Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Rainbow Flag in Kansas: Brothers apologize; Phelps sets protest; hotel owner plans party

The Wichita Eagle reports three news items today about the battle in Meade, Kan., over the rainbow flag.

JR and Robin Knight, a heterosexual couple, have been flying the flag -- a symbol of gay rights -- at their Lakeway Hotel. First the flag was stolen and then a brick with the word "fag" was thrown through their window.

The Eagle reports:
Two brothers have apologized publicly for taking down a controversial rainbow flag in Meade, saying they have learned a valuable lesson.

"... Even though we may not agree with what our neighbor is doing, we cannot impose our beliefs on someone else, and we certainly cannot step on their rights," Todd and Joshua Postlewait said in a letter this week to the editor of the Meade County News.

They said they took the flag "to help stop all the arguing" about it.

The brothers say they now know it was wrong to take the flag.

"One, we committed a crime by stealing Mr. Knight's property," they wrote. "Two, the people of Meade have been accused of being bigots because practically the whole nation thinks an adult took the flag to make a statement against gay rights. And three, some citizens of Meade took down the flag to get more publicity."

JR Knight said Friday that the apology did not make him feel much better about the controversy. He said he questions whether they took the flag for the reasons they provided.
Meanwhile, Fred Phelps plans to bring Westboro Baptist Church picketers from Topeka to protest at the hotel at noon on Aug. 27. Phelps and his group will also protest against five Meade churches from 9 a.m. to noon on the same day.

MTV plans to be in Meade to film during the same time. The Knights are planning to party.
"We're going to have a party -- kind of 'in your face,' you know," JR Knight said.

He plans to put up a DJ station on a balcony behind where the flag is flying and play loud music during the protest. The Knights also plan fun with bubbles and beach balls.

When MTV initially made plans to come to Meade, Knight said, the protest hadn't yet been announced.

Knight said he thought a crew from the network would be there a few days before the protest and leave the day after.

The protest should be fun, he said.

"We're going to laugh at them big time because you can't do that at a funeral, right?" Knight said, alluding to the church's habit of protesting at military funerals.
In This Moment's past coverage of the Saga of the Flag includes:

A small-town Solution to Kansas vandalism & a bit of revolutionary good news

Kansas Equality Coalition condemns incident at Lakeway Hotel

Block hurled through window of Kansas hotel

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