[by Dean Smith] The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is sure to rankle a few activists. It has just released a statement providing guidelines for male circumcision that involves the removal of the foreskin from the penis. In the process, the CDC was essentially promoting the procedure.
The Jews have practiced circumcision for thousands of years after God instituted the practice with Abraham (Genesis 17:10-14) as a sign of a covenant between God and His people.
However, as religious rite it was lacking in some ways. It was largely unseen and only involved half the population. I have always suspected God chose circumcision because it also provided health benefits. I believe many aspects of the law were health related.
Speaking on behalf of the CDC, Dr. Aaron Tobian said:
“The benefits of male circumcision have become more and more clear over the last ten years.”
According to CDC, many studies have shown the health benefits associated with male circumcision including:
- a 30% reduction in the chance of catching genital herpes and the papillomavirus (which can cause genital warts that can lead to cancer);
- a 50% to 60% reduction in contracting HIV from women; and
- reduced chances of penile cancer and urinary tract infections.
Islam, which formed around 600 AD, also instituted the practice as Mohammad (580 AD – 632 AD) included some of the Old Testament Jewish practices as part of this new religion. Circumcision is actually not even mentioned in the Qur’an.
But the rite brings with it an interesting question: Was God aware of the potential health benefits of circumcision?
If the answer is yes, then we have to presume God also knew this rite would reduce disease transmission through sexual immorality. Though God warned against immorality many times through the law, at the same time we also see God’s mercy by instituting a procedure that would offer protection. God was well aware of the realities of man’s sinful nature.
After releasing its draft guidelines on circumcision, for the next 40 days CDC will receive submissions. Activists opposed to the procedure will undoubtedly line up to voice their opposition.
During the 1950s and 60s, male circumcision was the norm in North America and nearly 80% of boys were circumcised. However, due to opposition to the procedure and influx of immigrants not accustomed to the practice, the percentage of males circumcised had dropped to 58% by 2010.
- Benefits of circumcision ‘outweigh the risks’: Procedure cuts the risk of HIV, STDs and penile cancer, official report declares: Daily Mail