You may have thought that surviving the Rapture put an end to religious absurdity, at least for a little while. Alas, my sweets, there is no rest for the weary (or the sane). Let me bring your attention to San Francisco, the home of all that is wackadoo...
The good people of San Francisco, in addition to pressing local and state issues, will be offered an opportunity to weigh in on another vital matter in their upcoming elections: circumcision. A proposal seeking to ban circumcision of all male children under the age of 18 will appear on the November ballot, making it a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine up to $1000 or a year in jail. There will be no religious exemptions. Supporters of the ban, who call themselves (I'm not making this up) intactivists, claim that it protects children from a form of genital mutilation that has no clear benefits and causes pain and anxiety. Opponents claim that the ban is a violation of religious freedom. Both the Jewish and Muslim faiths widely practice ritual circumcision as a part of their religious traditions.
I don't know about you, but calling circumcision "male genital mutilation" is wrong on two accounts. First, as far as I know, circumcision does not affect a male's ability to function sexually or otherwise. Many people, both male and female, prefer the look of a circumcised penis, and there is some evidence showing that it may have health benefits. I would hardly call this "mutilation." Second, calling circumcision "male genital mutilation" diminishes the real atrocity of female genital mutilation, which still does exists in many cultures. This is often done, not in infancy, but when the girl is much older and aware of what is going on. The procedure is frequently painful, traumatic, and has lasting psychological and physical consequences, including inability to function normally sexually. Shame on the intactivists for comparing the two. If they have penis issues, they should work them out in therapy rather than wasting taxpayer money on making this a ballot issue.
In other absurd religious news, a report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, commissioned by America's Catholic bishops, has concluded that the epidemic of sexual abuse by priests in the 1960s and 1970s can be linked to "the importance given to young people and popular culture — along with the emergence of the feminist movement, a 'singles culture' and a growing acceptance of homosexuality." Crime, drugs, increases in premarital sexual behavior and divorce are also to blame. Additionally, the report argues that most priests who engaged in sexual abuse should not be considered pedophiles because their victims were over the age of 10. TEN?!! While the report doesn't absolve priests of responsibility for the abuse, it does imply that the rampant abuse was a problem of the times, not of the institution of the Catholic Church or of the bishops who covered it up. Anyone who's taken even an introductory statistics class has learned that correlation does not imply causation. Just because 2 events occur together, it doesn't mean that one caused the other. Back to class, Catholic Church!