To the editor: Who knew? Faith-based genital mutilation, a medieval practice embraced by some Christian and Islamic sects, persists throughout the world and even in parts of the United States.
This misogynistic atrocity was contrived solely to deprive young females of the potential to enjoy sexual relations, and not for any plausible health benefits.
The root problem is that many religions originated within patriarchal societies. Thus anthropomorphic deities invariably were designated as male, yielding organized religions headed by men obsessed with exerting control of women’s bodies.
If “God” were a female, mutilation of females’ genitalia would be unheard of.
Edgar M. Martinez, Orcutt, Calif.
To the editor: Too bad the federal ban on female genital mutilation has been ruled unconstitutional. But take heart: The federal government can still end this faith-based travesty by having the Internal Revenue Service revoke the tax exemption of any faith group that abides genital mutilation.
This punitive approach historically has helped discourage civil rights violations.
In 1976, the IRS revoked the tax exemption enjoyed by evangelical campus Bob Jones University because of its ban on interracial dating. Years later, the university rescinded that odious policy to regain its exemption.
There’s nothing like the threat of taxation to make religious groups rethink perverse precepts.
Robin Groves, Pacific Palisades
To the editor: I entirely agree with your editorial calling on states to ban female mutilation, but it doesn’t go far enough. States should ban male genital mutilation — also known as circumcision — as well.
Routine male circumcision is a barbaric practice that started for the same reason as female genital mutilation: Religious and tribal leaders wanted to discipline people to follow their ideas of sexual morality by altering their bodies to reduce the pleasure of sex.
Both women and men should have the equal right to go through lives with their bodies, including their sex organs, in the form that nature made them and millions of years of evolution perfected them.
Mark Gabrish Conlan, San Diego