News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 13, 2013

Sullivan County pastors weigh in on same-sex prom issue

One church says it is a victim of hate campaign

SULLIVAN — A Sullivan County pastor is publicly expressing outrage at efforts to discourage a same-sex couple from attending the Sullivan High School prom.

Paul McGlasson, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, has authored a strongly worded letter to the editor that appears in today’s issue of the Tribune-Star (page A8).

He wrote, in part:

“As an American citizen, I am of course appalled — in fact, outraged — at the bullying tactics of those who wish to marginalize, stigmatize and ultimately put nothing short of a target on the backs of these two young women” who want to attend the Grand March and the prom, he wrote.

“In a day when the civil rights of all people are recognized as the foundation of our democracy, I shake my head in wonder that such hatred and sheer bitter inhumanity can still exist in our world. Furthermore, LGBTQ teens are one of the highest risks for suicide, and here is another example of the bigotry, hatred and bullying they must endure,” he wrote.

In an interview, McGlasson said he believed it was important to take a public stand. “I want people to realize we all [in Sullivan] don’t think that way,” he said. “I believe it is a tolerant community.”

He believes “the vast majority” of people in Sullivan County, including the students, support the female couple that wants to attend the Grand March and prom.

“Whether they agree with homosexuality as a lifestyle or not, they believe the kids should have the right to go to the prom,” he said. “But I’m not sure they would have said that three weeks ago. Sometimes it takes an issue like this for people to say, ‘Yeah, I do think that.’”

In the short term, the issue has brought controversy and negative attention to Sullivan County. In McGlasson’s view, “If it takes going through a period of some anguish as a community in order to arrive at a newer, more mature consensus about civil rights, then you just have to do it.”

There has been disagreement among Sullivan County clergy on the issue. While some clergy are involved in efforts to have a separate “traditional” prom that bans gay and lesbian couples, “It’s not a clergy-driven effort,” McGlasson said. A teacher and parents also are involved in planning for the separate prom.

He’s troubled that some people “are using the Christian faith to justify what appears to me to be nothing less than sheer bigotry. It’s an issue of civil rights, pure and simple,” McGlasson said.

He understands there are Christian communities that believe homosexuality is a sin. “I understand that. That’s fine. They base their beliefs on scripture. That is a theological issue for the Christian church to wrestle with,” he said.

Allowing a same sex couple to attend a public high school prom “is not a theological issue for the church to wrestle with. This is an issue of civil rights,” he said. “What gives the church the right to dictate to the state that the state must follow the morality of the church?”

He believes that mainstream, orthodox Christianity “affirms church and state separation and the civil rights of all people, whatever their religion, race, gender and sexuality.”

At a nearby church, Rev. Dale Wise, pastor of the Sullivan First Christian Church, wanted to set the record straight on that church’s role in the controversy.

“We’re neutral with regard to the prom,” he said. “We don’t support the prom at the school, we don’t have a problem. We are not involved.”

Whether or not a “traditional” prom is conducted barring same sex couples, “We have no interest one way or another,” Wise said. “We don’t condone, we don’t condemn. It has nothing to do with us.”

The church “doesn’t deal in political or social issues,” Wise said.

A group of “concerned citizens” asked to use the church to conduct a meeting Sunday to plan for a separate prom that would bar gay/lesbian couples.

In Sullivan, “This is not an issue at all,” Wise said. But media hype “has stirred up a bunch of garbage about nothing.”

Because the First Christian Church was the site for Sunday’s meeting, and the site was publicized, it’s been the target of some hateful emails and faxes, Wise said.

“We had pornography come through on our fax machine,” he said. Overnight, the church received about 3,200 emails as well as calls from around the country. He estimated about 60 to 70 percent of it was negative.

“You talk about hate campaigns. We have been the victim of a hate campaign,” Wise said.  

While the church itself hasn’t felt threatened, some of the families endorsing the “traditional” prom have been threatened, he said. “There have been threats of burning their house down.”

