- Introduction to the dark side of intactivism
- Indoctrinate the children
- Kill circumcisers
- Other anti-medical pseudo-science
- Rape and circumcision
- Sabotage studies
- Threats and violence
- Weird stuff
Introduction to the dark side of intactivism
It is a depressing truth that those who make the most noise get heard. But making noise is not the same as being right. The Internet is often the first port of call for laypeople wishing to learn about a topic, and anyone researching circumcision this way will soon be struck by the prevalence of anti-circumcision views. Intactivism dominates the Internet. Misleading websites, a plethora of Facebook groups, and emotional rhetoric drown out quieter, but more reasoned standpoints. As pointed out in a “must read” article the truth is out there, but you must look hard to find it.
If that was not disturbing enough, the methods used by intactivists to further their agenda are downright scary. Elsewhere on this website we debunk their pseudoscience. Here we expose their fanaticism. And what better way to do it than to let the intactivists do it themselves? Rather than write lengthy technical essays, we’ll simply show you the screenshots and quotes and you can see for yourself that intactivism is not the human rights movement its followers claim, but a nasty, dangerous, anti-medical cult. Its followers bully, abuse, threaten and harass anyone who disagrees. They issue violence, arson and death threats against medical professionals. And antisemitism is rife.
Of course not all intactivists behave in this way. Many dissociate themselves from the bad behavior, some even speaking out against it, only to be branded “intactocops”. Like a cult, it has its own jargon and any cult member who dissents is vilified and ostracized. But the fact is the very nature of intactivism makes the bullying and fanaticism inevitable. If people actually believe the intactivist narrative – that foreskins are the most erogenous part and circumcision ruins one’s sex life – then they are bound to be angry. Who wouldn’t be? The narrative is designed to stir up passions. But if they accept the science – that foreskins are probably just an evolutionary relic, of little importance, and it makes scant difference to sexual function or pleasure if one has one or not – then it would take a lot of the heat out of the debate.
Bullying is easiest on-line, but the bad behavior is not restricted to the internet. Medical professionals have been targeted at home and at work. When the AAP came out in favor of circumcision in 2012, Dr Susan Blank, the lead author, had her home picketed by a bunch of noisy protestors. Shockingly, when the Catalan Institute of Oncology published a study linking foreskins to Human Papilloma Virus infection in men, and cervical cancer in their female partners, intactivists responded by cyber-attacking it. The lead researcher turned on his computer one morning to find a message (not an email) on his screen saying he was being targeted for his publication favouring circumcision and for his (supposedly) “pro-circ” views. His hard drive was then wiped (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200210313471816#t=article & personal communication, 2013). Yet all he did was report findings from a large, international study. He did not even recommend circumcision.
Here we concentrate on cyber-bullying, this being where intactivists feel most at liberty to let their guard down and show their true colors. It is also where it is easiest to gather evidence. It does not take long to find examples, whether on their Facebook pages, or in comments threads. Worryingly, some examples come from high-profile intactivists, even leaders within the movement, not just random internet trolls. The collection here is the tip of a very large, and very scary, iceberg. In a few instances a brief introduction or background will be provided but, in most cases, the evidence speaks for itself. Be advised that some of the content is deeply disturbing, and the language gratuitously offensive. Another compilation of similar material can be viewed here: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/b794cb_26336ebcba35422983c62f4bbfb665ef.pdf
Comments threads and social media are popular platforms for intolerant and fanatical intactivists to direct their foul invective against anyone who disagrees. Try posting a few comments disputing their claims and watch as they come swarming out, like a cloud of angry wasps after their nest has been poked. Or mention on Facebook you have had your son circumcised, and see your inbox fill up with insults. It will soon become apparent that while you don’t need a foreskin to debate these people, you do need a thick one.
