If circumcision really does prevent STDs then I figure my sons can chose to have the procedure done when they are older and they have examined the literature themselves (or they could just avoid a lot of pain and use condoms). Since it's a permanent procedure, I don't feel comfortable making that decision for them, particularly considering the evidence that the foreskin serves a purpose.
I will say that if you chose not to cut, you need to find a pediatrician that is not ignorant and doesn't try to retract the foreskin (which I've heard about happening!). As for cleanliness or whatever, I lived in European countries where circumcision is rare and I can report that the people there are doing fine.
As far as whether or not this is an appropriate forum for this conversation, I would remind everyone to please discuss the costs/benefits of circumcision and not be too emotional about it. Clearly, if religion is a role in your decision, that that's a private matter between you and a higher power, so you have other considerations that may trump a scientific cost-benefit analysis.
Interestingly, a lot of hunter-gatherer tribes do circumcise, but they don't cut the entire foreskin. There is some debate whether the original Jewish form of circumcision was similar.
Also, the idea that the pain doesn't matter at that age has been increasingly called into question. In fact infant circumcision might have worse life-long effects compared to adult circumcision
"Anna Taddio, a pain specialist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, noticed more than a decade ago that the male infants she treated seemed more sensitive to pain than their female counterparts. This discrepancy, she reasoned, could be due to sex hormones, to anatomical differences — or to a painful event experienced by many boys: circumcision. In a study of 87 baby boys, Taddio found that those who had been circumcised soon after birth reacted more strongly and cried for longer than uncircumcised boys when they received a vaccination shot four to six months later. Among the circumcised boys, those who had received an analgesic cream at the time of the surgery cried less while getting the immunization than those circumcised without pain relief.
Taddio concluded that a single painful event could produce effects lasting for months, and perhaps much longer. “When we do something to a baby that is not an expected part of its normal development, especially at a very early stage, we may actually change the way the nervous system is wired,” she says. Early encounters with pain may alter the threshold at which pain is felt later on, making a child hypersensitive to pain — or, alternatively, dangerously indifferent to it. Lasting effects might also include emotional and behavioral problems like anxiety and depression, even learning disabilities (though these findings are far more tentative)."
So if you DO do circumcision, please insist on the analgesic cream.