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Kansas: Rainbow flag creates controversy


E.J.

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Rainbow flag creates controversy

Tucker Jankosky

KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

For J.R. and Robin knight, owning a bed and breakfast is everything they've always wanted. "We came here in search of our dreams, my wife always wanted a bed and breakfast and I always wanted a restaurant," says California native J.R. Knight.

But recently their dream has turned into a nightmare, all because of a flag they're flying outside. ?It's a rainbow flag - to some people it means friendship to some people it means gay pride," says Knight. But for knight, it was just a souvenir from his 12-year-old son.

Knight says the local Meade newspaper is trying to put him out of business and was frustrated when it ran an article about the flag and did not even bother to contact him regarding why he put it up. In fact, most people we spoke to in Meade said they didn?t even know what the flag meant until the article ran. But once word got around, the reaction was harsh.

Knight says the radio station has called him threatening to remove the restaurant?s commercials if he does not remove the flag. A local pastor stopped by said it was equivalent to hanging women?s panties on a flag pole. When Knight jokingly said he might consider that ? the preacher said he would have him arrested.

His business has suffered - down to only a few local customers. The folks in Meade who've boycotted say it's too offensive for them to eat there.

Local resident, Keith Klassen says the flag is a slap in the face to the conservative community of Meade. ?To me it's just like running up a Nazi flag in a Jewish neighborhood. I can't walk into that establishment with that flag flying because to me that's saying that I support what the flag stands for and I don't," says Klassen.

Knight says it's not meant to be a gay pride symbol but he doesn't mind if that's how it's taken.

?Any gay or lesbian people that do stop by will be treated with the best service I can give you," says Knight

But despite the local ridicule and loss of business, Knight is determined to stand his ground. ?When this rainbow flag shreds, I will buy another one, and another one, and another one - just like my American flag, I'll buy another one."

Knight says his son gave him the flag after a trip to Dorothy's house, a museum about the Wizard of Oz. The flag reminded the boy of "somewhere over the rainbow."

? 2006, Media General, Inc.

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Knight says the radio station has called him threatening to remove the restaurant?s commercials if he does not remove the flag. A local pastor stopped by said it was equivalent to hanging women?s panties on a flag pole. When Knight jokingly said he might consider that ? the preacher said he would have him arrested.

I wonder: do people chose to be buttheads or are they born that way?

Pardon my French, but WTF? Whose business is the flag you fly over your own property?

In the South people routinely fly the confederate battle flag which has become a symbol of the Klan, Nazis and Skinheads but no one bothers them.

This is a sad illustration of the harrassment and bigotry that many small town GLBT people have to live with.

After reading the article, I find that I like the guy. I might even visit his B&B just to :thebirdman: his nosy, assinine neighbors.

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This is a sad illustration of the harrassment and bigotry that many small town GLBT people have to live with.

I have no idea where Meade is located in Kansas but this is the same geographical neighborhood in which the "Rev" Phelps dwells. This is the whacko, hateful minister who pickets gay events (same one who protested Matthew Sheppard's funeral). His homophobic venom is scary.

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Rainbow flag cut down, but not owners' pride

August 7, 2006

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A 12-year-old son's gift of a colorful flag he found while staying with his grandparents in California has put his parents in the middle of controversy in the small town of Meade, Kansas.

J.R. and Robin Knight said they knew the rainbow flag was a symbol of gay rights when they decided last month to fly it on a pole in front of their Lakeway Hotel.

The decision prompted a controversy in the town of 1,600 and eventually someone cut the flag down. It's also prompted an Internet-fueled debate on gay rights in rural America, and the Knights say they have received messages of support from around the world.

The Knights say they are determined to replace the flag and keep it flying.

"We just put it up. We didn't think about it," Robin said. "It has pretty colors; it's bright' it's summery." And, J.R. Knight said, it was a symbolic way to have their son nearby.

Waitress Vicky Best said such a flag has no place in Meade.

"It's hard enough to keep your kids on the straight and narrow without outside influences like that," she complains. "We stay in a small town to stay away from the crap like that that's happening in big cities," she said, calling homosexuality "biblically wrong."

But retiree Charles Helms said he doesn't care if the Knights fly the flag. "If he wants to fly that thing, let him fly it," Helms said. "I don't have a problem at all because I know the story behind it."

The Knights say they have no problems with gays but have never taken a role in the gay rights movement. They moved to Meade two years ago from southern California to pursue their dream of operating a bed-and-breakfast.

The Knights say the anger displayed by some residents has strengthened their resolve to keep the rainbow flag flying. Flying the flag not only protests discrimination, they say, but they also believe giving into the pressure would send the wrong message to their son, Anthony.

"It's our business. It shouldn't be dictated by other people," Robin Knight said. So, when someone cut away the flag last week, leaving behind only tattered corners, the Knights quickly ordered two more, and said more will be coming to replace any others that might be destroyed. (AP)

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Guest rusticmonk86

F*ck these people. F*ck all of them. I hope God or Satan or someone just as evil and bad as both of them kill every single redneck in Meade.

Over a f*cking rainbow. They'd better stay in Kansas.

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The wrong side of the rainbow

MIKE HENDRICKS, The Kansas City Star

?Some place where there isn?t any trouble ? do you suppose there is such a place, Toto?? Dorothy asked.

And her answer was, of course, ?somewhere over the rainbow.?

