Friendly Fire: The ACLU in Utah
The letters A.C.L.U. sound like the "very hiss of the anti-Christ" in Utah, writes Linda Sillitoe. Yet Spencer L. Kimball, the Mormon church president's son who founded the local chapter, attracted to the organization men and women of religious orientation. Utah chapter president Stephen Smoot, descendant of another Mormon leader, felt that the ACLU promoted the same values as his own church.
Michele Parish -- a Methodist minister's wife -- described her ACLU-Utah directorship as "an answer to a prayer." The current chapter leader, a grandmother, also defies public perceptions as she champions such issues as gay rights.
A public force in Utah for half a century, the ACLU has battled, among other injustices, a leading politician's desire to have Salt Lake City's African Americans relocated to a ghettoized neighborhood. Such discrimination survives in more subtle ways today in the public strip-search of a long-haired teenager and the detainment of a building subcontractor for carrying "too much cash."
Sillitoe's accessible history treats internal upheavals in tandem with ongoing skirmishes with outside forces. In this tale of political clout and paranoia, law enforcement muscle, and varying moralities, Sillitoe gives an inside view of the push and shove of competing agendas.
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The Long View
Conception in Utah
Coming of Age
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