BERLIN - The German postal service plans to issue a stamp reminding Germans that Jesus underwent circumcision as an eight-day baby, amid heightened debate about the religious practice.
"We don't want to add fuel to the fire," Stefan Wittig, a Lutheran pastor who works for the German Bible Society, told Reuters.
The stamp will be issued on the 200th anniversary of the German Bible Society on September 11.
It will show a page from the New Testament that includes a description of Jesus being circumcised.
The 85-cent stamp bears a passage from the Gospel of Saint Luke that includes the words, "On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus."
The Bible Society says the stamp's design was finalized well before the heated debate over circumcision began, but it does not intend to delay the date of issue.
A hot debate has raged in Germany after a Cologne court ruled that the religious practice amounted to physical abuse and thus a crime.
The verdict followed the circumcision of a four-year-old Muslim boy by a German doctor on his parents' wishes.
The court argued that the four-year-old boy was not old enough to consent to have part of his body removed permanently and his parents should have let him decide when he got older.
The controversial verdict sparked outrage among Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders, who denounced the ruling as a serious intrusion on religious freedom.
Circumcision is a confirmed Sunnah in Islam as an act pertaining to fitrah (pure human nature).
The practice is also mandatory for Jewish males according to biblical texts.
Others use the practice for hygiene purposes, generally among infant boys.
Jews circumcise male infants eight days after birth to recall their covenant with God.
The time for Muslim circumcision varies according to family, region and country.
Thousands of young boys are circumcised every year in Germany, especially in the country's large Muslim and Jewish communities.The World Health Organization has estimated that nearly one in three males under 15 is circumcised.