This meme, circulated amongst anti-intactivist groups, sums it up rather nicely:
Circumcision is an integral part of Jewish custom being, for them, a covenant struck with God (Genesis 17:9-14). Traditionally conducted on the eighth day after birth, almost every Jewish male is circumcised, the procedure normally being conducted by a mohel (plural “mohelim”), accompanied by a ceremony brit milah. So it is unsurprising that intactivists have a big problem with Jewish people. Matters have not been helped by the revelation that a tiny number of ultra-orthodox mohelim in New York include a revolting little extra in the ceremony – metzitzah b’peh – sucking away blood by mouth. Several babies contracted herpes and one died as a result. It should be emphasized that this practice (derived from the Talmud) was restricted to a tiny number of ultra-orthodox mohelim, and is variously modified (using a tube) or eliminated altogether by the great majority of mohelim. Furthermore, mohelim are highly trained in what they do (some are even medical doctors) although the use of local anesthesia remains an issue. Some use it, but that many don’t may be construed as a valid criticism.
In recent years some liberal Jews have bought into the intactivist narrative, and abandoned circumcision in favour of a naming ceremony brit shalom. This delights intactivists who gleefully tout it as if it was all the rage in the Jewish community. In reality, the numbers who opt for brit shalom, in place of brit milah, are tiny and, in the eyes of orthodox Jews, they have abandoned Judaism.
As the scientific evidence is clear that circumcision does no harm, and may even confer net benefit, there seems little reason to object to the practice, provided it is to a high medical standard. There is certainly no justification for any of the hateful abuse intactivists hurl at Jewish people. Finally, before viewing the disturbing material that follows, if there are any Jewish people reading this, please note that on social media intactivists have targeted Jewish people to such an extent that Jewish groups have had to give advice to their members on privacy. Have your privacy settings set to “friends only” and please be very careful about mentioning your son’s brit milah. If the intactivists see it they will come after you.
As explained in the “Function & sensation” section (http://circfacts.org/function-sensation/#sens0) intactivists, as a matter of policy, deliberately set out to make circumcised males feel they are missing something wonderful, they are damaged goods, sexually crippled and victims of “genital mutilation”. This is very effective at drawing angry, motivated new recruits into the cult, but it is dishonest, cruel and utterly unethical. There is nothing wrong with being circumcised! Don’t believe a word in any of the intactivist comments copied here. They are pure scare tactics designed to distress and anger the naïve.
and in reply …
Brother K (original name Kenneth David Hopkins) has become something of a cult-leader in the movement, judging by the fawning comments his adoring followers shower upon him. They even have a devotional video: https://vimeo.com/256436369 . And dissenters are quickly silenced. In fact there is a Facebook group “Blocked by Brother K”.
The great leader, in his own words, on his own Facebook page (11 July 2017) …
and his adoring acolytes …
Dissent not tolerated
A former cultist speaks out
Malaysian airlines flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine in July 2014, with the loss of 298 lives. Some on board were on their way to an international AIDS conference and, as is usual for these conferences, there were sessions on circumcision, it being essential in the battle against this terrible disease. Initial media reports incorrectly said that over 100 on board were going to the conference. It later transpired it was six. Below we present Hollie Anne Redinger’s take on the disaster, which quickly attracted shares, likes and favorable comments. Note Brian Herrity’s contribution at the bottom. These are big name intactivists. This prompted the “respectable” intactivists to issue a statement dissociating themselves from these remarks, but they would not have needed to do that if they did not have so many fanatics in their ranks, and they would not have so many fanatics in their ranks if they were not fueling the fanaticism with a steady stream of pseudo-scientific nonsense portraying circumcision as all things bad.
When Prof. Edgar Schoen, a proponent of circumcision, and critic of intactivism, died, intactivists responded with glee. Even the “respectable” Marilyn Milos, founder of NOCIRC, joined in.
Anyone who advocates for, or carries out, circumcisions, can expect their deaths to be celebrated by intactivists. Whether an obscure family doctor or a Kenyan politician fighting the dreadful HIV epidemic in his country and who meets an untimely end in a car crash, all are fair game for the sick gloating of the zealots.
