One of the major problems with California politics is the power of ballot box initiatives. With just 12,000 signatures, anyone can bring any issue before the voters on the ballot. No more is the lunacy of this more clear than with the travesty that is the proposed ban on circumcision
that will now be on the ballot in San Francisco this November. The new law will make it illegal to circumcise any male under the age of 18, punishable by a fine of $1,000 or a year in jail. It will not pass, and in the very off-chance that it does, courts will readily and easily strike it down as unconstitutional. However, the very fact that it was allowed on the ballot in the first place is another sure sign that California's precarious experiment with direct democracy has gone horribly, horribly wrong; voters must now be subjected to paying for and actually voting on an initiative that is anti-Semitic at its core.
With no known ill-effects to circumcision, no objections by pediatricians to the practice, and some suggested medical benefits to it, the initiative holds no weight to proponents' claims that circumcision is akin to genital mutilation. This is a proposed law that is specifically targeted at a particular part of the community. Though those arguing for it speak in vague terms of mutilation, the actual text of the proposed law reads, "No account shall be taken of the effect on the person on whom the operation is to be performed of any belief on the part of that or any other person that the operation is required as a matter of custom or ritual." The law is designed to end a practice that has been a part of Jewish (and Muslim) culture for thousands of years-- something that is as key to their beliefs as baptism is to Catholics. Even more, it seeks to further take away the power of decision-making from parents and further solidify the power of government over childcare. It is an egregious assault on religious liberty and the power of parents, and the fact that it is now being treated as a legitimate political discussion is revolting. One can only hope that such ilk does not spread further than the Bay Area.