The Forward reports on “highest-level case in American history involving the right to circumcision is slated to be heard this fall, when the Oregon Supreme Court rules on whether a father can have his 12-year-old son undergo the procedure.”
The basis of the case is a nasty custody battle, with the father a recent convert to Judaism. The mother claims that the boy is afraid to tell his father that he does not want to be circumcised. I note that there is no mention of whether the boy has an opinion on the conversion (at least none in this article) itself. The mother also claims that the child would be psychologically and physically harmed by the procedure (I wonder what our Muslim fellow citizens think of that?).
The thing that’s unusual about the case is that generally American courts stay out of cases involving religion such as this. The Forward comments:
The acceptance of the case by Oregon’s highest court is surprising, because judges generally grant a wide degree of latitude to custodial parents — so much so, in fact, that the state’s Court of Appeals rejected the mother’s case without issuing an opinion. If the Oregon Supreme Court decides to review the merits of the father’s plan for circumcision, it will almost inevitably weigh in on two related issues: the right of custodial parents to guide their children’s religious upbringings, and the weight that religious considerations should be given when considering the welfare of a child.
Because of this, the stakes are generally conceded to be high by everyone, and so badvocates for both sides of the story are getting their elbows in the door.
All I have to say: It doesn’t bode well for the poor kid – Ms. Boldt (the mother) may be full of concern for her son’s psychological health, but I wonder if maybe they could iron out some of these other matters first – like what his name is.