Which is nowhere near Meade, Kan., where right now trouble is brewing, ironically enough, over just that ? a rainbow.

The rainbow flag that flies outside the Lakeway Inn, to be specific.

Or flew there, anyway, until recently.

?A couple of days ago, someone tried to cut it down,? according to J.R. Knight, co-owner of the combination restaurant and bed and breakfast. ?There?s just a corner of it left.?

Why would anyone do such a rotten thing?

J.R. presumes it?s because the rainbow has become a symbol of gay pride in recent years.

That?s not why the flag went up outside the Lakeway initially. No, it was simply a gift to J.R. and his wife, Robin, from their 12-year-old son.

The boy recently left Meade, population 1,600, to live with relatives in California. On the way west, they stopped at Dorothy?s House, a Wizard of Oz tourist spot in Liberal, Kan. And soon after, the kid sent a rainbow flag to his parents.

?He sent us this flag letting us know he?s missing us, over the rainbow,? J.R. says.

A sweet gesture, in other words ? but what followed wasn?t.

A photo of the flag suddenly appeared in the local paper.

When I asked Denice Kuhn, editor of the Meade County News, why she felt the flag was newsworthy, she declined to comment.

But she and J.R. admit they?ve had run-ins before. So consider that when I tell you the caption with that photo directed readers to a Web site.

And there it was noted that the rainbow had been adopted as a symbol of the gay community.

It also happens to symbolize many other things ? equality, diversity, human rights and the Rainbow Girls.

But the connection to gays is what disturbed some folks in Meade.

Jaws flapped. Business dropped off at the Lakeway.

The Christian radio station quit holding its staff meetings in the restaurant, which cost the Knights an advertising outlet. In exchange for free meals, the station had plugged the Lakeway on air as a station sponsor.

?I just told J.R. that we?re a Christian radio station, and this whole controversy is going to give us problems,? station general manager Don Hughes said. ?We?d just like to stay out of the controversy.?

But the Knights weren?t about to take the flag down, on principle.

To the preacher who told him the rainbow offended him, J.R. said something like ?take a hike.?

To friends who suggested it might be better for business if he reconsidered, the Knights said that would be like admitting that they?d done something wrong.

Besides, they had nothing against gays.

And gays, it seems, have nothing against the Lakeway. In fact, since the story broke last month, this controversy has become a hot topic in the gay community nationwide.

?We?re getting 200 e-mails a day,? J.R. says.

To give financial support to the Lakeway for standing its ground, people out of the area are calling up to rent rooms by credit card with no intention of spending the night.

The southwest chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition recently booked the Lakeway as the site of their next monthly meeting.

Then there are the flags.

People are sending rainbow flags from around the world.

That way, the Knights will never run out of them.

?I?m never taking it down,? J.R. said.

? Copyright 2006 The Kansas City Star

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Good for the Knights and their son. I wish everyone could be as willing to see the simple truths and what they really say about life.

The simple truth is that a son gave his parents a gift of a cheerful, sunny, colorful, summery rainbow flag, to decorate their place.

If we ignore that simple truth, then we have missed something far more basic and important than whatever we believe about homosexuality.

The message of a rainbow:

* All colors together, beautiful.

* Variety and differences embraced.

* Friendship and understanding of others and ourselves.

* More than tolerance -- Acceptance without judgment.

* Racial equality.

* Yes, gay pride too.

The rainbow is a Biblical symbol too. In the story of Noah and the Flood, it is a symbol of God's promise to humanity of freedom from destruction by a worldwide flood.

That's right. Freedom. Safety. Acceptance of humanity's differences.

And it's just a rainbow flag, a son's gift to his parents.

If we cannot see that simple truth; if we would rather exclude, regardless of our beliefs about homosexuality, then we have lost something far more important, as human beings, much less as Americans, or if we happen to be a specific religion.

Again, good for the Knights and their son. I hope that flag keeps flying.

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As James Carville said, "It's the economy, stupid."

I have no idea what the impact would be in starting a pressure squeeze on Meade Microscopes - I guess it's they're largest industry - but it might be a start.

I found out that Meade is 94% caucasian. Big fucking surprise. Would love to turn a few screws on these god-fearing, queer-feering folks. :evil:

Jack 8)

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Oh my goodness- that's not the same Meade that makes telescopes???

:(

Meade Instruments Corporation, makers of Telescopes ? Binoculars ? Microscopes is based in Irvine, California.

Meade, Kansas

Population: 1,672 (2000)

Elevation: 2475 feet

Both the city and county were named for General George C. Meade, the Union commander at Gettysburg.

http://skyways.lib.ks.us/towns/Meade/index.html

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Jack Scribe wrote:

I have no idea where Meade is located in Kansas but this is the same geographical neighborhood in which the "Rev" Phelps dwells. This is the whacko, hateful minister who pickets gay events (same one who protested Matthew Sheppard's funeral). His homophobic venom is scary.

MIKE HENDRICKS, The Kansas City Star wrote:

The Christian radio station quit holding its staff meetings in the restaurant, which cost the Knights an advertising outlet. In exchange for free meals, the station had plugged the Lakeway on air as a station sponsor.

IMO, all hate, including hate of gays, is the devil's work. That makes "Rev" Phelps and all of his followers and everyone who expresses hate of anyone, gay, straight, black, white, Asian, whatever, an agent of the devil.

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