Chancellor Angela Merkel has a plateful of matters to deal with, most of them of an economic nature. Europe is stuttering and staggering, and the Dame of Austerity is finding herself with fewer friends by the day.
With the recent decision by the regional court in Cologne disapproving the legality of circumcision for underage boys, a storm has erupted that has given her another issue to worry about. The debate may never have taken place had the doctor who performed the circumcision on the couple’s child not been charged with bodily harm. The Chancellor’s sentiments were recorded in the Bild daily: “I do not want Germany to be the only country in the world where Jews cannot practise their rituals.”
“Otherwise we will become a laughing stock,” Merkel continued rather emphatically. Both Merkel and Joerg van Essen, parliamentary floor leader of the Free Democrats, have suggested that laws overturning the effect of the ruling will be introduced over the autumn. The first thing to note in this sea of hysteria is the limited nature of the ruling. The court’s jurisdiction is confined to the city of Cologne and its environs. The fear there, of course, is one of precedent. Nor did the court expressly outlaw circumcision of underage boys. The regional court emphasised that the “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents.”