The First Christian Church “loves people. We love the Lord, and we’re here to help people,” Wise said. “We’re not here to put people down, we’re not here to condemn people or to launch any hate campaigns.”

He does believe “it’s really sad that some well meaning people have just been dragged through the gutter over something that is not even an issue.”

Some say it’s become an issue across the country, and that may be true, Wise said. “It’s not an issue in Sullivan, Indiana.”

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 10, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Wednesday and Thursday, based on jail records.

    July 10, 2014

  • Ethics panel considers $5K fine against Bennett

    Indiana’s State Ethics Commission will decide whether to accept a proposed settlement with former state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett that fines him $5,000 for using state resources for his 2012 campaign.

    July 10, 2014

  • Group: 5,000 same-sex marriages in Illinois

    A survey indicates thousands of same-sex couples are marrying in Illinois.

    July 10, 2014

  • Study: Hunting restores forests in state parks

    A study by a Purdue University research team has found that regulated deer hunts in Indiana state parks have helped restore forests damaged by too many white-tailed deer.

    July 10, 2014

  • MET070914 house exterior.jpg Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie

    Spurred in 1948 by a newly released movie staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, coupled with a growing post-World War II housing market, General Electric partnered with Hollywood’s RKO Studios to build “dream homes” throughout the country.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos 1 Story

  • Detour ahead

    A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 barrels.jpg MARK BENNETT: Making road work a barrel of fun for drivers

    We’re lucky orange barrels can’t talk.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • City Council to take up city finances tonight

    The Terre Haute City Council will have a chance in a special meeting tonight to delve deeply into the city’s financial health. However, council members are being asked to avoid raising the most controversial subject of recent weeks: The city’s use of Redevelopment Commission tax increment finance (TIF) money.

    July 9, 2014

  • Bennett accepts $5,000 fine in ethics settlement

    Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has agreed to pay $5,000 as part of a settlement with Indiana’s ethics watchdog in which he admits to using state resources for campaign work but is cleared of formal ethics violations in the grade-change scandal that cost him his job as Florida’s schools chief last year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Vermillion Jail trusties face new charges

    Two former inmate trusties at the Vermillion County Jail face new criminal charges after a recently discovered security breach at the jail.

    July 9, 2014

  • Lawrence police acquire armored military vehicle

    A central Indiana city has acquired an armored military vehicle for use in highly dangerous situations.

    July 9, 2014

  • Free carwash for law enforcement

    Mike’s Carwash locations in Central Indiana, including Terre Haute, will honor the sacrifice of IMPD Officer Perry Renn and thank all those who serve and protect our communities with a free carwash for police and emergency personnel today and Friday.

    July 9, 2014

  • Indiana agencies told to ignore gay marriages

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s office is telling state agencies act as if no gay marriages had been performed during three days following a federal court order.

    July 9, 2014

  • State reports West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes

    INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials confirmed the first signs of West Nile virus activity in Indiana for 2014. Mosquitoes in Marshall and Pike counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. There have been no reported cases of West Nile virus in humans in the state this year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Indiana education board faces contentious meeting

    Indiana’s State Board of Education is gearing up for another showdown between Democratic schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s appointees and staff.
    The board is set to consider a pair of resolutions dealing with control of the board during a meeting Wednesday.

    July 9, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 9, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday, based on jail records.

    July 9, 2014

  • Indiana getting $849,000 for outdoor projects

    Indiana is receiving $849,000 to use toward outdoor recreation and conservation projects.

    July 9, 2014

  • Semi fire halts I-70 traffic in Putnam County

    A fire in a semi tractor-trailer temporarily closed eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 in Putnam County on Tuesday evening.

