to the child and when the person who delivers care is abusive then the imperative becomes the responsibility of the society under governmental agency. 

      The opposite side of this coin of inequality within Deliberate Indifference is Deliberate Difference where there is either: 1) special consideration given to an individual or group of persons; or, 2) overt and unnecessary action which harms one person or group of persons while those outside that group of persons are legally protected from harm.  

      Deliberate Difference is setting apart of an individual or identifiable group, either expressly or by mute sanction, for different laws, equality, equity, actions, or inactions.  

      J. Z. Smith notes, “Ritual is, above all, an assertion of difference.”[25] 

      Due Process

      United States Representatives Patricia Schroeder and Barbara Collins spearheaded a bill making Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) of minors a crime with up to five years imprisonment and a fine.  This FGM bill, with subsequent court actions, deprives the male child of equal rights, the right to privacy and due process.[26] 

      The law is sleeping.  Cultural Convention has abdicated the Rule of Law.  This violates the 1st clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States of America’s Constitution which states:   

      “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein hey reside.  No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” 

      Bell on ritual wrote, “(Rituals) demonstrate that collective effervescences do not so much unite the community as strengthen the socially more dominant group through a ‘mobilization of bias.’”[27] 

      National Religion

      Judaism officially requires circumcision of its males though not of Jerusalemic origin (See note in reference 43 and previous articles listed below).  Some sects of Judaism circumcise their female children and this is not officially or specifically dis-allowed.  Islam has officially incorporated circumcision for males and some sects require circumcision of their females.  But Christianity officially does not allow circumcision.  Christians who do so are violating their basic Christian tenet.[28] 

      Bell on ritual, “Instead of well-formulated beliefs, most religions are little more than ‘collections of notions’”[29] 

      The United Stated of America has made criminal the circumcision of its female children but courts to this date disallow male protection.  The courts even deny this as a vote for redress to the public to protect it males.[30]  This creates an action apart from the three Jerusalemic traditions. 

      Congressional laws, through Administrative Agency,[31] of the land supported by the courts have in essence created a legal allowing, acknowledging requirement for some to be accepted, circumcision of the male and protecting the female despite its significance to some cultures.  Thus it has now become in structure not Religious Freedom but rather establishment of a National Religion un-named.  This violates the 1st Amendment’s Establishment of Religion Clause of the United States of America’s Constitution which states:   

      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” 

      Medicine into Religion

      Genital alterations are often based on the imago vivendi (world view; or, way of life) of physicians and other health care providers, as well as their imago Dei (religious perception of God).  History shows physicians were instrumental in weaving circumcision into the social fabric.  Add religious assumptions to medicine and the outcome is the doctor being a Cleric-Physician.[32]  And reality spirals further downward into the chasm. 

      According to Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, medicine is a belief system much like religion.  Its focus has moved from one disease theory to another throughout the centuries.  It can be rested assure medicine will continue to reinvent itself as needed.  Medicine’s structural connection to religion is unique.[33] 

      Hospital = Church

      Doctors = Priests

      Nurses = Nuns

      Medications = Sacraments

      X-rays and Surgery = Rituals

      Questioning or Disobedience = Blasphemy 

      Child molesters tell their victims not to talk of their Dirty Little Secret.  Often this is accompanied by threat.  The child victim fears responsibility to maintain family unity.  The child assumes the guilt of what happened to them. 

      Bell on ritual wrote, “The only real alternative to negotiated compliance is either total resistance or asocial self-exclusion.”[34] 

      Medical Angst to Over-Diagnosis and Mistreatment

      Medicine anguishes its inabilities to cure.  Most often than not, there is lack of science and technology with misunderstanding.  Medical history of circumcision is that the human male prepuce has become an organ waiting for a disease to cure.  This leads to adventures of Miracle Cures often from individuals with suspect motives. 

      Many diseases written in medical journals have been blamed on the prepuce and the clitoris.  The following, in part, which are web available under the search of ‘Circumcision Quotes’ include:  Hip trouble due to weakened muscles, brain defects, nerve tension, derangements of the digestive organs, restlessness, irritability, chorea, convulsions, paralysis, nerve waste, redundancy, papilloma, eschemia, edema, chancre and chancroid, scars-cicitrices, elephantitis, naevus, tuberculosis, hernia, hysteron-epilepsy, nervous exhaustion, diarrhea, dyspepsia, epilepsy, rectal prolapse, hydrocephalus, nervous pneumonia, backwardness in studies, rape, divorce, alcoholism, gastritis, heart disease, marasmus, masturbation, muscular incoordination, kleptomania, vertigo, truancy, baldness, tabes dorsales, laziness, melancholy, poor eyesight, meningitis, nymphomania, barrenness, fallen breasts, uterine prolapse and miscarriage. 

