Saturday, July 29, 2006

More flag insanity

The irony is that this is taking place in Kansas (see last paragraph).

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. You can fly it upside down, too 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 [Kansas] 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."

[from KWCH-TV News (Witchita) and Pandagon.]

Update: In early August the rainbow flag was “cut away … leaving behind only tattered corners” by vandals, according to the AP. The Knights said they will replace it.

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