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Thread: FFRF Takes on Orthodox Jews

  1. #1
    Council Member Djinn's Avatar
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    FFRF Takes on Orthodox Jews

    And I have to side with the Freedom From Religion Foundation on this...

    The short version is that a municipally-owned and maintained public pool has rules making the pool accessible to women-only during certain hours on certain days of the week. This rule was established in order to accommodate religious tenets of the local Orthodox Jewish community.

    The FFRF has sent them a letter informing them that the policy is unconstitutional - a first step they always take - in hopes that they will rescind the rule without a suit being filed.

    If the Orthodox Jewish community wants to fund and maintain a private pool, they are free to establish rules to accommodate their religion. However, this isn't permitted for public pools supported by taxpayers.

    Long version here.
    Thanks from Friday13, cable2 and leekohler2

  2. #2
    Inside Your Heads syrenn's Avatar
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    to bad so sad for them....its a public pool and keep your religions crap to yourselves. If they want special privileges, they can build their own pool and swim there....
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    What about "women-only" spas and work out facilities?


    I mean, we have already established the right of grown men to shower with little girls, but, what about spas?

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    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn View Post
    And I have to side with the Freedom From Religion Foundation on this...

    The short version is that a municipally-owned and maintained public pool has rules making the pool accessible to women-only during certain hours on certain days of the week. This rule was established in order to accommodate religious tenets of the local Orthodox Jewish community.

    The FFRF has sent them a letter informing them that the policy is unconstitutional - a first step they always take - in hopes that they will rescind the rule without a suit being filed.

    If the Orthodox Jewish community wants to fund and maintain a private pool, they are free to establish rules to accommodate their religion. However, this isn't permitted for public pools supported by taxpayers.

    Long version here.
    Interesting case. Suspect its unconstitutional solely due to the religious aspect. There have been municipal pools that have "teen only" hour or "singles hour" or other social constructs. Wonder if it were approached at a different way, if it would be different?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by syrenn View Post
    to bad so sad for them....its a public pool and keep your religions crap to yourselves. If they want special privileges, they can build their own pool and swim there....
    Why? Jews also are part of the public and they are more than million in the city.

  6. #6
    Established Member NeoVsMatrix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rorschach View Post
    What about "women-only" spas and work out facilities?


    I mean, we have already established the right of grown men to shower with little girls, but, what about spas?
    It's a public pool, paid for by the municipality, as it reads.. so this should be a low brainer.

    I'd be curious though, how that would apply for a public sauna, for example. Could someone sue a municipality for providing 2 saunas that are gender separated ?

    In Europe, even most private owned spa's and saunas, in gym's etc. are usually co-ed, no one even questions it... yet, i can see that in the US this would a big deal.
    Thanks from Friday13

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    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rorschach View Post
    I mean, we have already established the right of grown men to shower with little girls, but, what about spas?

    This isn't in Tennessee.
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  8. #8
    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by font View Post
    Why? Jews also are part of the public and they are more than million in the city.

    They're welcome to use the pool. They simply aren't welcome to insist that male swimmers be excluded because they don't want them in the vicinity of their wives and daughters.

  9. #9
    quichierbichen
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rorschach View Post
    What about "women-only" spas and work out facilities?


    I mean, we have already established the right of grown men to shower with little girls, but, what about spas?
    They are private clubs.

  10. #10
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by font View Post
    Why? Jews also are part of the public and they are more than million in the city.
    True, of course. Nevertheless (and syrenn's contempt aside), government in the United States (at any level) cannot side with one or another religious tenet, no matter how many adhere to it.

    That said, the rule might be consitutional if made on non-religious grounds. It would have to be evaluated according to the Lemon* test, which requires that:

    1) The statute must have a secular legislative purpose. This one does not, since the express purpose was to allow Orthodox Jewish women to use the pool according to their religious requirements. On the other hand, my understanding is that use of the pool during the prescribed times and days is not limited to Jewish women, but merely to women.

    2) Its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion. This is met, since religion itself is neither advanced nor inhibited; rather, the rule is of limited application.

    3) The statute must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion. There is no entanglement at all.

    Violation of any one of the three requirements is sufficient to render the rule unconstitutional, which means this one probably is. The question will have to address whether this is truly a matter of Establishment of Religion, or merely a reasonable accommodation to a particular belief system that does not establish any particular religion as being preferred, since the rule itself is not limited to the beliefs of any of the participants.

    The courts would probably come down against the rule. But since the segregated times/days are based on sex rather than religion, it's entirely possible the Establishment Clause (and thus Lemon) won't come into play at all. This would then be a question of equal protection based on sex (intermediate scrutiny - the rule must be substantially related to an important government interest) rather than an Establishment Clause analysis.

    * Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 612-13 (1971).
    Last edited by Ian Jeffrey; 29th July 2016 at 02:50 PM.
    Thanks from Friday13 and cable2

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