      AIDS studies are no different, accompanied by highly suspect statistics that involve questionable motivations and troubles with dubious statistics.[35]  Problems, also web available, include:  

      1) The Geographic Fallacy where countries chosen were the highest incidence to support the study.  Of the nine African countries five have higher HIV/AIDS incidence among those circumcised.   

      2) The Demographic Fallacy is the two groups compared were Muslims with strict moral codes compared to others who are long distance truck drivers with a more promiscuous lifestyle.  

      3) Open Multiple Concurrent Partnerships, involving having sexual arrangements with women in various towns among those truck drivers.  4) Dry Sex where women inset agents to make their vagina’s dry with a myriad of materials from paper to the shaman giving a ‘special’ potion with baboon urine.  

      3) Further, HIV the virus is transferred via the ejaculate, not via the prepuce.  This has been known since the United States Selective Service headquartered by Great Lakes Navy Base conducted the first demographic study in the middle 1980’s with all those wishing to join military service.  Health care professionals were the first active duty personnel to be tested.  The author of this article, being stationed at Great Lakes at that time, was ‘volunteered’ to participate. 

      4) HIV is a retrovirus.  It has no protein coat which our day’s technology is used to attack to kill a virus.  Medical angst has been long.  Slow progress is being made. 

      Putting Bourdieu and Levi-Strauss in unison, “Ritual practices never define anything except the terms of the expedient relationships that ritualization itself establishes among things, thereby manipulating the meaning of things by manipulating their relationships.”[36]   What is distinctive about ritual is not what it says or symbolizes, but that first and foremost it does things: ritual is always a matter of “the performance of gestures and the manipulation of objects.”[37] 

      Medical Impropriety

      In summary, circumcision is a blood and flesh ritual.  Circumcision is not a medical procedure.[38]  The medical profession has joined forces, sometimes in competition, with religious elements to become society's’ official Ritual Agent from which compensation is derived.  In this aspect of circumcision, medicine violates many of its rules of proper professional behavior and is possibly outside legal boundaries.   

      Further circumcision inclusions are sometimes created and maintained through psychological disorders which in turn pass on the disorders from iatrogenic psycho-pathophysiology. 

      Iatrogenic Psycho-pathophysiology is the creation of disordered psychological and/or bodily processes that result from intervention by a physician acting as a health care provider or another, including a Ritual Special Agent. 

      Performance may be perceived negligence with Breach of a Duty To Use Due Care by unnecessary surgery.[38]  Circumcision leaves the legal condition of Res ipse loquitur: the act speaks for itself.  Circumcision is a socialized mock death ritual.[39]  The child experiences the socialized apocalyptic event.[40] 

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone.  Lin Yutang.[41] 

Vainglorious: The Munchausen Complex 

Circumcision: Motivational Changes in the Meaning of the Word of God 

Comixio Religionis: Circumcision NOT Jerusalemic 

[1] Pseudonym, Letters to the Editor, Public Advertiser, London, 1769-1772.  Author is unknown. 

[2] Menage, Janet, Professionals should not collude with abusive behavior, British Medical Journal, 311:1088-1089, 21 October 1995. 

[3] Bell, Catherine, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 211. 

[4] Gifis, Steven H., Law Dictionary, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 1984, p. 16. 

[5] Bell, Catherine, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 197. 

[6] Gifis, Steven H., Law Dictionary, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 1984, pp. 438-439. 

[7] Matteoli, Richard L., The Munchausen Complex: Socialization of Violence and Abuse, Nemean Press. 2009. 

[8] Turner, Victor, Forest of Symbols; Aspect of Ndembu Ritual, Cornell University Press, 1967, p. 30. 

[9] From parent: Gordon Raynor. 

[10] From parent: Clora Ricci. 

[11] From Doula: Gloria Lemay. 

[12] Myers, John EB, Legal Issues in Child Abuse and Neglect Practice, Sage, Publication, Interpersonal Violence: The Practice Series, 1998. 

[13] Bell, Catherine, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Oxford University Press, 1992, pp. 206-207. 

[14] Gifis, Steven H., Law Dictionary, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 1984, pp. 231. 

[15] Bourdieu, Pierre, trans., Richard Nice, Outline of a Theory of Practice, Cambridge University Press, 1977, p. 188. 

