The discussion about circumcisions does not cease. Ricklef Munnich, who is involved in the Christian-Jewish dialogue, cannot understand this. He finds the accusation of a "religious war" by the only Jewish member of the Ethics Council, Leo Latasch, wrong. In an interview with our site, the theologian speaks of a "front against the religions".
Interviewer: Leo Latasch speaks of a "religious war", how do you see this from the perspective of Christian-Jewish dialogue?
Munnich: Basically he is right, except for one point: He overlooks the fact that we no longer have a Christian state in Germany, we are in a secular state. And Christianity stands with Judaism in circumcision debate. Here is a front against the religions.
Interviewer: One front?
Munnich: It is often overlooked that the Cologne Regional Court also said that the alteration of the body runs counter to the child's interest in being able to decide for himself later on about his religious affiliation. Here the churches are just as attacked as the Judaism. We have infant baptism, where we do not ask the children either. And circumcision and baptism are connected: Both are irrevocable, also baptism is irrevocable. You can leave the church later, but baptized is baptized.
Interviewer: Now Germany of all countries is leading the debate, where now a law will decide…
Munnich: This is an embarrassing debate, especially in view of the peoples of the whole world. It is precisely in Germany that circumcision is to be banned. Between 1940 and 1945, one million children were murdered by Germans or with their assistance. And now they turn it around and make the "victims into perpetrators", now Jewish and Muslim parents are attacked, they would mutilate their own children. This is a way of working off one's own past in Germany. I can't explain the extent of the discussion any other way.
Interviewer: So you don't like the debate as a whole?
Munnich: How this side ie of circumcision has filled the public debate for a quarter of a year now is beyond comprehension. Has there ever been similar talk about body-related decisions made by parents for their children? On cosmetic surgery? On the difficult ie of gender assignment in intersexuality? These are much deeper ies, but they do not bother anyone. This comparatively small intervention is about deep dimensions, in which hostility to Jews and anti-Semitism now play a major role. For this reason alone, the churches must stand by the side of the Jews in Germany. This is about Jewish existence in Germany. No more, no less.
Interviewer: How do you evaluate the key points paper?
Munnich: The paper is in order. It is clearly stated that circumcision must be done according to the rules of medical art – which has been done for many centuries.
Personal details: Protestant theologian Ricklef Munnich is a member of the Presidium of the German Coordinating Council of Societies for Christian-Jewish Cooperation (DKR).
The interview was conducted by Monika Weib.