Debra J. Saunders

 I don't know why, but this nonsensical understanding of forgiveness -- as if it should be given instantly, regardless of circumstances -- seems to be popular among a growing faction of Americans, on the left and the right, who are caught up in a mania for forgiving.

 They don't get it. Forgive and forget are not synonyms. Forgiveness is not something that should be granted automatically. You forgive people after they've admitted to what they did wrong and apologized.

 Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Carter Brank told The Associated Press that Wilbanks "was somewhat remorseful," but she "didn't come right out and apologize."

 Or you forgive after time has elapsed and you choose to set aside your anger. You can forgive without making excuses. Note to Mason: You can forgive your fiance, but that doesn't mean you still have to marry her. Besides, the wannabe groom's comments don't speak of forgiveness. They suggest a clear unwillingness to confront the fact that an adult woman who would plan and carry out such a hoax, and subject her parents and fiance to such terror and suspicion, is utterly devoid of character.

 (It's odd how the left sees the devout as being harsh and inflexible, yet here Mason and his spiritual mentors are dismissing this cruel act as a simple mistake, almost as if it were beyond the hapless Wilbanks' control. People I talk to in San Francisco are appalled at Wilbanks' stunt, while Duluth's good Christian gentlemen shrug that Wilbanks needs "treatment," as Mason told Hannity, "for lack of a better word.")

 There is one other explanation: Wilbanks is mentally ill. Although her friends and family say she is not. If she is not mentally ill, she should face greater consequences than her dubious sense of guilt.

 The runaway bride's father, Harris Wilbanks, told Hannity that his daughter needs "some space and some time." I agree. In fact, I would like to see Wilbanks get that space and time -- as long as the space is a cot in a jail cell and the time is spent reflecting behind bars.

Debra J. Saunders

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