Religion and Criminality

Chauncey Depew advises us, “On issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost,” and, I have noticed with gratitude that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg agrees with me that anyone who wants to build or renovate a house of worship anywhere in the United States of America should be free to do so.

I believe our commitment to freedom of religion should be almost unequivocal. Almost? Yes. It should be secondary to our beliefs about criminality.

Jon Lee Anderson writes, in the December 14 issue of the New Yorker, about visiting a medical clinic in Somalia run by the Ugandans as part of an African Union mission.

“Among the women,” he writes, “the most common complaints were pelvic inflammatory diseases and genital and urinary tract infections. These were most often caused by the extreme form of genital mutilation that is practiced on Somali girls, involving the removal of not only the clitoris but the entire labia majora and minora, usually performed with primitive instruments and without anesthesia.”

I’m all for freedom of religion, but that there is a deal breaker. If this procedure were to be performed in the United States, I believe the perpetrators should be tried and thrown in jail.

You could, of course, try to compare this with male circumcision, which is legal. But you would have to be an imbecile.

My point is that religious toleration has its limits. As the old saying goes, “If you’re too open minded, your brains fall out.”