[16] Fongay, Peter, “The transgenerational transmission of holocaust trauma,” Attachment and Human Development, Vol. 1, No. 1, April 1999, pp. 92-114(23). 

[17] White, Becky Cox, Competence to Consent, Georgetown University Press, 1994, p.2. 

[18] Bell, Catherine, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 108. 

[19] Johnson, Seigler, Winslade, Clinical Ethics, McGraw-Hill, p. 5. 

[20] Girard, Rene, trans. Patrick Gregory, Violence and the Sacred, John Hopkins Press, 1977. 

[21] Bell, Catherine, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Oxford University Press, 1992, pp. 23-26. 

[22] Johnson, Seigler, Winslade, Clinical Ethics, McGraw-Hill, p. 39. 

[23] Bell, Catherine, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 173. 

[24] Kay, Susan, The Constitutional Dimensions of an Inmates Rights to Health Care, National Commission on Correctional Health Care, 1991, p. 5. 

[25] Smith, Jonathan Z., To Take Place; Toward Theory in Ritual, Chicago University Press, 1987, p.109. 

[26] Schroeder, Patricia & Collins, Barbara, The Federal Prohibition of Female Circumcision Mutilation Act of 1996, (HR 3247). 

[27] Lukes, Steven, “Political Rituals and Social Integration,” Sociology: Journal of the British Sociological Association, 9, no. 2 (19750: 289-308. 

[28] Wallerstein, Edward, Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy, Springer, 1980. 

[29] Bell, Catherine, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 185. 

[30] Richardson, Valerie, “San Francisco’s anti-circumcision vote cut from ballot.” The Washington Times, Thursday, July 28, 2011. 

[31] Pozgar, George, Legal Aspects of Health Care Administration, Aspen, 1990, p. 5-9. 

[32] Ephron JM, Medicine and the German Jews: A History, Yale University Press, 2001, pp. 222-223.  Recommended. 

[33] Mendelsohn, Robert, Confessions of a Medical Heretic, McGraw-Hill, 1990, pp. 58-59. 

[34] Bell, Catherine, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 215. 

[35] Jung, Carl G., The Undiscovered Self, A Mentor Book, 1958, pp. 16-17. 

[36] Bourdieu, Pierre, trans., Richard Nice, Outline of a Theory of Practice, Cambridge University Press, 1977, pp. 111, 120 and 207. 

[37] Strauss, Claude Levi-, The Naked Man: Introduction to the Science of Mythology, Harper and Row, 1981, pp. 185 and 188. 

[38] Bolande RP, “Ritualistic Surgery: Circumcision and Tonsillectomy,” New England Journal of Medicine, 1969: 280: 591-596. 

[38] Pozgar, George, Legal Aspects of Health Care Administration, Aspen, 1990, p. 16-23. 

[39] Graves, Robert, The Greek Myths, Penguin, p. 119. 

[40] Matteoli, Richard L., Comixio Religionis: Socialization of Violence and Abuse, Nemean Press. 2008.  To date unpublished for distribution.  A Mandated Report to the social body. 

[41] Yutang, Lin, The Importance of Living, William Morrow, First Quill Edition, 1998, p. 161. 

      Dr. Matteoli graduated from St. Mary’s College of California in 1967 and Creighton University in 1971.  He is retired from the US Navy where he spent most of his career attached to the United States Marine Corps.

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David September 13, 2011 6:36 am (Pacific time)

It all distills down to the fact that the foreskin is a natural, healthy and normal body part, and you cannot cut off a medically normal part of a childs body, unless as the first qualification, there is some real, diagnosable, abnormal, severe life threatening disease on that part. It is medically unethical to remove parts of a childs body that are undiseased and have no severe disease condition.Fears of diseases a child does not have is not a valid excuse to destroy medically normal parts of that childs body. People have a right to bodily integrity, and destruction of healthy body parts of an unconsenting child that have nothing wrong with them is mutilation, it is forced, and it takes away the childs rights, and there is no medical condition present that can provide proper justification. If we were to allow body parts which are presently healthy to be removed from childrens bodies, out of fear of diseases they do not have, we could justify removing any part of their body, you can find that every part of the body has a risk of disease, but that is not a valid reason to remove healthy body parts of a child. As for religions, Circumcision of boys for religious reasons violates the childs religious freedom. Circumcision is irreversible, and therefore, if the child were later on to decide they did not want to be Jewish, it would be impossible to undo the harm. Circumcision in fact crushes religious freedom of the individual. It is also unusual that the male foreskin is the most pleasure sensitive body part of the human body, and the only one which is removed when there is nothing wrong with it. It speaks to the original purpose of male circumcision in the United States, originally advocated by doctors to suppress boys masturbation pleasure and punish them for masturbating, as promoted by Kellogg and others. At that time masturbation was considered a disease and circumcising children without anesthetic was done to punish boys for masturbating and suppress their pleasure. There is a possible subliminal intention that continues today to deny men sexual pleasure. Circumcision removes half the skin and the nerve endings from the penis. That it reduces sexual pleasure is undeniable. The only way for circumcision to not reduce sexual pleasure would be not to remove or cut any skin from the penis, of course which means there would be no circumcision at all.