Mention on Facebook that you have had a son circumcised and see what happens. Mothers, who may already have post-partum depression to contend with, are mercilessly hounded: http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/1079990/moms-innocent-facebook-post-about-circumcision-takes-a-horrifying-turn and https://blogs.babycenter.com/parenting/i-was-mom-bullied/ Sadly, this is all too common. “Mutilation Watch” has been replaced by Brother K as leader of the bullies, and it shows no sign of relenting. What follows is just a selection taken from the pages of victims, or from intactivists’ own pages. Medical professionals are also targeted. See: https://www.circumcisionchoice.com/single-post/2017/02/22/Circumcision-Providers-Attacked-A-Physicians-Story-About-Intactivism and http://kpcnews.com/columnists/terry_gaff/kpcnews/article_3e299632-5b5b-5766-8694-eb91b751724b.html for two examples. Sadly they are not alone. As the victims have suffered enough, their identities have been concealed in the collection below.
Indoctrinate the children
Let’s brainwash children into the cult!
Bear in mind that we have already seen where fanaticism can lead with that other controversial medical procedure – abortion. Abortion clinics have been bombed, and their staff murdered. In spring 2017, intactivist Jeremy Christian (who is not circumcised) said on his Facebook page that doctors may need to be killed and, later, that he’d like to do it himself by beheading. A few weeks later he stabbed two men to death, and seriously wounded a third, after they objected to him verbally abusing two women on a train. He aimed for their necks: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2017/11/da_jeremy_christian_spoke_of_d.html . The killings were not circumcision related, but they do show he likely means what he says. Compare his posts with the rest and ask yourselves, can you see any difference in tone or sentiment?
Intactivists show a shocking disregard for the truth.
For years “David J. Bernstein” trolled comments threads and social media wailing about the harm he had suffered from his circumcision:
“American Myth”, or “Intactofact”? The data in the image below is taken from a single study that was subsequently discredited: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23110304
Babies cannot form narrative memories, their brains are not well-enough developed. This man does NOT remember being circumcised.
From the Intact America Facebook page, 1 June 2015. The source cited does not even mention circumcision, and what statistics it does give are different to those here. In short the numbers are made up, and a false source given to create a semblance of “credibility”. This shows the importance of fact-checking everything the intactivists say.
Note that Intact America has quite a history of playing fast and loose with the facts. For a compilation of some more of their deceits, see the list prepared by the folks at Circumcision Choice: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/b794cb_c77f286766a047119b07a1a6ef7489e1.pdf
NOCIRC-SA versus the South African Medical Association (SAMA).
From the home page of NOCIRC-SA (still there as of December 2017): http://www.nocirc-sa.co.za/home/
and what they were told by SAMA:
The folks at Circumcision Choice frequently catch out intactivists being less than honest. In this instance they spotted Danish epidemiologist, Morten Frisch, a darling of the intactivists, misrepresenting a study:
Marilyn Milos, founder of NOCIRC, twice sent submissions to the CDC stating that the foreskin contains “20,000 – 70,000 specialized, erogenous nerves” despite evidently being copied on an email from a fellow intactivist exposing these numbers as bogus (http://circfacts.org/function-sensation/#sens1), and English intactivist Mark Lyndon, and New Zealand intactivist Hugh Young endlessly repeat a claim about circumcised males being more likely to have HIV in 10 out of 18 countries, despite knowing the data is unreliable (http://circfacts.org/medical-benefits/hivaids/#hiv5). As this section is already long enough, we’ll conclude it with a meme that says it all:
Other anti-medical pseudoscience
If you believe one pseudoscience you’ll likely believe others. Anti-vaccination beliefs and HIV/AIDS denialism are common amongst intactivists.
Rape and circumcision
The comparison is so stupid, not to mention offensive to rape victims, it hardly needs further comment.
The evidence does not suit the intactivist narrative, so skew it until it does! If that doesn’t work, bombard medical bodies with negative feedback in hope of getting them to change their mind.
Threats and violence
Intactivists are scary. You had better watch out!