Conscientious cock-suckers.

A baby has died in New York after contracting herpes. How did he get it?

The ritual of oral suction — or in Hebrew, metzitzah b’peh — is practiced almost exclusively in ultra-Orthodox communities and, to a lesser degree, in Orthodox Jewish communities, despite efforts by the city to curtail it and educate communities about its health risks. The procedure occurs during the circumcision ritual of the bris, as the practitioner, or mohel, removes the foreskin of the penis and then sucks the blood from the wound to clean it.

Sullivan asks:

This must be the only example of an orthodox religion’s approval of cock-sucking, no?

But later he digs up evidence that it can also be an Islamic thing, and there’s precedent for its legality in America. And there I was about to say that at least this issue is one where even the staunchest defenders of religious freedom accept that thinking one’s God demands oral action for infants is no excuse for doing something that is otherwise easily condemnable. But I wonder whether there really is any such consensus at all.

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