By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC

Religious freedom is supposed to be a touchstone of liberty. But many secularists so disdain faith that they refuse to abide by the principle — or more commonly, attempt to shrink its parameters to a very limited “freedom of worship.”

Now, in the aftermath of the medical circumcision of a four-year old Muslim boy with side effects, a German judge (not the best of places for this) has barred circumcision of children, regardless of religious belief. From the story:

Circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounts to grievous bodily harm, a German court ruled Tuesday in a landmark decision that the Jewish community said trampled on parents’ religious rights. The regional court in Cologne, western Germany, ruled that the “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents”, a judgement that is expected to set a legal precedent.

Hmm. Supporters of circumcision as a religious obligation would say that the child’s religious rights are violated by this ruling. not just that of parents.

The ho-hum regard for religion in Europe is in direct contrast to the importance it holds in the USA — epitomized by the First Amendment. That was one reason why the California attempt to ban circumcision was stopped dead in its tracks — and by a very left wing legislature.

It will be interesting to see if this court ruling holds. If it just involved Jews, I would have no doubt. But Muslims also circumcise. From what I have observed, European leaders are very loath to offend that particular community. Thus, look for the circumcision ban to be overturned, at least in part, either by law or another court.