Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The real Story That The Media Missed, Again

The week of incessant coverage of the Jennifer Wilbanks affair has left me begging for less. This was a story that should have never been, except the media in this country must have their pound of flesh, anyone’s flesh. Being it is that time of year called “Sweeps Week” the media shot for the moon and extracted two pounds and, in typical media wisdom, missed the real story.

John Mason, Miss Wilbanks fiancé, is the story they all missed.In the midst of the NYT and Washington Posts month long attack on Christianity one man stepped forward and proved them liars.

Maureen Dowd began her NY Times column with:

Oh my God, we really are in a theocracy.
Eugene Robinson’s column, "Art vs. the Church Lady" moaned that:

..the pall of religiosity hanging over the city was reaching gas-mask stage.
Frank Rich warned forebodingly:

government, culture, science, medicine and the rule of law are all under threat from an emboldened religious minority out to remake America according to its dogma. and GOP zealots in Congress and the White House have edged our country over into a full-scale jihad.
In stark contrast to the media’s proclamation that religious doom has descended upon the country I offer the simple words of the man who may have been damaged the most in the “run away bride” story, John Mason.

Reading the transcript of his interview with Sean Hannity of Fox’s Hannity and Colmes brings to light the insidious plans of world domination of the evangelical right.

HANNITY: A lot of people want to know the answer to this question, John. Do you still love her?

MASON: Absolutely. Just because we haven't walked down the aisle, just because we haven't stood in front of the 500 people and said our "I dos," my commitment before God to her was the day I bought that ring and put it on her finger. And I'm not backing down from that now.

HANNITY: Are you angry, hurt, embarrassed, annoyed, all the above? What do you feel?

MASON: I got to tell you man, I'm happy. She's come to the conclusion that she needs some help on some things. And if it took this to get her to it, man, praise God she's there. And we're going to get her some help. And we're going to get her, you know, right again.

HANNITY: On her flight back from Albuquerque, they gave a statement to some members of the press. I understand that, on the plane, she said she had spoken to her fiancé, that would be you.

MASON: Right.

HANNITY: You could not wait to see her. She says the wedding is not called off, it's just postponed.


HANNITY: Is that the situation?

MASON: Absolutely.

HANNITY: You're still engaged?

MASON: Absolutely. Yes, the first thing I gave to her when I saw her was her diamond back.

HANNITY: Oh, you did?

MASON: Yes, I made sure she put it on.

HANNITY: How did she react to that?

MASON: She put it right on her finger.

HANNITY: What do you want people to know about your fiancée, that's still your fiancée, that maybe they don't know about her? I mean, if they didn't know her from this one event. I've talked to a lot of people that know her and they paint a very different picture of what I knew about her coming in here.

MASON: Sure. Man, she's awesome. You know, she just was scared. She has a lot of confusion and a lot of hurt for herself, I think. And she'll uncover a lot more of that as we get through to the next stages of our life.
But she's very loving, very caring, just loves people, little kids in particular. Her mom always says she was put on this Earth to be a mother. So you know, we're looking forward to that one day.
Just very gracious, she would welcome anybody into her home and take care of them, kind of, you know, Southern girl.

HANNITY: Now, she had just basically moved her stuff into your place.

MASON: Yes. Over the last months and weeks and whatever, she'd just kind of moved stuff down. And she would kind of started staying the night at the house. It was just convenience more than anything else.
Our relationship from that standpoint is still very pure. We have not broken the sanctity of marriage yet, if that's the right way of putting it. In God's eyes, our relationship is still very pure.
But we did sleep under the same roof from time-to-time and that has come up this week. And I know that that's been a question on a lot of people's minds. But we weren't technically living together.

HANNITY: You don't want people to judge her on this event?

MASON: Absolutely not, man. Ain't we all messed up? mean, haven't we all made mistakes?

HANNITY: The things I've done in life are a lot worse than that.

MASON: I've made some doozies too, man.

HANNITY: We're in your church right here, where we're doing this interview. And your faith is obviously something that's very, very important to you and your pastor. And I know it's important to her dad.
You know, is it OK to reevaluate a relationship after something has happened, while you're forgiving her?

MASON: Sure.

HANNITY: Do you know what I mean by that?

MASON: Yeah, that's fine. You probably reevaluate your relationship all the time, I would imagine.

HANNITY: Would it be wrong to reevaluate if this is definitely what you want to do? You have no doubt in your mind you want to still get married, in other words?

MASON: Yes, absolutely.


MASON: Yes, I mean, I think some things need to happen first. And we need to talk about a few things and she needs some treatment, for lack of a better word.
HANNITY: But you don't seem concerned to me. Would you worry that this would be an indicator how she may deal with stressful situations, which we all know will come up in the course of a marriage?

MASON: Right. No.

HANNITY: Not at all?

