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The Stranger Next Door the Story of a Small Community's Battle Over Sex, Faith, and Civil Rights

by Arlene Stein

  • ISBN: 9780807079539
  • ISBN10: 0807079537

The Stranger Next Door the Story of a Small Community's Battle Over Sex, Faith, and Civil Rights

by Arlene Stein

  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
  • Publish date: 03/01/2002
  • ISBN: 9780807079539
  • ISBN10: 0807079537
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Description: Located in a vast, sparsely populated region of the Pacific Northwest. "Timbertown" was a once stable and prosperous working-class community that had lost its economic base with the decline of the timber industry. But as Timbertown's economy shrank, its citizens' embrace of evangelical Christianity grew more ardent, until, in the words of one resident it had become a town "with more churches than bars".

Then in the early 1990s, an outside agitator -- Lon Mabon, of the Oregon Citizens Alliance -- came into town and convinced a group of conservative religious citizens that queers were taking over the town. A place with few visible signs of queer life. Timbertown's sudden fear that homosexuals were being accorded "special rights" was almost as puzzling as it was disturbing. But soon fistfights -- over race as well as sexuality -- were erupting in the high school, longstanding friendships were ending in acrimony, and the local newspaper, normally preoccupied with the timber industry and Little League scores, was writing about little else.

In a book that combines strong on-the-ground research and lucid analysis with a novelist's imaginative sympathy. Arlene Stein sets out to discover why some social differences that are submerged and unremarkable suddenly become sources of division and, potentially, violence. Along the way, she paints an unforgettable portrait of the current issues facing working families and the human anxieties behind the culture wars.

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