Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira accuses Kolech (an Orthodox feminist organization), Shira Hadasha (a "partnership minyan", where women can read from the Torah at an Orthodox shul), and Bnei Akiva (a coed Orthodox youth group) in the following words:
To the best of my understanding, there is growing within us a new Reform movement – this is my opinion – and it has many of the characteristics of the first Reform.
Nevermind the fact that Rabbi Shapira, a Hardal (Haredi-Leumi) rabbi, has more in common with the Hatam Sofer than he does with Rav Kook. And nevermind the fact that Rabbi Shapira throws out baseless and inane criticisms such as that this non-Haredi Orthodoxy "challenges the G-dly nature of the Torah and its continuation in the Oral Law of our day" (pray tell, when have Kolech, Shira Hadasha, and Bnei Akiva questioned the Sinaicity of the Torah?).
I am more concerned with something else: Rabbi Shapira said, "...and it has many of the characteristics of the first Reform", and the article's narrative, in like wise, says "This problem, Shapira added, characterized the first Reform movement, too."
I believe it quite clear that Rabbi Shapira has no idea whatsoever what early Reform was like. Anyone who compares coed activities in Bnei Akia to Reform is clearly ignorant; after all, Rabbi Hirsch's own congregation had mixed sex Torah lectures and even mixed-sex singing of Shabbat zemirot! Apparently, Rav Hirsch's own Neo-Orthodox was actually Reformist, according to Rabbi Shapira. Either Rabbi Shapira knows nothing about 19th century German-Jewish history, or he has no problem engaging in historical revisionism. Either way, I think it is clear that Rabbi Shapira's words cannot sustain any form of criticism whatsoever.
NOw, Rabbi Shapira quite correctly criticizes those who justify** homosexuality and having children out of wedlock. But he lumps the deviant Orthodox Jews who justify** these, alongside those Orthodox Jews who have coed youth groups and women reading the Torah. Rabbi Shapira's criticism of those who justify** sexual deviance is quite proper, but when one lumps this minority and deviant phenomenon together with such (relatively) benign and mainstream things as mixed-sex youth groups and Torah readings, I think it is obvious that the speaker isn't worth listening to. First, those Orthodox Jews who justify** sexual promiscuity and homosexuality are deviants; to characterize the non-Haredi Orthodoxy based on these few errant individuals is entirely unwarranted. Moreover, can anyone imagine Hazal equating sexual promiscuity - whether homosexuality or non-marital heterosexual sexuality - with Torah readings by women? The former is a question of ervah and the kedushah and taharah of Am Yisrael, while the latter is a mere issue of kavod ha'tzibur, i.e. casting aspersions on the men that there are so few literate men that women must be relied on. (Of course, many, such as Shira Hadasha, quite reasonably say that this kavod is no issue anymore, and that moreover, the tzibur may waive its kavod. Moreover, since the men themselves don't read from the Torah anymore (the ba'al koreh does), having women read doesn't impugn the literacy of the men in any case. But the point is that even for those who still uphold kavod ha'tzibur and prohibit women to read from the Torah, the fact is that for them, kavod ha'tzibur is nowhere near as serious as ervah and taharah.) As for the mixed-sex youth groups, there can be almost no real objection to this at all. But even if there were an objection, can it really be compared to homosexuality and sexual promiscuity out of wedlock? The latter are far more serious infractions, and are far rarer and less accepted than mixed-sex youth groups and davening; no real comparison can be made. When Rabbi Shapira makes such outlandish and irresponsible comparisons, he clearly cannot be trusted.
**Update: Ilana-Davita, below in the comments section, has called for a clarification. I must emphasize: I use the word "justify" quite deliberately. That is, when I speak of deviant homosexuals, I do not mean those who have the inclination, nor do I mean all of those who engage in the act. I rather mean those who justify - who claim that homosexual activity is permitted according to halakhah. But one who merely desires to engage in the act, and even one who actually does engage in the act but knows it is a sin, I do not believe these individuals are deviants. I mean only those who say their activity is halakhically justified; these individuals, and only these individuals, would I refer to as deviants. Similarly, a Shabbat-violator today is not a deviant in the way I am using the term; rather, someone who proclaims that Shabbat-violation is permitted, these people are the deviants. Halakhically, they are מחטא את הרבים, they cause the masses to sin.