Thursday, August 03, 2006

America's Bible Belt: The Enlightenment Ends Here

Does anyone happen to know the last time a rational thought-process transpired in the Bible-believing communities of the United States? In Ohio, they're builidng a Creation Science Museum. In southern Delaware, they're running The Jew out of town. In proposed South Dakota legislation, neither rape nor incest will be reason enough to allow an abortion. In Kansas last November, the state board of education voted to change the definition of science in order to accommodate theological explanations (though thankfully that seems set to change).

And in that very same state, the good, decent Christian townsfolk of Meade are doing their utmost to run a local restauranteur out of business. His crime? Flying a flag. No--not that flag:

“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.
The son had purchased the flag on a visit to Dorothy's House, a Wizard of Oz museum in the nearby town of Liberal (the irony!!). "The flag reminded the boy of 'somewhere over the rainbow.'"

Unfortunately, the good folk of Meade didn't see it that way. The local newspaper, Knight says, tried to put him out of business; and the local radio station threatened to stop running ads for the restaurant if the flag wasn't removed. A local pastor likened it to hanging women's panties on a flagpole. "When Knight jokingly said he might consider that – the preacher said he would have him arrested."

Sadly, the bigots appear to be getting their way. Knight's business is suffering. "The folks in Meade who've boycotted say it's too offensive for them to eat there." I guess they're scared of getting The Gay. But here's the best part:
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.
The Knights aren't taking this lying down, however. In a letter to supporters they declared that "our rainbow flag was hung outside of our hotel because we dearly miss our son. It signified to us that he is just over the rainbow and as soon as we can we will all be together again." And now some in-bred hillbilly fuck has cut the flag down. Moreover:
Before we bought the Lakeway Hotel a gay couple looked at it and the same good christians that want my son's rainbow flag down told the bank, 'if you sell to those gays, we'll all pull our accounts.' They'll never be happy, and their hunger for control will never subside. Never!!! They change scripture to suit their purpose. They are spreading ignorance and bigotry one child at a time. Not my son.
Nevertheless, the flag will fly again, Knight assures us, as soon as he can obtain a replacement:
Our new Rainbow flag will serve a different purpose, it will stand for the very thing that THEY (the schalooses) wanted it to stand for. Gay Rights, Gay Pride, Human Rights, Equality of the Sexes, Equality of the Races, Diversity, Unity, Peace, The International Co-operative Alliance's, The Inca banner, The Flag of Cusco, Peru, The Wizard of OZ, God's Gift to Mankind, and everything else that the homophobic, bigoted, ignorant ... people of the world fear.
Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars, Pharyngula and Pandagon.