Well, there you have it. A peek into the heart of a typical Christian jihadist.
For those of you who are Biblically challenged, now would be a good time to read the story of the Prodigal Son. In case you missed it, what he said was:
“Welcome home. Even though you have done wrong, I forgive you. I never stopped loving you.”

John Mason learned this lesson well.

As for me, I would rather slave under a God who inspires this kind of love in His followers than what ever brand of "freedom"the Media has in mind. They seldom, if ever, inspire anything but ill will.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Jennifer Wilbanks.....If you can take anymore!

Okay. I've been listening to people discussing Jennifer Wilbanks all day now, and I cannot understand where all this misguided sympathy is coming from. Let me be honest. I'm really quite irked about it. Even people with whom I'm usually in agreement seem to have come down on the side of the issue that is opposite mine, and I'm rather confused. I thought that Rush and Sean went way too easy on her, especially Sean. I was quite surprised. Even her fiance, on "Hannity and Colmes" tonight, referred to her as a "victim". Sorry, but I just do not see it that way.

Let's look at this person a little more closely. She's a thirty-two year old woman. Not a kid, which is what I originally had thought. So to hear so many people calling for compassion, forgiveness and leniency in her case, truly puzzles me. How can people defend what she's done and make all kinds of excuses for her? Bad enough that she was inconsiderate and callous enough to make her fiance, family and friends all worry sick about her while preparing themselves for the very worst of news, but look at all of the resources that she wasted while police and others in the community were out searching for her and investigating the case! Someone even said that this was her parents' fault, not hers, because they were the ones who reported her missing! Her parents' fault??? As though they were wrong to be concerned about their daughter's sudden disappearance? Please. What parent would not have reported her as missing, given the circumstances?

An even better question? What has happened to the notion of individuals being responsible for their own actions? Whatever the reason for Ms. Wilbanks running away before her wedding, whether it was stress, poor judgement, feeling overwhelmed, "cold feet" or temporary insanity, it really doesn't matter. She perpetrated a fraud, and then lied about it to authorities, not once, but twice. Wasn't that exactly what got Martha Stewart her prison term? She was never charged with insider trading. She lied. Just as Jennifer Wilbanks did.

And has anyone heard the audio of her dramatic performance on the 911 tape? If not, trust me. It's a lulu! Then there's the premeditation factor. Didn't she buy her bus ticket days in advance? This was not a spontaneous act on her part. Why couldn't she simply have confided in someone close to her that she was stressing and panicking over her upcoming wedding, if that was indeed the problem? Why go to such extremes as running away and then falsely reporting that you'd been kidnapped? And another thing that bothers me from her 911 call, is the way she gratuitously felt the need to insert race into the whole imbroglio by telling the police that she was abducted by a hispanic man and a caucasion woman. Was that really necessary? It was reminiscent of Susan Smith, when she lied and said that a black man kidnapped her two small children. Is this sort of thing really helpful?

So, what to do with her? Legally speaking, if what she did was against the law, and I think it's safe to say that it was, I believe that she should be charged with whatever the crime was that she committed. If this does not happen, I think it sets a very poor precedent in that others will think they can lie to authorities with impunity. What she did was a serious matter, and there needs to be consequences. Sean feels (yes, I said "feels", because he certainly can't be using his brain to think) that everyone should go easy on her, and forgive her. Give her another chance. Fine! Let her fiance, family and friends forgive her. They are the ones who probably love her unconditionally, so let them forgive her unconditionally if they want. They're the ones she hurt the most, so that is entirely up to them. If her fiance can forgive her after she put him in the terrible position of becoming the prime suspect in her kidnapping, or even her possible death, for all anyone knew, more power to him. I doubt being subjected to lie detector tests is all that pleasant an experience, but hey! It was his ordeal! He's the one who can forgive her for causing it.

The law is another story, however. The law doesn't "love" anyone, and the law should not pick and choose who amongst us should be charged with a crime. The law should be applied equally, if it is to be just. I say let Jennifer Wilbanks be charged with lying to authorities, and at that time she can say whatever she wants to in her own defense. When the case is adjudicated, that would be the time to show leniency if it is warranted and deemed appropriate by the judge.

I don't think I'd like to see her punishment be financial in nature, because that would undoubtedly be paid by her parents, and wouldn't really teach Jennifer much of a lesson. I would also hope that Jennifer is aware of how lucky she is that there were no accidents or casualties that resulted from this whole debacle, because something like that could easily have occurred at some point. Thankfully, however, it didn't. No one got hurt, and she is back home, safe and sound. Perhaps in addition to a sincere public apology, one which acknowledges how irresponsible and thoughtless she has been, she could do some sort of community service, perhaps in a hospital or senior citizen center. As long as she doesn't get away scott-free, because that will only irk me even further.