Politics

San Francisco Circumcision Intactivist's Anti-Semitic Comix

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8-ball.

Does support for San Francisco's circumcision ban make you anti-Semitic or just gay? 

This Foreskin Man comic book that PJ Tatler has uncorked on an innocent America seems to wrap that question up in one Röhmite package. 

The circumcision-fighting "intactivist," whose adventures are published by one Matthew Hess of Male Genital Mutilation, even wears the same supercolors as Ace and Gary. And the rabbi caricatures are ripe enough that the whole thing feels like a hoax. 

Or not. There is a Matthew Hess on the MySpaces, the Twitters and at mgmbill.org. His reply to accusations of anti-Semitism is that he is an equal opportunity offender. 

Hess is wrong about that. Jack T. Chick, the greatest pamphleteer of our age, is an equal opportunity offender. This group shot of, from left to right, "The Rev. Dr. Green, Abdulla Ab-Du-La, Bishop O'Tool, Rabbi Ginsburg" and assorted homosexualists, shows the kind of ecumenical sweet spot a cartoonist can reach when he believes all souls are eligible for damnation: 

That fat punk rocker just wants ta fuck shit UP!

Hess is a supporter of the San Francisco initiative but is located in San Diego. The actual sponsor of the San Francisco ballot measure is one Lloyd Schofield of the informal Committee Opposing Forced Male Circumcision. Megyn Kelly fans may enjoy the Fox anchorwoman's Friars japery in this interview with Schofield. In the middle of another unenlightening discussion, a CNN news reader buries one interesting point: that Schofield's campaign, with its focus on the rights of infants, is analogous to the anti-abortion movement. 

Opponents of legalized abortion may begin their argument (in many or most cases) from religious belief, but they support it with the language of human rights. Schofield's initiative tries to do the same, and after all the mohel jokes die in sorrow, there are real human rights questions – about the rights of the born, not just the unborn – in the infant circumcision debate. (Here's an interesting think piece by Michelle Goldberg in The Tablet.) 

Schofield's initiative is a goofball lacking even the, uh, fig leaf of a religious exemption that might have prevented an out-of-the-gate First Amendment challenge. But even if this iteration never becomes more than an itch in Babylon by the Bay's trousers, this is not a question that easily breaks along left or right lines. 

Related: Radley Balko asks who gets to keep your foreskin after you give 'er up. 

Does anybody remember the commenter who used to denounce Reason as a collection of "Röhmites"? Life ran very high in those days!