Richard L. Matteoli September 11, 2011 1:00 pm (Pacific time)

@ Ralph E. Stone: Ralph, the essense of this article is to show circumcision's connections to ritual. Genital rituals abound. Circumcision is not the only one to have existed. It's main emphasis is a fertility ritual. The Mayan women used to bleed the prepuces of their men and the drops of blood would be put on the ground to fertilize their Great Mother Earth goddess. In Mesopotamia it started with the annual Sacrifice of the King who would then go and fertilize their Great Mother Earth goddess Ishtar. Then it went to castration where the testicles of the priests would fertilize and besides Ishtar other goddess's priests had to be castrated, as Greek Cybele. This is the reference meaning in the Christian Testament Galatians 5:12. Then circumcision became a fertility rite to fertilize the human female where Philo stated they thought the prepuce trapped to much semen. The Egyptian Great Mother Earth goddess was Isis. The Midianite Great Mother Earth goddess was Hathor. The thing is, is that circumcision is a ritual, not a medical procedure as Routine Neonatal Circumcision. This issue requires one to step back as a participant and become as an observer of a chess game. All the doctors in Doctors Opposing Circumcision have performed circumcisions, yet they now see circumcision for what it truly is. Non of us is immune and can not be otherwise. It is part and parcel of our cultural folkway that we have been born into. My other articles infer that what is being projected is not the "The Devil Made Me Do It" but rather that "God Made Me Do It." To some this has become Lilith Made Me Do It." Yet, it all boils down to human behavior and these are just attempts at justification. And also there is obfuscation and mythworking within the Testaments which was a normal way of conveying ideas during the time the bibles were written. We just need to understand the format the writers of past times used to convery meanings compared to how writers of today convey meanings.

Richard L. Matteoli September 10, 2011 11:38 pm (Pacific time)

@Ralph E. Stone. I did mention Female Genital Mutilation. Dr. Menage mentioned "genital mutilation." I have met her and know her letter's statement includes both male and female blood/flesh rituals. Her many works deal with the psychological and physical trauma among immigrant women in England where she lives and works. Your absurdity may be in accepting the life within Folie a Deux, now commonly termed Shared Psychotic Disorder along with possible Culture Bound Syndrome and an imago Dei. Quite possibly it just might be you are in denial, need some introspection and move forward with a proper perspective of what is done to children. If you took the time to read my other articles you very well may see I used the term Male Genital Mutilation. And it is exactly that.

Hugh7 September 10, 2011 4:19 pm (Pacific time)

Ralph E. Stone: "Calling male circumcision by a qualified physician -- in this country -- genital mutilation is absurd." OK, call it male genital cutting, then. (But it's certainly mutilation when it goes wrong, no matter how "qualified" the operator. And does it become mutilation when nothing is changed but the sex of the victim?) It's still a human rights issue when it's done to non-consenting people.

Dr. Christopher Guest MD.FRCPC September 10, 2011 11:26 am (Pacific time)

The foreskin is richly innervated erogenous tissue and should not be amputated without medical urgency or unless the benefit SIGNIFICANTLY outweighs the potential for harm. Virtually all medical associations in the world agree there is no benefit to non-therapeutic circumcision. Bronze age religious blood rituals should never trump rational scientific judgment, contemporary medical ethics and the universal right to bodily integrity. Put down the scalpels. His body, his choice.

Ralph E. Stone September 10, 2011 7:36 am (Pacific time)

Calling male circumcision by a qualified physician -- in this country -- genital mutilation is absurd.

Ron Low September 9, 2011 11:11 pm (Pacific time)

Foreskin amputation? What's the diagnosis of defect or disease? What other less-destructive remedies were tried and what were the outcomes? What less destructive course are under consideration and why are they being ruled out? If forced genital cutting was in any way a medical procedure the answers to these questions would be found in the patient's chart.

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