modesty

Swimmin' Orthodox women: A complex synagogue-and-state gender wars story

Swimmin' Orthodox women: A complex synagogue-and-state gender wars story

This isn't your basic separation of synagogue-and-state debate that we have here, care of The Atlantic. At least, I don't think so.

Instead, we have a story that -- with the tsunami of gender-identity news about showers, locker rooms and bathrooms -- raises lots of questions linked to public funds, female privacy, religious liberty and, yes, another dose of GetReligion mirror-image news analysis, as well.

As you would imagine, the lawyers in New York City are pretty used to dealing with complicated questions linked to Orthodox Judaism and public life. Now we have this newsy double-decker headline:

Who Should Public Swimming Pools Serve?
Women-only hours at a location in Brooklyn have ignited a debate about religious accommodation and the separation of church and state.

Now, the story by Adam Chandler does make it clear that the issue of "women only" hours at a public pool is not a new one. This isn't the only case involving religious doctrine and the privacy rights of women. But here is the overture, just to get us started.

Oh, I should issue a trigger alert for readers troubled by the word "theocratic," care of, logically enough, an editorial in The New York Times.

This week, a public pool in Brooklyn became the diving-off point for a new clash over religious law and religious coercion in New York City. For decades, the Metropolitan Recreation Center in Williamsburg has offered gender-separated swimming hours in an accommodation to the heavily Hasidic Jewish community that it serves.

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To pee (in public) or not to pee: The Los Angeles Times fudges the question

To pee (in public) or not to pee: The Los Angeles Times fudges the question

Recently, the Los Angeles Times had a news piece about a Christian group that objects to a place for public urination at a San Francisco park. In one of those only-in-San-Francisco (for now) instances, the city went French on everyone, setting up a pissoir (no joke) so that folks who couldn’t make it to a restroom could go with the flow right there, out in the open, in the park.

Being that this place was close to where passersby could see the action, one Christian group has objected to the point of filing a lawsuit. Personally, being that this is San Francisco, I think a lawsuit is/was not going anywhere, but they have the right to give it a try.

But the Times doesn’t seem to think they have standing. Here’s their story:

Apparently, peeing al fresco is not sitting well with everyone.
A religious group and several residents have sued the city and county of San Francisco over the new open-air urinal in Mission Dolores Park, calling it a “shameful” violation of privacy and decency.
The San Francisco Chinese Christian Union, along with several neighbors of the park, filed a 25-page civil suit in San Francisco County Superior Court on Thursday, alleging discrimination based on gender and disability, as well as violations of health and plumbing codes.
The urinal, which city officials call a “pissoir,” opened in January as the city’s latest move to combat public urination. It was part of an extensive park renovation that included new irrigation, playgrounds and restrooms.
The open-air urinal, next to a Muni streetcar stop, consists of a concrete pad with a drain and a circular fence that offers limited privacy. It is near the park’s southwest corner, affectionately dubbed “the gay beach.”

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Uncovering part of those church modesty debates

As I have mentioned many times here at GetReligion, Deacon Greg Kandra’s blog “The Deacon’s Bench” is must reading for anyone who is is seeking a rather light-hearted, but very newsy, look at what’s happening in Catholicism and in religious life in general. What we have here is a second-career Catholic clergyman, a permanent deacon, who in his previous career was a 26-year veteran with CBS News who won two Emmys, two Peabody Awards, etc., etc.

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M-O-D-E-S-T: A key word for Annette the Catholic

As you would expect in a world that remains obsessed with all things Baby Boomer, the death of the ultimate Mouseketeer — that would be the always lovely Annette Funicello — drew quite a bit of mainstream media attention.

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