Bipartisan group expresses deep concern over German circumcision ban

A bipartisan group of 20 members of Congress sent a letter to the German government expressing “deep concern” over a recent German district court decision to effectively ban circumcision of young boys.

U.S. Reps. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) wrote the letter, which was addressed to Peter Ammon, the German ambassador to the United States.

The District Court of Cologne ruled in June that the right of a child to be protected from bodily harm took precedence over the interests of the parents or religious freedom. Accordingly, the court said, the circumcision of a minor for non-medical reasons could be considered a criminal act.

The letter, sent last week, called the court decision “an affront to religious freedom.” It  “applauded the strong opposition voiced by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle” and called on them to pass legislation that would safeguard religious freedom. — jta