The New Jim Crow


By Paul E. Gable

(Editor’s Note: The contributor is a journalist in Shelby County, Indiana and my son.)

Please forgive me, but I had to check my calendar three times today to ensure that it read 2013 because it seems we are back in the Jim Crow era.

That is the case, at least, for a few residents and a teacher from Sullivan, Indiana, which is located 25 miles south of Terre Haute in the southwestern portion of the Hoosier State.

While many of us realize we are in the 21st Century and act accordingly, there is a small select few, who still long for the days of “Separate, but Equal” treatment when it comes to their neighbors.

In case you have missed the circus, it has arrived with all three rings and a big tent in Sullivan.

Apparently, a group of students, parents and teachers at Sullivan High School are upset that gay couples may show up at the prom and in Sullivan, that is very bad.

It’s so bad that these people have come up with the brilliant idea of hosting a “Separate, but Equal Prom.”

And spear-heading the movement is Sullivan special needs teacher Dianna Medley, who has created one heck of a firestorm with comments about gay students and those with special needs.

Several published media reports, including a story on, show just how nuts either this is or the supporters are. We’ll let you decide.

“Homosexual students come to me with their problems, and I don’t agree with them, but I care about them. It’s the same thing with my special needs kisds, I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason,” Madley told a reporter.

Say what?

Can someone please tell me what the heck Medley just said?

God puts homosexual people and people with special needs in our lives? For what reason Madley?

“A gay person isn’t going to come up and make some change unless it’s to realize that it was a choice and they’re choosing God,” Medley continued ranting.

So you can preach your hateful messages and cast these students as outcasts who don’t deserve the same rights and privileges as their “normal” classmates?

Oh, but wait, it gets better.

We have the great Bill Phegley from the Carlisle Church in on the act.

Phegley said, “Christians have always been prepared for a fight. But Jesus Christ give us armor for the front, not the back, we aren’t running no more.”

I honestly have no idea what this man just said but I think he is not in favor of homosexual students showing up at the prom with their classmates.

I’m not here to give a sermon, but since they wanted to bring Christianity and God into the discussion, here goes: I read my Bible, which is probably the same Bible that Phegley preaches from. In my Bible, it clearly states that Jesus Christ accepted everyone and he understood that everyone sins.

After all, doesn’t Romans 3:23 state, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

But, this isn’t about the Bible.

It’s not about Christ.

And it darn sure isn’t about body armor.


Instead, this is about something that is pure and simple — hatred.

We accept the students and we care about the students so long as they don’t partake in anything that could be out of the norm.

News flash Sullivan: You are out of the norm.

The days of injustice and seclusion are over, and, yes, my calendar is correct, it is 2013.

Gone are the days of “Colored Only” signs over water fountains and on doors.

Let’s hope the mindset of injustice and inequality will quickly leave Sullivan when it comes to homosexual students.

Last time I checked Phegley and Medley, we are all humans and if you cut us open, we all bleed the same regardless of sexual preference.

My God teaches me to love my neighbor.

Perhaps a small minority in Sullivan were absent that Sunday when this was discussed.



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