Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Rule of Law vs. Religion: State vs. Church: Circumcisions of Young Children for Religious Reasons Ruled Illegal Bodily Harm by German Regional Court

Jews and Muslims on the same side of a legal issue regarding religion?

Is circumcision of defenseless juveniles by zealous adults a religious right?

Not according to a decision just handed down by German regional court in Cologne, Germany.

Deutsche Welle has the story at German regional court outlaws child circumcisions, writing:
"A court in Cologne has ruled that circumcising young children for religious reasons causes grievous bodily harm and is illegal, even with parental consent. Jewish and Muslim organizations have blasted the decision.

The regional court in the western city of Cologne ruled on Tuesday that child circumcision constituted "illegal bodily harm," even with parental consent. In the verdict, the court said that the "fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents."
Nicholas Kulish at the New York Times in German Ruling Against Circumcising Boys Draws Criticism writes:
"Germany has no law against male circumcision, as there is against female genital cutting. Experts said that the decision would not be enforceable in other jurisdictions. But the legal uncertainty and threat of possible prosecution could lead doctors to decline to perform the procedure."
So why should males be genitally cut and females not? Genital cutting can not be legal for one sex and not the other.

As far as modern legal principles of human rights in the Western world are concerned, this German court decision is absolutely correct as a matter of law. No other legal result is possible as far as human rights are concerned.

"Freedom of religion" can not serve as a justification for the imposition of bodily harm on others.

Freedom of religion means that human beings, when they get to be legally independent adults, can choose the religion THEY want for THEMSELVES.

Permitting physical mutilation of children by parents or other adults just because THEIR religion historically permits it, in no way justifies inflicting bodily harm on children who, when they are able to choose, may in fact select a different religious path than that followed by their parents. Circumcision FORCES a given religion on a child.

Irreversible physical mutilation via circumcision is a forced bodily harm on young people who are unable to defend themselves, thus marking them for life at a time when they can give no legal consent or otherwise defend themselves. That is obviously clearly wrong as a matter of law.

People should have the right to worship the God they choose - for THEM.

Whenever religion means that OTHERS are implicated, that is no longer religion at all, but simple tyranny of one human being over another.

Our modern world suffers daily because of religious superstitions handed down over the centuries by the various established religions and these superstitions are blindly followed by people who otherwise consider themselves to be moderns.

Our daily news screens are filled with atrocities committed in the name of religion, as if religion excused them, which it can not.

Quite the contrary, if there is a God Almighty, those will be punished, by God.

Law is not a handmaiden of religion.

If men or women are answerable to GOD, then they are personally answerable to THEIR OWN GOD, not to someone else's God, nor are human beings placed on this Earth to be victims to someone else's religious rites, rituals or beliefs.

People like Thomas Becket never understood this.

We can all be thankful in Western Civilization to King Henry II of England, whose legal reforms contra to religious influence and traditions led to the modern system of common law (and its spin-offs, such as the US legal system) via an increasing separation of Church and State.

Let God rule the heavenly realms. On Earth, we have the "rule of law". This was the principle philosophy of the Protestant Reformation in Christianity, which began in Germany and enabled our modern world. As written at the Wikipedia:
"At the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther articulated a doctrine of the two kingdoms. According to James Madison, perhaps one of the most important modern proponents of the separation of church and state, Luther's doctrine of the two kingdoms marked the beginning of the modern conception of separation of church and state.[5]
In the 1530s Henry VIII, angered by the Catholic Church's refusal to annul his marriage with his wife Catherine of Aragon, decided to break with the Church and set himself as ruler of the new Church of England, the Anglican Church...."
The foundations of the Reformation are to be sought in the reign of Henry II, who we have always regarded to be England's greatest king, for his reign was a landmark in the beginning of the progressive reform of an antiquated world. As written at the Wikipedia about Henry's reign:
"Henry's reign saw significant legal changes, particularly in England and Normandy.[170][nb 21] By the middle of the 12th century, England had many different ecclesiastical and civil law courts, with overlapping jurisdictions resulting from the interaction of diverse legal traditions. Henry greatly expanded the role of royal justice in England ...
... Henry was prepared to take action to improve the existing procedures, intervening in cases which he felt had been mishandled, and creating legislation to improve both ecclesiastical and civil court processes.[180] ... Between 1159 and 1163, Henry spent time in Normandy conducting reforms of royal and church courts and some measures later introduced in England are recorded as existing in Normandy as early as 1159.[183]
In 1163 Henry returned to England, intent on reforming the role of the royal courts.[184] He cracked down on crime, seizing the belongings of thieves and fugitives ...  Henry created the General Eyre, probably in 1176, which involved a dispatching a group of royal justices to visit all the counties in England over a given period of time, with authority to cover both civil and criminal cases.[187] Local juries had been used occasionally in previous reigns, but Henry made much wider use of them.[188] ... After the Assize of Clarendon in 1166, royal justice was extended into new areas through the use of new forms of assizes ... In making these reforms Henry both challenged the traditional rights of barons in dispensing justice and reinforced key feudal principles, but over time they greatly increased royal power in England.[191][nb 23]" ...
[A] main source of conflict [was the Roman Catholic Church and] concerned the treatment of clergy who committed secular crimes: Henry argued that the legal custom in England allowed the king to enforce justice over these clerics, while Becket maintained that only church courts could try the cases."
The issue today is the same. The "rule of law" and religious practices are in conflict, and, of course, the rule of law must win.

The modern world only became possible when the temporal affairs of mankind were separated from man's belief systems. As we often are apt to say, "belief is the absence of fact". When things are "known" to be true, they are no longer religion, belief or faith. They are known. Religion must thus be kept separate from temporal life. Religion deals with the unknowable.

The progressive reforms initiated during the reign of Henry II paved the way for the British Empire, for the establishment of English as the lingua franca of the world, and for the legal separation of Church and State, increasingly freeing mankind to better develop innate talents and abilities, such as were enshrined in the preamble to the American Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,[76] that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." [emphasis added]
Circumcision of defenseless juveniles is one of those long trains of abuse and usurpation, committed by religions as "religious governments", as it were, who are forcing their tyrannies on others.

Indeed, the pervasive negative influence of the religions on daily events continues unabated. Wherever you look, the religions are creating strife and conflict everywhere where they have influence, rather than working for and achieving the betterment of life on this planet for Earth's inhabitants.

Our view is universal and applies to ALL religions, who should stay out of temporal affairs. We might add here that America currently has 6 Catholics and 3 Jews as Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, out of 9 judges -- i.e. there are no Protestants at all on the nation's highest court, for a nation in which the majority of the population is Protestant.

All 9 of these Justices represent religions and ways of looking at the world that have been overthrown -- successfully -- since the Protestant Reformation by modern temporal philosophies and religions. Some commentators say religion is irrelevant to the Supreme Court -- but the actual court DECISIONS speak another tale, as this court has been judged to be the most conservative in decades. We would say -- what else did you expect?

As long as such major institutions as the U.S. Supreme Court, whether in the USA or elsewhere, are controlled by people whose entire background has inculcated them with backward and antiquated religious, moral, legal, philosophical and personal ideas out of long-gone centuries or past millennia, you can not reasonably expect much progress in law, economics or society in the countries of those institutions -- and indeed, things in many places on our planet are going backward, rather than forward.

The battle that Henry II of England waged still goes on....
make no mistake about that.

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