Exposure № 048: Walk Before Me and Be Perfect

This week, Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure
is being guest edited by photographer JA Mortram

Abram was 99 years old. God appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty. Walk before Me and be perfect. I will make a covenant between Me and you, and I will increase your numbers very much.’ […] This is My covenant between Me, and between you and your offspring that you must keep: You must circumcise every male. You shall be circumcised through the flesh of your foreskin. This shall be the mark of the covenant between Me and you. ‘Throughout all generations, every male shall be circumcised when he is eight days old. [This shall include] those born in your house, as well as [slaves] bought with cash from an outsider, who is not your descendant. [All slaves,] both houseborn and purchased with your money must be circumcised. This shall be My covenant in your flesh, an eternal covenant. The uncircumcised male whose foreskin has not been circumcised, shall have his soul cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.

(Genesis 17:1-14)

Walk before Me and be perfect.” How very confusing. It would seem god did not succeed in making people perfect in the first instance, otherwise why the need to saw away various parts of the newborn and infant genitalia? What bad design. And certainly not very intelligent.

Firstly, the female child. Imagine, if you would, a scene wherein this prepubescent girl is taken to a room. Upon entering this room, she goes through a procedure called infibulation. This involves partial removal of the labial lips to expose raw flesh. The exposed and raw labia are then sewn together using catgut or silk. A very small opening is left for the passage of urine and menstrual blood. In some instances the legs will be strapped together for up to two weeks, resulting in almost full closure of the sutured labia. On the wedding night, the vaginal opening is enlarged, by either the husband or a female relative. In some instances this is carried out with a ‘ceremonial’ double bladed dagger. Methods of infibulation differ according to region, culture and religious belief.

Let us now turn to the infant male child. Picture a child of only eight days old. He is about to be circumcised by a mohel. This ‘qualified’ adult male will cut the foreskin surrounding the head of this infant penis and remove the flap of skin. In some instances, the mohel will then take the infants penis into his own mouth to extract blood from the exposed tissue. These abhorrent procedures are often mandated by religion. Can you imagine any educated secular individual behaving in these reprehensible ways toward his or her own infant or newborn? These behaviours are quite simply inexcusable on any level whatsoever. And pray why the genitalia? As with so many religious edicts, we once again return to the penis and the vagina. Well-trodden ground indeed for the pious lunatic.

Sign this petition to protestThe Ashley Montagu Resolution to End the Genital Mutilation of Children Worldwide, a Petition To The World Court, the Hague.

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The|G|™’s other contributions to Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.