4.21.2013

Religious zealots in New York City are getting away with child abuse and possibly murder

Infuriating:
Two more infants have been infected with a deadly herpes virus in the last three months after undergoing a controversial religious oral circumcision in New York City. 
The latest cases bring the count to 13 infants since 2000, two of which suffered brain damage and two died from the virus which can rapidly spread throughout its body. 
The ultra-Orthodox Jewish practice of metzitzah b'peh requires a practitioner to orally suck the baby's penis to 'cleanse' the open wound following its circumcision, making them susceptible to the virus.
An official with NYC's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene notes that a herpes infection in a newborn baby "has the risk of leading to severe illness and death." The story gets increasingly sinister. The parents of one of the infected children are refusing to divulge the identity of the sadistic rabbi who performed this heinous Bronze Age ritual.

Thirteen babies have been infected by this practice in recent years; it has resulted in two deaths and two cases of brain damage. Many in the Orthodox community defend this cruelty on the offensive and ludicrous grounds that it is a sacred "religious freedom" and must be protected. The authorities seem to agree, because what one finds in reading about this string of cases is a gross dereliction of duty when it comes to holding these criminals and their enablers accountable. The response from civil authorities has focused on accommodating religious fanatics instead of advocating for the victims, with officials offering tired pablum about "balancing" religious and health considerations.

Last September, the city implemented a policy whereby parents are required to sign a consent form informing them of the potential risks of submitting their child to such barbarism. Please note that this does not forbid the practice; it just requires that parents understand and acknowledge dangers. But even this regulation appears to be utterly toothless; the parents of both recently infected babies failed to sign any form. I cannot find any explanation as to how, or why, these parents were able to avoid doing this, and nobody seems to be particularly concerned about it.

The most maddening aspect of this story is the parents' refusal to identify the rabbi who did this to their child. Why should they be allowed to do this? That's not justice. Surely, these parents can be charged, or at least threatened, with aiding and abetting or accessory. This rabbi will be free to go infect other innocent babies and will never be held accountable? This is lunacy. The city's response to this has been shamefully meek. There should be zero tolerance for this kind of barbarism against children. It's time for city authorities to take this seriously and stop appeasing this deranged "community," especially when its leaders are willfully lying about what is going on. One Hasidic leader said the following, presumably with a straight face: "If, God forbid, there was a danger, we would be the first to stop the practice."

That is demonstrably untrue. Their credibility is nonexistent. So, the question is, how many more infections is the city willing to tolerate?