Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saga of the Rainbow Flag: It all comes together tomorrow in Meade, Kansas

By Diane Silver

MTV television cameras, Fred Phelps, his funeral-picketing Westboro Church and Kansas' largest gay-rights group are all scheduled to come together in Meade on Sunday.

In case anyone hasn't been paying attention, Meade is the town of 1,600 in southwestern Kansas that made the news after the owners of the local Lakeway Hotel were harassed for flying the rainbow flag. A symbol of gay rights, the flag was first cut down and stolen and then a brick with the word "fag" on it was thrown through the hotel window. Another brick with the words "get the fuck out of town" was found outside the hotel.

Tomorrow may well mark the peak of the events in town.

The Wichita Eagle reports:
Meade Police Chief Loren Borger said several extra law enforcement officers, including 16 Kansas Highway Patrol troopers, will be on duty Sunday because of the protests.
The Hutchinson News explains Phelps' motivation as best as anyone can.
Members of the Topeka-based Westboro Church are targeting churches here because they say they are somehow culpable for allowing the rainbow flag to be flown in town.
Here is a schedule of tomorrow's events in Meade.

10 a.m - Phelps and group picket the five churches in Meade. As much as I hate to send anyone to Phelps' site, he does have a detailed schedule up of Westboro's planned picketing in Meade.

1 - 3 p.m. - Kansas Equality Coalition statewide board meets at the Lakeway Hotel. The Equality Coalition site has more details on the meeting.

In This Moment's past postings on what has most definitely become a saga, include:

What's really happening in Meade, Kansas

A small-town solution to Kansas vandalism & some revolutionary good news

"It's ruined the city of Meade," but then again, maybe not

Despite broken window and threats, hotel's flag is still flying

Kansas Equality Coalition condemns incident at Lakeway Hotel

Block hurled through window of Kansas hotel


Tanya said...

Diane, As a resident of Meade, I was wondering...a]where you in Meade on Sunday, b} we're you surprised that the residents remained calm ? c] what are your feelings overall about the citizens of Meade? d}How do you feel about the Knights selling their hotel with the stipulation that the new owner must fly the rainbow flag according to Mr. Knights comments on kake-tv? e} and you may not know the answer to this one but I'll ask it anyway.. How is Mr. Knight going to remove the property from the tax roll? Again a quote from mr. Knight"so "they don't make any more money off of me" (i think I got the quote right). Thanks for answering these questions. Have a good day

Diane Silver said...


Thanks for visiting my blog.

Unfortunately, I was unable to be in Meade on Sunday, but news reports certainly confirm that folks were calm. Does it surprise me that people in Meade could remain calm? Not at all.

I personally believe -- and I am pleased to see the Kansas Equality Coalition also saying -- that the majority of people in Meade and other Kansas small towns and rural areas are good people. The problems are caused by a few.

Unfortunately, those problems can be made worse by the fact that the good folks sometimes don't stand up to the people who want to hurt and intimidate others. That is as true in Meade as it is in Kansas City, Lawerence, Topeka, Wichita, New York City and everywhere else in the world.

The answer to bigotry and violent acts is for people to stand up to those acts and to make it clear that they are wrong. In other words, the answer to a brick through a window is for the good folks of Meade to help fix the window. The answer is to say that such acts are never right -- even if you disagree with equality for gays. A person can help fix a window and stand up to violent acts without agreeing with a particular political statement

I have no idea what JR Knight may have said. I'm afraid I haven't seen the quotes you cite, but even if they are true ... what would be wrong with the rainbow flag continuing to fly at the Lakeway Hotel?

All the best and may your town find peace and quiet.