I would like to discuss what is perhaps an unusual perspective on the circumcision debate. I have now been living in Australia for quite some years, but grew up originally in Africa. In many African tribal groups and societies, circumcision has deep cultural significance; it is performed on boys on the cusp of puberty as a rite of passage, but also frequently on baby boys as a means of inducting them into the community as males.
In addition to these practices, there is another form of ritual (specific to the tribal grouping I was brought up in), which has the same significance as circumcision but not as most people understand it. In my culture, foreskins are viewed as concealing the 'masculine' part of the penis - ie. the glans. Most people (I think) would take this to be a pro-circumcision view. However, rather than cutting the foreskin, the ritual in my culture involves rolling back boys' foreskins from when they are babies onwards, and not allowing their foreskin to immediately return to a position covering the glans. If done correctly, the foreskin eventually 'recedes' from the glans, so that it can no longer cover the glans at all. From an aesthetic and functional point of view, boys who undergo this ritual are 'circumcised', and yet nothing is actually removed, as such.
Upon arriving here in Australia, I realised that it was an 'either/or' proposition - foreskins were either cut or not cut. In this situation, I felt that it was best to have my sons circumcised in the usual sense of the term. What I want to suggest, however, is that there is actually another position in discussions on circumcision; there are those who approve of circumcision (in the usual sense of the term), those who want foreskins to remain intact, and those who believe in the benefits of not having the foreskin over the glans, only not in the usual sense of the term. I often wonder whether, if this foreskin ritual were to be practiced in the Western world, parents who might object to conventional forms of circumcision (for whatever reason), might feel more at ease with this procedure.
In any case, I would be interested to know what others make of this cultural perspective and practice, and would be only too happy to answer queries or the like. I have not previously heard this raised in the context of discussions on circumcision, so thought I might as well raise it.