    July 9, 2014

  • I&M proposes five solar facilities in two states

    Indiana Michigan Power plans to seek permission to build five solar generating facilities in the two states it serves.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 voice four.jpg Hitting a high note

    A 17-year-old from Casey, Ill., won “The Voice of the Valley” Tuesday night, singing and shaking his hips and legs to an Elvis Presley song, then wooing the grandstand audience at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds with a country tune.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET 070814 STORM STAUNTON.jpg Clay County residents clean up debris, get power back

    Several power outages still affected hundreds of Duke Energy customers on Tuesday, more than 24 hours after storms and strong winds swept through west-central Indiana, leaving a swath of damage in the Staunton, Brazil and Center Point areas.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 052106 EVANBAYH ADDRESS.jpg Return to Indiana?

    Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Planning under way for 2014 Downtown Block Party

    Wabash Avenue will be full of activity Aug. 23 as the 2014 Downtown Terre Haute Block Party takes over five city blocks in a celebration of music, food and events.

    July 8, 2014

  • MET 070814 CATHOLIC WARE.jpg Guys give food bank a lift

    A $14,000 donation Tuesday from Guys Who Give enables Catholic Charities to be at nearly 75 percent of its $2.5 million goal to purchase and operate a new, larger food bank near Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.

    July 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • wilson,robert.jpg ‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody

    A man sought by the Vermillion County Sheriff's Department has been nabbed by police in Indianapolis.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • eBus brings financial empowerment to town

    A 40-foot long mobile classroom is scheduled to roll  into Terre Haute today, carrying what its sponsors call “financial empowerment.”

    July 8, 2014

  • Elderly woman accused of killing 89-year-old husband

    An 83-year-old woman, described as "a loose cannon" by her landlord, has been arrested in this Buffalo suburb for beating her 89-year-old husband to death.

    July 8, 2014

  • wilson,robert.jpg BREAKING: ‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody

    A suspect police considered “armed and dangerous” is now in custody in Marion County.
    Robert Wilson is facing local charges there and has a hold on him for Vermillion County, according to Vermillion County Sheriff Robert J. Spence.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 051713 BAYH SMILE.jpg Former governor Bayh weighs decision to run again

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.
    Party loyalists longing for a political savior to retake the governor's office have been waiting on Bayh ever since he abruptly decided to leave the U.S. Senate and political life three years ago.

    July 8, 2014 3 Photos

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 8, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on jail records.

    July 8, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris Israeli Offensive Escalates in Gaza Attack Raw: 10-year Sentence for Ex-New Orleans Mayor Service Held for 200 Whose Bodies Went Unclaimed Police: Prostitute Accused in Overdose Death "Hotwives" Spoofs Reality TV Raw: Rocket Explodes Over Israeli Wedding World's Tallest Water Slide: See It for Yourself Sterling Testifies in Los Angeles Clippers Trial Weaver Reprises Ripley Role for 'Alien' Game Froome Crashes Out on Bumpy 5th Tour Stage Raw: World's Tallest Water Slide Opens Thursday Dodgers Found Partly Responsible in Fan Beating APNewsBreak: Different Attackers in Benghazi? Raw: Brazil Fans Cry After World Cup Loss Fans Dying to Be Near Jazz Greats Four Kids, Two Adults Shot Dead Near Houston Obama: 'Photo Ops' Won't Solve Border Crisis Raw: Fans Gather for Argentina-Netherlands Match
NDN Video
Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel Pilot buys pizzas for travelers delayed by storm Klose nets record, Germany rout Brazil 7-1 'Purrmanently Sad Cat' Looks Adorably Sad All the Time Pharrell 'humbled' by success of mega-hit 'Happy' Day After: Brazil Reeling in WC Loss Jennifer Lawrence Facepalms Emma Watson Athletes Bare All for ESPN Magazine's Body Issue Raw: Brazil Fans Leaving Stadium Before Half Andi Dorfman Walks Out During the Rose Ceremony 5 Firework Fails for July 4th Justin Bieber Catches Tom Hanks Getting Down, Showing ‘How We Do It Big shoes to fill for Brazil ahead of Germany clash Man's 'Potato Salad' Plea Takes Off on Kickstarter
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity