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A story about a pumpkin patch in last week’s Washington Post touched off another round of letter-to-the-editor hand-wringing about intolerance. According to Leef Smith’s report, two rainbow flags flying above Centreville’s Cox Farms—which each fall draws 85,000 visitors to Northern Virginia’s biggest pumpkin patch—touched off furious protests from Christian fundamentalists. Protesters charged that the flags represent an effort to promote gay pride at a place where families bring their kids for some simple pre-Halloween shopping. Letters responding to the story, meanwhile, lamented another example of Old Dominion closed-mindedness. No one, however, pointed out the silver lining in the story. True, the Cox antagonists remain viciously intolerant of gays. But if they’re frequenting a pumpkin patch in October, it’s pretty clear that they tolerate a pagan holiday that involves the carving of pumpkins into demon faces and the wearing of witch costumes. No word yet on any official rapprochement between Northern Virginia’s fundamentalist Christian and devil-worshipping communities. —Michael Schaffer

Please send your City Desk tips to Elissa Silverman at esilverman@washcp.com or call 332-2100 and ask for my voice mail.