Friendly Fire: The ACLU in Utah
Shoemaker, Rebecca S., Journal of Church and State
Friendly Fire: The ACLU in Utah. By Linda Sillitoe. Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1996. 263 pp. $24.95.
The history of the American Civil Liberties Union in the more than seventy-five years since its founding has been continually influenced by the cultures of the communities in which it operates. Nowhere has this been more evident than in Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) wields tremendous influence. Friendly Fire is a history of activities of the Utah affiliate of the ACLU, with a strong underlying sub-theme of the influence, both direct and indirect, of the Mormon Church on many of those activities. Although the church does not routinely take official positions on every controversial issue, it is the author's contention that its role in the communities and in the lives of many of Utah's leaders has a resounding impact nonetheless.
Beginning with a brief history of the Utah affiliate's first two decades, Linda Sillitoe focuses on topics which have commanded the group's attention in more recent times, such as church-state relations, individual lifestyles, and prison reform. Major church-state controversies addressed include a ban on the teaching of religion classes in public schools and efforts to end prayer in public schools and at public meetings. The ACLU argued for complete separation of church and state in all matters, while many Utah citizens and their leaders supported practices which accommodated their religious beliefs. Backed by numerous court opinions, the ACLU won some cases and achieved compromises in others.
The role of religion in public life colored numerous controversies about freedom of choice in lifestyles. Many Mormons take strong positions against liberalized rights to abortion and homosexual rights, while supporting the efforts of a university to set guidelines …
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Publication information: Article title: Friendly Fire: The ACLU in Utah. Contributors: Shoemaker, Rebecca S. - Author. Journal title: Journal of Church and State. Volume: 40. Issue: 1 Publication date: Winter 1998. Page number: 210+. © 1999 J.M. Dawson Studies in Church and State. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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